Friday, October 30, 2009

Mischief Managed

I made beans and rice for dinner last night. This is Ruth's post-dinner shot. You can't see it from this photo, but she basically dumped her whole plate of beans and rice on the floor and managed to get some on the wall, too. She's shirtless because she was wearing a white shirt, and I took it off before dinner so she didn't stain it. She also decided to take out her ponytail during dinner, resulting in the mohawk/bed-head mess you see. She smiled for the photo, so you can see her two little teeth. :) Can you say blackmail material? :D Oh, how I love her!

In other news, we have found a cosigner for our house! It's very exciting. We are in no hurry to find a house because our lease isn't up until the end of February, but we will probably meet with a real estate agent next week. We're looking forward to taking advantage of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, assuming they pass it. We hope we can find something worth buying in our price range. The amount we're looking at spending would make our total mortgage payment (including taxes, insurance, etc.) cheaper than our current rent payment. Here is a picture of one of the houses we are looking at:

The idea of buying a house and making it our own is very exciting! It makes me want to buy up a whole bunch of copies of Better Homes & Gardens and get decorating ideas. For those of you who have already bought a house, do you have any tips? Is there something you wish you had known when you went through the process, or is there something you wish you would've done differently?

Thanks for your help. And happy Halloween Eve! We're going to a Trunk-or-Treat and Halloween Party at church tonight, so I'll post photos of Ruth in her costume tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beautiful Fall

Ruth and I went to Memorial Park yesterday to take advantage of the beautiful weather. They have a nice, fairly new playground there surrounded by sand. Here is a picture of Ruth throwing the sand:

She really loves the slides now, even more than the swings!

I love fall. Hopefully it stays nice for another couple of days!

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fun times

It has been too long since we have last posted on our family blog. We've been busy with lots of things. Last weekend, we had our good friends, the Olbrichts, in from North Platte. They and their five children camped out in our basement for a few days, and we were able to go to the temple, Omaha Children's Museum and the slides downtown. It was really good to have them here.

Then yesterday Tony and I went to the Huskers vs. Cyclones football game in Lincoln while my parents watched Ruth. It would have been more fun if we had been more prepared for the weather. It was much colder than we expected it to be. Also, the Huskers played terribly, which wasn't much fun to watch. However, Tony and I got the chance to talk and be together, so that was good.

We also went to a ward Halloween party last night. Tony was Kip from Napoleon Dynamite, and I was Deb. We had a good time, and then went to get Ruthie, who had a good day hanging out with her grandma and grandpa.

I'm also getting busy volunteering with the local neighborhood association. Me and another gal in the neighborhood are trying to put together a newsletter on a very short time frame. It's coming together very well, though.

In terms of my weight loss/fitness goals, I haven't done so hot during the past week or two. I have some good days, but other days I totally blow it and eat too many calories and/or too much fat. I will say that I am getting better about working out. I've found that variety is key for me. I think the food will fall into place as I get more diligent about it. Sometimes I just need a bowl of ice cream, though!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

HG Review #2: Cheesy goodness? Not quite.

This is the second month Jenn and I have done a Hungry Girl review. This month's recipe: HG's Fiber-rific Mozzarella Cheese Sticks. Who loves fried cheese? I do! I do! I was looking forward to giving HG's non-fried substitute a try. This simple recipe calls for FiberOne cereal crumbs, egg substitute, seasonings, and low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks.

I blended up the FiberOne cereal in the blender to make the "crumbs." It took a little bit of time, and in the end I still had some chunks in my crumbs, but that didn't end up being such a big deal.

I then double-breaded the cheese sticks (cut in half) with egg substitute and seasoned crumbs, placed them on a pan, and put them in the oven to bake for a little less than 10 minutes.

I didn't quite catch them just as they got done, so my finished product didn't look as good as it could have. Paired with some tomato sauce, Tony and I gave these a try:
The melted cheese part was good, as was the sauce. What wasn't good for me were the cereal crumbs. Good idea in theory, but bad in practice. The cheese sticks tasted distinctly of cardboard-flavored cereal. Tony said for him the breading brought the cheese sticks down to the level of an unacceptable substitute. He wouldn't eat this recipe again. I think I would make this recipe again but use Italian-seasoned bread crumbs instead of seasoned FiberOne crumbs. I can't imagine that using real bread crumbs would increase the fat and calorie content by that much. What really makes this recipe healthy is the fact that these are baked and not fried. Overall rating: Three out of five stars.

Next month we will make HG's Exploding Chicken Taquitos. Yummy! (I hope!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

I am an official taste tester

My friends get me into some great stuff. First, the Jenks family got me into Freecycle. Now, my friend Becky has gotten me into a program called Innovation Research, which is a taste-testing facility. I went into my first taste test yesterday, and it was a cinch. I spent 30 minutes there taste testing four samples of an unknown kind of bread, gave my feedback, and that was it! Best of all, they pay $25 cash per visit!!!! Woot. They also do some take-home tests, which pay more. Anyhow, if you live in the Omaha area you should sign up for it. My friend Becky, who has been involved with it for a while, says she maybe does one taste test per month. That's not a lot, but it's easy money!!! An automated phone line calls you when a test is open, and you answer some questions to see if you qualify. Easy peasy. :)

In other news, I got a boatload of children's books and some coupons from Freecycle. I love it! I also started a SparkPeople page to keep track of my weight loss and fitness goals (as recommended by Jenn). Feel free to check it out.


Saturday, October 3, 2009


I picked up my first Freecycle item today! Behold, the free tea kettle:

It's not the prettiest kettle at the ball, but it was free, and we've never had one before, so we are grateful. :)

If you haven't heard of Freecycle, you should check it out. It's a feature on Yahoo groups, and there are geographic sub-groups under Freecycle. For example, there is an Omaha/Council Bluffs Freecycle program. It's basically an online message board where people give away things they don't want anymore. I've seen really big items offered, such as free pianos, treadmills, televisions, couch sets, etc., and I've also seen smaller items, like coupons, cardboard boxes, clothing, toys, etc. People can also put "wanted" posts on Freecycle, but those aren't strongly recommended. You can either sign up for e-mail alerts or just frequently check the message board. I have Freecycle e-mail alerts delivered to a separate folder in my inbox. You have to respond fast to get a Freecycle item, because there are many people signed up for it. The general rule is the first person to respond is the person who gets the item.

Anyway, check it out. I'm looking forward to getting many more Freecycle items in the future and putting some of my own stuff on Freecycle. I love it!