Friday, January 29, 2010

a recipe worth saving


This is a warning that what you are about to read will be a lot heavier than what I have been normally talking about, but sometimes life takes you down a path that you don't anticipate on going. I have been known to have a very detailed memory. I remember odd things, like what my friend, Elsa was wearing nearly 15 years ago the day I met her. It would stand to reason that I would remember such a horrifying event as the one that occurred a year and a half ago. Taken from my journal:

July 15, 2008

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glory,

forever and ever.


I have recited this over and over again the last ten minutes as I have been in shock. I woke up this morning to my son screaming at the top of his lungs, my husband flipping on the lights and yelling, "where is his pen???? WHERE IS HIS PEN" As I try to wake up and understand what he is talking about, I look at E and he has begun an anaphylatic shock. This would be the fourth in our family and each time my heart sinks. I sprint to get it, I hold him down, as my husband injects the pen into my son who is now lifeless and unrecognizable. I yell that he has to go to the emergency room. I can't remember if I am supposed to give him benadryl or not after the epi-pen. What kind of mother am I? Why can't I remember???? Not to double dose him, I carry my son and sprint towards the car. My husband drives off with my baby to the emergency room. For the first time, I am left alone, in a dark house, awaiting the phone call which could change my life forever. The only thing I could do is write. If not, I think I would go insane. Please pray for my son. please.

I have been there for all anaphylatic shocks. I have been the one in the emergency room by myself each time. R has had 2 while E has now had 2. I don't know what is worse, to be driving and looking in the rear view mirror horrified that your son looks nothing like himself and acts nothing like himself, thinking, breathe, just breathe or be waiting with no one to hold and be comforted by, not knowing what is going on, to just be in the dark, waiting for the phone to ring. What I would give to switch places with my son right now. He is the love of my life and if I were to lose any aspect of him, I know I will never be whole. He is part of me, forever. God above, please watch after my son. Please protect him and bring him back to me. I am his mother and he is my child. I need him in my life. He is my life.

Those were the horrifying events of E's last anaphylactic shock. He was bitten by an ant. The fact that a tiny little insect can cause such a tremendous outcome is mind boggling to me. Last night, R had his 3rd anaphylactic shock and it nearly changed my life. I anticipated sharing many different recipes on this blog. Never in a million years did I think I would be sharing this one. I just learned it last night and I thought it was definitely a recipe worth saving:

R's Life

  • 30 minutes
  • 1 epipen jr.
  • 1 shot of steroids
  • 1 nebulizer
  • 2 doses of inhaling drugs
  • 1 oxygen tank
  • 1 amazing pediatrician
  • 4 incredible RN's
  • many prayers
Last night I received the best birthday gift that I could possibly ever get, I got my son, R back. That recipe saved my son's life. He had an allergic reaction that prevented him from breathing. This would be his 3rd anaphylactic shock. I remember each one as if it were yesterday, but this particular one nearly took his life. I was told that this is the worst it gets before ...(and I will let you fill in the blank).

Why share something that is so personal? Because I want people to be aware that food allergies can be the meaning of life and death and when someone says they are allergic, it is not something you should take lightly. I read a story where a person died from eating an icecream with nuts. She had told the person behind the counter that she was allergic to nuts and asked for another icecream cone. Instead of making a new one, they just scraped it off the top. She ended up dying.

This blog today is dedicated to the team of nurses and doctors that joined forces to saving my son. I am eternally grateful for all that they did. As stated in the 2008 journal entry, I am his mother and he is my child. I need him in my life. He is my life. This is definitely the greatest birthday gift I could ever imagine getting.

Life is definitely short. Try to live your life to the fullest. Don't go a moment without telling your loved ones how much you love and adore them. Never say goodbye without kisses and hugs. Be grateful for every minute of the day. Forget about the little things that bother you. Remember all the things that make you happy. Live, love, and learn like today was your last. Those are the things that I aspire to live by from now on. I believe it is the greatest lesson I could have learned on my birthday. I hope to aspire you to live this way as well.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Birthday Month

It's my birthday this week and I plan on cashing in on as many freebies as I can get.
I love my birthday month because there are so many freebies to be had. All you have to do is sign up for them. Here is what I got in my inbox this month:

Tokyo One – free tea set (they are super cute, I got one last year), 10% off if you come on your actual birthday, and a free special cake (super yummy)

Benihana – free meal up to $30.00 during Birthday month

Benihana would like to wish you a
very Happy Birthday.

And as a member of The Chef's Table, we're pleased to invite you to a birthday celebration in your honor.

Simply print out the certificate above and bring it along with valid photo identification with proof of date of birth (e.g., driver’s license) to any participating Benihana location during the calendar month of your birthday to receive a complimentary meal (maximum value of $30, excludes alcoholic beverages, gratuity and tax).

Red Robin Gourmet Burger – free Gourmet Burger of your choice

Genghis Grill – Free Birthday Bowl

Smoothie King – free smoothie with purchase of 20oz or larger smoothie

Joe’s Crab shack – free appetizer up to $7.99

Texas De Brazil – free dinner with purchase of full priced dinner

Whataburger - free whataburger

Baskin Robbins – free scoop of ice cream and $3 off coupon for ice cream cake

Sephora – free lip gloss

Children’s Place – Additional 15% off purchase, can be used in conjunction with Rewards 10% off.

Those are the emails that I received recently, but I am sure there are many more places that offer discounts and freebies on your birthday. Last year, I took my son to Olive Garden on his birthday and they sang to him. They had a small chocolate cake that you can buy for $5. Ask for the "celebrations cake" since it isn't on the menu. Great price. It fed all 6 of us with plenty of left over to take home. Many restaurants will offer free dessert if you just mention it is your birthday. Look up your favorite restaurants to see if they participate and you can end up with a month of free meals and desserts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let the renovations begin

We met with the pool builder last night and reached an agreement. Although, we did go slightly over budget, we did get the grotto slide and pool finish we wanted. The picture above is indicative of what it will look like. Our slide will be a little bit larger and will be angled more. We were undecided about the outdoor kitchen. The area will be prepped and decking will be added regardless for a future addition if we do not proceed with the kitchen and arbor at this time. I am so excited that we are finally moving forward. I can't wait to get started. If all goes well, we should break ground in a month after getting all the necessary permits. Hopefully, the weather cooperates with us so we can finish by May. It will be wonderful to have it done before my 5 year old's birthday. E would be ecstatic and we could even have our very first pool birthday party! More pictures of process and progress will be posted as project gets underway!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Diving off the Deep End

We have debated over the last three years whether or not we want to take the plunge and build a pool. The issues that arise in deciding are definitely the costs, maintenance and safety issues that come with owning a pool. I don't like the unexpected and not knowing what I am getting into makes me a tad bit nervous. After all, I am a planner. I like to take the safety bet. I am not so much the risk taker.

We have decided to jump in and build the pool. Now, comes the issue of price. We want more than what we budgeted for. Pool builders, to me, are basically car salesmen. They will say whatever and promise you whatever to get you to buy. The last four cars I have purchased have always been through email. I negotiate price, features, and I definitely play their quotes off one another to get the lowest possible price, which is usually a few hundred BELOW invoice (not MSRP). It may not work for every car out there, but it has worked for me. You just need to do a little research and find out what the invoice price is. I don't have time to go into the dealership and wait as they play their game and wear you down. In emailing, I like the fact that I am not waiting for them, but they are actually waiting for my reply. I usually get more than what I wanted because in the end, they want to sell the car. Making the sale is better than not.

I am trying to use the same technique when it comes to negotiating a price for the pool. Our goal is trying to stay exactly within budget, but still getting everything that is on our list. Yesterday it seemed as though we may have to give up our grotto (rocky overhang waterfall) slide which is more costly than what I want to spend, but one pool builder came to the table with an offer that made us rethink. We are discussing the details tonight. If all goes well, my backyard will finally get a face lift. I have been holding off on planting trees because the bobcats (equipment used to dig and transport dirt) would just destroy them. I can't wait to get started.

Here are some of the initial designs that we liked:

There is an 8" tanning ledge on the left, a place where my littlest one can play.

I am in love with the table and umbrella in the water. There is a bench around the table so that you could be in the water, but still be in the shade.

After some tweaking with safety gates, adding the slide and basketball goal (which will be removable, our final designs are shown below:

I will have to give up my umbrella water table for the slide.

We really like the the outdoor kitchen that was designed for us. It extends our porch and provides more decking, giving us a bigger seating area. We are big fans of grilling. It has been tough for the past year, having a broken grill.

The wrought iron doesn't look that great, but we like it better than having a fence around the entire pool. Safety takes precedence over beauty in my book.

There you have it. Possibly, my future backyard. I was at JoAnn's the other day and saw outdoor fabric on sale. I was tempted to buy it, in hopes of reupholstering my outdoor furniture, but I am going to wait until I can see the whole picture. Then I will decide what I want it to look like. It's one more room to decorate! I am really excited now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

how much is that doggie in the window?

This is my 5 year old's favorite song to play on the piano. We have to sing the entire song before he is willing to play it. Ask anyone my opinion on dogs and they will say I have enough kids to take care of, let alone add another one to my plate. I have always believed that I would be petless at least until all my children are potty trained.

We went to the animal shelter yesterday since our appointment to meet with
the pool builder (another story) was canceled. We thought the kids would have a blast looking around and they definitely did. My husband and I thought it would be fun to have the kids play with this tiny yorkie poo we fell in love with looking through the window. After 2 hours in a tiny room, and much convincing by all my kids, we decided to take her home. It was hard to resist the 3 pleases we kept on hearing and even harder to resist the, "we can't leave her here by herself, she will be lonely.." That is what my 5 year old said. I tried bribing him with other things, but he is one of those kids that never asks for anything so that made it even more difficult. I only got 3 pleases because my 1 year old is mortified of anything that moves his way (dog included). We have a toy train that he sprints out of the room whenever it is turned on. He yells, "stop," and runs, but since it moves towards your voice, it just follows him around. Five minutes after we had signed her adoption papers, my husband and I looked at each other, started to chuckle and each said, "we have a dog, how did that happen?" This was completely unexpected.

Meet Daisy, our 3 year old Yorkie Poo that was adopted yesterday from our local animal shelter

Yorkie Poo - a dog that is bred by crossing a Poodle with a Yorkshire Terrier.

We have only had her for one evening, but she has been a wonderful addition to our family. My one year old is now in love with petting her (so long as she sits still and doesn't move towards him). If given the choice between a cat and a dog, I would say that I am definitely more of a cat person. However, we can't have cats because my four year old is highly allergic. He breaks out in hives around the felines. Our new addition doesn't bark, she doesn't chew on anything, she isn't aggressive, she is content following you around and sitting on your lap. If there ever was a dog that was more suited for our family, it would be her. She is basically the friendliest thing ever, a perfect Daisy...aren't they the friendliest flower (Meg Ryan says in You've got mail)?

Just so you know, Daisy's name did not come from the flower, but rather it came from the character from the Super Mario Bros video game. My sons love super mario and it was either Daisy or Princess Peach. Since I vetoed the later, please welcome Daisy to our family.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

wedding dress shopping

We went wedding dress shopping this morning. No, not for me. I got married years ago. I have 4 kids after all. My sister is getting married and I am so excited. Since I don't have any daughters and I am a girlie girl, this will probably be my one and only opportunity to do this. We went to Neiman Marcus to take a look at the Christos trunk show. The good thing about buying a dress at a trunk show is that you can get 10% off any of that designer's dresses. When a dress costs thousands, this will definitely save you hundreds. You just have to take note of which designer you want to check out and find out when and where their next trunk show is.

This is my favorite dress on her
This is her favorite dress

This is just another picture of my beautiful sister
She didn't find "the" dress at the Christos trunk show. The bella dress (her favorite) came close, but she fell in love with a Monique Lhuillier dress at another salon. "the" dress may be found! However, purchases won't be made until the Monique Lhuillier trunk show comes to town in a couple of weeks. Saving hundreds is well worth the wait. What's an extra couple of weeks when you have to wait 4-5 months anyway for the dress to be made? I need to figure out how to make her hair piece (the feather hair piece shown in the picture above). Neiman Marcus charges $110 for this beauty, but I believe I can make it for much less. I certainly can make the veil which is priced at $350 for about $6. I have made several in the past for my friends' weddings. I'd offer to make the alterations on her dress to save money, but after making alterations on my own dress, I find this is actually worth paying someone else to do. It's pretty hard to pin yourself, especially the hem. Alterations on your wedding dress is the one thing I don't mind splurging on. After all, every bride wants to look picture perfect on their wedding day, but just looking at my sister today, she looks pretty radiant already.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Generally I am a planner. With four kids, it's very easy to lose site of time so I make lists whenever I can. I will also try to save with whatever I plan on buying. The best way to do this is to figure out what you need to look for it online. If you don't exactly know what you need, but you know the stores you plan on hitting, look for a general store coupon online before heading out. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save with just a click of a mouse.

I want to reupholster my headboard again so I plan on stopping by JoAnn Fabric store today. Searching online for printable coupons and voila! I found a 50% off coupon that I can use for my fabric purchase.

I like to go to wow-coupons or printable coupons before I head out to make sure I am saving all that I can. In the past, I have been able to find couons for about any particular store. I was surprised to find great Target coupons online that I used in conjunction with manufacturer coupons to get a huge cut in my Christmas spending. You can find savings in almost anything you purchase, you just have to be willing to do a little research.

I have a weakness for handbags. That's about the only thing that I splurge on, aside from my kids. Don't think that because you are buying something high-end that it means, you have to pay retail. Sometimes you may get lucky. A couple of months ago, I told my husband I was interested in a Burberry purse. I didn't know exactly what purse so he went browsing and found me a purse he thought was me. Isn't that sweet? Couldn't love a man more for knowing the difference between Gucci and Prada, and knowing what LV stands for. Gotta love that. After showing me a picture of what he was going to buy me (since I am such a barganista), I told him not to buy it because I didn't want to spend the money. He was going to buy it for me regardless. I went onto the Saks Fifth Avenue site to look at other handbags and noticed a 20% off Friends and Family coupon. My heart started to pitter patter at the thought of huge savings, but what ran across my head was that bridge handbags are never included in those promotions. After talking to a customer representative online, I discovered that my handbag was indeed included in that sale. I was ecstatic. I didn't know what made me happier, getting the handbag or getting the fabulous deal. I didn't get the Burberry box and tissue paper I would have liked buying it from the Burberry store, but I got a huge discount for exactly what I wanted and that is all that matters. Does that now mean, I can get the matching wallet?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


It’s my first blog so introductions are in order. I’m
a 30’s woman, a mother of four boys (no you didn’t read that wrong) that strives to save and create while loving every minute of life with my five guys. I love decorating and sewing. I once woke up at 2am to sew my living room curtains so that they could be ironed and hung by the time my baby shower started and yes the curtains were even lined. I am crazy that way. I don’t procrastinate and I am a perfectionist in every way. It drives my family bonkers, but I simply can’t help it.

I’ve blogged about family and life before, but never about my ideas, inspirations, and crafts. My sister persuaded me to start a blog to share some of my cost-saving and creative ideas. My mother is a seamstress and my father is a cabinet maker so perhaps it is hereditary when it comes to building and creating things. I am always analyzing a piece of furniture to see how it is made or how things were sewn so that one day I can create my own version of it.

With four boys, it is definitely difficult to find the time, but when I do find the time (after they have gone to bed or gone off to school), standing back and looking at my accomplishment is one of the greatest feelings. I hope to share some of those ideas with you and I hope to inspire you to create, craft and save.
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