Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cocoa Amore

Yesterday I had the most delicious hot chocolate ever. Its by Cocoa Amore and its called Chocolate Candy Cane. Its like Christmas in a cup. Christmas is my favorite holiday and hot chocolate is one of my chilly weather staples this completely fits it.

There are other flavors too like Chocolate Gingerbread and Merry Cherry. I havent tried them yet, but cant wait too. Theyre perfect for the fall/wintery weather weve been getting here, especially at night. And they'd be great stocking stuffers for the holidays as well. Just wanted to share this little treat with you. They dont have their own site but can be found on Hope you can grab a cup & enjoy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making your own home management binder

Here's how to create your own home managment notebook to keep your family organized, and keep you from going crazy. I will give you some of my tips from my own life as well.

First you need a three ring binder. Decorate it however you like, thats the fun part. You'll also need a computer, printer, sheet protectors, folders, and a hole punch.

Next you need to type up a list of chores. Trust me, its alot easier when they can just check off what they have completed and go down the list. You can also find chore lists online at such sites as,,, and
Its easiest to make a chart and write each family members name next to a chore they need to complete. A seperate chore chart for kids is always helpful so they know exactly what they need to do.
After you complete that, make a couple copies (put one in a sheet protector and the rest behind it).

Now you need to make a master clean list. Have it broken down into rooms, with a description of what needs to be done in each room. Put this in a sheet protector as well, and behind the chore lists.

The home schedule is next. has the best one I've found but you can find them on your own or make your own if you like. Just print it out when your done (make a bunch of copies), and begin filling in the next couple weeks. I always do a month ahead but that is up to you. Put the week you're currently on/using in a sheet protector, and the rest behind it in order. Make sure to record any appointments, games, recitals, doctor visits, birthday parties, etc. I recommend going over it Sunday night for the week, so you and everyone in the house knows whats going on, and then keep that week on the fridge. Its your go to for the whole week.

This next part is optional but I find this to be helpful. I make a household inventory of staples items that need to be in the freezer, fridge, pantry, and household cleaning items. I wrote down items that constantly need to be replaced in those areas, so that grocery shopping is that much easier. I made columns for how many I always want in my fridge, freezer, pantry, and cleaning supplies, and how many I now need. The seperate lists make it alot easier when its time to grocery shop and even when you walk around the grocery store.

The next part is favorite recipes and weekly menus. i have alot of recipes books and a recipe box but this is my go to recipe finder. I put recipes that my family loves the most so ts much easier when its time to decide whats for dinner. The weekly menus is another optional part, but again I find it helpful. I make the menu for the week the week before so that theres never that what do I make tonight question or that blank stare into the refrigerator. It really doesn help to plan a week in advance and takes the stress of cooking dinner for the family after a long day.

This part is my least favorite part. The finance section. This is where I include receipts from grocery shopping and buying household items(cleaning supplies, etc.), and where I keep our monthly budget. Keeping the receipthelps me figure out at the end of the month what I spent where so I can see where we can cut back more. This is where the folder comes in. Go through your receipts monthly and dispose of them every 3 months. And everyone needs a budget (unless your extremely wealthy lol).

The final part is for my stepdaughter. If you have more than one child, I suggest making a section for each child. Include their chore chart as well as any other behavior charts you find. Try, they have alot of good ones. I like the My Morning Routine one and the Things I need to work on. also has the I listen the First Time chart as well as a few others that I like to use. They really help Brooke know what she needs to do in the morning, and when she completes the week and/or 7 days of I listened the first time she gets a prize. We found that this positive reinforcement and structure works very well with her.

I hope you like my ideas for the home management notebook, and you can always include any additional charts or printables you find when you search online. As always, thanks for reading!!

sick for over a year with no answers

So its been over a year now since the pain in my legs began, and slowly moved to my back, arms, and hands. I am not looking sympathy by writing this, just answers. Hopefully someone out there that reads this can help me. Any advice is welcome. In June of last year, I started getting achy pains in my legs after work each night. The pain soon became more constant, occuring during the day and night, and became more sharp as time progressed. I waited it out thinking maybe I wasnt wearing proper shoes to work ( I was a hairstylist so on my feet for 6-8 hours a day). By September, the pains were worse during the day, my legs were stiff in the morning, and at night the pain was nearly unbearable. my husband (fiance at the time) actually took me to the hospital on more than one occassion because the pain got so bad, and we didnt know what to do. As time progressed, doctors did bloodwork that came back with no results, and said maybe it was a vitamin deficincy. More time went on, and the pain began to spread to my back (all over, mostly middle), and my arms. Even as I'm writing this my hands are beginning to cramp and my arms are aching. My primary doctor suggested I see a rheumatologist, and in October took me out of work completely. The rheumatologist came up with nothing, and sent me to a neurologist (that I couldnt get an appointment with til January). I went through the holidays feeling worse than I ever felt in my life, and very depressed. I mean who wants to get up when you know the day is going to be filled with constant pain, and no one can tell you whats wrong. By January, numbness and constant pain were daily occurances, and I found no relief, even with the strong pain killers the doctors had me on. The neurologist ordered a MRI of my brain (I had begun getting confused, having memory loss, and headaches) and an EMG on my legs and arms. Both tests returned no results once again. I have been to numerous doctors in the past year, and have had more bloodwork than you can imagine (12-15 vials at a time), and they are no closer to finding out what is wrong with me. I had to go on antidepressants because of my hopeless feeling about my situation. I cannot write for more than a couple minutes (even had to take breaks during this post), or hold my arms up to do my own hair. If I bend down to pick something up, and bend my legs, they lock and it is extrememly difficult and painful to get back up. If I sit too long, I'm stiff and in pain when I try to move. If I stand or walk, I'm in pain. I'm constantly in pain, along with my headaches, chest pains & palpitations, and confusion. I cannot do anything I used to. I am still out of work, which has left us struggling to pay the bills for the last year (which I feel awful about). My husband even took a 2nd job to bring in more money, and we still were struggling. I know I should not feel sorry for myself, because there are people that are worse off than me. But I am looking for answers as I continue to hang in there, and try to stay strong every day. Please if you know anything, or know someone who might have some answers, comment or contact me. Also please pass this along to anyone who may be interested in helping me figure this out. I am relying on the public, because I cannot rely on my doctors. Thank you for reading this.
Halloween is coming!!

I always loved halloween, what kid doesnt. But halloween was extra fun for me because my birthday was only 3 days before it. My mom always threw me the best dress up birthday parties. She also always sewed my costume herself, which I never really appreciated then, but i definately do now. She was always so good at stuff like sewing, and now that I have my stepdaughter I wish I had asked her to teach me. Brooke won't be with us this halloween because we had her last year, but it was so fun dressing her up, and taking her around the neighborhood. She was a little spider countess, which is actually like a vampire costume but dont tell her that! lol. She loved getting to wear dark makeup and have me curl her hair, shes such a girly girl. I was so excited to take my stepdaughter out trick or treating for our first time together, and kind of sad I'll miss this year.

  My favorite halloween memory was the year I was a rockstar. I had pink spray glitter in my hair, and pink lace gloves, and I thought I was so cool. Halloween nights were always chilly but my mom took me around by herself until it would get dark out and then when we got home she would go through all the candy to make sure none had been tampered with. I always thought she was picking out her favorite pieces though, and waiting til she put me to bed to eat them! But last year after we got home from taking Brooke out, I found myself going through her candy the way my mom did, to make sure there was nothing that would make her sick or hurt her. Funny how things come full circle like that.
Feel free to leave comments of your favorite halloween memory, and happy trick or treating!!!