Monday, March 19, 2012

...Tried and Tested from Pinterest... this afternoon Big Daddy asked me what my thoughts were on dinner...

Dinner???  Yeah, it is the evening meal.  We usually get something through the drive-thru.  I have been known to serve peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  Dinner???  Not my forte. 

{side note, dinner has been my forte before, but not when I get in one of my funks...and I am apparently in a funk here of late}

Big Daddy took a Ziploc bag of frozen hamburger meat out of the freezer and asked me what I thought about hamburger meat.

I looked at him (like a deer caught in the headlights) and said "what are we going to do with frozen hamburger???".  His answer, hamburgers or meatloaf.

No.  Neither sounded all that good to me.  I love Big Daddy, and will admit that he does the majority of the cooking.  I strongly dislike it when he makes hamburgers.  He cooks them on HIGH, and it stinks and smokes up the whole house.  I swear, the next day my robe smells like hamburgers (ick).  The same goes for meatloaf.  I buy 96% lean ground beef, yet when he makes meatloaf, it swims in grease (???).  It is tasty, but no good for the waistline.

So, I let him set the frozen hamburger out to thaw and figured we would work with it later.  {hoping that he would forget about the hamburger and I could go through a drive-thru after Little Man's swimming lessons}

Well, I was playing around on Pinterest (surprise, surprise).  When I came across this little gem...

photo courtesy of "A Taste of Home Cooking"
Looks, delish...right???
So simple.  The pin takes you to a blog called "A Taste of Home Cooking" .  I had just about all of the ingredients required to make such a delicious looking meal.  Brown up the hamburger meat???  I could totally do that.  Cook with onions and green peppers???  Sure!!!  I went to the grocery store to pick up the few things I needed (beef broth and steak sauce) and left Big Daddy at home to make this while Little Man and I were at Swim Lessons.  We came home {Little Man was starving, and so was I} to a house that smelled wonderful!!  We all made big, heaping plates {everyone was starving, after all} and sat to eat.

The verdict???


Oh, I had such high hopes for this meal.  So quick, so easy, we had most of the stuff on hand.  I won't let this dampen my "love" of cooking.  I will admit, we tweaked the recipe a bit. {I am lazy}  We didn't make the cheese sauce, opting to melt slices of provolone over our meat.  Maybe making the cheese sauce, and mixing it all together would have "held" the meat together better.  It was just cooked, crumbled meat on buns.  We ended up eating them "open-faced" with forks rather than like sandwiches.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of "A Taste of Home Cooking".  There are a lot of easy recipes on this site, and I hope to try more of them out!!!

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
4 dinner rolls
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone, shredded

In large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and then brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

Split open rolls and remove most of the soft insides, leaving a bed to hold the meat mixture. Toast the rolls and set aside.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the cheese.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.

Again, we tweaked it a bit, so your results may vary!!!

The lowdown...
  • Most of the meat remained on Little Man's plate.  I even gave him a spoon to eat it with!!!
  • I don't care for Steak Sauce, and it tasted like Steak Sauce (I didn't think it would overpower the meat the way it did)...would probably reduce the amount next time.
  • That being said, it was overall pretty bland.  Next time, when we brown the meat, we will add some McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning to kick it up a bit.
  • Next time, I will make the cheese sauce, and mix it all together.  It won't look pretty, but it might hold together better. 
  • Next time, I will reduce the amount of onion and green peppers...perhaps a smaller onion (the one I bought was about 3/4 lb!!!) and half a green pepper.
I will make this again.  I'm not scared!!!

Love to All.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Newest Disney Dooney & Bourke Collection {and how my collection began} anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, LOVE the collaboration that Disney Parks has with Dooney & Bourke.  It all started in late 2009 when Disney announced that they would be releasing park exclusive bags.  I knew it would be awhile until we got back to the World. {we wouldn't be returning until September 2010 for my sister's Disney Fairy Tale Wedding!!!}  All I could think about for that entire year was my beautiful purse.  I had my heart set on the large Sketch tote.  I saved and saved and saved, and blabbed and blabbed and blabbed about this purse.

What is there not to love about this purse???  Disney had released several more styles in that year, but this was by far my favorite.  We played in the Parks, we had a great time at the wedding, had a blast with the whole family.  I finally told Big Daddy that I was ready to get my bag.  We went to Mouse Gear in Epcot.  {side note: the store located inside Epcot is Mouse Gear.  Gear.  Not Mousegears, not Mouse Gears. No "s".  Not pushed together.  Mouse Gear.  That is all.  End of rant.}. The purses were so beautiful and on display.  I saw that large Sketch Purse.  I held it.  I smelled it.  I felt it.  I was so happy.  The purse however, was much larger than I anticipated.  Even the medium tote was bigger than I thought (who pays attention to the dimensions when looking at something online, anyway?!?!?).  Joy!!!  I could 'downsize' to the Sketch Tassel tote.  Priced at $175, I didn't feel bad spending that money.

$175.  Hmmm.  We spent 10 days at Walt Disney World.  The 'Mommy Guilt' in me set in.  $175 on a purse???  What could that buy Little Man???  I put the purse back on the shelf and shopped for Little Man.  I had plenty of memories of good times at Walt Disney World, both as a Guest and as a Cast Member.  I wanted Little Man to have memories of his own trips.  Something that he could cherish.  That meant more to me.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2010.  The family gift exchange.  I opened my package, and what did I get???  A Disney Cruise Line Sketch Tassel bag!!!  Totally unexpected!!!  My sister and her husband brought it back to me from their Honeymoon!!!  I loved this bag!!!  It totally reignited my obsession with Disney Dooney & Bourke bags.

Disney announced that they were releasing a pattern celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.  One of these bags would. be. mine.  I was gonna put Mama first this time!!!  I saved my pennies and splurged on the 40th Anniversary Bucket Bag.  Yes.  This is my favorite bag.  My favorite pattern.  I have since bought other bags (denim Erica, first edition medium Sketch tote, countless wristlets and credit card holders) but this is my favorite.  I still have a long list of Disney Dooneys that I WILL own (Minnie Bow tote, Sketch Lucy bag, Aulani Resort bag, Princess Marathon bag, Balloon Colette...and the list goes on, and on, and on...).

Just yesterday, Disney Parks Blog gave us a sneak peek of a new Disney and Dooney & Bourke collaboration exclusive to the Disney Cruise Line.  Reactions to the new bags have been mixed on the Disney Dooney fanpage on Facebook and on twitter.  I am still pretty neutral on this pattern.  It is not the worst one offered.  {my least favorite pattern was the Disney Dream Inaugural pattern, I personally thought it looked cheap}  It is kind of growing on me, but it won't be high on my list of Dooneys to own.  Of course, that being said, I will most likely own a wristlet in this pattern, and I will pay way too much for it because my family is not planning on taking a Disney Cruise in the near future.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, this collection will make it's debut on the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Fantasy later in March.  The collection will remain exclusive to the Disney Fantasy until later this summer, when the pattern will be rolled out to all of the Disney ships (Magic, Wonder and Dream).

To quote the blog, “The new collection will be exclusive to the Disney Fantasy until later this summer when it will spread to the rest of the fleet,” explained Laura Caszatt, product developer for Accessories. “To make the new collection even more enticing for Disney Fantasy guests, the select collection silhouettes on the Disney Fantasy will feature leather embossed luggage tags that showcases it was part of the Inaugural Disney Fantasy Voyages.”

The buzz so far from the Disney Dooney & Bourke fanpage on Facebook is that the pattern is "sophisticated", "subtle", "classy and elegant" and "subtly Disney".  Interestingly, what people like about the bags is what some fans DON'T like about the bags.  Very mixed.  I am still neutral.  The more I look at the pictures, the more I like the colors (the leather trim reminds me of the sand and the blues remind me of the ocean...wonder why they chose those colors?!?!?  Duh!!!).  I won't go out of my way to get anything in this pattern anytime soon (like the Aulani bag...I would give my right arm for an Aulani bag), but I won't be surprised if a piece ends up as part of my collection.

Pricing on this collection will range from $55 - $395.

The Disney Parks Blog also gave us a sneak peek of a Disney Cruise Line bag that will be offered on Hawaiian sailings later this summer.  Now this pattern, I like.  I like the stripes, I like the DCL logo.  I don't know a lot of specifics on this bag, but will share as soon as I know more.  Disney and Dooney have offered a bag in a similar pattern in a denim/canvas material (on my wishlist) but looking at the close-up of the DCL logo, I am wondering if this is a coated cotton bag.  Hmmm. I don't know if this will be offered on ships and cruises after the initial Hawaiian sailing rollout {like Disney Dooney fans are hoping they will do with the Tinker Bell and Princess Marathon bags...release them without the special charm, PLEASE!!!).

What are your thoughts on the newest Disney Dooney collection???  Love it, hate it, neutral???  What is your personal Disney Dooney collection like???  Constantly growing???  What would you like to see on future Disney Dooneys???  I'd love to hear what you think!!!

Love to All.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What is it Going to Take?!?!?

What is t going to take???  Seriously.  What is it going to take to get me to lose this weight???  I am not sure what it is going to take, but I have a feeling that a chat with my doctor tomorrow might do the trick.  Let's hope so.  Hopefully my general practioner will help, but I have a feeling therapy (and meds) are going to be needed to help me along the way.

Monday was our first day of Spring Break.  I volunteered to work.  40 hours???  I'll take 'em.  Mama has some new Disney Dooneys to buy.  I had a training on Monday morning for the Paraprofessional Praxis test.  {Yes.  I have to take this.  More on that in another post.}  Training had wrapped up around 11:15, and I headed to my car.  I was getting ready to text my boss that I was on my way to work and that I was just stopping for a Diet Coke first.  Lo and behold, I had a text from my boss saying not to worry about coming in, the number of kids we had show up for the first day of Spring Break were low.

A day off???  It was 82 degrees, not a cloud in the sky...Big Daddy was at work and Little Man was at the school.  I did what any woman would do (I think)...I got that Diet Coke, drove home, opened ALL of the windows in the house and started Spring Cleaning.  It felt SO good to get that fresh air in the house {did I mention that it was 82 degrees...on March 12th?!?!?}.  I cleaned a good deal of my closet out, it is a process.  I had three bags for donation and one box for garage sale.  I felt good about what I had accomplished.

Until I couldn't get off the couch Monday night.

I figured I was in pain because I spent the better part of the afternoon squatting on a small stepstool.  I laid down with the heating pad, took a Vicodin and went to sleep.

I woke up a new woman {best nights sleep I've had in a long time}.  I got Little Man up and ready to go, and I was good to go.

Tuesday did not go quite as planned.

Numbers for out-of-school care were still pretty low.  I was working on busy-work (putting up bulletin boards) when I got a call on my walkie-talkie.  They needed me to work in preschool.  Yay!!!  I was back in my happy {work-happy} place.  What was I going to be doing???  Numbers in preschool are usually pretty low, and Little Miss M doesn't come to school during breaks.

I was working with a little boy who has some social/emotional issues.

Okay, I can handle this.  I've worked with this little guy before.  We get along pretty well.  I thought he was making great strides this year.

Boy, was I wrong.

This little guy was in the office for hitting the substitute teacher.  I don't usually work in this classroom, so I wanted a little backstory.  Apparently the little guy had his tonsils removed in late January.  Mom and Dad tried to send him back to school only after a day of rest (???) and he was sent home that same day.  He then stayed home for a week.  Ever since his surgery, he has gotten worse and worse at school.  The only thing that anyone can put their finger on is that he craves attention.  He gets attention when he acts out.  He bites, hits, kicks, throws toys...and he is strong.  Stronger than even Little Man.  He is very angry.  I spent all day with him.  He spent the majority of the day in the office, because of hitting, throwing toys and just plain not listening.  He wouldn't go outside.  He wouldn't walk with the class to lunch.  He wouldn't come in the classroom for nap.  He just wanted some one-on-one time with someone.  His parents won't fill out the paperwork to get him a paraprofessional full-time.  The poor teacher and classroom assistants take the brunt of this child's anger.  He flat-out punched the afternoon classroom assistant when she was putting another child's toy away.  Punching.  Repeatedly.  At that point, I grabbed the little guy and carried him out of the classroom.  I am not sure if I did something to aggravate my back at that point or not. {I was also wearing sparkly ballet flats, not helping the cause}

I left work Tuesday afternoon, barely able to walk.

I laid down with a heating pad, took a Vicodin and went to sleep. {sound familiar?!?!?}

I woke up Wednesday a new woman.

Wednesday went so much better with the little guy.  Of course, it took him over 45 minutes to get inside the classroom, and when he was there he growled at the substitute teacher, hit a student and threw a Hot Wheels, hitting another student in the head.

That went well.

We went outside for recess, where it took about 20 minutes to get from the door down the sidewalk to the playground.  We played outside for more than two. hours.  {Did I mention that it was 86 degrees on March 14th?!?!?} He did great outside.  He took a good nap, had snack, did activities and played with friends.  I went home Wednesday afternoon, and didn't feel defeated (yay!!!).  I took Little Man to swim lessons, where I sat down for the first time all day.  He was early for lessons (about 40 minutes) so he played in the pool, his actual lesson was 30 minutes.  I sat on the bench for more than an hour.

I couldn't get up.

I managed to hobble out to the car.  {Imagine how awful I felt as the fat woman taking the elevator in the health club!!!}  We had a small errand to run at Target (dog food and Pull-Ups were EXTREMELY needed) and I had to lean on the shopping cart.  {once again, look at the fat woman leaning}  I am grateful that Big Daddy was home to bring in the dog food, otherwise "Dumb and Dumber" would have starved.

Wednesday night, I laid down with the heating pad, did NOT take a Vicodin {did not want to run the risk of becoming dependent} but took 800 mg of Ibuprofen, and fell asleep.  Or tried to.

First thing I tweeted this morning, something along the lines of "Worst night sleep.  Ever.  Wish I were exaggerating".

I am not sure I even fell asleep.

So much for not wanting that d*mn Vicodin.

Luckily, the little guy didn't come to school today.  The kids were on the playground from 7:30 am until 10:00 am {did I mention it was 81 degrees on March 15th?!?!?} and I did as much as I could.  By the time we came in for snack (green pancakes...yum!!!) I was walking like an 80-year old man.

I was sent home from work.

I called the doctor and laid down with the heating pad. {no Vicodin, I had to pick Little Man up at 4}  The doctor called at 3 pm, he called out a prescription for a muscle relaxer and 800 mg. of ibuprofen.  And he wants to see me tomorrow morning.

I am feeling better, but walking slowly.  Every time I sneeze or cough, it hurts.

In a long, round about way, this is where my talk with my doctor about my weight comes in.

I can blame it on the stepstool.  I can blame it on the sparkly, flat shoes.  I know what it really is that is causing my back problems.

My weight.

What is it going to take???

I am scared.

My doctor is a nice guy, but he is going to be tough on me.  Maybe it is what I need.  Who knows.  i need to lose the weight to keep up with Little Man, to keep up with my job.  The thoughts run around my head every day.  Every minute of every day.

Love to All.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where to Start???

Wow.  It has been awhile.  I know that I often pledge to get back into the blogging thing.  Yes, this is something that I WANT to do.  It is something that I think that I could be pretty good at.  It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering or ground-breaking.  Just life.  Everyday life.  The good and the bad.  I'll get back into the routine. 

Things are still crazy.  Depression has its mighty grip on me.  I am struggling.  I am not sure what is going on.  I need to talk to someone.  I probably need to be on something as well.  Our insurance is kind of crazy now.  We are still on the High Deductible Health Plan.  Sucks at first, until the deductible is met.  We are a little more than halfway there.  Once we meet the deductible, everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is paid for 100%.  Meds, office visits, hospitalization.  This means that my hour long visits with my therapist (at around a hundred bucks a pop) will cost me nothing.  I hate being of the mindset that I can't see my therapist, psychologist or get my meds until we meet this deductible.  It is MY mindset.  I think it comes from the guilt of spending all sorts of money over the years.  Of course, I still don't think that I am 100% "cured" of my shopping addiction.  Big Daddy encourages me to see the doctors that I need to.  I just don't listen.

The house is no longer on the clean spree that it had been over the past couple of months.  It is not totally lost, though.  We are going through everything in preparation for the move.  Yes, the move.  I am still in TOTAL denial about this.  I love this house, but in reality, it can't be ours.  I am moving at a snails pace, though.

Little Man is doing all right.  We take things one day at a time with him.  Yet another doctor recommended "intense outpatient therapy" for him.  I had a heart-to-heart with the assistant principal of our school (who has a son who is mentally disabled) who has been in my shoes.  I feel a little bit better about everything that is going on.

As far as Little Man goes, we are dealing with a lot at school.  I am not sure if I have touched on it before {man, I need to be better about this whole blogging thing} but his first grade teacher went on maternity leave back in November.  About the substitute teacher they brought in, lets just say that she is not the right fit.  Not the right fit for my son, not the right fit for a child with special needs, not the right fit for a first grader in general!!!  The principal has apologized to me for this.  We have been playing a waiting game.  Everyone just kind of assumed that his teacher {who was touted to me at the end of kindergarten to be "the best" for Little Man, and she was...but, HELLO she was pregnant and everyone knew she was going to be gone for at least three months, but I digress}.  Where was I???  Yes, everyone kind of assumed that his teacher would be back after about three months of maternity leave.  She was due 11/11/11, but delivered 11/17/11.  Figured she would be back mid-February.  Yay!!!  Little Man WAS doing spectacularly with his teacher.  She understood him, she nurtured him, she cared about him.  Yay!!!  He was doing SO well.  His school work was off the charts, he didn't have any referrals (to the office or to his case manager), he was making friends.  Then maternity leave happened.  Silly me, I thought the sub would be just like his teacher.  Wrong.  The first time I met "Ms. X", she seemed pleasant enough.  Remember, I am in the school nearly 40 hours a week for work...add volunteer work on top of that, and I see and hear a lot of what goes on. 

Disclaimer: This is not coming from me, this is coming from other parents in the class, co-workers of mine and other teachers/professionals in the building.

Mrs. X is pretty harsh.  She seems to have singled two children out, and is harder on them than the rest of the class.  One of those children happens to be my son.  No, Little Man does not fit the mold of the "perfect little learner".  She doesn't seem to "get" that.

His schoolwork has slipped, his anxiety is through the roof.  He is being bullied.  He is getting things taken from his backpack. 

I am frustrated. 

You might ask, well here it is March 7th.  Isn't his teacher back from maternity leave???


It was said she might be back Mid-March.  When I learned that {back around Christmas} I thought, okay.  We can TOTALLY get through this.  Mid-March.  We'll just hang in there.

Then we learned IF she is coming back, it won't be until the end of the school year.

No, things are getting worse for Little Man, and after the last class birthday party I attended, things are getting worse for ALL of the kids in the class.  Little Man's case manager {and one principal} suggested he move to a different class.  Big Daddy and I have reservations about this.  Little Man doesn't know a whole lot about what is going on.  He is smart, but naive.  He still loves school.  He still loves his friends.  Taking him out of this class means taking him away from his two best friends.  I we won't do that to him.

No, we are riding out the next couple of months.  I hope I make it.  This sounds awful, but I have almost given up on first grade.

I just hope he hasn't suffered academically.  He is SO stinkin' smart, I just hope he hasn't lost ground.

Yep, still taking things one day at at time.

So, that was tonight's long, rambling, its good to be back post.  So much to write about.  So much to do.

Love to All.