my life in bullet points

my life in bullet points


Since I started my bullet journal a few weeks ago, I’ve started thinking in bullet points. It’s kind of fun to sum up your day in just a few short sentences. The last few days have been amusing so I thought I would share them here… #BuJo style.

* I wore out my crockpot.

* Who uses a crockpot so much that it actually wears out, and you have to throw it away? #winning

* I revived two plants from the dead.

* My plants are GROWING!

* After many failed attempts, I remembered how to make a friendship bracelet.


* I taught our 6-year-old how to make friendship bracelets. #addicted

* Matthew had to wear black dress clothes to his 8th grade band concert.

* He grew out of all of his black clothes.


* I reluctantly bought a pair of black pants for $55 because they were the only ones I could find in his size.

* When I checked out, they were on clearance for $5.50.

* $5.50!

* Some days, I can’t tell you how much I want to eat a bagel, ravioli from a can, Ghirardelli brownies, a grilled cheese sandwich, Saltine crackers.

* Can Celiac Disease be over now?

* Andrew thinks our family dinners are so funny they should be a show.

* Every subscriber to the show should get a copy of my cookbook, Slightly Delicious and a Little Bit Nutritious.

*** What does the bullet point version of your life look like this week? I would love to hear about it!

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The hazards of getting dressed for work when you stay at home

This week, I am celebrating my 11-year anniversary as a stay-at-home mom. This has been the best job I could ever have hoped for. However, to commemorate this momentous occasion, I also want to point out one of the perils of going to work at home.
When I first started staying home more than a decade ago, it was difficult to motivate myself to get up and get ready in the morning when I had no where to go. Many times, I wouldn’t even take a shower until right before my husband came home from work.
I have come full circle since then. Now, I know that I will feel better about myself if I get up and put on clothes that I like even if I don’t have any plans to leave the house. I even complete my daily outfit with accessories, such as a necklace or a scarf.
But this can also lead to some significant dangers on the job. 
Take for example, the long necklace. Now, we all know it’s stylish to wear a long necklace. But look what can happen when you attempt to cook dinner! There is nothing worse — nothing! — than raw chicken on your long necklace!
Then, there is the fashion scarf. It is cute. It’s stylish. But it is not a practical look for cleaning any part of the house that involves bleach. Just imagine what can happen when the long scarf meets cleaning the toilet. (It gives me shivers just to think about it.)

Finally, there’s the cape. I love my comfy cape with the long, dangly fringe. But I cannot even tell you how many times I have nearly burst into flames trying to bake while wearing the cape. Just imagine the danger of pulling a pan of cookies out of the oven while wearing the long cape!

So, I admit, it is crazy to subject myself to this kind of danger on a daily basis. But I have to say it’s worth it. When I lounge around in my PJs all day, I get grumpy. It’s better to get up, get dressed, go to work and just try my best to survive the accessories!
What about you? Do you like to lounge around if you are going to work at home? Or do you prefer to get dressed for the day?


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I’m wearing red on the inside

A couple of years ago, it was Cubs-White Sox night at Awana. Since I’m the one who buys clothes for everyone in this house, the kids didn’t have a stitch of sports-related clothing in their closets.

I called my husband from a last-minute clothing search at Wal-Mart a couple of hours before it was time to go: “Honey, are we for the Cubs or the White Sox?”

“The Cardinals,” he replied.

You see, my husband and I are both born and raised in southern Illinois. Down there, if you talk about baseball, you are either for the Cardinals or the Cubs. If you choose the Cubs, everyone hates you, but at least you do have that as a choice.

So, I have been a Cardinals fan as long as I can remember. Well, that’s a Cardinals fan in my own little, “I don’t care about baseball and could you please turn the radio station to some music” type of way.

Even though St. Louis proper is just past the border of Illinois, I think people in southern Illinois feel more like they can relate to that city than what’s happening in big ol’ Chi-ca-go, a million miles away. To us, even though St. Louis was a two-hour drive, it was one of the closest shopping malls to my home. My whole family would pile in the station wagon and drive over there for an entire day of shopping and dinner out at The Spaghetti Factory.

This might not make sense to some of my suburban readers who think that when I’m talking about southern Illinois I mean Joliet or DeKalb or Rock Island. Those are very much in the northern part of the state. And, I regret to inform you that even Peoria, Champaign and Bloomington still don’t make it past the halfway point of our long state. I am actually talking about places and events that happen in SOUTHERN Illinois.

It’s there. Trust me.

Anyway… Back to baseball.

My husband has always been a huge Cardinals fan, but up here, you kind of have to practice your allegiance in private since you are so surrounded by St. Louis haters. There just aren’t a lot of people who want to come over to watch a Cardinals game on TV. And I do believe he has been boo-ed a time or two for wearing his redbird hat out in public.

But during the last couple of years, we have become good friends with a family from St. Louis. They have three boys who are great friends with our boys. So, our two families have developed a bond around our love for the Cardinals.

When it became apparent the Cardinals were on their way to the World Series, I couldn’t look away any longer. I decided to join in on the fun. I had to stop thinking about my iPhone and necklaces and Photoshop tricks for a while and focus my brain on sports.

I have to tell you there have been some DRAMATIC changes in my lifestyle during the last few weeks. For example:

  • Last week, my husband was not home, and for the first time in my life, I willingly turned on the TV to watch a sporting event.
  • On another day, I missed the game. The first thing I did the next morning was check the score. (I can’t believe I just said, “I checked the score.”) hee hee hee.
  • I have learned to recognize the players. I can now match up their names to their faces and the positions they play on the field.
  • I even know some facts about the players and have been known to spout them off while we’re watching a game.
  • But the most amazing feat yet came during Game 6. My husband got discourage after the 5th inning and went to bed. I stayed up until midnight, watching that unbelievable 11-inning game! I even posted about it on Facebook like real sports fans do! (You have to know how much sleep I require on a nightly basis to fully grasp the magnitude of this last statement.)

However, there has been one thing I have not been able to bring myself to do to support My Cardinals. I simply can’t wear red.

I’m sorry, redbirds.

I don’t look good in red. When I wear red, people always ask me if I’m feeling OK. Before I diagnosed myself with a red-wearing disorder, I was known to have to go home in the middle of the day and change clothes because I wasn’t feeling “quite right.”

I don’t even like to stand in a red room or next to a red wall. With my pale, splotchy skin, I look like a corpse with chicken pox.

I’m not able to get all dressed up in my Cardinals gear today to support the World Series Champs. I’ll have to do that in a cute, comfy sweater in a neutral tone and possibly a coordinating scarf. But believe me, people, I’m Cardinals through and through. I’m wearing red on the inside.


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My new frenemy

I was really a little surprised when I got up today and found it was pretty much like any other day. I had expected more of a change. A transformation even. Surely my life would be radically different.

I mean yesterday was the day I had been waiting on for months. It was around 10:29 a.m. when we heard a knock at the door. We all leaped from our seats and ran to make sure she didn’t leave. The FedEx lady handed me the package, and I gave her my signature.

I was afraid to even open the box for the first few hours. I knew the excitement would be too much for us to concentrate on school. So there it sat. All wrapped up in its cute little white box just waiting to work its magic.

I had already been thinking of how I would use Facetime. I was imagining who I could iMessage. Oh, and the Reminders. Those were going to be amazing.

But in reality, not much had changed when I rolled out of bed this morning for my first full day with my new 4S. I synched her up, and my day started out like any ordinary day. I checked my e-mail. I checked Facebook. I texted a few people.

By the afternoon, I even used the phone feature.

I started playing around. All my apps were there. My music was there. But there was one button I was determined I would never tap. I had heard enough about Siri to bring back nightmares of that love-hate relationship I once had with my GPS. I have accepted the fact I simply have an unhealthy fear of automated voices telling me what to do.

I remembered how irritated I used to get when Richard, my GPS voice, would start shouting at me to make a U-Turn when I was simply trying to pull off the highway to get gas. I know my way around my own neighborhood so I would about lose it when he would tell me to turn left and take the long way out of the subdivision. And I can’t even tell you how many times I almost veered into a line of semi-tractor trailers because Richard insisted that I “GET IN THE RIGHT LANE.”

I admit it. I was afraid of Siri.

So, I guess that’s what finally did it for me. I just felt I needed to conquer my fear. And what better time to do it than when I was browning hamburger meat and holding a cranky toddler on my hip. I needed to get my 9-year-old home for dinner.

I held down the center button and told Siri to text. I was nervous, yes. But I gave her my message plain and clear. Then she said, “Are you ready to send your message?”

Being the control freak I am, I couldn’t help it. I reached up and tapped the send option myself.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” I told her. Could she hear me? What would she say?

I fully expected her to lash out at me or to tell me to make a U-Turn. Her screen didn’t change. She seemed fine. No big deal. Whew.

My confidence was growing. “Add So-and-So to my contacts,” I said.

“I’m not allowed to complete that request.”

What? Not allowed? Hmmm. I could sense her passive aggressive attitude. I would show her who is boss.

“What can Siri do?” I asked.

She displayed a long, and I must say, impressive list of her functions. She could text someone. Call someone. Play a song. Search the Internet. Check the weather. Remind me of stuff. Set an alarm. And the list goes on.

I decided to give her a test.

“What’s the weather?”

“Play Jamie Grace.”

Not only did she do what I asked, she added on a few cheerful remarks, like “Let’s hear some ‘Hold Me’,” or “The weather isn’t looking so great this week.”

I couldn’t believe it. Maybe she likes me!

And you know what… I was starting to like my personal assistant. You might even call her My Office Manager. Except it just seemed so stereotypical. Why did Siri have to be a woman? If I was going to have an assistant, I think it would be nice to have a man to boss around.

So, I asked her how to change her voice. I went through about 20 voices with my GPS before I settled on Richard. She didn’t know the answer (or so she said) so I had to figure it out on my own. I finally discovered that I couldn’t change her voice, but I could change her nationality.

I decided to make her English (Australian). Now that sounded much better. Her voice wasn’t as choppy and uptight with that nice Australian accent.

Only one problem. I asked her the weather and she gave me the weather in Sydney, Australia. I asked her to search for something and she said she couldn’t understand me. I tried to convince myself that just because SHE was from Australia that didn’t mean she could only understand me if I was from Australia!

Just because she was speaking English (Australian) didn’t mean she couldn’t understand what I was saying when I spoke English (perfect Midwestern United States of American with a slight southern drawl).

I asked her to “Show me Popeye,” and she responded with “Show me Papa?” I asked her “Where is Olive Oyl?” and she responded with “Redial by?”

I wished I could set her voice to Swedish Chef or Yoda or Southern…. something — ANYTHING — I might be able to better communicate with. But no. I wasn’t going to dare try Spanish or French. English (Australian) seemed like my best bet.

So, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Hopefully, it’s all just a fluke. If not, maybe she’ll be able to understand me all the way over in Australia. Or maybe I will be able to perfect my Australian accent by then.

I’m hoping I didn’t irk her enough already. With my luck, she’ll probably turn her alarm on for 5 a.m. and set it to shout, “Turn right! Turn right!”


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My extreme workout revealed

I’ve had several people ask me lately about my workout routine. I know a lot of people are into P90X right now. I have friends training for marathons or 10Ks. Others do spin class, boot camp or other types of extreme workout classes with fancy names.

Me? I’m more of a runner. I have been sticking with the same routine for the past 10 years or so and it has really been working well for me.

Basically, the way it works is that every so often, I decide to strap on my running shoes and go out for a 1-mile run. This typically happens about once every two years (give or take six months or so). That is why I named it My Biannual Run. This should not be confused with a semi-annual run, which would be a 1-mile run twice a year. This is once every two years, so you really have to stay on top of your calendar.

Now, I run about a 14-minute mile, so it’s really a sight to see if I come jogging down the sidewalk. “Jogging” isn’t really the right word, but I have been looking through the Thesaurus and I’m not sure there’s a word in the English language that really describes what I do. It’s not really an “amble.” “Meander” doesn’t work, or “mosey.” “Stroll” isn’t quite right or “toddle.” “Sashay” is close, only because there is a bit of a swing to it.

So, the entire time I am sashaying my one-mile run, I am thinking about how I am going to continue doing this more than once every two years. I think about doing it three times a week. I decide I am going to work my way up to three miles and then six.

The problem is that with a workout routine like mine, all conditions have to be perfect before I can set out on My Biannual Run.

  • I have to check with all of my runner friends who live in or near my neighborhood to find out when and where they run and then I have to completely avoid those routes. There is nothing more discouraging than being passed by someone you know. Trust me.
  • I have to run when it’s starting to get dark outside, but not totally dark. This is so people don’t stop and stare at me when I’m running. When you run a 14-minute mile, people tend to roll down their windows and ask if you need help. They aren’t sure if you are ill or maybe you are trying to run from something. I don’t like to cause people to worry.
  • At the same time, it can’t be too dark because of the tripping factor. I can’t even tell you how many times I have had to run the last half mile with bloody knees because I tripped on the sidewalk.
  • Finally, I can’t be hungry. But I don’t want to eat too close to the run. I could get a side ache, which could cause me to have to walk.

So, to find all of these conditions lining up at exactly the same time is difficult. In fact, it only happens about once every two years. But let me tell you. When it does. I am ready.

That’s basically the key to my whole workout. Just stay ready. Have cute jogging clothes on hand and be prepared to put them on at a moment’s notice. And when the workout is done, you can take a deep breath because a moment like that probably won’t come around again for a while.


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My year, according to Facebook

I compiled my favorite Facebook status updates of 2010. Here are the top 24. (That’s two a month, you know.)

1. Jayda: “ga-ga-ga-ga” Translation: “So many pieces of furniture to spit up on, so little time.”

2. I’m not sure how I’m going to tell my imaginary personal trainer on Wii Active that I haven’t been showing up to jog in place on her fake track because I’m too busy dancing with my imaginary friends on Wii Just Dance. I think I’m getting more of a workout, too.

3. I’m wondering how the “French bread” I made for dinner is going to taste, since I just read the package and found out it was a roll of refrigerated pizza crust dough.

4. I’m thinking about going on my biannual run. I try to run one mile once every two years. It’s a rigorous schedule so I want to make sure I’m mentally prepared before I just jump in.

5. Three children in awana. Spent the evening at awards ceremony. One out of the 3 actually made it all the way home with the award.

6. Matthew just asked me when I was a kid how old I had to be to have an iPod. 🙂

7. I love how the first born wants to make sure he completely understands the rules. The second born tries his best to break the rules. And the third born is like, “Oh, I didn’t know there were rules!”

8. I love my 9-year-old. I asked him the difference between famous and obscure. Famous: “Barack Obama.” Obscure: “A kid named Toto Baggypants who lived in Africa and only had nine friends.”

9.The kids found a centipede in our house so they used the scissors to cut it into three pieces. When it was STILL moving, they suggested we put it on Facebook, my blog AND my iPod… “That would really froke people out,” according to Alayna. (Froke is the past tense of freak, in case you didn’t know.)

10. just discovered the best way to do laundry: “One load at a time.” (If anyone wants to quote me on this amazing statement, please feel free. I’m sure it will be a famous quote someday. hahahaha.)

11. deep thoughts from a 9-year-old: “When Tiger Woods was good, it seemed like he was really good. But when he’s not good, you find out his true character… I get tired of seeing his tantrums.”

12. Alayna has an empty water bottle and she wants to know if she can use it for a “Skittles” bottle. Her plan is to go around the neighborhood and ask people if they have any leftover Skittles.

13. The 7 year old just came downstairs wearing swimming trunks, a firefighter jacket and carrying an Indiana Jones whip. Sometimes, I don’t bother to ask why.

14. Quotes of the day: “WHEN is tomorrow?” … and you can’t let your toothbrush touch someone else’s toothbrush because “you might get diabetes!!”

15. Hmmm… Not sure about certain little boys who beg me to go down the tube slide with them because my extreme weight will increase their speed, then to thank me they jump off at the end and make me flip into the water! Fun times!

16. Perspective is a great thing. Funny how when we had one child it seemed like we had our hands full. But now that we have four, and three are at a sleep-over, it seems totally quiet with one.

17. Quote of the week: Matthew: “So what’s that smell at So-and-So’s house?” Andrew: “I think it’s… clean-ness.” (Because, clearly, it’s not a smell they are used to!)

18. Uncle! I’ve reached my limit. Just did the “emergency” load of laundry so we would have clothes for soccer tomorrow. The washing machine was on the spin cycle when I noticed the clothes still sitting on the floor. The load of water should be nice and clean.

19. Kent and I have been married for 13 years. He just said to me: “It’s been the best 10 years of my life.” Oh well… at least we make each other laugh!

20. We are studying biology this year, and we have read three different books recently with sections about the sea cucumber. When it is threatened, it protects itself by expelling its intestines. Another fish likes to live inside the cucumber and sometimes eats its insides. When we opened our book today and saw another setion on the sea cucumber, Alayna said, “Oh no! Not that pickle again!”

21. I love it when the kids, including their friends, all come inside for hot chocolate after playing outside since the crack of dawn, they take off their snowsuits and realize they are still wearing PJs. So funny!

22. iPad.

23. I solved the rubik’s cube.

24. The zoo lights really put me in the Christmas spirit. I’m ready to get out the Christmas tree! Visiting the zoo in December inspired me to write this poem: At the zoo. In the Winter. No crowds. No animals.


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