Friday, February 27, 2009

Unemployment World

Had to lay-off our dog walker yesterday.

You know the recession is cutting deep when it effects a 10 year-old's dog walking business.

A solicitor stopped by trying to sell a landscape service for our yard. My reply, "Look, my husband just lost his job. The likelihood I'm gonna pay you to dump chemicals on my yard is absolutely zero. Have a nice day." He turned around and left faster than any solicitor ever!

Yesterday to make each other laugh, John and I started making a list of all the questions NOT to ask in a job interview. Had us cracking up pretty good, at least for a little while.

Here's a few we came up with. . .

1. Do you monitor internet activity at this company?

2. That girl who's picture is on your desk . . . she's 18 right?

3. Um, like, after that first drug test, do you do anymore after that?

4. Can I have off the day after St. Patrick's Day? Just wanna put that request in now.

Make me laugh . . . send me your own ideas for questions not to ask in a job interview.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's Cookin' - One More Time

Can I try this one more time?

You probably don't visit my blog to hear me whine.

I apologize for my weepiness yesterday . . . and for robbing you of the chance to cook and dance with me. How selfish.

I've decided to temporarily change my alter ego. Sasha Fierce is great and all, but she just doesn't feel like "me" these past few days.

I've decided to go with Britney Spears. She can dance almost as well as Sasha, but she has that stroke of "crazy" that seems more appropriate for my mood right now. I needed someone a little more mentally unstable. You know, one minute she's fine, the next minute she's beating a car with an umbrella and shaving her head bald. That's the kind of crazy I'm feeling right now.

So blast a little old school Britney and cook with me.

Lisa's Famous Meatballs

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 small onion, diced

2 clove garlic, minced

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup dry Italian style bread crumbs

1/4 t oregano

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup snipped parsley

2 teaspoons oil

Mix together all ingredients except oil. For mixture into balls. Heat oil and brown meatballs.

Take 2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (gasp, don't tell my mom) and place in your slow cooker. Before we were broke and unemployed, I used Classico Four Cheese. I may need to switch to Ragu, but don't you feel sorry for me cause I'm not crying today!!!! Add a can of diced tomatoes and your meatballs. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. No one will ever know the sauce is not homemade. The meatballs give it such great flavor.

Serve with some fresh grated Parmesan, spaghetti, and garlic bread.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday

What's cookin' today?


I don't feel like cooking today.
I don't feel like dancing around my kitchen pretending to be a pop star with great legs.
I can't sleep at night.
I can't shake this feeling of utter panic that has taken up a home inside my gut.
I can't stop the tears that keep flowing generously from my eyes as I worry about our future.
I don't remember the last time I felt this afraid.

Don't worry, I'm trying to keep this in perspective.
Last night, when I was crying in bed I tried to remind myself that there are parents who would give anything to just walk into the next room and kiss their children. There are parents out there mourning loss or wondering where their children are.

I walked into Megan's room, moved her hair away from her warm little cheeks, and gave her a kiss. I'm thankful. I'm still thankful.

It could be worse . . . so much worse, and I'm trying to remember that.

I'm trying really hard.
Some moments are easier than others.

And thank you, thank you, thank you to my fellow blogging buddy who recommended I go listen to this song. It made me find a little smile through my tears.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All That Really Matters

"Honey, please don't panic. I got laid off today."

Not the words you want to hear when you're pregnant with a two year old wrapped around your leg. Not the words you want to hear ever really. I felt like someone had punched me straight in the gut. As I struggled for breath, I sat down right where I was and looked around.

My gaze fell upon the walls of our house . . . a beautiful house in the suburbs in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids . . . a beautiful, big house with a great big mortgage attached to it. I thought about the cars in the driveway . . . one practical (John's of course) and one luxurious and extravagant (mine - I'm sure you're not surprised) . . . neither one completely paid for. I felt surrounded, almost suffocated, by all the things that five minutes before that fell below my radar most days. I rarely worried about our mortgage/car payments/etc. Suddenly, I felt crowded by these things, resentful of how much money they would take to keep. Money that had just evaporated from our lives so instantaneously we had no time to mentally prepare.

John came home that night with the contents of his desk in a cardboard box. Our struggling economy had taken him as victim. He wrapped his arms around me and I cried. I should have been comforting him but he was comforting me. I told him I was scared. We spent the evening taking an inventory of our situation and realized financial doomsday was at least several months off. He would surely have another job by then.

That night in bed we prayed together. I realized something very important. The "stuff" I was so worried about was just stuff. They could come haul it all away and I would still be the luckiest person on earth. My husband is as good as husbands come . . . loyal, hard working, moral, honest, loving, and generous. My daughter is a joy my life didn't know existed before.

I realized that fifty years from now, we'll look back on these times as the moments that really mattered, the make or break it times in our marriage. Another test of our resolve to stick with each other through thick or thin. I knew I had to tell John how proud I was of all that he has accomplished, how smart I thought he was, how grateful I was to be married to such a good guy . . . so I did. I told him my heart was his . . . rich or poor . . . stuff or no stuff. I meant every single word of it.

I try not to lie in bed at night worrying, but I still do. John has had numerous interviews already and has even more lined up. These are companies that found out John is "on the market" and have called to recruit him. Hopefully, things will pan out and he will find a job like the outstanding one he had.

If not, our lifestyle may have to change. Our lifestyle may change . . . not our lives. That is an important distinction to make, and something the economy can never take away. He is my life and I am his, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Really.


John never told me he was considered a 'star developer' by his colleagues. To read more, click here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shake What Your Momma Gave Ya

Here a little video of my Megan, shaking what her momma gave her at the Daddy/Daughter Dance.

Daddy/Daughter Dance

All ready for the Daddy/Daughter Dance in her new "princess dress" and sparkle shoes . . .
John and Megan got all dressed up for a big night on the town.

I had to convince her to leave the magic wand at home!


At the dance, they ate ice cream . . .

and played bingo . . .

John said Megan didn't really understand the concept and kept eating the candy heart bingo markers until they didn't have any left. ha

When Megan got home, she couldn't wait to show me the corsage she got at the dance.
I thought she would be exhausted but she was flitting all over the house, on top of the world from the "princess party."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday

The bun in my oven is getting bigger. Or so says the doctor who checked out my little peanut yesterday. Heartbeat at 150 beats a minute . . . belly getting rounder but my total weight gain in the first trimester is -1 pound. I literally did a dance in the doctor's office (just ask John who looked on in utter embarrassment.) The doctor just wanted to check to make sure I was indeed eating enough. HA! John (remembering the tater tots and sloppy joes) rolled his eyes and replied, "Oh yeah. Don't worry. She's eating enough."

Perhaps the exercise really does count for something!?! I guess it mitigated the damage done by too many trips to the Mexican restaurant.

I love to sneak in some exercise when I'm cooking. I like to blast some music, shake it in the kitchen with Megan, and cook up something tasty.

Try it . . . play this . . .

Now get up and dance. Imagine you're Sasha Fierce (instead of Sweatpants Sally) with those legs, those hips, that rockin' body. Just don't tell anyone you're doing this - they'll think you've lost it for sure. (My friends are used to this odd behavior but yours may not be. Husbands . . . now they are a whole other story. They just might like Sasha, so you can keep her around after he comes home if you like.) Be the vixen that lives in your mind! Who cares if you're in a sweatshirt with your hair in a ponytail. You're hot! You're Sasha Fierce! Now go cook . . .

Crockpot Stuffed Chicken Breast with Feta,
Spinach, and Tomatoes

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. feta cheese (drained)
3 c chopped fresh spinach leaves
1/3 c oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
½ c oil cured olives, pit in* ( I used small can of sliced black olives instead)
1 t minced lemon zest
1 t dried basil
½ t garlic powder
1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes, including juice

Ground black pepper

*If using pitted olives, add to Crock-Pot slow cooker in the final hour of cooking.
Place 1 chicken breast between plastic wrap and using the back of a skillet or tenderizer mallet, pound breast until about ¼ inch think. Repeat with each breast.
Combine feta, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, zest, basil, garlic powder and pepper in a medium bowl.
Lay chicken breasts smooth side down on work surface. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of feta mixture onto the wide end of the breast. Roll tightly. Repeat with each breast.
Place rolled breasts seam side down in slow cooker. Top with canned tomatoes and olives. Cook on Low for 5 ½ to 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with rice.

(I made half the recipe and had enough stuffing for 4 chicken breasts. I put the tomatoes, olives, and juice over brown rice with the chicken.)
P.S. Skip the "smack your own butt" move and tone down the hip gyrations when your 2 1/2 year old starts imitating. One Sasha Fierce per household is enough!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Megan's Big Girl Room

Remember way back a long time ago, we got rid of Megan's crib and I did a happy dance at the thought of redecorating her room? (I never really liked the colors of her room but since St. John repainted it twice, I didn't have the heart to have him do it again - even though he offered.)

I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to paint her nursery neon colors. No wonder the poor baby never slept!

Following the inspiration of this blogger, I finally decided to get off my butt and hang some of the last few pictures on the wall, and put the finishing touches on her new "big girl room."

Would you like a little tour???

That flower on the wall is from IKEA. It makes an excellent little nightlight and I think it is so adorable.

And that, my friends, is Megan's Big Girl Room . . . documented for all posterity.

Monday, February 16, 2009

They Should Call Me St. Lisa

Actual conversation at the dinner table tonight:

John (convinced we need to prepare for the coming revolution): What do you think about me spending 2 grand on an AR-15?

Lisa: (speechless, for the first time in her life)
I couldn't make this stuff up, folks. I just couldn't . . . even if I tried.
I think I'm taking away his survival book. It is scaring the bejeebers outta me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Heart Cupcakes

Megan and I had fun this week preparing for Valentine's Day.
First, we got all dressed in the "Lovebirds" shirt and prepared to make cupcakes.
Note to self: Do not dress two-year old in white Valentine shirt to make pink cupcakes.
(These photos taken prior to Megan wearing half the cupcake mix and a bunch of egg.)

Check her out cracking the eggs open!

After an excruciating wait (and a wardrobe change), the cupcakes were finally baked, cooled and ready to decorate.

They were delicious! And I should know since I've eaten about 12 of them.

Today, John gave me a beautiful card that said if he had it to do all over again, he'd still choose me. How sweet is that?
He also gave me a little gift certificate to the day spa. I'll be having some serious fun there soon.
Tonight, Megan is spending the night at Aunt Katie's!!
John and I are going out for Mexican, cause nothing says Valentine's Day quite like refried beans.
Have yourselves a merry little hearts day!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Last night a commuter plane crashed in Clarence, NY, just about 10 miles from my hometown. When I heard the news this morning, my first thoughts were with my family members who live in Clarence. Were they ok?

So thankful to learn the plane was not close enough to harm my dear loved ones. Now my thoughts turn to the victims and family members of this tragedy.

Please join me in praying today.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To Preschool or Not to Preschool????

OK - I need your help.

Megan will turn 3 this June. What do all you mommies out there think of 3 year old preschool?

She would go 2 days a week for 2.5 hours at a time. Remember, of course, that she is a gifted child who already knows how to count to a million, paint works of art she calls masterpieces, read at a second grade level, etc. (some of these skills may be slightly exaggerated) So clearly, she would already know most of what they would teach her academically. (I'm being serious now.) I do want her exposed to other kids and the concept of listening to another adult. (hopefully a little better than she listens to me.)

Would it benefit her enough to spend a decent chunk of change on this early part of her education? Or should I just save the money, continue the excellent job I'm doing at home stimulating her little brain (by letting her watch "noggin" - preschool on TV for 12 hours a day . . . so kidding folks!) and send her when she is 4?

It is such a big decision to send my little baby off to school. I think I might cry just thinking about it. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, help me!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Have Mercy

Have you ever heard not to grocery shop while you're hungry????

It is an age-old rule, created to prevent excessive spending on a whole bunch of stuff that will just make you fat anyway.

Yesterday, I broke that age-old rule. It is simply not possible to avoid shopping while hungry if you're hungry every moment of the day (and night.) I'm not exaggerating. I think about food all day long. I plan my snack while cleaning up breakfast, plan my lunch while cleaning up my snack . . . I have a recurring cheesecake dream at night . . . you get the point.

So, in my "constantly famished" state, I went to the grocery store. I usually plan my menu before I go but I didn't want the trip to interfere with lunch time so I hurried out the door.
After spending a whopping $245 on a family of 3.25, I SHAMEFULLY came home with several items that have never graced my shelves (until now.)

1. Beef-a-roni
John's reply: "Organic, mother-of-the-year bought BEEFARONI?"
Yes, John, yes I did and I'm so ashamed.

2. Tater tots
There is just no plausible excuse for these.

3. White hamburger buns to hold the sloppy joes I intend to make this week.
Have mercy.

4. Hard taco shells
Again, have mercy.
A delicious replacement for the 100% whole wheat (shoe leather) shells of yore.

5. Ice cream sandwiches
Yum, and much tastier than the 100% fruit pops I used to enjoy.

As I was putting away this festival of fat, calories, and refined sugar I opened up my mail. The FitMama pregnancy exercise video that I ordered a few weeks ago came in the mail.

(More shame)

How does this happen?

How does an organic vegetable eating, whole grain lovin', low fat, Kashi cereal for breakfast, high fiber, Weight Watcher, exerciser turn into a beefaroni eating, tater tot munchin', cheesecake dreamin' fatty????

Wish I had more time to ponder this but I gotta go. I have some serious eating to do.

Followed up, of course, by doing the FatMama FitMama exercise video.
Have mercy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Scrapalicious Weekend Recap

Ridiculous fun was had by all . . .
"Junior John" helped warm my heart when I started missing St. John.
Yes, I did make that and no, you cannot have him.
He's mine . . . all mine.

I did manage to get some scrapbooking done during all this hilarity.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I am off to Coldwater, Michigan for a scrapbook extravaganza with the girls.

I will spend the weekend making them laugh, eating, eating, eating, napping, and oh yeah, doing a little scrapbooking.

Andrea will make fancy breakfasts like lemon curd stuffed pancakes and fruit kabobs.

I will be so impressed I will take pictures.

Kasey will become obsessed with my husband's naked chest and tape his picture to her drink.

I will create a scrapbook store inside the house and attempt to sell the 892837209487209847298 dollars worth of scrapbooking supplies I have collected throughout the years.

No one will buy anything since just my friends will be there.
They'll just steal my stuff when I'm not looking anyway.
We'll laugh until we cry.
That's what crazy weekends with the girls are for.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday

A few tears in my eyes . . . that's what's cookin' today. Perhaps it is the preggo hormones and perhaps it is the beautiful song lyrics my St. John sent me today.

Day one, I stumbled through hello on 5th Ave
Day two, we grabbed a bite to eat
And talked all afternoon
Caught a movie on day fourteen
And day sixty-seven she said "I love you" to me
Oh, what a feelin'
What a wonderful emotion
Yeah, what a life
Counting my blessings and knowin'
Ooh, we had our ups and downs
All along the way
She had a chance to leave
But chose to stay
What a beautiful day
What a beautiful day
Day one-sixteen I asked her what she was doin'
For the rest of my life
Day one eighty- nine, oh I almost lost that girl
To my foolish pride
She said "I do"
On day four eighty-two
And gave me a son
On day seven sixty-one
Oh, what a feelin'
What a wonderful emotion
Yeah, what a life
Counting my blessings and knowin'
Ooh, we had our ups and downs
All along the way
She had a chance to leave
But chose to stay
What a beautiful day
Day eighteen thousand two hundred and fifty-three
Well, honey that's fifty years
Yeah, here's to you and me
Oh, what a feelin'
What a wonderful emotion
Yeah, what a life
Counting my blessings and knowin'
Ooh, we had our ups and downs all along the way
She had a chance to leave
But chose to stay
What a beautiful day
What a beautiful day
Day oneI thank God I said hello on 5th Ave
Order in some dinner tonight!
And St. John, I can't wait to see day eighteen thousand two hundred fifty three with you.
Thanks for making my day today.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Another trip to the E.R.

only this time it wasn't my kid. (shocking)
John came into the bathroom (where I was taking a leisurely float in the tub) to inform me that my sister called in a panic about Colin. She was not supervising him as usual sitting right there next to him when he fell and gashed his head open on the corner of the coffee table.
(Just picking on you, Kate :)
Since Justin was at work, I went to the hospital to take pictures for later exploitation on my blog to offer my support for my scared sister and poor little Colin.
Here is the little guy watching TV, acting like nothing is wrong.

Here is the doctor beginning the stitches. Colin will be glad I took this picture someday.

This is the type of experience that turns a boy into a man.

And yes, that is Justin in the above photo. He arrived so quickly I think he came by jet plane. Turns out, I wasn't needed after all. Except I did take a few good photos AND promised Colin his mother would buy him a new monster truck (since this episode was clearly all her fault.) You're welcome Kate. Anytime. Anytime.