Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Halloween and Christmas Already???

I remember the good old days.  You know, before my kids had their own opinions on what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween.  At this point, I basically have zero say in it.  I'd love it if they would each dress up as a Super Why character, or each take a Star Wars character, or really just about any combination of four related things that hopefully don't involve Disney princesses.  This year though, they each had an opinion.  Well, not so much Maren, but once Quinn had picked out her Anna costume she insisted that her little sister be Elsa.  So, okay, I gave in because honestly I'm just too worn out to try and talk them out of just about anything these days.  What was that?  You want popcorn for dinner?  Sure, whatever.

Here they are - Ninja Shannon, Spiderman Sully, Anna Quinn and Elsa Maren

Trick-or-treating was Halloween night and it was windy and pretty cold.  Needless to say, the kids didn't last too long.  After just a few blocks they were ready to head home.  The little kids went to bed while the older kids stayed up to help hand out candy.  Unfortunately, not many kids came and I was left with multiple bags of candy, not to mention all the candy the kids had collected.  Ugh.

Before Halloween even got here, I was hard at work working on Christmas.  Even typing out that sentence feels strange to me.  In past years I've always felt so far behind when it comes to Christmas so it's weird to be sitting here in early November and feel as though I've have it all under control.  I'm just though that now that I've said it, it will soon all fall apart.  I've bought the kids gifts and even have them wrapped AND I have our Christmas cards in hand.  Normally I'm the one paying tons of extra money for overnight shipping just so I can send out the cards Christmas week.

I'm trying to go smaller this Christmas.  Each child is getting about two gifts from us/Santa and I'm hoping that their grandparents will scale things back as well.  We've really been emphasizing how much the kids love things like swimming and tennis lessons and themed summer camps in the hopes that those things become good gift options vs more stuffed animals or toys. 

One of the favorite gifts I bought this year is for Shannon and only cost $0.99. 

When I was in the fourth grade I read the book the Secret of the Seven Crows, loved it and have never forgotten it.  Something reminded me of it a few weeks ago so I got on Amazon and found one for sale for a mere $0.99.  It arrived the other day and before I wrap it up for Shannon, I'm re-reading it so that when he reads it we'll be able to talk about it.  I'm just hoping he likes it as much as I did way back when.  Passing down a love for reading and books has definitely been a priority of mine and I get a little giddy thinking about sharing all the books I've loved beyond just little kid books like Goodnight Moon and Swimmy.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm a 29 Year-Old Again

Isn't it amazing how far science advances in just a few years?  When I was pregnant with my first I believe I was offered the triple screen blood test to test for chromosome abnormalities.  Then, with my second, third and fourth I had a nuchal translucency scan along with some blood work.  I remember that with Maren, my fourth, I asked my doctor about skipping the NT scan and instead doing what was then one of the new blood tests which are nearly 100% accurate in finding the most common trisomies.  He said that insurance companies were not yet covering those tests and so I opted for the NT scan instead.

This pregnancy is a bit unique in that although I am 43, the embryo I am pregnant with was created when I was 36.  That still puts me into a higher risk category, but not as high as that of a 43 year-old.  This time around, I was offered the MaterniT21 test and was encouraged to have that done rather than the nuchal scan.  Unfortunately, the lab used for the test is not covered by my insurance and although the company offers a very reduced rate in those situations, I decided not to spend the money out of pocket and instead decided on having the "old fashioned" nuchal scan done.  I figured that would allow me another look at the baby, an opportunity to have my cervix measured to help calm my fears about it shortening, and if the results came back that our odds being high of there being something wrong, I could always still have the MaterniT21 test done.

I had the scan done last Monday and, thankfully, everything looked really good.  My doctor called me yesterday with the results of the accompanying blood work and that too came back good.  He said I now fall into the same risk category of a 29 year-old.  It sure feels good to be 29 again, if only for statistical results.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Planning the Old School Way

Despite my extreme exhaustion, or perhaps because of it, I actually feel like I am getting more done.  Part of what has helped I believe is going back to using an old school, paper planner.  Years ago I gave up my paper calendar in favor of having an online one.  I found, however, that it just wasn't really for me.  I'd write things on slips of paper meaning to add them to my electronic calendar later but then would forget, or, I just found adding things on my small phone cumbersome.  So, before school started back up for the kids this year, I added their school and activity schedules into my Cozi calendar (which the husband can also view), but I also ordered a paper planner for myself.

I've really found myself being better about getting things done during the week and meal planning now that I have one place to write down weekly and daily tasks along with at least a dinner plan for each night.  Even at work this has been helpful because I have been using it to map out times of the time to work on some of my bigger projects.  It's like all those articles that tell you to schedule exercise because you'll be more likely to actually exercise (okay, bad example, that has never worked for me with regards to exercising.)  Now that I'm writing everything down I find myself more likely to actually do those things.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hello Old Friend

I've been pretty lax in updating, possibly because I've been in bed, sleeping by around 8:30pm each night.  To say that I am worn out is a huge understatement.  Some really good things have been happening though.  I've had two ultrasounds, both showing a little baby measuring a few days ahead and with a strong, beating heart.  I've also been able to find the heart beat a few times using my doppler.  At my first appointment with my OB I had a pap and hpv test which, thankfully, came back negative.  I'm not even really certain I knew how worried I was about facing an abnormal result until I saw the good test results.  I just need to not have a repeat of what happened after I had Maren.  

One thing that was amazing me was my lack of morning sickness.  Not that I haven't been feeling sick, but I wasn't actually getting sick.  What? Given my levels of morning sickness in all but one of my previous pregnancies this has really just been shocking to me.  I've been walking around thinking hey, maybe it's finally my turn to be one of the pregnant ladies who get to say "I never even threw up once."  Yea, I should have known that was NEVER going to happen.  Last night I was up in the  middle of the night with Maren and after taking just a few sips of water I started to feel really sick to my stomach.  It took until right before I was ready to leave for work before I had to make a run for the bathroom.  Then, I managed to go the day at work without getting sick again but once home I found out just what a mistake it was to eat a pickle spear with my lunch.  Yuck, yuck, yuck!

So, in the words of Neil Diamond, "Hello, my friend, hello."  I would say it's nice having you back morning sickness but that's not 100% true.  There is a certain familiarity and comfort in having similar pregnancies but yea, throwing up is no fun.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Catching Up: Back to School Edition

This summer really has just flown by.  I meant to do so much and post things like my first ripe tomato and how I chose to plant succulents this year instead of flowers, but I never seemed to get around to it.

I wanted to show off my little fishergirl Quinn with her big catch of the season.

But I just kept putting it off until it seemed almost too late to bother.  But, last week a wave of nesting, along with the OMG school starts for everyone this week, sort of hit me and finally gave me the energy to do a bit more than just my day to day things. 

Back to school is often portrayed as something moms are really excited about.  The kids are out of their hair during the week and it comes across too that the mom will have less work to do than over the summer.  Hmmmmm.  It seems to work in the exact opposite way in our home.  Summers are all about the kids just getting up whenever they want.  Sure, they need to get to things like swimming lessons or tennis lessons, but those are never as early as school.  They don't come home every night with 82 sheets of paper I need to read over plus 4 forms I need to fill out.  I don't even really need to keep too close an eye on their activities because although I plan them, once planned I hand over the details to the husband who makes sure they get where they need to be.  Ahhhh, summer really is like a mini-vacation for me even though I work full-time through it.

Shannon started school a week before Quinn and Sully so at least that helped me to sort of ease back into things.  Who needs a lunch?  When is your spelling test?  Did you remember to put your library book in your bag?  Which day is free-dress day?  And on and on and on.

In an attempt to somewhat streamline things and help my own severe lack of memory, I hung a calendar on the fridge that instead of being monthly of everything that's going on for everyone, is just a set weekly calendar of what each kid has on each day.  So, Shannon has gym on Mondays and Wednesdays and Quinn has gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they both have library on Thursday, and Shannon has math tests on Thursday but spelling tests on Fridays, etc. and now I don't have to try and remember all that and instead can just glance at the calendar.  I can also tell the kids to check it each morning to make sure they have their gym shoes on if necessary and that they've packed everything they need for that day.  Right underneath that calendar is the school lunch menu which I have them mark at the start of the month each day they want to take the hot lunch.  It's their job to check that and remind me if they need a lunch.

I also wanted to help them be a bit more independent at breakfast and snack time so I created a little quick breakfast/snack station.
There are trays of breakfast bars and easy to grab breakfast biscuits (which Quinn loves), along with a basket of applesauce in a pouch and another of small bags of pretzels and other snack crackers.  Up on top of the bookcase is a cereal dispenser which the kids find fun to use but I find annoying because it creates a lot of cereal dust/powder.
Tuesday was the first day of K5 for Quinn and I actually managed to get a good picture of Shannon and Quinn together that morning.
For some reason it's easier for me to believe that Quinn is five than it is for me to wrap my head around Shannon turning eight in a few weeks.

Sully's school has a staggered start for the first week so he didn't have his first day until Thursday.  He was pretty excited to show off his Geo shirt, along with his Team Umizoomi backpack.  I can't wait for the day when Shannon and Quinn start to question why they have to wear a uniform and Sully doesn't.  Sully was just so cute that I wanted to squeeze him and not let him go!
This week wasn't even a full week and yet I'm worn out.  Tonight is a school meeting for the K5 class and then an ice-cream social which I know the kids will enjoy but honestly, I'd rather just go home and sleep.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FET Success (Hopefully)

Well, I won't actually call this cycle, our last cycle ever, a success until I'm holding a plump, healthy baby in my arms, but as of right now, this moment, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Our journey to here has been a long and winding road of medicated cycles, IUIs, IVF, pregnancies resulting from no intervention whatsoever, miscarriages, a DVT and a near cervical cancer diagnosis.  There have been many smiles, laughs and yes, many worries and tears along the way.

After our IVF cycle in 2008, we had one embryo frozen.  Over the years I've taken to calling it Frosty.  Little frosty stayed frozen for a little over six years, in which time, I had four more pregnancies and two live births.  Going into this cycle I had very mixed emotions.  I knew this was our last chance and didn't want to get my hopes up too high for fear we wouldn't even make it to the transfer and I would be devastated.  I also am nervous about what life with five kids will look like.  My pregnancy at age 40, while working full-time and with three kids at home was hard and this time around I will be 43, working full-time with four kids at home.  Our house is on the smaller side, the husband's car is definitely on the smaller side, our bank accounts are on the smaller side and just how does one find enough time for each of five kids along with their spouse?  But, I think I we are up for the challenge. 

So with that, here are the details.  This cycle began on August 1st and I began taking 2mg of estrogen three times a day along with doing injections of 40mg of Lovenox every morning and evening.  I had a lining check on the 11th, did a trigger shot of hcg on the 12th and also began injections of 2ml of progesterone in oil that same night.  Our transfer was on the 18th and my first beta was today.  At what is equal to 14dpo, my beta came back as 110.  My next beta isn't for a full week which I'm sure will leave me wondering, but at the same time, I'm hopeful that it will keep me from obsession too much over numbers I know ultimately mean very little.

Making his internet debut, here's Frosty:

And no, we don't know that it's a boy, I'm just using the universal "he."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lucky Pennies?

I found these the other day while on my way home from work.  Are they lucky?  I'll let you know in about two weeks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Team Umizoomi - Milli, Geo, Bot and You!

Sully doesn't hide his love of Team Umizoomi.  Everyday he wakes up and says he wants to watch "something" and that something is always an episode of Team Umizoomi.  For Christmas he got a little stuffed Geo that he likes to carry around with him.  He even calls himself "little Geo."  So, for his third birthday we had a lightly themed Team Umizoomi party for him.

I got him a personalized third birthday Geo t-shirt and one of his aunts knit a special Geo hat just for him.  To say he was excited would be an understatement.

One of his cousins baked and decorated cupcakes.  They melted a bit in the heat but they were still delicious.

After a lunch of grilled brats, hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, homemade potato salad and fruit Sully got to blow out his birthday candle.  And yes, I know it's pink but that's because it's the same candle we used when Quinn turned three. 
He devoured his Geo cupcake and turned his mouth blue in the process.
Last, but certainly not least, we opened presents.  Shannon and Quinn were more than happy to help.
After all the guests had gone home and things had been cleaned up I saw this:
Ahhhh, so cleaned off.  By this morning it was already getting more cluttered.  Maren and Sully didn't seem to mind though.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Dining Room Table

We have a very small kitchen in our house. So small that there isn't room for a table. The upside is that we have a beautiful dining room. Last year around this time I posted about bringing dinner back and we have been eating at the dining room table ever since.  Lately, we've even been eating breakfast around the table as a family.  It is nice to come home and have a chance to catch up with the kids and also with the husband.

What isn't so nice, is sitting down to a messy, clutter filled table.  My husband jokes that if there is a flat surface that I will find a way to fill it with clutter.  And you know what?  He's right.  I'm a stacker by nature.  Magazines, catalogs, bills, school papers, all end up in a big stack on my dining room table.  Books to return to the library, art work the kids brought home from a zoo class, boat batteries in need of recharging, shoes that need to be taken to the repair shop, even science experiments that were tried with gram and pop, all make their way to my dining room table.  It really is the center of our home.

Clearing it off is a never ending battle for me.  It should be easy, either put the stuff where it goes or throw it away.  But, it just never is that easy.  My inner hoarder comes out and as I page through the magazines I think oh, I want that recipe, I need to look that up online and pin it (to my Pinterest board of things I will never actually get around to making.)  Or, oh, that's the perfect sweater for Quinn this fall but I don't want to spend the money on it right now so I'll save this catalog to remind myself to go and look later to see if it's on sale.  And on and on until I'm left with a stack about the same size as when I started.

So, my mission this fall is to try and really minimize how much ends up on the table, and even the surrounding surfaces as I have a tendency to clean off the dining room table by simply moving the stacks to other flat surfaces.  Maren is getting old enough to not need the high-chair, so soon she'll be moving into the 6th chair which also happens to be the chair I stack most of the piles in front of.  If keeping her ever wandering hands off my stuff isn't motivation, I don't know what is.

Here's a sampling of recent days:

Sad to say, this is the best of the bunch.  Quinn's Bob Books and Knot Genie , the husband's battery charger and hat, a box to go back to Lands' End, Sully's box of eye patches .  And stacks of stuff.

The stack gets bigger, shoes appear, the diaper bag is waiting to be emptied of filled, I can't remember which and two glass jars are filled with some kind of lava lamp liquid because yea, that's not going to get broken and ruin the table, chairs and floor.

And the perhaps the worst but mainly because I had my purse there (on top of a stack of mail) so I could grab a pen with which to do the puzzles in the paper while I sipped my coffee and ran PerkTV ads on my iPad.

Tomorrow is Sully's birthday party so I need to make a lot of progress on this mission tonight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to School Bento Deal

I've been packing bento box style lunches for my kids for the last year.  It makes my oldest smile to see a panda bear sandwich or little animal picks stuck in cheese squares or grapes.  And, for Quinn, it helps her to eat a wider variety of food, albeit still not wide enough, but I'll take what I can get.  So, I was excited to see a great Plum District deal pop up in my email this morning.

For the next 5 days you can grab a Plum District voucher for $8.00 which will give you $16.00 to spend at Bento USA.  Bento USA sells tons of really fun bento supplies including everything from lunch boxes, to sandwich cutters, to food picks.  I sometimes get lost just browsing their site.

If you've never made a bento style lunch, it can be a little intimidating when you see all the super fancy things some people are doing.  I stick to the more simple stuff as evidenced here.

I've already bought my voucher.  If you're interested in one you can click this link to get taken directly to the deal.  Once you've bought a deal, you can refer your friends and if three friends buy a voucher you'll get yours for free!

(Note: The Plum District links are referral links.  The link to Bento USA is all fun.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

FREE Turkey Dogs

I got a FREE package of Jennie-O Turkey dogs from Target today.  Target sells them for $0.99 a pack and Ibotta has a $1.00 rebate right now.  So, actually, I didn't just get them for free, I earned a penny by buying them!

If you're not familiar with Ibotta, it's an app which provides rebates on typical grocery items, movie tickets, clothing, baby and household items.  While making my shopping list I review what rebates are available and if there are things I need I do the little tasks to "earn" the rebate.  Sometimes you have to watch a super short video, or answer a question to be eligible for the rebate.  It's always easy to do and super quick.  Then, I shop and once home I set aside my Ibotta items.  When you go to redeem, the app prompts you to scan the barcodes on your items to verify that they are the correct items and then you snap a picture of the receipt and viola! money back.  The really great thing is that you can use manufacturer coupons at the store and then come home and still use Ibotta.  Sometimes, all the stars align and there will be an offer on Ibotta, I'll have a manufacturer coupon, a Target coupon AND an offer on Target Cartwheel.  I'm not a super couponer by any stretch of the imagination but I'm willing to do things that are rather easy to do to save a little money.  Right now I have almost $25.00 in my account which I can either get as cash put into my Paypal account, or, use it to buy gift cards to places like Starbucks, Whole Foods or Regal Movie Theaters.

Other shopping apps I use are Checkout51 and Shopmium, both of which give rebates on grocery items by either submitting a picture of your receipt and sometimes also scanning barcodes.

Happy shopping!

(The links in this post are referral links.  If you'd like to sign up for Shopmium, use my referral code, MAKYYYWG, and get a free Lindt chocolate bar.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How I Plan on Getting my Children's School Uniforms for Free

School uniforms.  Some people love them, many hate them, but as a former Catholic school girl I have to admit they will always have a place in my heart.  As someone who still struggles to put outfits together, they made my life easier when I was a kid and now that I'm a mom, they make my life easier by eliminating any morning battles about what my kids are going to wear to school.  The husband was skeptical regarding how easy they could make our lives but he's come around as Maren runs away when she sees a dress she doesn't want to wear or Sully cries because he wants to wear his Superman shirt four days in a row and it's just so filthy it's unwearable.  Not having a choice is sometimes the best choice when it comes to school fashions.

Shannon has been in school a few years now and over that time I've bought many different brands of polo shirts and pants.  He must wear navy pants and then has a choice between white or a dark green polo.  I've found that buying cheap leads to ripped knees and stained/ripped/yellowed shirts that just won't come clean.  So, I've been buying more and more from Lands' End.  First, they are a Wisconsin based company so it's always nice to support a more local business.  Second, their uniform pants have reinforced knees, and for the younger boys, have a hook closure instead of a button which is a big deal when little ones are still learning not only dressing and un-dressing themselves but the art of making it to the bathroom in time.  Third, in the older kids sizes, you can order the pants hemmed (for free, which is simply amazing.)  Based on last year when Shannon only wore Lands' End pants, I found that by the end of the year the pants had faded a bit in color, but not a ton and far less than pairs I had purchased in years past from Old Navy, Kohl's, Target or Crazy 8, and all the knees were intact.  I think there was one pair that perished, but it was ripped when Shannon walked by something and got caught on it, rather than the typical knee rips from playground play.  The remaining four pair are packed away now for Sully to wear when he's older. Now that Shannon is big enough that I can order hemmed pants, I'm hoping I can stretch them out for two years of wear instead of just one.  For the top, I buy the performance interlock polo shirts because I like the feel of them better than the mesh version.  I've found that the white stays white the entire school year and the fabric stays soft.

All of this adds up though.  Even on sale, the pants and polo shirts are a little spendy.  And, when you're buying five pair of pants and then five short-sleeve plus five long-sleeved polo shirts, plus let's not forget Quinn who needs some short and long sleeved blouses or shirts as well, it really adds up.  But, this year I plan on buying everything without spending more than hopefully $50.  How is that possible?  Well, I've been using my Swagbucks and PerkTV points to buy Lands' End gift cards.  I just placed an order for five polo shirts, which I paid $14.18 for, down from a total of $70.90 (sale of 25% off, plus free shipping, $50.00 in gift cards and $6.72 in Shop Your Way Rewards.) By August I should be able to get a few more gift cards so I can buy pants when they go on sale again.  Then, I have a little time before they'll need long sleeves so I should be able to get those totally free by hopefully mid-October. 

If you've tried Swagbucks in the past and never were able to really earn points, Perk might be the better choice.  The Perk TV app runs app and movie trailers, with ads in between, and you earn points just for letting it run.  I have the app on my iPad and let it run overnight and during the day while I'm at work.  There's no daily point limit so just letting it run can really rack up the points.  If you have an old phone lying around you might be able to install the app on that and just let it run.  If you're interested in trying it out, you can get 50 bonus points by using my referral code, 3d5a9a13.  Perk TV can be downloaded from iTunes or from Google Play.  In addition to the Perk TV app, there is also a browser, a search engine and a quiz game, all of which also reward points for using them.  I've been having some fun playing the quiz game at night after the kids are asleep.

Back to uniforms.  Here's a picture of Shannon in his at the start of last year.  He's standing as though he's off to military school instead of first grade.

And Quinn.  Too bad they don't sell the uniform dresses at Lands' End.

 I can't wait to compare pictures from this year.  They have grown so much!

Please note that the Swagbucks and Perk links are referral links but all the others are not.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ducks Wandering Out of the Row

I guess it's just too much to hope that things stay all lined up and ready to go.  My list of things to do before proceeding was the FET was all checked off.  Save some money - check.  Lose weight - check.  Good pap test - check.  Get the okay from hematologist - check. 

As of today, my ducks are running for the hills.  I've spent some of the money I saved, I've gained 10 pounds and when I requested a prescription for Lovenox from the hematologist a nurse called me back and said I had to come back in for another appointment.

The appointment I had with the hemo in April was pretty complete.  We discussed my history, my DVT, what the suspected cause was, how I'd used Lovenox in all of my subsequent pregnancies without incidence and how moving forward I would do the same during the FET.  Before leaving I was given the a-okay to proceed and told to call when I needed the blood thinners.  So, not sure what there is left to be discussed, but whatever it is it's going to cost me $35 to find out.  At least I was able to get an appointment for this week as I'm on track to start the meds for the FET at the end of the month.

The plan is to do the FET mid-August so I figure I can hopefully take off the 10 pounds I've gained by then.  I'm rededicating myself to eating better and eating less.  I have some Brewer's games and Sully's birthday coming up but I'm confident that I can power through and let myself have just one treat at the ball games, instead of every treat.

Which would also help push another duck into line - my spending.  I have a definite pattern of doing well with saving, clipping coupons, not needlessly spending and then it's like the dam bursts and I start buying everything in site.  I'm smart enough to recognize the pattern but not smart enough to stop it which just frustrates me all the more.

So, I'm engaging in a no-spending challenge.  Nothing crazy like going an entire month, more like just this week and then I'll re-evaluate for next week.  I also am going to set aside a little time this week to really review my budget.  I already know where I've gotten way off track but I want to analyze what I have allocated and see if there is a way to move some money around and really better prioritize where it all goes.

If anyone has any great tips or stories of how they stopped needless spending, I'm all ears.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Traditions

Living in Wisconsin you really end up needing at least two good summer months to make up for what are normally very cold winters.  These past winter having been unbelievably cold, I feel as though even six months of summer wouldn't make up for it.

From January 6, 2014:
Thus far, it hasn't even really been that warm so it's felt like a slow start to summer.  But, then the first church festival came around and I knew it truly was summer.  Attending church festivals is something I've done every summer since I was a teenager.  It's the perfect blend of bbq and roasted corn, along side beer tents, along side carney booths with games you know you're never going to win but still fork over $10 so your kid can take home a $1 Oriental Trading plastic sword or random, small, ugly stuffed animal, or, goldfish that will likely die within 48 hours.

Maren stayed with her grandparents while Shannon, Quinn, Sully, our friend Bob and myself joined in the fun.  Shannon and Sully drove a truck over bumpy landscape.
Quinn and Sully rode the train.
"Uncle" Bob helped out when the kids got tired.
And the kids came home with armfuls of junk.
As predicted, one fish died the next day and two days later, this little guy also went to sleep with the fishes.

Other great summer traditions, fishing!  The husband is an avid fisherman so he'll get out on the water every chance he gets.  Shannon caught a big one all by himself the other day.
The older kids are signed up for swimming lessons this summer but they also love heading to the county pools whenever they can.
Which hasn't been too often so far considering all the rain we've been having lately.
A few nights when it's been sunny out we've taken family walks.  Along the way we've enjoyed stopping at free little libraries.
Luckily, Father's Day was sunny and we got outside for pictures before heading off for brunch.  Unfortunately, Maren was not all that interested in sitting down for pictures.  Sometimes it just takes a little time for her to warm up, even when it is hot and summer.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Channeling My Inner June Cleaver

Today I just had a craving to cook something.  And, it wasn't just a craving to cook a meal, it was to cook something that I could make a whole bunch of, eat tonight for dinner and then freeze some for later.  I decided on spaghetti sauce.  Why I have no idea since I have jars and jars of it in my pantry.

So, I hopped in the car and drove to the fancy grocery store.  I came home with tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, garlic, a sweet onion (or, as the kids call it, a stinky onion), salad mix, mild Italian sausage, thin spaghetti, two bottles of wine and a movie. 

Since I haven't been to the big grocery store in quite a while, I took a little extra time to explore.  There is a what used to be normal sized grocery store right near our house so I frequent that for basics, but because of the size, they don't stock many new or "fancy" items.  That can be a plus since I don't waste time, and money, wandering the aisles and adding things like this to my cart:

Once home, I got to work on the sauce.  I channeled my inner June Cleaver and even wore an apron.  I bought one a few years back at an estate sale and it's been hanging off my spice closet ever since.

I chopped the onion, minced three cloves of garlic, chopped one stalk of celery and put all that in a skillet with once tablespoon of olive oil, a pound of mild Italian sausage and around a pound of ground beef.  While the beef and sausage browned, I added one can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato soup and a couple of chopped up mushrooms to the crock-pot.

After draining the grease from the meat and veggies, that got added to the crock-pot too and my little helper stirred it all up.

The plan is to have spaghetti for dinner with the veggie salad as a side along some Breadsmith garlic knots which I picked up yesterday.
Oh, and wine.  Let's not forget the wine!  The Toad Hollow Risque is what we served at our wedding so it always brings back good memories.