Bloggy anniversary and GIVEAWAY!

Updated: Works for Me Wednesday is having Organization Day this week! Well, my best organization tip is definitely using my planner to track everything I need to do each day, write down my meal plans, organize my cleaning schedule and set goals for my personal growth. Enter my drawing and you might win one for yourself!

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Today is a big day here at everydayMOM and a day you will probably want to mark on your calendar to remember year after year.

What’s that? You don’t have next year’s calendar yet? Oh, you are in luck.

Not only is it my one-year anniversary of when I officially started blogging (oh, I know… you’re asking yourself how you made it through the day without me last year), but I also finished my 2010 everydayMOM planner! So, to celebrate, I’m having a giveaway!

And oh, there is soooo much to celebrate! Like how I learned that real bloggers should never fake their own firing. And despite my strange sense of humor, people still read my blog. And think of all of the fashion advice you have given me, especially when it comes to boots. I survived several unfortunate brushes with wildlife not to mention some close calls with the weather. And I can’t forget the whirlwind of change that hit me over the last year.

Seriously though, I really want to say a HUGE thank you to those of you who read my blog. I really didn’t expect it to last this long. And I never knew I would enjoy writing it this much. I love getting to know those of you who leave comments and have blogs of your own, but I appreciate just knowing you are out there even if you don’t leave a comment!

So, this week, I am giving away a few of my 2010 everydayMOM planners! You can enter lots of ways:

1. Just leave me a comment and tell me anything: where you live, how you found my blog, what keeps you coming back, ask me a question or just say “hello”.

2. If you have used my 2009 planner, leave me a comment about what you do or don’t like about it.

3. Subscribe to my blog (and then leave me a comment to let me know you did). Just use that button at the top right of the page.

4. Become a follower of my blog.

5. Send a friend to read my blog and have them mention your name in the comments.

6. Pre-order your 2010 everydayMOM planner (of course, if you win, you will get it for free anyway!). All pre-orders are at the discounted price of $15. If I can hand-deliver yours, you also save on shipping. If I need to mail it, the total will be $20 in the U.S. (that’s $15, plus $5 for Priority Mail) and $25 in Canada.

I will randomly draw the name of at least one winner Friday evening. If I actually start getting more than say… 10 entries, I will give away more than one!

To check out a full preview, go to my online publisher.

Here are the important details about the planner:

Each month starts with a full calendar spread so you can see the month in one glance. This section includes space to write your goals for the month and any other notes.


The rest of the planner is in a weekly format. Each day, you have space to keep track of all the things a mom does everyday:

  • Remembers (appointments, holidays, events)
  • Plans (her priorities for the day)
  • Shines (house-cleaning goals for the day)
  • Cooks (plan out your meals for the week)
  • Grows (she sets goals for her own personal growth and development in areas like reading, Bible study or exercise)


I have improved the planner by including holidays and the month name along the right-hand side so it’s easier to find your place.

The back of the planner still includes my meal chart, grocery shopping list, house-cleaning chart and ideas to add those Moments Of Meaning to the everyday.


If you need some objective reviews, click here to read what other moms had to say.

So, go ahead. Leave me a comment. You will make me feel good. And even if you already have a system to stay organized, you can always use the planner as a gift! =]

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Check out more organizational tips on Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family!

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Cinnamon and Coffee Terrine with Mexican Chocolate Ganache


A few weeks ago, when we had our ladies’ game night, part of the fun was a pie-judging contest.

I was so excited that my pie was part of a four-way tie for first place!

This is really a super simple ice cream pie with a fancy name.

I made a few exceptions to the recipe:

  • I didn’t use the cayenne pepper.
  • I couldn’t find any cinnamon ice cream, so I used vanilla bean ice cream mixed with one teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • I made mine in a regular pie pan, rather than a loaf pan, so it would qualify as a pie. This also eliminated the tricky part of pulling the pie out of the loaf pan, detailed below.

Let me know what you think about adding in the cayenne pepper. My small group is having a Mexican night in a couple of weeks, and I’m planning to make this dessert again with the pepper!

Ganache
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream

Terrine
2 cinnamon graham crackers
1 pint coffee ice cream
1 quart cinnamon ice cream

To make the ganache, combine the first four ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Mix with a wooden spoon until melted and well blended. Let cool at room temperature until spreadable and cool (at least one hour). Place in the fridge if you need the ganache to cool faster.

To make the terrine, put two layers of cling wrap lengthwise in a 9×5-inch loaf pan with several inches of overhang. Then put two layers of cling wrap widthwise, allowing five inches on each side for overlap. Let coffee ice cream sit out for 5 minutes, until softened. Spread softened coffee ice cream into the pan and put back in freezer for 15 minutes.

When the ganache is well cooled, spread it on top of the coffee layer, and place back in freezer for 15 minutes (until ganache is hardened). Soften cinnamon ice cream, and spread it on top of ganache layer. Crumble the graham crackers on top, and press lightly into ice cream. Cover with overhanging cling wrap.

Freeze for several hours before serving. Can be made three days in advance. When serving, use cling wrap to lift terrine out of pan. Slice horizontally into 8 servings.

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Inside my head

My head is bursting with thoughts this morning, none of which would make a post. So, it’s time for a list.

1. I’ve been obsessed with the story of Jaycee Dugard. OH. My. Gosh. I can’t even imagine the grief of her parents, knowing that girl has been imprisoned in someone’s backyard for 18 years. And then to think of HER two daughters who are going to one day realize they have been completely deprived of their lives. That story certainly gives me a whole new perspective when I am tempted to whine about the weather or having nothing “fun” to do.

2. I got a new kitchen appliance. I have never in my life had a toaster oven. Aren’t you supposed to get one of those when you are single and just out of college? I am loving it! Now I can cook a frozen pizza or chicken nuggets without heating up the whole kitchen. And it makes great toast!

It’s also a convection oven, so I guess I could cook a whole chicken if I wanted to. Now, if I only wanted to, I would be ready.

3. I’ve been trying to convince my husband that I’m actually fatter than I look. The poor guy. What can he possibly say to this? I stick out my stomach to try to demonstrate. His comment: “I’m not impressed.”

4. My 4-year-old niece stayed with us the past two days. She is a riot. The kids play so well together just having that one extra person in the mix. I got to experience what it was like toting around four kids, instead of three.

My niece has some unique food preferences. She loves foods with a little zing, like salami, salsa and tomatoes. I asked her if she would like a pear, and she wasn’t sure at first. But then she dipped it in some ketchup and thought it was perfect.

All three of my kids love her, but my oldest son has a special “big brother” relationship with her. Here they are at 6 a.m. yesterday, playing Princess Memory.


5. And that reminds me. It’s my goal to start getting myself ready to start the day by 8 a.m. so I will be ready to begin home school on Monday. It’s 8:41, and I am just getting out of bed. Maybe school should start at 10?

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So, tell me about some of the random thoughts in your head this morning. What’s on your mind?

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Always greener on the other side

Um… I woke up yesterday morning and realized I had forgotten Rule #51 of being pregnant: NEVER choose paint colors during the first, second OR third trimester.

I learned this important rule a few years ago while watching Trading Spaces. A woman featured on the show had painted her basement a horrible shade of salmony-pink, which she selected while pregnant.

Well, I’m not sure Hildi Santo-Tomas really improved the situation. I can’t remember the outcome. I only remember the important lesson about choosing colors while pregnant. Of course, I didn’t remember it until AFTER I had painted our living room and dining room this week.

This is actually the fourth time I have painted this room in the eight years we have lived in this house. That’s once for every child in the family. And the walls just keep getting a darker shade of green.

I do have one tiny bit of hope that I am not going to freak out once the baby is born and I see how dark my living room is. When I was buying the paint, the guy who mixed it stuck his finger in the can to make a little print on the top of the lid. He wiped off his finger on a cloth that had four other fingerprints that were almost EXACTLY the same color as mine!

“Everyone is buying green paint today,” he remarked.

Hopefully, all the other people weren’t painting their shutters and sheds, though. That’s all I could hope.

Before I show you the “before” and “after”, would you mind to go ahead and leave me a comment telling me how much you love it? I’m totally fine knowing in advance that you might be lying. I really won’t be able to handle any criticism right now, so if you non-pregnant people can go ahead and tell me this is a reasonable color, I would sleep better tonight. Thanks in advance.

Before… the lovely paler shade of green:


After… The much darker shade of green.



I do LOVE having feshly painted walls. Now, if only I had enough energy to paint the rest of the house, I would!

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It’s your choice

Saturday afternoon I decided to take my chances with what I knew would be a very challenging endeavor. I willingly chose that time to go to the grocery store.

Oh, I knew it would mean out-of-stock items, grumpy shoppers and long lines. But I was so giddy with the thought of my new seven-day meal plan and the simplified shopping that it promised that I floated into Meijer on the cloud of an organized grocery list.

I made it no farther than the lettuce when I saw her.

She stood out because her grey hair dangled almost to her thighs. She seemed to be wandering aimlessly from the Romain to the iceberg and back to the green leaf. Then she turned and looked me in the eyes.

“They hate me here, so I am going to shop somewhere else,” she said, matter-of-factly.

“Oh, no!” I replied, trying to look sympathetic, while acting like I suddenly remembered that I needed some mangoes on the other side of produce.

I couldn’t imagine what had happened that had made her feel so hated by the workers at Meijer. I really didn’t want to know. But I did know one thing for sure. I better make up my mind that very second that no matter what happened during the next hour and 20 minutes, I would not let anyone dampen my happy shopping mood.

Oh, there were so many temptations. Countless sale signs sitting beneath empty shelves. An elderly man who was so excited about the price of mixes that he was blocking my way for what seemed like 10 minutes. A self-check lane that wouldn’t dispense change to the man in front of me.

And her. The long-haired woman kept showing up in my path. Apparently, she had not actually gone somewhere else to shop.

She really didn’t seem deranged. I felt bad that I hadn’t taken the time to listen to her tale of being hurt by the workers at Meijer, but I simply knew the truth. They don’t hate her.

She had made the choice to feel that way. She could have chosen a different reaction to whatever grumpy worker she had encountered. I’m sure that none of them cared enough to hate her.

Each time I saw her, I tried to give her a big smile. I don’t know that it helped. But I was pretty happy for myself. I made it out of there in a good mood.

That woman actually made my shopping experience better. She challenged me to stay determined. No matter who I encountered or what was going on, I was going to smile and say something nice, rather than add to the grumpiness around me.

It was kind of fun. Fun enough to repeat next Saturday? Probably not. But a good reminder that each day my mood and my outlook depends on none other than me.

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