Wednesday, December 29, 2010

{a new year, the same goals}

It's almost 2011... and I can hardly believe it! Around this time each year I like to think about what went well during the current year (and what I want to continue doing in the new year) and what didn't go so well (and what I want to change in the new year).

What went well?

For the first time in my life I lost a good amount of weight! I joined a Skinny Jeans Challenge at Sweet Shoppe Designs in January. I was bound and determined that I was not going to lose my fizzle this time around. Not only did I stay motivated, but I was the biggest loser! I lost 40 pounds! It feels darn good to be able to shop at "normal" stores again.

I maintained a fairly clean house most of the year. This is quite an accomplishment for me. It's hard to work outside the home full time, be a full time mom, a full time wife, a full time cook & housekeeper, and maintain my sanity. But, I'm fortunate. My husband is a huge help. He does some of the cooking, some of the cleaning, and a lot of the laundry.

Life was organized. Luke's homework, lunch money & notes back to school were returned on time. I remembered meetings. I made sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. I planned a menu & created a grocery list based on the menu on a weekly basis. I made homemade meals most evenings.

I made time for me. I joined the PTO- and actually became secretary this year. I allowed myself guilt-free scrapbooking time. I had girls' nights out with my girls. I made quick shopping trips when I needed time alone. I worked out.

What could have gone better?

I fell off the weight-loss wagon. I won the Skinny Jeans Competition and maintained for a good few months. Then, I stopped caring. I haven't gained it all back... yet. But I need to get back on track. So, goal number 1: Be a healthier me. This includes 1.) getting back to the gym on a regular basis. I loved going to the gym. I love how I felt afterwards. I need that again. 2.) counting calories. It's so cliche, but it works! If I count my calories, I'm aware. I'm aware of what's going in. I'm aware of how much is going in. I pay attention to quantity. I pay attention to quality. 3.) making time for me. It's okay for me to have a girls' night out. It's okay to go and do something alone. If mom's not happy, ain't nobody happy. It's so true. 4.) making time for Joel. It's a goal for both of us to spend time in the Word together each and every night. It's a goal for both of us to pray together each and every day. 5.) run a 5K. Joel & I half-jokingly mentioned at Thanksgiving that at this time next year, we'll do the Turkey Run, which is a local 5K headed up by one of his coworkers. I can do this.

I was not a very encouraging wife. After eight and a half years of being married to him, I'm finally paying attention to my husband's needs. He needs to be encouraged. He needs to know that I need him. So goal number 2: Be an encourager. A text here; a note there. An encouraging praise; a statement of thanks. He doesn't just want to hear it. He needs to hear it. I think that spending time in the Bible and praying together will make it just that much easier to be encouraging to him, too.

I spent a lot of money this year. I easily got caught up in materialism. For me, it's not about the biggest, newest piece of technology. No, when I spend money it's a little here, a little there. New curtains for the bedroom because they're 50% off. (Nevermind that they're just a shade darker brown than the ones that we already have.) A new Lego set because Luke really wants it. (Nevermind that he has a million Lego sets already.) Goal number 3: Live frugally. Luke is going to Florida with his grandparents in a couple of weeks. During that week, Joel and I plan on sitting down and writing out a strict budge. We going to do the envelope system. In doing so, not only will we pay off our cars & house faster, but we will build a bigger savings account faster. And will be able to give more freely to those who aren't as fortunate. I'm excited. I'm ready to simplify.

I'm starting a journey, along with a bunch of others, started by my friend Meghan. It's called 3 in 30. It's all about making goals that are easily attainable and getting the support you need to meet your goals. I'm excited. I don't know how often I'll be able to update my blog or even check in on their Facebook page, but I plan to keep my goals the same all year long. And I plan to keep them at the forefront of my mind throughout 2011.

Be a healthier me.

Be an encourager.

Live frugally.
Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Mondays: Week of 8/15/10

I had a few suggestions that I share or link my menu each week. So, unless I run out of time to blog, you can find my weekly menu each Monday. Enjoy!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken & Black Bean Burritos (Joel rotisseries the chicken on the grill)

BBQ Chicken Salad (using the leftover chicken from the burritos)

Pepper Jack Chicken with Succotash

Triple Grilled Cheese and Homemade Tomato Soup

Crockpot Mac & Cheese with Turkey Smoked Sausage

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Love this song...

The first verse is a great reminder of why I teach every day...

Love Me by JJ Heller

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He's the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, Dear God won't you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She's the woman whose husband has run away
She'll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would've stayed
And she says

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He's waiting to die as he sits all alone
He's a man in a cell who regrets what he's done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
I know you've murdered and I know you've lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you'll listen, I'll tell you that I...

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

Showing off my latest layouts...

I haven't been keeping up with my blog much because I've been busy getting ready and starting a new school year! But here are my layouts from the past month... they are going to be quite a few!

{Memories. Preserved. Templates 17-20 by Susan Robinson Designs, Time Ticking Away by Lauren Grier, Dynomite Dates by Traci Reed (retired), Poppyseed font by Darcy Baldwin}

{Fresh and Fanciful by Eva Kipler, Sturdy Solids by Shawna Clingerman, Off-Set Alpha by A. Wolff Designs, Heavy Metal by Melissa Bennett, Kristin Writes by Darcy Baldwin}

{Boyz are Weird by Heather Roselli, Wave Templates by Sir Scrapalot}

{Template from Collection #45 by Janet Philips. Slow and Steady kit by Sir Scrapalot Designs}

{Down By the Sea Shore by Jennifer Fox Designs}

{Game On! by Penny Springmann, Board to Pieces by Penny Springmann, Bliss alpha by Lauren Reid, Template by Lauren Reid}

{Beach Bound by Eva Kipler}

{Go Outside! by Penny Springmann, Playtime alpha by Penny Springmann, Playdate by Penny Springmann}

{Template from Darcy Baldwin (Fill the Space), Stitch from Lauren Grier's Not What I Expected, "BE" from Painted Alpha by Fee, Me, Myself & Time Sir Scrapalot Designs @ Polka Dot Plum}

{f-stop by Heather Roselli}

{Anything You Can Do by Eva Kipler, Stick It Dates by Darcy Baldwin, Gimme Space font by Darcy Baldwin}

{Teacher's Pet by Heather Roselli, Kristin Writes font by Darcy Baldwin}

Because I had so many to post today, I didn't take the time to link the products. Let me know if you see something you want & I'll link you! :)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just a little advice...

Get a AAA membership. Or at least make sure your spare is inflated and you have the proper tire-changing tools in your car.

Oh, and while you're driving to get said tools, don't get distracted and get pulled over by a police officer.

And once you finally have an inflated tire, make sure you can get the bad tire off.

But if you don't follow my advice, it does eventually all work out. The tire will come off. And you will be able to get it replaced that afternoon. And you will learn your lesson and have all the tools you need in your car now. Now that it probably won't happen again for a very long time.

Not that this happened to us on the way to church on Sunday or anything.

Nope, not us.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

testing... testing... 1, 2, 3

I wasnt able to posg from my phone before because fhe app wasnt working. will it work now?

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To wake or not to wake?

This is the week we start getting Luke back on a school bedtime schedule. We failed miserably last night. Our goal was to have him in bed by 8:45. He didn't get there until about 9:45. He and dad had some major bonding time, so that's okay. But tonight, we have to!

I know he'll go to sleep easier if I wake him early in the morning. But that means a few things from me. a.) I have to get up early myself. b.) I have to deal with Mr. Grouch all day. c.) I don't get this quiet time in the morning when he's still sleeping.

So, he's still sound asleep at 8:21 a.m.

Tomorrow. I'll start tomorrow. Right?

How do you get your kid ready for a new school with his sleeping schedule? Or are you one of those good moms and dads that keep them on their schedule all summer long so there isn't a difference? Hee hee.
Monday, August 2, 2010

Mmm, mmm Monday!

Mondays are one of my favorite days because it starts a whole new week of menu choices. I typically get my groceries over the weekend, but we just kind of pick and eat and go out all weekend. So today's the day... and I have some fun new things to try this week!

On this week's menu, in no particular order. (Because we just choose whatever we feel like that night, really.)

For lunches, we eat sandwiches, soup, leftovers. This week I think I'm going to make Pampered Chef's baked potato soup because my mom gave me leftover baked potatoes from yesterday's lunch. Oh and we'll have leftover ribs from lunch, too. Mmmmmm.... now I'm hungry.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Look what I came home to!

After spending a whole week in Cleveland, we arrived back home late afternoon yesterday. We had a ton of fun... spent a ton of money... and made a ton of memories. But more of that later, when my pics are all uploaded and edited.

I wanted to share what I came home to... my very first blog award. :)

Thanks, Melanie, for the blog love! If you haven't read Mel's blog, you should. She always makes me smile. And my favorite posts of hers are the Not Me Mondays posts... because I can so easily relate! Oh! And she's clearing off her nightstand with book giveaways right now! Go! Enter!

So from what I understand I now tell you seven {very random} things about me. So here goes...

1. I despise cilantro. I chalk it up to when I lived in Ecuador and had to eat Ecuadorian food. And most Ecuadorian food has a lot of cilantro in it. Or at least in my mind it does. Ew.

And that leads me to...

2. I lived in Ecuador. Twice. The first time I went with a group of kids (of course we weren't kids back then, but man, that was ten years ago!) for a semester abroad in college. Then, after college graduation I returned with a good friend of mine to teach for a semester.

3. I get really excited for alone time when grandma and grandpa take Luke for a day or four. Then, I complain because it's too quiet in the house and I'm bored.

4. I just bought a Nook for myself. Well, technically, Joel bought it for me and I bought one for him. Early Christmas presents. But we do this every year- this buying early Christmas presents thing. And we still end up getting each other Christmas presents at Christmas time.

5. I want another child. I've wanted one for about five years now. We've come close twice, but lost them early on in the pregnancy. I'm learning that God's plans are not always mine. And I'm ever-so-grateful he blessed us with Luke (who was a pleasant surprise, btw).

6. I have a farmer's tan. There. I said it.

7. I'm kind of liking this blogging thing. I just hope I can keep it up once the school year starts. (I'm a teacher, in case you didn't know. And that would make eight things about me.)

And now it's time to pass along the award. Today's recipients are...

Shannan from Flower Patch Farmgirl

Heather from The Life of a Modern Day Hippie

And my hubby at Too Long for 140, who won't follow the directions and resend to anyone else, gets it anyway

Friday, July 23, 2010

Travel Tips.

Because we've traveled every summer with Luke... throwing in a few weekend trips & day trips throughout the rest of the year, I feel like we've got this traveling with kids thing down pat.

Here are some tips that make things bearable in the Kratzer-mobile.

1. Road Trip Car Games- We have travel bingo and a wipe-off board for the license plate game. I saw at Target a few days ago a few travel games in their luggage section that I may go back and get- tic-tac-toe, hangman, another version of bingo. Also, in this month's Family Fun magazine they have four pages worth of new & really fun car games. (Actually, the entire magazine this month has a lot of end-of-summer/road trip ideas!)

This is our travel bingo. I got it from "the book man" who brings books and stuff to our school to buy. It's so much fun!

2. Washable markers & colored pencils and a notebook- we don't bring crayons. We don't want melted crayons all over the backseat. :) Genius I know. But Luke loves to draw. And write. Sometimes he'll write adventure stories. Sometimes he'll just write. I like a spiral notebook because the pages stay together and the backseat doesn't look like a paper recycling plant when we get to the hotel. Throw in Do You Doodle? and there goes an hour of the trip.

3. White board and dry erase markers. I keep these up front with me. But it's a fun way to write secret messages to Luke (and a great way to practice his reading without him even know it!). Or it's a great way to keep track of how many miles we've already traveled and how many there are to go. Take it a step further (and it makes for less stuff to bring) and play the road trip games on them.

4. Mix. I can't say it enough. This trusty snack has gone with us on vacations and road trips for as long as I can remember. Each time it's a little different. This year our mix consists of Reece's Puffs cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheerios, bite-sized chocolate chip grahams, cheese crackers (usually it's goldfish but we had these already and went with it), Reece's Pieces, M&Ms, peanuts... I think that's it. Some years we'll throw in pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate chips (but those DO melt!), almonds, cashews, chocolate covered raisins, yogurt covered raisin... the possibilities are endless!

5. Water bottles with a sports cap or straw. No spills. No whining, "I'm thiiiiiirsty!" Unless you or your husband is anything like my dad. He always liked to make us wait until our eyeballs were yellow, which was usually at the hotel, fifteen hours away from our last stop. If that's the case, leave the water at home and deal with the whining. They'll thank you in twenty years. By the way, I have a new favorite water bottle. Nathan water bottles have straws that don't leak and it makes me constantly drink water.

6. Your camera. Who says you have to wait until you're at your destination to start taking pictures? Now that most everyone has gone digital, hand the camera over to the kids and let them take pictures. Last December, Luke spent half a trip taking pictures of who knows what. I saved a few and deleted the rest.

7. Books and magazines. We have to go easy on the books while traveling in our family. I get sick if I read just one line of something. And I'm afraid Luke is slowly following in my footsteps. He can handle an hour or so before he starts getting queasy. But if you are able, reading is an awesome way to pass the time. Take turns reading a page or a book to each other!

8. Portable DVD player. We love this thing. And now with the invention of the Red Box, we can grab a movie before we leave and switch it at a town three hours away if we need! Don't forget the headphones!

9. Hand-held games. Electronic or not- Nintendo DS, PSP, Rubik's Cube, or download a few game apps on your phone. Luke loves Spongebob memory or Super Mario puzzles (you remember those little handheld plastic things with the squares that you have to rearrange until you have a complete picture? It's on my phone now. :) ).

10. A pillow. Ah, yes. This one is my favorite. I love to sleep in the car. Have you ever used a travel neck pillow? Heaven I tell you. I sleep like a baby when I use one. My poor husband didn't know what he got himself into when he married me. Long, quiet, lonely road trips. Ha!

11. Baby wipes. They're great for everything- cleaning up spills, wiping mouths, blowing noses. Throw a tub of 'em in your car and go!

12. Plastic grocery bags. Reuse and bring a few to use as trash bags in the car. Makes for an easy clean-up one you arrive at your destination.

13. A little tote or tub. If you like to stay organized, keep everything in a little tote or tub. We just got Luke a new one from 31 Gifts to keep his stuff in the backseat.

Happy travels!
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vacation is upon us...

We make a point to go somewhere each summer. Lately, it's just been somewhere to one of the neighboring states. Chicago last year... Cleveland this year. But it's somewhere. And it's good to get away, no matter how far.

Like I said this year is a trip to Cleveland. Joel and I went to Cleveland for our first anniversary. We visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We went to an Indians game.
(Actually, Luke was with us, too, and we have a picture of him at the game. Okay, it was my belly, but he was there!)

So anyway, we enjoyed that trip so we thought we'd make another trip there, this time with Luke outside of my body. ;) Usually I'm the one making the game plan- researching what's suitable for families and what sites are the best to see. But this year, Joel has it planned. We're heading to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame again, of course.

And another Indians game, which the guys are all ready with their jerseys & hats.

But this time we're going to the Great Lakes Science Center...

and to Cuyahoga Falls National Park to maybe find some geocaches and take in the awesomeness of God's creation.

And we're even going to head to visit my in-laws for a few days in their new-ish home!

I have to admit. Until now I haven't been too excited about this year's vacation. Maybe it's because I didn't get to do the planning. Maybe it's because I know that school is just around the corner when we return home. Maybe it's just the fact that I have to get the house ready for my cousin Brent to come and stay for a week with the dog.

But I'm over it. And even though this house is still in need of some attention. Even though school will still start a week and a half after we get back. Even though I didn't do the planning. I'm super excited to spend some quality time with my two favoritist boys in the whole world.

About Me

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I'm Kristin. Married since 2002 to a super cool guy named Joel. We have a super amazing boy named Luke and a super cuddly pup named McCarthy. I'm not a very consistent blogger (at all) but I do go in spurts. I like to keep people on their edge of their seats. Ha!
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