Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Calling in Sick

This morning, I woke up feeling like a truck had hit me. It was almost 6:30 and Bella was totally up, trying to shove my glasses on my face in an attempt to wake me. When she saw my eyes open, she buckled down behind me and began pushing, yelling, "Doh!!! (her word for go) Mommy doooooh!! Nam nam!!! (her word for food)"

So I crawled out of bed with her, gave her breakfast, and collapsed onto the couch.

I ended up calling in sick to work. Well, there's not really anyone to call as I'm the only one working in the office. I emailed and texted in sick. Eventually, I went down to the office for about twenty minutes to get something done.

When Shuky was done with school, we headed out to Des Moines for our Torah Tots class. I probably would have skipped that if not for the fact that we've had one thing after another keeping us away for the past three weeks.

My home is a wreck and there's laundry up the wazoo to take care of. Mostly clean and needing folding. I just can't keep my eyes open!

Anyway, I'm kind of calling in sick here too. No exciting blog post today. Not much to say. I just want to crawl into bed and sleep for a week. Hope you all are doing ok!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

C is for Cookie

Over the summer, Benny got involved in a Mitzvah-thon. The idea was to do as many mitzvos (good deeds) as possible and raise money for an amazing organization while doing so. Benny did a great job, raising over $100!! At the end of the event, based on how much money each child raised, they got to choose a prize for themselves.  Benny chose a cookie making machine. Not an EZ Bake. That would have brought on a blog post MUCH sooner! It's kind of like a play-dough thing, just cuts the cookie dough into fun shapes.

On Sunday, we finally opened the box. He won this in July. Let's not talk about the delay we have around here. Thanks.

Anyway, he and Shuky had so much fun making the cookie dough, shaping and decorating them, and eventually eating them. We definitely need to find a different recipe, though. We have all come to that conclusion. Otherwise, it was quite a successful afternoon!

Getting their hands dirty

Punch, punch, punch

Ready yet?

While Shuky and Benny were working with the shaping tools, Bella was casually eating what they put on the tray. Instant gratification for her, who needs to cook things when you can sneak it right away!

Notice Bella sneaking dough and Benny's disapproving look

Getting very into it

Into the oven we go!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Goodbye #2!

Ahh, the joy of ticking something off my to-do list. This list being my birthday resolution! I have 28 things to do before I turn 28 and I'm ready to knock numero dos off the list. I have officially, selfishly spent all of my birthday money on myself. And it felt amazing!!

I got a sewing machine with a couple accessories from my mom. Which will help me cross of some more of my list soon enough!

I ordered new boots and some good Black Friday deals from my dad.

I cashed my grandparents' check and physically went shopping with that money.

{Maybe I should have made something on my list about putting myself in our pictures more.}

Wow. What an awesome feeling to just walk in and buy things, not worrying where that money should have gone! Ok, not going to lie. I thought about that. I'm human. Mostly a responsible one, too. But this was truly a freeing experience!

Here's my wish to you all. May you have a spouse/conscience supportive enough to say, "Yes. Please spend it all on yourself! You deserve it!!" And then go and actually do it!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sing With Me

Of all the things I registered for before getting married, my shower radio is the one thing that still gets the most use. People laughed when they saw it on my list. My mother in law ordered it. That was when I knew she truly got me!

For anyone that does not have a shower radio, stop reading. Get in your car. Drive to your nearest Target/Walmart/Bed Bath & Beyond. Get a shower radio. Come home. Get in the shower. Blast the hell out of said radio and sing like no one can hear you. Better yet, sing like everyone can hear you but you just don't care!

Chani PSR (that's Chani Pre Shower Radio) used to sing in the shower but there was always a wait for people to make requests or the same song being sung on a loop. Now the Chani Show has sold out shows! The chairs are in the hallway. The door is closed. The bathroom acoustics are amazing as always. It's not a real success until someone knocks on the door, asking me to shut up. Which happens ALMOST every shower I take. True talent right here folks!

Funny enough, there are people who really got somewhere doing this! Check out Rin on the Rox on youtube. They actually made it onto The Ellen Show for singing in their bathroom. All I can say is, Ellen I'm ready for you!!!

The moral of today's story is this: Live, folks. Sing like you don't care who's listening.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Turkey Song

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I love but have never been brave enough to create on my own. We either go away to family/friends or we stay home and just hang out with nothing too special.

This year I decided to take the plunge and really and truly cook up a feast!

Now, to give you some background about my cooking skills, before I got married I was known as the grilled cheese queen. And that was about where my skills ended.

And that didn't change too quickly.

For the first year and a half or so, Shuky was working from home so he was able to use his amazing cooking techniques to the betterness of my mandatory-after-marriage-weight-gain.

After Benny was born, Shuky started working elsewhere and I was home so I slowly learned to cook. Some things came out better than others. But I was definitely getting better!

Lately, I can confidently say I have mastered the art and, save for a couple snafus, I'm pretty impressed with my own culinary skills.

But Thanksgiving is truly a whole different song!

I set the bar a little lower than average.

Instead of making a whole turkey, I bought two huge breast pieces with ribs. I made each differently.

An Italian styled spice rub

A deliciously garlicy sauce, based on a recipe given to me by my awesomely talented friend Stefanie

I made stuffing on it's own, not inside the turkey.
Thanks again for another successful recipe, Stef! Excuse the missing taste-tested chunk!

I made garlic-and-basil roasted potatoes, a blend of sweet and yellow potatoes.
These ended up being crispy and melt-in-your-mouth-amazing at the same time.

 I made an awesome salad - avocado, corn, hearts of palm, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. The salad earned it's own small plate on the side so as to keep the sauces/dressings separate  And to make enough room to properly gorge on everything in front of us.

I didn't end up making it to the cheese cream and pumpkin roll I had planned for dessert. That's fine. I'll make it for Shabbos!

Anyway, the end result was superb.
Please ignore the gross stove top. Thanks.

Everything came out AMAZING and I am so happy I spent the time doing it all!!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there. May you have much to be thankful for and always appreciate it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

28 Things To Do

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday and, inspired by my friend Dara, I am making a list of 28 achievable things I would like to accomplish in the next year, things that are out of the norm for me, before I turn 28!

1. Make my own purim costumes for my family
2. Use my birthday money (I know, I still get birthday checks) on myself instead of household needs
3. Giveaway/sell/donate all the things we don't use
4. Get away by myself, even if only for a couple days
5. Set up a workout regimen and actually keep to it
6. Do a few of the projects I've pinned
7. Learn from my mistakes and move past them
8. Decorate Bella's wall in the kids' room (Benny's is already pretty awesome!)
9. Create a nice 'entryway' in our apartment
10. Post a virtual tour of our apartment, once it is clutter-free and nicely 'entrywayed'
11. Go on dates with my husband more often (we are seriously lacking in the dates department)
12. Have more special time with each kid, one on one
13. Get back to doing projects with the kids more often
14. Hang up pictures/artwork around the apartment, make it look like we really live here
15. Take another photography class
16. Expand my musical taste
17. Try to step outside my comfort zone a bit more
18. Finish the *bleeping* pillows I started making for the kids over a year ago
19. Learn not to take what others do or say personally
20. Color a Mandala (took this straight off Dara's list, what a cool thing!!)
21. Make it back to Mall of America
22. Dye my hair (not like anyone will see it or anything, just for kicks)
23. Lose some weight
24. Truly get my apartment clutter free
25. Go to sleep at a more normal hour (when possible) so I wake up feeling human
26. Blog more
27. Read more
28. Learn to say 'no' without feeling guilty

Wish me luck! This was fun putting together and I truly hope I get to it all!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Expensive Money Saving List

Flash sales and daily deal sites are a blessing and a curse at the same time. If you are well disciplined and know when to say no, you can really score some great deals. If you get distracted by flashy things (as I often do) and wonder how you ever survived without that glow in the dark frying pan, you may want to sit this one out. Or hide your wallet before you continue reading.

I've made lists in the past of the sites I tend to frequent. Being the ever changing market we live in, the list is ever changing as well. Some go out of business, some lose my interest (which may put them out of business!), some throw promos at me and reel me back in, some new ones pop up! It's a revolving door where I go in and my money goes out.

Ok, enough of the cryptic talk. Bottom line is this - while it may seem like an awesome deal, ALWAYS double check the prices against some normal store sites. After shipping, many of the deals you see are not the greatest deals and are usually non-refundable. For a difference of a couple dollars, I would prefer to be able to return something if needed. And many sites don't ship right away. They wait until the sale closes, then put in an order to the manufacturer (to prevent overhead/overstock issues), wait for the mass order to come to them, sort out all their orders, and THEN ship your stuff out. I've had things come as quickly as 3-4 weeks later and I've had things take almost three months to show up.

Another good tip is to sign up for daily emails and have them filtered directly into a separate folder, away from your inbox. Then you can keep on top of which sales are coming up when.

Always check to see if a site is available through Ebates. Cash back and sometimes coupon codes. Sounds good to me.

RetailMeNot is a great source for coupons as well.

My final tip is promote, promote, promote. I can't tell you how many credits I've gotten on each site from referring new customers (once they make their first purchase anyway). That is free product in it's entirety. I've gotten SO many things using credits; toys/books, clothing, designer shoes, housewares, you name it! I use my referral links whenever I post about these sites. You never know when a new customer will come along and get you that cute pair of boots you've been eyeing!

Here goes. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Flash Sale Sites:
MyHabit - this is Amazon's site and is awesome. Free two day shipping, free returns, amazing Amazon customer service we love so much!

Daily Deal Sites:
The Steals Networks (KidStealsBabyStealsScrapbookStealsSheSteals)
Woot (check all the sections regularly)
Target has a daily deal section
Amazon tends to have great things in their lightning deals and deal of the day section
MamaBargains (haven't been finding as many things as I used to here but worth checking out every so often)
BabyEarth has a great sale section called GaGa Deals

If I left anything out, I'll try to get them on here. This should be a good starting point for all of you ready to kiss your money goodbye. Most of these sites have amazing things for adults and the home too, it's not all about the kiddos!

And, on a side note, I like to check local consignment shops regularly, you can seriously get amazing deals!!

Part two of this post will be a collection of my favorite blogs I follow to help me keep track of deals in regular stores or on sites like Amazon and That will take me a bit longer to compile as the list is long!! But it will come!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wish List Gone Crazy

I've been working quite a bit this week and I have to say, while initially I was a little bummed to finally start working right around the holidays, I'm finding this to be a blessing in disguise. One of the things I love to do is find amazing deals on everything possible and share them online. This can only lead to one thing on my part. Crazy amounts of wish listing. In vain, but I wish nonetheless! Less time on the computer means less time finding deals, which means less coveting all I see!!

Speaking of wish listing and deals and coveting, it's time to crack down on Chanukah presents. I said crack down, by the way, because my present box is already overflowing at the top of my closet. I stock up on presents all year long. Whenever I see something on clearance that I know we've been wanting to get for the kids, I sneak it into the box. Some Chanukahs I don't even make it through all the gifts in the box, after gifts from family comes in. We like to give them something each night, doesn't have to be anything big. I got Benny some cute pez dispensers. That works for a night's present! We try to do one nice, big gift and the rest are small, cute things. Now, just because my box is overflowing, doesn't mean I have all I've planned on getting. I also add exciting things I find on Amazon to the kids' wish list all year long! As the deals start getting better, I keep a close watch on the items on the wish list and see what we can grab up!!

If I'm already scouring for deals, I may as well be available to help others! If you are looking for something specific, hit me up, I may have seen it or can just keep an eye out for you! Although, now that my schedule is all wonky, I make no promises!

Anywho, I guess my time at home now should be prioritized differently. Time to get laundry folded, dinner fully cleaned up, Bella in bed, check my menu for tomorrow, and make sure Benny is actually asleep (I'm pretty sure I hear him pitter pattering around back there, even though he's been in bed for over an hour). And then I can squander away my last few minutes online, checking out what I've missed today!

Truly looking forward to Shabbos tomorrow night. And my library books.