This Is Us

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The whole nine yards...

Myka loves "army guys" and of course Josh does too - and being the avid collector of military things that Josh is - he has tons of stuff. A few years back he got Myka his own little army suit or whatever it is called - and he plays dress up with it all the time. So the other night it was a real treat, to say the least, when Josh told Myka he would get down all his "army stuff" and they could look through it. THEN it was even more of a treat when they decided to get all dressed up.
Josh said something of the effect of "We can get it all out, and put all the gear on, we'll do the whole nine yards". So now Myka tells everyone he did "the whole nine yards" with dad's army gear... He has no clue what that means but boy does it sound SOOOOO COOL!

And of course - I had to snap a few pictures:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh yeah, our blog!

Ok, so I didn't FORGET about our blog, I just didn't post for a week....

Not sure what has kept me so busy - Myka started "Science Specialists" camp which is in the afternoons for two weeks at his school, and he has been continuing with Tae Kwan Do. He also started his SMILE group that he does where he goes for Occupational Therapy - and he loves that!

*Summer Reading Update* He has read 14 books now. WAY TO GO! We figured out a reward for each list of 10 books HE reads- he would get $2. Now while some may say it is downright BRIBING him to read, I take a different perspective LOL He is trying to learn about money, and the hard life lesson that it does not grow on trees (dang it) and he gets easily frusturated when I explain why I will not buy him a $20 toy when we go anywhere that has any sort of toy. So we are learning the concept of money, saving your money for something you want, and that mom & dad aren't going to just buy him something anytime he wants it.... and lets be honest - little trinkets don't pull any weight with him as something he earns for reading 10 books. So I figured this would be a good balance. And he does like to read - so this keeps him working toward a goal, keeps him excited about how many books he is reading, and lets him earn a few bucks at the same time....

As for me, I have been wrapping up all the things I need to get done before the Nursing program starts NEXT WEEK! I took a BLS/CPR class over the weekend to get certified through the American Heart Association, and this week I need to get all SEVEN of my books I need for my two classes: Intro to Nursing and Intro to Pharmacology & Math Calculations. I am super excited and I am sure the inevitable panic attack will set in shortly - about how on earth will I be able to study, be a good mom, earn money for our family, and sleep somewhere in there. But I know that God has plans for us, and He will make it possible for me to handle this all!

Josh is doing good - he got in with a new Gastro doc to help hopefully figure out some of the stomach issues and he seems very on top of things and very thourough - the doc, that is - and Josh went in for an Endoscopy today, which the doc said he did about 16-20 biopsies, and he does have an inflamed esophogus and stomach - ordered some more tests in addition to the tests he ordered last week, and put Josh on a new medicine he'll take every morning before breakfast. So I am praying that we continue to move forward and at least get some answers.

So thats the update! Have some cool things I want to share so I'll post those soon...

Monday, June 9, 2008

I now pronounce...

A super funny movie!
We're avid Netflix users here, and we watched one of them last night. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry" (click the link for a trailer of it!) was a very hilarious movie if I must say. Although I am already a big fan of Adam Sandler anyhow, he cracks me up in this movie. And I also like Kevin James after seeing him in the movie "Hitch".

A big thumbs up from me - so if you are up for a good laugh, it is a must see!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In the mood for Chocolate...

I have been planning on making a dessert I haven't made in a while, and then inspired by a post at Life as Mom I decided to post a good CHOCOLATE recipe that is perfect with a glass of ice cold milk.... and it is super easy!

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cake (great for cupcakes too!)

1 pkg Duncan Hines Deep Chocolate or Swiss Chocolate cake mix
1 pkg Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup sour cream
1 6 oz pkg chocolate chips

1. Mix all ingredients together except chocolate chips for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. For Cake: put in a square pan and cook according to cake box directions.
For Cupcakes: Put in cupcake cups with paper liners. Cook according to cake box directions.

No frosting needed - this is perfect just as a nice moist cake!

3. Devour with a nice glass of milk!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grocery spending...

Ok, so I am giving this a try. I mentioned the other day that I was setting a goal to stick within a budget of $100 a week for our grocery and household items bill. Now, we used to do $150 / week and sometimes would spend less, sometimes more. But seeing as how it is a good time to watch where our money goes and to see if we're "throwing money away", I started doing some research online, and found lots of good resources for bring down our grocery bill without sacrificing quality!

I sure a heck am not eating hamburger helper, Kraft Mac & Cheese, spaghetti O's and ramen noodles every night for a few reasons. 1) I don't like that stuff anyhow. 2) It's far from healthy and a BIG 3) Josh's stomach wouldn't last a week on that kind of diet. He has enough problems as it is, and I do know the better homecooked meals he eats the less pain he is in....

BUT I do know we tend to buy a lot of things like tortilla chips, salsa, CheeseIts, instant oatmeal, frozen breakfast and dessert stuff, etc. And then I look in our nice big pantry and see so much STUFF that hasn't been eaten and needs to get thrown out because it's old and stale.... *WARNING* I am so not an overly organized person which is why I like to visit The Organized Junkie in hopes that she'll rub off on me a bit. Ha!

Now, I know at least half of the stuff on the top 3 shelves needs to be thrown out. Money down the drain.. So this was my first week at keeping out grocery bill at $100 or less. This week I managed $88 BUT (disclaimer) that was yesterday (Wednesday) to get us through Sunday seeing as how we ate with family the other 4 previous nights since Josh's cousins from Ohio were down. So I used the extra money of not buying meal food, to stock up on some of Publix's B1G1 stuff.... saved about $35 that way so I can't complain.

9:45am...and Dog surgery today

Is what time we slept in till today.... Myka & I that is! Whoa! I don't know when the last time it was that I slept in till then. Maybe one night when Myka was at a sleepover, but for him to sleep in that late is rare. As a baby and toddler, he was definately a late sleeper, but once he started preschool and had to be there at 8am, he has gotten used to getting up at 6:15 or 6:30. And on weekends we're lucky if we make it till 7:30 sleeping in. But seeing as how we did a lot of running around the last few days, and he was up later, I suppose he needed it! And hey, I didn't mind a little extra sleep.

Now Josh on the other hand had an unusually early morning. He had to have one of our dogs at the vet at 8am to remove something off his butt that is a growth from hormones I guess some dogs get. And to take care of two things at once, he'll have his teeth cleaned too cause most of the enamel is gone from chewing the doorknobs, the framing of doors, etc, etc. Long story... will save those stories for another day. So Wolfgang, is going under today and he is definately not the calm, relaxed kind of dog, so it will be interesting to see how we manage to keep his stitches untouched. But at least he'll have nice clean teeth! I do have to say he is the best looking German Shepherd though... isn't he?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SUMMER if finally here...

Myka at his end of year pool party!

Ahh I love summer! And it is so darn nice to be able to sleep in a bit too!

Myka is officially a FIRST GRADER! Can you believe it??? Where has the time gone. His last day of school was Friday, and so we have really just been hangin' out since... I know it is SOOOOO important for him to continue reading every day so he doesn't regress. He is such a great reader, and I think if he keeps it up, he'll be headin' in to first grade with flying colors. So what I have done is set up a "Myka's Summer Reading List" and we write down the books that HE reads to ME. When he gets to 10, he earns something - a small treat, etc. We'll see at the end of summer how many he has read! Status now: 5 books read since school got out.

Now, I still read to him too, and we have so many books (gotta love Scholastic Book Clubs) but a new thing we are hooked on now is this series for young readers called "Magic Tree House" books. There are tons of them! They are chapter books, and definately not something Myka can read on his own yet, but he loves them! It's about a brother and sister who discovered a magic tree house filled with books. Each book in the tree house (and thus each book in the series) takes them back in time to the topic of the book. We read about 2 chapters a night, and get through a book usually in about a week. We started at number 1, and just finished number 2 in the series, so we are on to number 3 "Mummies in the Morning"

In addition to getting summer started, I have spent the last four days backing up ALL of our pictures on my new FreeAgent 500GB Hard Drive - got a great deal on it from Office Depot last week and I feel so much better! I was stressing over my pictures. I had tons on an old computer we don't use much, and 3 CF cards full of pics, and knew I couldn't store them on our computer BUT we don't have a CD/DVD burner on my old work computer I am using so that was not an option. My laptop is broke and probably not worth fixing, so I came up with this more affordable solution until we can get a new computer one day. However it will probably take half a lifetime to use up 500GB in just pictures.

I plan to start doing some digital scrapbooking on the computer because it is really bugging me that I haven't scrapbooked in ages. I have TONS of supplies, but for some things, like Mykas school photo books, I think I am going to do digitally on the computer.

So, hopefully now that summer is here, I reallyhope to get this blog going. Plus I am on a new journey to lower our expenses so I will keep you up to date on that too. I lowered our weekly grocery/household buget from $150 to $100, starting now, so we'll see how it goes. I know it sounds like a lot, and from the research I have been doing, lots of people with familes of 4 and even 6 have a budget less than that, so we should be able to do it. And then get it down less before long too. Time to make sure we know where every dollar is going, and save as much as we can. I have some great links to post for anyone else interested in cutting down their grocery bills! Maybe I'll post those soon...

Love to you all!