Monday, December 28, 2009

How to support an unemployed friend

With the current unemployment rate almost 10% nationwide and MUCH, MUCH higher in certain areas, chances are, you know someone who is unemployed. My experience with unemployment is surprising to me. I thought that I would always be able to find some kind of job. I even gave a very inspiring speech to my coworkers (when I still had coworkers) that no matter what happened with our company, we would be okay, because we were strong women and would land on our feet. Turned out to me true for them- me, I'm still struggling to find my footing. The reality for me right now is that I need to find a job- more accurately I need to find a paycheck and health benefits. And it's NOT easy- said job needs to provide enough income in order to provide child care for my 15 month old and still something to take home at the end of the week. I'm struggling with the idea that I am not "worth" enough to an employer to be able to help support my family. I am so blessed to be able to stay home with my child and spend the time with him, no question, but I am still struggling. And chances are, if you know someone who is unemployed, even if they were laid off from a job they HATED, they are struggling with it too. So here's my advice on how you can help them during this time:
  • Write a letter of recommendation- If you are in a position to write them a letter of recommendation, do it. If you offer and they decline, do it anyway. You never know when your friend might actually need it for a potential employer or maybe they will just need a reminder of their good qualities on a bad day.

  • Recognize that staying home has its challenges too- In talking to one of my former co-workers about our lives post layoff, she commented on my "easy life". She found another position with our old company that required her to work crazy hours and commute more than an hour each way. I realize that her situation was less than ideal and I don't know if I would want to trade places with her, but the idea that I was on easy street since I was home taking care of my then nine month old was offensive to me. Whether you have a child or not, looking for a job is WORK. Taking care of a house and a family is WORK. Don't assume that your unemployed friend sits around sipping fruity drinks or catching up on Oprah and whine about having to go to work all day. I assure you, your unemployed friend would trade places with you.

  • Offer childcare- if your unemployed friend has kids, offer to entertain the kid(s) for a few hours. I cannot job search while my son is awake. I cannot make follow up calls to potential employers with him in the background, screaming. I cannot research prospective companies while he is around. I would *LOVE* if someone offered to entertain him for an hour or two, even for me just to get my thoughts together. Offer more than once if you are turned down. Sometimes people are afraid to admit that they can't do it all. (Hello, my name is Jamie and I can't do it all.)

  • Don't brag about your raise. If you just got a raise at work and maybe also landed a part-time job that you can do on off hours from your house, I as your unemployed friend am maybe not the one to gush to about that. I am happy for you, really, but at the same time, I am here just looking for one little job. The fact that you have TWO just doesn't seem fair at this point in the game. But really, I'm happy for you...

  • Don't badmouth people who accept unemployment benefits- before I became unemployed, I had a friend who blasted her brother-in-law for accepting unemployment benefits. It went something like this: "I would never collect unemployment, I could always go out and at least get a job waiting tables or something that would pay more than unemployment!" This whole experience for me has been incredibly humbling. You don't really know what it's like until you've experienced it for yourself, so be careful about criticizing the choices that other people make, especially in front of your unemployed friend.

  • Understand if your unemployed friend is a little grumpy and be willing to give a little more than you're getting right now. Looking for a job is emotionally draining. There's a lot of rejection and it wears on a person. Your unemployed friend is going to be cranky and needs your understanding and support right now.
Happy Job Hunting!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recipes that I've made Recently

Because I am so sure that you are just DYING to know what comes out of my kitchen! These have been a pretty big hit at my house lately, so I thought I would share.

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars

My friend Jessica brought these to a soup party that she orchestrated (everyone brings a different kind of soup, swap leftovers at the end of the night- genius!). The other women there were being all demure, or else were just full from soup, and left half of their bars sitting on their plate. I, on the other hand, ate every last bite of my bar, and would have happily eaten the rest of the pan! The good news is that these are somewhat healthy, but don't taste it at all. My husband said that they taste like Seven Layer Magic Bars, but they're missing the half cup of butter called for in that recipe- he didn't realize it at all!

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg or vegan egg substitute equivalent
1 can
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp
pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Mix sugar, applesauce, egg, and
pumpkin until well blended.
Stir in flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and chocolate chips.
Pour into a prepared 13 x 9 inch pan. Spread it out evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle on the c
Bake at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Italian Beef for Sandwiches

In a completely unrelated recipe, I made this for dinner tonight and my husband approved! I served the beef on hard rolls with provolone cheese. I bought sweet peppers to roast and throw in there too, but that just didn't happen today. I have plenty leftover, hopefully to freeze and serve for dinner another night. Here's my version of the recipe:

About 1-1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 small pkg (.7 oz) dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
3 lb chuck roast


Place beef in slow cooker. I used 2 qt size and it was perfect. Pour water in bottom of the slow cooker. Pour spices on top of beef, then turn beef over. Cover, and cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Just before serving, pour off juices into a gravy separator. Allow fat to rise to the top, then pour juices back into the slow cooker. Shred meat with a fork and serve on hard rolls.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Second Chance?

So do you remember the BIG INTERVIEW that I had back in August? The job where I felt like things were just falling into place left and right? My husband was actually supportive of me taking the job. I found a day care center for our son that we were both at least considering. The 4 week training program for the position just happened to be located less than an hour from my in-laws, meaning that instead of leaving my son and not seeing him for close to a month, I would be able to finagle bringing him WITH me and letting them have some serious grandparent bonding time. I would also be able to sneak in some mommy time there too. Of course, I thought that I would actually LIKE the work and even be good at it, but that all just seems secondary to all of the other concerns. And then it just became the job that I didn't get.

I reread the post I wrote about not getting the job, and it's kind of funny that I put on such a brave face. In the real world, there was no brave face. I was desperate for something to work out with the job. I felt like I could not possibly continue as things were for a single second more. I really just felt like I was floundering with the whole stay at home thing and that we were floundering without my income, or more specifically, the income that I would have gotten if I'd gotten the job. There were some seriously dark days in there and some serious feelings of not being good enough. Looking back now, I'm not really sure WHAT changed, but somehow, I got through it.

Fast forward three and a half months, and the same company is posting for the same position in a neighboring city- the city where I actually live. I actually got a call from a recruiter based on my Monster resume listing and when I told her I'd interviewed with them already, she said that she could not represent me with that company. I decided that if she thought I was a possible candidate for the position, then maybe I really am. So I went to the company's website directly, found the position and applied. Then I e-mailed the recruiter I worked with last time and told her that I was interested in the position. And then I heard nothing. So when the baby finally took a decent nap yesterday, I called and left her a message asking about the next step. Apparently, this is the key to getting an interview with this company, because a few hours later, I got a call from the local manager here (different local manager from last time) scheduling me for a phone screen on Monday. WOO HOO!

So now I'm trying to become uber-prepared for the 30 minute phone screen- whatever that is going to be. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but my little optimistic self wants to believe that I was somehow meant to have these last few months with the baby before going back to work and this was just the way things were meant to work out. If not, it just feels like a cruel trick to get my hopes up again and then just have nothing come of it. We'll see- keep your fingers crossed for me at 8:30 Monday morning. We'll see where it goes from there...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to save money on Christmas Photos

When baby T was born, we dutifully signed up for the JC Penney Photo club, since we figured we'd be having his photo taken a lot. I was completely freaked out by the first photo shoot- Christmas shots with my 6-week old and husband. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised with how well they handled everything. I didn't really like having to stand there and pick my photos right then while trying to bounce a fussy baby, but we made it through and got some semi decent shots. His Easter shots were okay too, but nothing to write home about. His one year photos, though, were a mess! I had trouble scheduling the photo session since I wanted to go in the same day. Their on line service doesn't allow you to do that and no one from the THREE studios I called felt the need to call me back. Ug. When we finally did get in, the photographer was less than enthusiastic and the shots that we got were mediocre at best. My husband wanted to be in charge of choosing the images and print package we got, so we spent a lot more than I wanted for mediocre photos. To add further insult to injury, when I went to pick the photos up, the woman at the studio was so incredibly rude. I've never been chastised quite that was as an adult, and certainly never as a paying customer. The entire experience left me looking for a better alternative to high priced mall photos.

I checked out a few professional photographer's packages and found them to be a little too pricy for our budget right now. All I wanted was for someone to take decent photos of us and give me the images- with all the various sites out there for photos, I didn't need someone to print them for me. It was off to Craig's list for me, where I was able to find a student photographer who was willing to meet us at an area park and spend some time taking photos of the three of us. She would provide a CD of edited images and all right to the pictures. For $35. If I wanted her to come to our home, she would bring a second student (for safety reasons- smart girl!) and charge $50. Two photographers for $50, in my own home! Perfect! We had our photo session in the park a few days ago and I already have my images. There are some amazing shots of our son- candid and smiling! It was far less stressful than trying to get him to stay still in the studio and I didn't have to deal with rude people. Homerun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WFMW- Pandora internet radio

LOOK MOM, NEW BLOG POST! (Haha- it's been two whole weeks!!!!)

I'm not sure how I missed out on this whole pandora thing for so long. It's AMAZING. My father-in-law mentioned it the other night since my brother-in-law set things up for him. I'm kind of sick of every single song on my iPod, so I thought I'd give it a try too. AMAZING! Go to here now and set up your own account. (DISCLOSURE: I get nothing if you click on that link. You get great FREE music!)

Here's how it works... simply tell Pandora your favorite song or musician and it will create an entire radio station around your selection. As long as you're connected to the internet, you've got your own personal station. You can add artists or songs to your initial selection to get more variety. You can also tell it if it plays a song you don't like and it will NEVER play that song again.

Here's where it gets really cool though... if you have a fancy phone with internet capability (i.e. BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm Pre), you can go to from your phone and get the same stations you've set up on your home computer on your phone. It does warn, though, that the amount of data exchanged is HUGE, so you need to make sure that you have an unlimited data plan. My husband says it also can be a drain on your battery. My phone (and probably yours too) has a headphone jack, so I can listen to the music on my phone OR I can plug my phone into the AUX slot on the car and have my own personal radio.

I've even set up my 14 month old with his own radio station. I've nixed anything too annoying, so we mostly get mellow, fun songs. With my phone, if there are not any headphones plugged in, the songs will just play over the phone's speakers. I threw the phone in the side of the jogging stroller today while we were out and it was nice for him to have tunes to jam to while mommy was running!

There are a few ads that run from time to time, but they are infrequent and SHORT. I am more than happy to hear a few ads to get free music! Pandora works for me!

For more WFMW tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas Gifts that don't break the bank!

Kaley over at Cha-Ching on a Shoestring is posting a series about how she'll be spending less than $50 on Christmas this year, basically by using all the great resources she's accumulated through the year. This has really inspired me to start looking for ways to save without scrooging this Christmas. Here's what I've done:

Search & Win
  • Cashed in my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards. Swagbucks is a site that allows you to search and earn "Swagbucks" just for searching the net! If you're not yet a member, I encourage you to join by clicking on the banner above. You'll be on your way to your own Amazon gift card in no time, and I'll get a little bonus in my Swagbuck account too. (Thanks.)
  • Cashed in my "MyPoints" for Amazon gift cards. MyPoints is a site that lets you earn points by reading emails that they send and visiting various sites. You can also earn points through shopping with MyPoints and even printing coupons! I like that I can not only earn points, but that I also learn about new websites that I might not otherwise have come across. (If you join through the link above, I'll get a one time referral bonus. Thank you.)
  • One of those new sites that I found through MyPoints, was Early Moments. They are offering membership into their Baby Einstein Playful Discoveries program. You pay only $4.99 for shipping and receive 2 high quality board books, a cloth book, music CD, tote bag and Playful Discoveries Cards. There's no obligation to buy anything else. I ordered this for our little guy a few weeks ago, with every intention of putting it under the tree for him. I received the package today, but half the contents were lost in transit! I called their customer service department and they said that they will be sending me an entire new package. They were easy to deal with and I have high hopes going forward. I know that there is some controversy around Baby Einstein, but we enjoy their DVDs *sparingly*. We also have another Baby Einstein touch and feel type board book that baby T enjoys. If you have a baby on your Christmas list, this is a $5 gift that will feel like a lot more! By the way, I don't get anything if you order from the above link.
  • I am seriously thinking about buying a Leap Frog Tag Junior system for baby T. Coupon Carol has the details on how to get one at Target for under $15. It seems like a good price, but I don't know a whole lot about the toy itself. Anyone else know anything about this toy?
What are your plans for the holidays? How are you making the most of every penny this year?

Walgreens MONEY MAKERS this week/ month!

So I haven't been doing the whole Walgreens thing lately. I decided that I'm a CVS girl and that's that. I don't have room for two drugstores in my life. Then I got news of some fantastic deals at Walgreens this week and I'm sucked right back in! Here's the scoop:

Deal # 1- Almay One Coat Mascara

These are ringing up differently at various stores, but here's how it worked for me: Buy One mascara at $6.99, get the second free. The shelf stated that Almay items are buy one, get one 50% off, but they rang up buy one, get one free. There is a $4 off coupon in the monthly Walgreens coupon book. Since you are buying two items, they should take $8 off, for $1.01 overage. You need to have something else to buy as they will not actually give you cash back. At my store, the coupon didn't work when the cashier scanned it, but he entered it manually with no problem. This is the deal that I was expecting when I went into the store, but then, when I checked out, I also got $5 RR! I paid $0.97 for two mascaras and a Diet Coke, and got $5 RR back! WOO HOO! This deal should work through Saturday. (Thanks to Coupon Cravings for the details. Crazy Coupon Carol also has information on the $5 RR.)

Deal #2- Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion

With my newfound $5RR windfall, I headed back to Walgreens today to do this deal (also thanks to Coupon Cravings):

Buy three 6 ounce bottles Lubriderm Fragrance Free Daily Moisture Lotion at $3.79 each. Use three- $2 off coupons from the 10/11 Redplum insert or printable here, get $8 RR! There is also a $1 off Walgreens coupon available in the Diabetes & You Magazine, but I couldn't find this in my store. Even without those coupons, I still got free lotion + $2.63 overage in RR. My hands are so chapped these days, due to constant washing, so I am thrilled to have such a high quality lotion to use and even more thrilled that it was FREE. This deal should work all month long.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 2, 2009

You get as good as you give.

One of my biggest struggles as a SAHM is the lack of recognition that I receive. I'm not looking for a purple heart or anything- this isn't Iraq or Afghanistan, I know. BUT it's also not like my one year old son says, "Gee mom, thanks for changing my diaper for the tenth time today. It really feels great when I'm not all wet." Nope, instead I carry him, kicking and screaming, into the bedroom, pin him down, rip off the old diaper and strap on the new one while trying to make sure that he doesn't wriggle his way off the bed.

My husband is much more likely to ask why something DOESN'T get done than appreciate something that DOES. I spent a good chunk of my son's nap time last week mopping the miles of tile that we have in this house. It took two dirty water buckets, but I got ALL the tile clean at one time. First time since we moved in about 10 months ago, I'm embarrassed to admit. The next morning when I woke up, I really enjoyed seeing ALL the tile clean- no dog drool, no crumbs ANYWHERE. I asked my husband, "Don't the floors look nice, hon?" His response? "Let me go look at them- yeah, I guess so." He was there while I was mopping- it's not like he came home and I expected him to notice- he knew that I had mopped the floors. And yet instead of just giving me the praise or recognition that I was looking for, he felt the need to actually inspect the floors.

We had a little discussion a few days later where he accused me of not being supportive. He was probably right- I probably could have been more kind in what I said, but there are times when I feel like I've got nothing else to give. I've mopped, cooked, cleaned, wiped, changed and laundered til I'm blue in the face and it seems like no one notices. I certainly don't get a paycheck at the end of the week for a job well done. And there are times that I just feel like I cannot possibly do ANOTHER thing. So when my husband needed me to be supportive, and I was feeling completely unsupported and unencouraged, I told him, "Sometimes you get as good as you give."

Then came yesterday's message at church. The reading:

Matthew 5:3-10 (New International Version)

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(from Biblegateway)

Now, I'm not exactly sure that Jesus was talking to the SAHM when he said all this, but it sure spoke to this SAHM. "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers." It looks like I was right- you really DO get as good as you give.

And it's even more powerful when you read it in The Message:

Matthew 5:3-10 (The Message)

3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

(Still from Biblegateway)

"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for." Strong stuff there I think. And maybe not a paycheck, but something I'm banking on this week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The division of labor

All fellow bloggers, I need some perspective here. Talk to me about the division of labor at your house- you work at home, your spouse works somewhere else. What does he handle as far as child care, cooking, laundry, housework? How do you manage to get time for yourself while still making sure that all the other needs of the house are attended to? Who gets up in the night if the kiddos wake up? Who puts them to bed?

Bonus round: how did you determine who would do what? Did it just flow naturally, involve some discussion? Compromise?

Link back to your own blog posts dealing with these issues or leave me some tips and tricks in the comments. Thanks!

Edited to add some posts related to the above topic...

Equally Shared Parenting An entire website, complete with blog and soon to be released book, devoted to the idea of 50/50 parenting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In Defense of Cry It Out/ the Ferber Method

If you told me before I actually had a child that I would be writing a blog post defending the practice of crying it out, I would have laughed. I had no intention of sitting outside my child's bedroom door listening to him wail a la Mad About You. I read books while I was pregnant about mothers being genetically predispositioned to respond to their infant's cries. I read The Happiest Baby on the Block, which points out that babies in the womb are held and fed 24-7, so it is impossible to “spoil” a newborn by holding them too much, or feeding them too often. This all worked well for us- I was the mom who kept having to check the baby because it seemed that he just never did anything but sleep. The pediatrician had to tell me to quit waking him up to feed him. He slept through the night without us really having to do anything, which was a huge blessing since I was working at that time. We had to get up at 6 am for work. If the baby woke up at 5, I could walk into his room, tell him it wasn't time to wake up yet, and he would go back to sleep. (Keep reading- don't hate me just yet...)

Then we hit six months or so. Teeth started coming in, the baby could sit up on his own and I wasn't working anymore. The grandparents were visiting and the baby woke up at 4 am. I jumped out of bed and ran into his room, wanting to make sure that he didn't wake the visiting grandparents. I figured his teeth must be bothering him, or he must be hungry, so I nursed him, and he went back to sleep. Perfect- no problem, no crying it out. This became our routine for a while... and then several weeks... and then I couldn't remember the last time he slept through the night. He would wake up about 4 and I would nurse him, but then he stopped going back to sleep. He'd look at me after nursing for close to an hour and be ready to play, to start his day. He wasn't napping well during this time either, so we were both bleary eyed and quite cranky. I am not proud of my parenting skills during that time. I was getting very little sleep, barely functioning. I was constantly fighting with my husband and on edge all the time. I literally could not function with the amount of sleep we were getting, and I can't imagine it was much fun for the baby either.

Enter Dr. Ferber, the supposed sleep expert. I went to the library and checked out the latest edition of his book. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but the major points that I remember from the book made a lot more sense that I thought they would. Teaching children good sleep habits, including being able to fall asleep on their own if they wake during the night, is an invaluable skill. Children should be able to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep all night long. The Ferber Method (or what I remember of the method from a read a few months back) advocates training your child to fall asleep on their own gradually, yes, by allowing them to cry it out (CIO). It's actually a lot more humane than I thought before actually reading the book. The idea is to let the child know that you as the parent are there, but that they need to fall asleep without your intervention. On the first night of Ferberization, you allow the child to cry it out for a short amount of time (as little as a few minutes, I think- going off memory here) and then go back into the room and comfort them. The amounts of time that you allow the child to cry it out gradually increases until he or she falls asleep. The child is never left to cry without parental contact for more than 30 minutes.

So we embarked on our Dr. Ferber journey. The next night when baby T. woke up, I went into his bedroom, made sure that he was not wet, hurt, or otherwise in need of something, then explained that it was still nighttime and he needed to go back to sleep. Then I would set the kitchen timer, glue myself to a chair right outside his bedroom door, and read Dr. Ferber. I would go in after the recommended time, remind the baby that he was okay and that it was time to sleep. And then I would curse Dr. Ferber. What the hell did he know anyway?? There were nights that I HATED the man, his book, life in general. It was torture to sit there and listen to baby T cry. All I wanted to do was go in there, pick him up and do whatever I possible could to make him stop. But I'd tried that- I'd tried letting him get up in the middle of the night, nursing him, rocking him, walking him, begging him, and it got us nowhere. So he cried. It was miserable.

The longest baby T ever cried was two hours. He woke up at 3 am and I went in to him and told him that he needed to go back to sleep- it was still night time. I was in his room again at 3:30, again at 4 and again at 4:30. According to Dr. Ferber, 5 am is morning, so at 5, baby T got to come out. It was a huge relief. I think, but don't quote me, I nursed him and he went back to sleep. It had been a L O N G night for us both. The next night, it only took three times of me going in there to remind him it was night time and he fell back to sleep on his own. More progress was made the following night when I didn't have to go in more than once. We finally slept through the night again.

I'm not going to claim that thing have been perfect since then. Baby T still doesn't have a great nap schedule. To be honest, he's been waking up again in the middle of the night. When we were on vacation, there were nights that he was up every two hours. There are nights though, that he does sleep through, and on the nights that he wakes up, I can explain to him that it's time to sleep and he generally settles himself back down. I am a very proud mamma when I hear him cry out in the middle of the night, then hear him turn on his musical glowworm and settle himself back to sleep without needing me at all. We are both getting more sleep and the difference in baby T is amazing. He laughs more, has fewer meltdowns and is actually less clumsy then when he wasn't sleeping.

So where is this post coming from? Well, it's actually in response to a post written by Hobo Mama, in which she argues against CIO. I like Hobo Mama, I agree with a lot of her posts, and I don't think she's necessarily wrong about this. I just know that for us, not using CIO was not working. After reading her post this morning, I felt like a bad mom. When I put my child down for his nap and he cried, and I let him, I felt like a bad mom. The alternate title of this post could be, “Why and How I am not a bad mother even though I let my kid cry it out.” I hope that maybe, for someone else, the post will serve as the “What and How you are not a bad mother either even if you let your kid cry it out” post. My purpose in writing is NOT to attack Hobo Mama, Attachment Parenting or those who choose not to use the CIO method, it's simply to say, that didn't work for us, and this did. Also, me feeling like a bad mother is not the fault of Hobo Mama- I get to a place of self doubt without a ride from anyone else, thanks.

Hobo Mama's main point, in bold, is, “Believe your baby has something of value to say to you.” I'm right there with her on that one- I don't think that baby T cries just for kicks and giggles. I believe that when he cries, it's because he has something to express and that's his only way to do it. That being said, I'm not convinced that when he cries when I put him down to sleep, it means that he needs me to be right there in the room with him. I think it's just as possible that he's saying, “I'm tired (or overtired) and I'm mad that I need to sleep. I want to play. I don't want to stop and take a nap.” I feel this way as an adult. I know how much sleep I need in order to be healthy, to be a good mom and good wife. And yet, I constantly rationalize staying up just a few more minutes to finish a blog post, or read one more chapter, or finish some household task that I'm convinced needs to be done at 11 pm. I would LOVE to be one of those people who survives on four hours of sleep every night. I know that's not me, and honestly, sometimes that makes me mad. I don't want to go to bed. Isn't it possible that my son feels the same way? Couldn't this be what he's communicating with his cries? And isn't it my job as his mother, his GOOD mother, to make sure that he sleeps, that he gets what he needs?

So if we've established that my child needs sleep, then why not get him sleep without the crying? I've tried! I promise I've tried! I've tried rocking, nursing, driving, walking, begging, bribing and praying the child to sleep. I've tried sitting in his room with him. I've tried rubbing his back in the crib. I've tried music. We have a solid bedtime routing with stories and cuddles. We use the lavender bath soap. We tried co-sleeping and it wasn't for us- for any of us, baby included. If he falls asleep nursing and I try to put him into the crib, he wakes up MAD. Same deal with the car. He won't sit still anymore for me to rock him. The begging and bribing seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The best and fastest way to get him to sleep is to leave him in his crib to get mad about having to sleep in the first place. After he makes his feelings known on the subject, he generally settles himself down for a nap. Sleeping at night has fortunately come a lot easier for us and these days he goes down at night without much fuss, thankfully.

To conclude this VERY LONG blog post, I just want to say that this is what worked for us- maybe it will work for you too, maybe not. This is what allowed me to provide sleep for my child when nothing else I did seemed to be working. My “baby” is now thirteen months old and was about eight months old when I started letting him cry it out. My feeling about letting a newborn cry it out are very different. In no way would I advocate leaving a hungry baby or wet baby to cry it out. I knew/ know that my child's basic needs were met before concluding that what he truly needed was sleep.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Lost Update Tidbits...

Okay, so a few more updates that I forgot with the original update post.

I won a $25 Starbucks gift card with the Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards Program! WOO HOO! My in-laws were nice enough to buy diapers and wipes for us to use while we were there, which meant that we didn't have to worry about fitting them in the suitcase. I entered one of the codes that was on the package of wipes, then decided to play just one instant win game. And then I instantly won! WOO HOO! If you need codes for points, check out Cha-Ching on a Shoestring for a great head start. (I will attempt to reign in my excessive use of exclamation points in future posts, but no promises! Especially where FREE!!!!! coffee is concerned!!!!!!)

Speaking of diapers, did you order your diaper sample from WalMart yet? Go here and you can request a sample of size 4 or 5 Pampers Extra Protection. It looks like they are marketing these as nighttime diapers. (via CFO and Cha-Ching on a Shoestring) Don't forget this tip from Parent Hacks about beefing up daytime diapers, if you run into a problem. I also just learned that you can dab some vaporub on a panty liner and stick it in your kid's crib in order to ease night time congestion. Actual complete directions here. Gotta love the blogosphere!

I made an ABC Wrap (Asian Style Baby Carrier) or Mei Tai baby carrier to take on our trip with us. HIGHLY recommend it! I have NO idea why I didn't have one of these when my child was smaller, actually LIKED to be carried and didn't weigh as much as a baby elephant. You can find the directions to make your own at It's seriously easy- buy a piece of fleece at the fabric store, bring it home, make a few cuts and instant baby carrier! The cost is great too- about $10 AND I had enough fabric left over to make a sleeve for my laptop. I found the directions as well as a helpful diagram at Hobo Mama. If you have more money than crafty skills, you can buy your own wrap at Kozy Carrier. I would actually LOVE to buy one of these- they come in great colors and styles. Maybe for the next baby. They also have great (and FREE) demonstrations of how to use this type of baby carrier. I would love to try carrying our baby on our back, but we haven't gotten there yet. The carrier was great for the airport, when I couldn't have baby T in the stroller. It was also used at the train station when I could not put him down for fear of him running off the platform. I also had weird morbid thoughts of the plane crashing and being able to carry my baby hands free while evacuating the plane. Gotta love the way my crazy mind works.

Speaking of the plane, I was a little annoyed when flight attendants came by after the little safety demonstration and mentioned specifically to me, with the baby, that I needed to place my own oxygen mask over my face before attempting to assist him with his. Really, I mean, who doesn't know that at this point??? Then I realized that if something were to happen, there is no way in hell that I'd worry about my own stinking mask if my baby couldn't breath. I know that makes no sense, I know that if I pass out in the process of getting his mask on, we're both in trouble, but every day, EVERY DAY, his mask gets put on before I worry about mine. I make something for him to eat and feed him. I eat whatever he doesn't and maybe something else that I throw together before he moves onto the next thing. I get him dressed and then take two minutes to throw some horrible sweat pant/ tee shirt combination on before he starts pulling down all the clothes in the bedroom closet. It might be time to listen to the flight attendant...

That's all I've got. I hope to see you all back here soon- no more going a month without posting!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Product and Recipe Review-Slow Cooker Orange Chicken Recipe

I've made this Orange Chicken from the Year of Slow Cooking site twice now. Basically, you dredge small pieces of chicken in flour, then brown the chicken in a skillet. The browned chicken gets cooked in an orange sauce in the slow cooker (apparently that's what all the cool kids are calling CrockPots these days!). Here's my experience with the recipe, as well as a review of my new(ish) slow cooker.

The first time, it was not great. I made some changes to the recipe- I was afraid of making it too salty, so I really held back on the amount of salt that I added. I also went light on the brown sugar, convincing myself when I tasted it, that the sauce was sweet enough without the entire three tablespoons called for in the recipe. When it came time to cook the chicken, though- I did it exactly as directed- low for six hours in a four quart cooker. The finished product needed more salt and was not quite sweet enough. I tried to help the situation by adding salt and white sugar to the chicken while in the slow cooker and it did improve the taste somewhat. The worst part of the whole thing, though, was that my chicken was dry inside. I frequently have this problem when I cook chicken in the slow cooker. I do not understand how chicken cooked while submerged in liquid can somehow come out dry, but I manage to do it way too often. I ate the chicken- it was okay, but not great... hubs was not hungry for dinner that night and the leftovers got left in the fridge when we left for almost two weeks. Oops...

The recipe calls for half a can of orange juice concentrate. This meant that I still had half a can of OJ concentrate in my freezer. That, coupled with the desire to make good on this recipe, made me try again. This time, though, I used more salt and the full amount of sugar in the sauce. I tried to keep my chicken chunks larger to help with the dryness. I used a two quart cooker and cooked the chicken for about three hours on LOW. Since the chicken is browned before it goes into the slow cooker, it cooked through with no problem. The resulting dish was much improved! Hubs liked it almost as much as the pre-made stuff in the freezer section of Costco- he just said that it was not as sweet. I might have to bump that brown sugar even more! I just polished off the leftovers for dinner tonight and I must say that it was yummy, even reheated. It has the comfort food feel of take out Chinese food and will be making an appearance on our menu on a regular basis.

By the way, Stephanie O'Dea, the author of A Year of SlowCooking blog, has also written a book- Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. It's getting fantastic reviews around the blogosphere and based on Stephanie's writing on her blog, I would imagine that it's fantastic.

I've been cooking in a new slow cooker these days- I got one for my birthday. I was lucky enough to pick out whichever model I wanted, and the one that I chose was this one:
Hamilton Beach 33134 3-in-1 Slow Cooker with 2-, 4-, and 6-Quart Crocks

The big selling point was that this slow cooker comes with three removable crocks- a two quart, a four quart and a six quart. I previously used CrockPot brand slow cooker that was five quarts or so. It was a great slow cooker, but there were times that I needed MORE space and it was a PAIN to clean. I actually received it for my birthday exactly 10 years ago. It still works perfectly, but it was time for an upgrade. Enter the new Hamilton Beach slow cooker. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I opened the box. The inserts are round. From the picture, I thought they were oval and I had visions of cooking a turkey in the slow cooker laid out breast up just like you would in a roasting pan. That's not going to happen in this slow cooker- chicken cooked on a beer can, sure- the six quart insert is plenty tall. I decided to give it a chance. I was pleased that the three inserts stacked neatly inside of each other, with the one lid that fits all three neatly on top, so this new slow cooker fit in the same space as my old CrockPot. The inserts are super easy to clean- so much nicer than trying to clean the inside of the cooker without submerging the heating element. I've used all three sizes inserts in the few months that I've had it and I must admit that the two quart is my favorite for right now. It seems to be the perfect size when I need to reheat a frozen roast or cook something for just the two of us. I'm glad, though, that I have the option of the larger inserts for a large butt roast or a big batch of stew. I'm also glad that I won't have to invest in another slow cooker when our family gets larger and I'm cooking larger volumes of food. If this one lasts for another ten plus years, I have a feeling that we're going to need the four and six quart inserts!

They also make a snazzy snazzy stainless steel version of this slow cooker. I thought about and debated getting this one, but I just couldn't justify spending an additional $30 or so for an appliance that was going to spend most of its time behind closed doors. Nothing else in our kitchen is stainless either, so it wasn't like it needed to match or something.

(Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you purchase any of the products listed above, I will receive a very small portion of that sale. I think. Maybe. Want to try it and help me find out?? Come on??? Please??? ;-))

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Mother of All Update Posts

This poor little lonely blog hasn't been updated once this month! It makes me sad that I haven't had more time to write and that I don't have more to say. Believe it or not, I have several half written posts saved as drafts here, but I just don't feel like they're complete enough on their own. I'll try to expand some of them and cover others here in one big update post.

Our son took his very first airplane ride! He did great and I hope to have a post here soon with our travel experiences. We had a great time with my husband's family! It was great to be around extended family and gave me a taste of what life would be like if we lived closer to extended family. I would seriously consider moving if we were not so rooted here.

I went on another job interview. I've really come to hate interviewing. In an interview, you are basically opening yourself up to judgement, something I don't deal with very well. I have tried to live my life without regretting any of the decisions I've made- instead choosing to believe that all those choices that I've made- good or bad- are what got me to where I am, and that's a pretty good place. Still, it's hard to keep justifying the philosophy degree I thought was so fantastic at the time, as well as the various career choices I've made along that way. I would LOVE to go back and get that pharmacy degree that my mom was pushing!

In other interviewing news, I am convinced that just like guys don't like girls who are too into them, interviewers prefer candidates who don't show they want the position too much. I was not 100% sure that the position I interviewed for was something that I wanted, but I wanted to at least talk to them about the opportunity. I was very honest in the interview and told the interviewer that I wasn't sure about the position or the fact that it was 100% commission. At that point, she seemed to push for me to continue the interview process, even though I was very much leaning towards this NOT being the position for me. On the other hand, during the last interview that I went on, I was very eager about the position and felt very strongly that it was a great fit and I didn't get the job. Didn't even get the third interview. Act as if you don't need or want the job, and you just might get it!

The basil died during my time away. It is my position that I cannot be held responsible for its passing as I was not here during the time of its demise. I have purchased new seeds from the dollar bin at Target and will hopefully be cultivating new basil in the next few days.

The tomato and green pepper I subsequently planted, also seem to be on the way out. They were doing well before I left on my trip- green and healthy with a tomato already growing on the tomato plant. They survived while I was gone, but I noticed that something seemed to be eating the leaves of the plant. I sprayed both the tomato and the green pepper plants with a dish soap solution- read it on the internet. Now most of the leaves on the tomato plant are dead and falling off. The green pepper kind of closed in on itself and then the leaves fell off. I'm not sure if I somehow killed it with the dish soap or if the recent cold snap we had here did the plants in. I'm still holding out hope that they will somehow come back, but it's not looking good. :-( I still want to be a mom who grows things, so I'm going to do a little more research on gardening in Florida and see if I can't get something together for the next planting season.

I am loving the posts that Trent is doing over at the Simple Dollar on the Ethical Frugality. This is something that I've struggled with- how far is too far to get something for free or discounted? Is it wrong to use each of our computers to print a high dollar coupon- getting a total of four for our house instead of two? Is it wrong to use my mom's address in addition to my own for mail in rebates? He hasn't addressed any of these questions directly, but his insight on the other topics has been interesting to say the least. I'm still hoping that he'll address couponing at some point. In the meantime, Chief Family Officer weighs in on the topic here and here.

Okay... I think that covers most of the excitement for the past month or so... my intent is to get this up and write another post to be scheduled for tomorrow... you know what they say about intentions though! We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WFMW- Watering Hanging Plants

Oooh!!!! I have a WFMW tip!!!! That actually WORKS!!!! I'm so excited!!!!

Last week, I was determined to morph myself into a mom who can grow stuff, so I bought a basil plant for my kitchen and a tomato plant for outside. A spider nearly derailed my plans, but I persevered, overcame, rose above and got that tomato planted! I also added a pepper plant for good measure.

The basil is hanging in my kitchen right in front of my face, where hopefully I can't forget to water it and turn it into an amazing dried vestige of its former self. So there I was, dutifully watering my baby basil when my husband pointed out that there was a hole in the bottom of the pot. I knew that- I put it there for drainage, and I was prepared to put a small bucket under the pot to catch the run off. We did that, and it worked fine, but a few days later I was dumping a cup into the sink. A cup with ice cubes... and then a light bulb went off... if I just threw a couple of ice cubes into the plant each day, they would melt slowly, watering the plant without causing all that run off through the bottom of the pot. So that's what I did. I now throw a couple of cubes to the basil each night. The soil is moist but I've yet to have any water run out of the bottom of the pot. That works for me!

For more great tips, visit We Are THAT Family. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kudos to Publix and Kraft!

Do you remember a few weeks ago when my Kraft Full Plate rebate submission went to the wrong address due to the bar coding on the recycled envelope I used? I was really upset at the thought that I missed out on $30 in gift cards due to my own silliness, trying to be frugal and green all at the same time? I went ahead and resubmitted my submission with a note letting the Kraft people know what happened. I used a clean envelope this time, and I hoped that they would take pity on me and send the gift cards even though my submission didn't make it by the cut off date on the rebate form. Guess what? They did! I received my gift cards in the mail today!

I'm already a pretty loyal Publix shopper, even when the cashiers get huffy with me about my coupons. I also feel pretty positive about the Kraft family of products, though I wish that they would stop using high fructose corn syrup. I can tell you though, the fact that these companies honored my rebate request even though I didn't quite meet the guidelines goes a long, long way towards building brand loyalty.

Thanks to whomever made the decision to honor my rebate!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is why I don't garden.

So I went to Lowes yesterday and very optimistically bought a lovely basil plant and a grape tomato plant. We live in Florida, land of the HOT stickiness, so apparently planting things this time of year is not as strange as it sounds. My husband gives me crap about my "gardening" skills because I managed to dry my lovely lavender and other herbs before I even harvested them. (In other words, I left them out in the hot Florida sun with no water and they shriveled up and died. The lavender smelled amazing though, even all dried and dead.) Anywho, I bought a basil plant yesterday and a lovely INDOOR hanging planter for it. We already had the plant hook there and I figured that hanging the basil would keep it away from baby hands and doggie noses. It also keeps the plant right in front of my face and increases the likelihood that I will not kill it. The basil seems pretty happy in its new home.

Today was for the tomato. I would love to grow the tomato indoors too, away from pesky bugs and lizards and frogs and the other Outside Things, but apparently this is not an option with vegetables. I repurposed a lovely patio pot for my little tomato plant and was all about planting it this afternoon while the baby slept. I even braved my way all the way down to the edge of the yard to grab a bag of potting soil left back there from the last gardening adventure. There appeared to be a large spider at the top of the soil, but I shook the bag around a bit and he didn't move, so I went ahead and dumped the soil into the pot. The spider got lost in the shuffle and I didn't give him too much thought since he was dead. Uh huh. Until he wasn't dead anymore and came to the top of the pot! YIKES! This guy is HUGE and he moves FAST. I generally think that spiders are pretty cool and they eat other bugs, so that's a plus. I would go out of my way to save a spider and its web if I could. But this guy, he is a little harder to love... he's BIG... and scary... I think that he could maybe kill me... and now I've brought him from the tippy back of the yard right up next to the house. Great. I'm gonna have nightmares...

I think that I maybe need to accept that I am not a gardener and resign myself to paying for overpriced, lesser quality tomatoes... stay tuned for the next episode of Jamie vs. the spider.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The 2nd Interview: What Went Wrong

My hair was frizzy, fuzzy. I didn't get the job because in an attempt to create more volume, I flipped my head upside down while blowing my hair dry. Although my hair looked okay when I left the house, by the time I got to the interview, it was frizzy and fuzzy and so I didn't get the job.

Okay, so maybe that's not quite what happened or quite why I didn't get the job. I don't 100% know why I didn't get the job. There are any number of possibilities, as well as the very likely probability that they had another candidate whose skill set better matched their needs or who had more experience in this field than me. I knew that I was a long shot going in- this was an outside sales position and I have less than a year of experience in outside sales. This would be enough to disqualify me from even being interviewed in most cases, but somehow, I got the opportunity to interview. My most recent position did not involve outside sales and I have not actually done outside sales in over three years. None of this was in my control, I couldn't change these facts.

What I could have changed, though, is the skill set that I presented to the hiring manger in the interview. Here's how it went down- she asked me a number of situational questions like, "Was there ever a time when you were able to resolve a customer's problem right there on the spot?" or, "Tell me about an ongoing relationship you had with a customer." What I should have talked about was my relationship with those customers that I had when I was in outside sales 3+ years ago. That would have demonstrated my skill set directly as it related to this job. What I did, though, is talk about my relationships with my customers from my most recent job. I spent three plus years there, so it only makes sense that those situations were the freshest in my mind. It never occurred to me to really dig a bit further back and come up with situations from my previous position, the one just like the position for which I was interviewing. Maybe this is just a big fat DUH for everyone else, but it didn't occur to me until AFTER the big interview, when it was too late. Lesson learned- in an interview, talk about your experience doing the job most like the job you are applying for, even if it was not the last job you held.

The other thing I think went wrong is that I didn't have a clear understanding of how the sales cycle worked for this particular industry. In my last position, we pushed for the sale pretty heavily right up front. With this position, it would have been a more gradual sales process- start with a few items and work the customer up to more, more, more. I didn't know that and unfortunately, it became very clear in the interview that I didn't know that. I could have learned it very quickly, but I think that I lost a lot of appeal when my naivete was exposed. I'm not entirely sure how I could have figured that out before the interview, but I am sure that I could have done some Internet research, at the very least. I will be better prepared for the interview next time around, if there is a next time.

Finally, I wish that I would have come up with better questions to ask the interviewer. You know at the end of the interview, when they ask you if you have any questions for them? I had nothing. Zilch. I feel like the last thing in that interviewer's mind was the fact that I was too stupid to even ask a question about the job. I would have liked the last thing in her mind to have been the insightful, thoughtful question I posed about the industry at large. Next time, I will have several of those kinds of questions ready when the interviewer asks me if I have any questions.

Though I didn't get the job, I do feel like I accomplished something on the day of the interview. It was the first time that I had to get dressed professionally with the baby. Obviously, I get dressed every day, but that usually involves a change of clothes, a quick face wash and new pony tail holder. I generally shower at night or when (if) he naps. The morning of the interview, though, I got up, got him fed and ready and then showered, blew my hair dry, applied make up and got dressed in grown-up real world clothes. When I was working, he was not yet walking and didn't eat solid food. Getting him ready was nothing more than nursing him and changing him. He sat in the bouncy seat or exersaucer while I showered and a woman came to our house to watch him while I left for work. Now, he no longer fits in the exersaucer or bouncy seat and the lovely woman who watched him is out of the country. This meant that I also had to figure out another child care solution while I interviewed- another total stressor in and of itself! We did it though- he and I. He stayed with a friend from play group. He has never stayed with anyone except family and the lovely German woman who watched him when I worked. I was really worried about how he would do being with someone he didn't know all that well. He did great, though, so I was really proud of both him AND me for being able to handle that new experience.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I am so blessed to be able to sit down, make a menu plan for the week, then realize that I could technically get it all made without having to make a trip to the grocery store! What a blessing it is to have such a stockpile! My freezer is full to the point that we need to worry about how much frozen food we buy. I will still be heading out to Publix this week, though, to pick up some of the cheapie and freebie items they will have. They also have London Broil on sale this week, so I'll be picking up a few of those too. I freeze them in a plastic bag with marinade already on them so they are ready to go right out of the freezer. Here's what else is in store:

Monday: Dinner OUT to Outback, courtesy of my sister-in-law, who sent a gift card for my birthday! :-) Thanks!

Tuesday: Orange Chicken (premade from Costco, per hubs request)

Wednesday: London Broil, roasted potatoes, green beans

Thursday: Turkey Breast- I will brine it first using this brine recipe, then smoke it in the crock pot. I'm hoping for leftovers that I will put in the freezer for Turkey pot pies.

Friday: Ground Beef and Mac & Cheese Casserole. Yep, this is the THIRD week that this has appeared on my menu plan, and we've yet to make it or eat it. Things just seem to keep coming up... I am determined to get it made!

For more menu planning ideas, head on over to!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No Job for me...

I got an email late last night letting me know that they would be "pursing other candidates". I was HUGELY nice of them to let me know- I was going absolutely bonkers with waiting. I have more to post on the second interview- I kind of knew when that was done that it wasn't going to happen, but I was hoping that I was just being silly and insecure.

I'm hugely disappointed though, and indulging in a bit of a pitty party here. I'll be back with a better attitude and more positive thoughts soon. At least I don't have to come up with a new name for the blog...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's menu did not get followed to the T, so you will see some repeats here. I don't remember exactly what happened, I just know that not everything got made. I know that we didn't end up eating out, so that's good! Here's what's in store for this week:

Monday: I marinated chicken breast in Kraft Parmesan Asiago Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (free at Publix a little while back), rice, peppers and onions. The chicken had great flavor and the peppers and onions were a nice change from the peas, green beans, carrots cycle that we seem to be on normally. I planned to have leftover chicken for pot pies later this week, but that didn't happen. I will make a few changes later in the week and we'll be fine! 

Tuesday: Spiced pot roast from the freezer, served over egg noodles and with carrots.

Wednesday: Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, fresh green beans and boiled potatoes with garlic. Friends have been raving about this meatloaf recipe, so I am going to try it. I will make two loaves- one for now and one to put in the freezer. I love the idea of cooking once and eating twice! This one was not exactly budget friendly with buying the sun-dried tomatoes and feta, but I'm hoping that it will be worth it! 

Thursday: Pulled pork sandwiches from the freezer, coleslaw, corn

Friday: Ground Beef and Mac and Cheese Casserole, based around this Ground Beef Casserole recipe (found via Once A Month Mom). I bought several Mac and Cheese boxes when they were cheap at CVS and part of the Full Cup Rebate from Kraft, so this lets me turn those into a meal. We will probably eat with a salad.

I am also going to make this End of Summer Harvest Soup for the freezer. I will blend some up for the baby and leave some not blended for me. Hubs wouldn't touch this if you paid him- he doesn't know what he's missing!

For more recipe ideas, visit!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Job News

I think that one of the worst things about job searching, just like with dating, is waiting for that call. Back in the day, before cell phones and then smart cell phones with email capability, you used to be able to get away from it all. You could head to the mall, or for a walk, or for a drive, and hope that you'd have a message waiting when you got home. Now there is no escape! No matter where you go, your phone goes too. When I asked about the time frame for the hiring decision, she told me that they were holding final interviews on the 28th. She said that they had three days of round one interviews and round two interviews would be somewhere in between. By my calculations, that meant that she was going through round one on Friday, when I interviewed, Monday and Tuesday. I figured that she would know something about round 2 by Wednesday. I kept an eye on my email and cell phone Monday and Tuesday, just in case.

Wednesday though, I was on pins and needles waiting to hear SOMETHING- ANYTHING. I kept reminding myself that we would be okay, no matter what the outcome, and if not this job, then there was something better out there. Myself wasn't buying it. The fact is, I want this job, more than anything I've wanted in a long time, and that scares me a little. By admitting that I want it, and want it badly, I'm setting myself up for pretty big disappointment. This all led to me compulsively hitting the refresh button on my Gmail account for most of the day Wednesday. At one point, I contemplated sending myself an email from one account to the other, just to check and make sure that all systems at Google were up and running. When I didn't have anything by end of business, I was convinced that they had absolutely no interest in hiring me and I would never get a job ever again. We don't go to extremes here or anything, not us!

Finally, after bathing the baby, I noticed that I had a new email. It was an email from the hiring manager inviting me in for a second interview! WOO HOO!!!! I was holding the baby and jumping up and down and cheering. My husband told me to stop because I was scaring our child. Spoilsport. Anyway, it's Monday at 11 am and I am OVER THE MOON! I am so excited and so blessed to have this opportunity. I am continuing to pray that everything will work itself out as far as me getting this job and also as far as me being able to handle the job- not so much the work itself, but the logistics of getting someone to take care of our little boy and everything else around here while I'm working. More to come on that front, but I am determined to get this posted tonight. It's been slow cooking in my drafts folder since Thursday!

HUGE thanks to everyone that's been praying for me about this. It seems strange to say, but I really feel all of the positive energy through this whole process- I just really hope it continues through the final interview on Friday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WFMW- The Bruiser Edition

My son went to bed tonight looking like a prize fighter. He tripped over Mr. Potato Head's hat this morning and scraped his forehead. Tonight in his bath, he insisted on standing up, slipped and somehow hit his cheek on the side of the bathtub. My husband kindly informed me that this is where they cut prize fighters when they get hit there because the area is prone to swelling. I kindly informed my husband that under no circumstances would we be cutting my son, thank you. With tile floors throughout and a little guy who's just finding his feet, we have a lot of bumps and bruises around here.

This WFMW comes straight from my grandma. Trying to hold ice on a little wiggle worm is next to impossible. She recommended getting some frozen fruit juice pops so when the little man fell and hit his lip or mouth, we could just give him a Popsicle. This allows us to apply ice to the injury without having to hog tie him and inflict all kinds of mental anguish. You could even make your own juice ice with ice cube trays. Works like a charm! 

Here's the second part to this WFMW- I need a homemade ice pack that's flexible and works for a little head. When I try to use ice cubes in a bag, it seems like the cubes are just too big and don't really get the cold where it's needed. I've seen the Peas Ice Packs at CVS and might just go ahead and get a few, but are there any other solutions out there? Let me know in comments!

Fore more WFMW tips, visit We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Crock Pot Wednesday- Herbed Sirloin Tip Roast


My husband informed me today that I will be getting a new CrockPot (or other slow cooker) for my birthday at the end of the month. On the one hand, I'm very impressed that he realizes I need a new CrockPot. I have a very entry level model that doesn't even have a removable insert. I have to limit the size of the roasts I buy in order to make sure that they fit, and I use this thing at least once every 3 days if not more. It's a wonderfully practical gift for a wonderfully practical girl, and something that I've honestly been wanting for a long time. I even wandered by them in Target when I was there last, noticing that they were on sale, but not ON SALE, and leaving them there on the shelf. On the other hand, I'd like to remind my husband that if it plugs in, it's not really a gift. I'm going to appease that side of myself by getting a really high end slow cooker- maybe one with stone inserts of varying sizes and a start timer? Even if it DOES plug in, it's something that I was not going to buy for myself, so I guess it really is a great gift! What kind of CrockPot/ slow cooker do you have? What are the features that you LOVE or the features that you wish you had?? Please leave me your recommendations in comments. Thanks!

Today's adventure in Crock Potting involved an adaptation of this recipe. Here's what I did. 

Herbed Sirloin Tip Roast


  • 1 sirloin tip roast, about 3 pounds
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (Merlot was what we used)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp spicy seasoning- I used Chili 3000 from Penzy's- think something with cayenne pepper and you'll be good.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


About 2 hours before cooking, combine the roast and red wine in a food storage bag; refrigerate. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl about 10 minutes before roasting time. Dump wine into the CrockPot. With roast still in the food storage bag, rub the herb mixture on both the top and the bottom of the roast. Cook in a slow cooker on low for 8 ish hours, or on high for 4 ish hours or until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees for medium rare. 
Serves 8.
I started cooking this Monday for Tuesday's dinner. I bought the roast on Saturday and didn't want to wait another day before cooking. I kind of forgot about it and cooked it to about 165 degrees, maybe a little higher. Fortunately, my husband likes his beef WELL done and I was fine- thank goodness for the forgiveness of the CrockPot! When I finally remembered it last night, I just unplugged the CrockPot, put the whole thing in the fridge and went to bed. Today, I pulled everything back out about 3 pm, cut the roast in half and stuck half back in the fridge to be frozen for another night. All the fat in the juices had solidified, making it very easy to skim off. I let the other half of the roast, plus all the liquid, heat in the CrockPot set on low for about 2 more hours and we enjoyed for dinner with mashed potatoes and carrots. The juices not served over the meat went back with the other half of the roast. When I am ready to serve that half, I'll just reheat everything in the CrockPot again. 
It was FANTASTIC- even my husband said something and he's not one to hand out compliments. There was a lot of flavor in the meat and juices and it was very tender. I have another spiced roast recipe that I do and I was a little afraid the two would taste too close together. I didn't need to worry- this had great, distinct flavor. The wine smelled a little weird while it was cooking and I was worried about the flavor of the beef, but it was fine in the finished product. We are not gravy people, but the sauce this made would make AMAZING gravy if you were to thicken it up. I would recommend leaving this a bit more rare though, especially if you will be cooking it twice like I did. We both thought the meat tasted great, but it was on the edge of being too done. 
For more great CrockPot tips, tricks and recipes, visit Crock Pot Wednesday over at Dining with Debbie