Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's That Time Of The Year Again...

All you ladies out there who have a sports fan for a husband know what "that time of the year" is. That's right - it's football season! I grew up in a home where it was tradition every year to watch Monday Night Football....and any other day of the week a football game might be on. I have to tell you that I like watching football, especially the Dallas Cowboys. I can't help it all you Philly/Washington fans - I was raised that way!

My father, brother and grandfather were all relieved when they realized that my future husband was also a football fan and, even better, a Cowboys fan. Remember I said I am a football fan...well, I am a football fan, but please take note that I did not say I was a fanatical football fan - not even the tiniest bit of a fanatic. To my husband's dismay, it doesn't bother me if we miss the football game on Sunday night, Monday night or any of the other nights football may be playing. That's right, while I am a still a football fan at heart, I am perfectly fine reading about the previous night's game the next morning from the front page of the sports section.

Well, now for the past several years (due to all this new technology) us wives have an even more exciting thing to look forward to during football season and, guessed's FANTASY FOOTBALL! My husband tried out fantasy football for the first time three seasons ago and he has been hooked ever since. In fact, he is in the other room on his computer right now intently staring at the screen fighting for the best players for his latest team during the LIVE draft. Yes, I said "latest team," why you ask? Because this year we have expanded and now have 2 fantasy teams.

I actually like the concept of fantasy football - but since I am not an avid football addict, I wouldn't make the best team manager because I am only familiar with the players on the Dallas Cowboys - and really, I'm only really familiar with the players who make the big plays. Now, while I like the concept of fantasy football I have noticed over the past three years that fantasy football sucks those football fans in even deeper then before. (I really didn't think that was possible 4 years ago) Not only do we have to watch our favorite team play now - we have to make sure we catch the games that any of our fantasy players are on in real life too. Why? Because our fantasy team scores points based on the performance of our players in their real life games - so we can't miss those games!

It really was an ingenious idea for the sports industry. In fact, a study that was done in 2008 reported that in 2007 there were 29.9 million people ages 12 and up in the U.S. and Canada playing a fantasy sport. Not only that, the industry is now an $800 million dollar industry! Can you believe that?! Well, it's no wonder that in 1998 the Fantasy Sports Trade Association was formed. I hope those of you who are reading this who do not have a football fan in the house, but have another type of sports fan in the house, are not smirking to yourself right now because I'm about to burst your bubble. You are not exempt from this just because you are not the proud owner of a football fan - no sport is safe now! There are currently fanatsy leagues for: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Cricket, Soccer, Ice Hockey, Wrestling and even Golf! So, I bet you aren't so smug now, huh?

I have to say that after doing a little bit of research on the whole fantasy football league, I am much happier now that I know it could be worse. If my husband wants to play fantasy football - even have 2 teams - that's okay, at least we aren't playing fantasy baseball, basketball and golf too. I would never get to watch Jon & Kate Plus 8 then! Hopefully, he won't read this blog post and realize there are (in my opinion) endless fantasy sports leagues!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Tip For All You Travelers!!

At the beginning of August my husband, Dalen and I went on our first family vacation to San Antonio, Texas. We had so much fun, but I have to tell you that the best part of the vacation actually happened BEFORE we left! My husband and I love to travel, but as many of you know, traveling is not cheap - especially with the price of hotel rooms nowadays.

After deciding that we wanted to go to San Antonio, Texas, we had to decide on where to book our rooms...which leads to the dreaded task of figuring out how much we need to budget just for our lodging. I absolutely HATE that part of traveling. It is so depressing to see how much we have to spend just for a room. Well, I decided this year to check into trying something different. So, just for fun I went to - I'm not sure about you guys, but that little annoying song "PRICELINE NEGOTIATER!!" gets stuck in my head after watching one of their commercials. There is a reason they have these catchy little tunes...and it's for people like me.

Well, we decided to try our luck with priceline. After submitting the usual information such as where we were going, how many nights we were staying, how many rooms and people, etc., it then asked us what area of San Antonio we wanted to stay in. We were going to see the Alamo and visit the riverwalk so we selected the downtown/market square area. Then we were able to select the star rating of the hotel we wanted to negotiate for. We decided to go for the 3-star "upscale" rating.

After that came the exciting part. Laugh if you will, but I actually got a little thrill when I got to name my own price! We decided to aim high and try to get our room for $50 a night - it showed us that the average room in that area went for $130 a night - and would you believe that our offer was accepted? That's right, we got our $130 a night room for $50!! We stayed there for 4 nights - so we spent $200 and if we would have booked through the hotel's website it would have cost us $520! That's right, we saved $320!

Our story doesn't end there. The catch to is that when you enter the price you're willing to pay, you then have to enter your credit card information and if they find a hotel that accepts your offer then they book it for you. You are not able to change your reservation in any way after this point and that includes getting a refund if something happens and you can't go. So, make sure that there will not be any change in your plans before deciding to use priceline. Also, you do not see the hotel that is selected until after your offer has been accepted.

Our 3-star hotel was a Holiday Inn and it did not disappoint us at all. It was VERY nice - we had two beds, a bigger-than-average bathroom and free internet. The fact that we saved $320 on our room made us enjoy it even more - even the desk clerk told us when we checked in that we got a really good deal.

Well, on the last night of our stay before heading back to Oklahoma, we decided that we wanted to go to Arlington and tour the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium - which is nothing short of amazing! So, being the new priceline fans that we were - we went back to priceline. This time we decided to go for the highest star rated hotel in the Arlington area - which was 3.5-star. Well, we were getting a little bold so we decided to see if we could get it for $40 a night (the normal rate is $150 a night). And would you believe that our offer was accepted again?! So we saved $110 on that room right there!

When we got to our hotel we discovered that it was located right in the middle of the sports-plex area. The Texas Rangers' stadium was right there along with Six Flags, and yep - the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium! The total amount of money we spent on lodging for our vacation was $240 and if we would not have used we would have spent $670! We saved $430 on our lodging for this vacation! Because of priceline we were able to do a lot more on our vacation then we would have otherwise.

And the rooms exceeded our expectations! If you are going to be traveling soon and are interested in saving a lot of money, but don't want to give up the quality of room, then give and try. I have a feeling you will not be disappointed!

What About Mommy's Time?

Do you remember the days before mommyhood? Go back even further than that and picture how life was before you were married. For me, I was in college and was in a long distance relationship with my now husband. I thought it was hard then to find time to work, study, cook, clean, spend time with friends and my boyfriend. Forget the laundry, cooking or cleaning!

Now, I'm trying to fit in time to cook, clean and do the laundry between the time I spend chasing my toddler around! Don't misunderstand me, I gladly embraced the tradeoff between studying and work to become a not-so-domestic-goddess. But sadly, the one thing that I have let slide to the back burner is spending time with my friends.

How long has it been since you have had a "Girls Day Out?" I have been a mommy now for 22 months, and I have only had one or two...usually for a bachelorette party or something of that nature. This isn't anybody's fault but my own. You see, my problem is that I have a hard time letting go and leaving my little one at home with daddy. Not because my husband isn't a good father, because he is an amazing father and I couldn't ask for a better one. It's just that I'm so used to being here during the day every day and taking care of my son, that I get into the bad habit of thinking that things will go more smoothly if I am here to oversee.

Now, I do take my son to "Friday School" every Friday, which is a wonderful service provided by our church. For a low monthly cost, I am able to bring my son to the church and leave him from 9am-3pm. The answer is no, I didn't think of doing this on my mother actually gave it to me as a Valentine's Day gift when Dalen was 6 months old. I was sold after those first couple of Fridays! I now refuse to give that day up. It gives me time to go and run errands - such as grocery shopping, going to the bank , and even the dreaded Wal-Mart trip - or even indulge in a few guilty pleasures such as scheduling a massage, getting my hair done or even just being able to go back home and take a nap if I want. It is so nice to have a day that I can just be by myself. Plus, it is also a much needed time away for my son as well. He needs time to spend learning how to socialize with other children without mommy right there.

While Friday School is a wonderful way for me to get my errands done, it does not provide much time for me to just have some girl time with my friends. Mainly, because those who also use the Friday School program or one like it are spending their time running errands to and then there are my friends who work during the week. So, I have decided that I just need to let go and ask my hubby every now and then to watch the little one for a few hours on a Saturday so I can go and spend some quality time with my friends.

A few days ago, I timidly asked him if he would mind watching Dalen while I go to the movies with some friends. He surprised me by saying, "No, I think that's a great idea. In fact, I think you should do that more often." I don't know why I was surprised by his answer, but I was. I guess it is because, as a mother, I have allowed myself to believe that things will not go as well if I am not around and that since I am not bringing home a paycheck I'm not really entitled to some time away. This is very unhealthy thinking on my part. Why should I not be entitled to time away? I mean, my husband likes to spend a Saturday here and there out playing golf with his friends, why shouldn't I spend a day out with mine? Luckily, I have been blessed with an amazing husband who understands this. So, this Saturday afternoon I am headed to the movie theater to watch The Time Traveler's Wife for some much needed quality girl time!

If you have not had a "Girls Day Out" in quite a while, then I encourage you to get together with some of your friends and schedule a time to go. I know it's hard leaving those little ones without feeling guilty - but, we are going to be much happier mommies if we would just do it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I have to rave about the book that I just finished reading! It is none other than The Time Traveler's Wife. The same book that the movie is based off of. I was debating about reading the book when I saw the previews for the movie, but decided to get the book after hearing from friends what a great book it was. I have to say that I was not disappointed!

For those of you who have not heard about this book, it is about a man's inability to stay in the present. He is always unwillingly being taken from the present into the past. When he is time traveling, his wife is left with a pile of clothes and has no idea where he is or what he is doing. A lot of the time he is with her back in the past. Towards the end of the book, Henry's time travels become more and more dangerous and he is trying to find a cure for his "disease" before it is to late. That is all I am going to tell you - you will have to read the book for yourself or go and watch the movie to find out how it ends.

I am an avid reader and I love books that get me thinking about all kinds of issues - and this book did that for me. It was such a touching love story, that often had me in tears. By the end of the book, I had a new appreciation for the way my life is. I've often thought, "I wish I could go back and change that," but it never occured to me that going back in time could actually be a curse, especially if you couldn't change anything. Even traveling in the future could be a curse. I don't think I would want to know how or when I die, because as every day brings that day closer I would become more and more depressed.

If you have not read this book and like to read out-of-the-ordinary romances, then this book will not disappoint you. I am definately going to have to keep this one so I can go back and re-visit Henry and Clare from time to time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spicy Steak Tacos

One of the things I love doing is trying out new recipes. I have to tell you that it is amazing that God blessed me with a man who does not mind eating new things EVERY WEEK! Well, I happened to pick up a copy of "Everyday with Rachel Ray" and found a recipe for Steak Tacos that I just had to try. I mean, just look at the picture - it makes me hungry just looking at it!
The short version of the recipe is that in a plastic bag you marinade about a pound of skirt steak in a mixture of cola, olive oil, lime juice, chili powder and salt. I marinaded it for 2 hours and it worked out great. Then you grill the steak - my hubby is "king of the grill" so this was his job. While he was grilling I was dicing tomatoes, onion, jalepenos, and cilantro to mix together in a bowl and form a salsa. When the meat was off the grill we thinly sliced it and mixed it in with the salsa mixture - adding a little more lime juice. Now the real recipe calls for hard taco shells, but we found we liked it better with taco sized tortillas. Instead of lettuce, put slaw in the taco with a slice of avocado and then top with the steak and salsa mixture.
Oh my gosh! It was SO good! I have to admit though, that next time I will put less jalepenos in the salsa because it was just a little more spicy then anticipated, but nonetheless great! The exact recipe can be found at if you are interested. I would advise checking it out on her site because she gives measurments for the recipe, which I didn't look up and just did my own thing based off the article in the magazine.
We had friends over for dinner that evening and after telling my friend what I was making she decided she wanted to bring over a key lime pie -which just topped everything off. We also decided to make margaritas to go with it and those tied everything together perfectly!
This instantly became a hit at my house when my husband exclaimed, "I would order this in a restaurant!" Needless to say, this is one recipe I will have to keep around after receiving a compliment like that! Plus it's healthy...makes it even more yummy!

What To Expect From Now On....

Well, as you can see it has been over a year since I last blogged. Believe me, I never intended for that to happen. What did happen was that I set up my first blog without having a plan for what I wanted to accomplish with it and then shortly thereafter I forgot about it. I rediscovered my long lost blog when I was trying to set up another account. You can imagine my initial shock when it showed that I already had one! After digging in the back of my brain for that long lost password, I spent about half an hour changing settings and renaming my blog. So, hopefully I am ready to go. I'm sure I will be changing things from time to time on here until I get eveything worked out.

This time around I know what I want this blog to do for me - and you! I have found that as a mom I have lots of opinions about lots of different things, and that I love to share those with people. So, here you will get "the whole shebang" from me! I may be sharing with you something funny that happened over the weekend or I may blog about a new recipe I just tried that turned out amazing! I will also blog about products I have found to be useful to me in my life - and of course I will blog about products that do not work for me and my family.

The truth is, I am a stay-at-home-mom who appreciates receiving tips from others out there going through the same things I do. So, shouldn't I do the same for others by providing helpful little tips? So, that is the goal of this blog. In the future, I may decide to partner with companies and review their products, but I will be sure to inform you, my readers, when I am doing this. I value and appreciate honesty from others and that is what you will get from me. Everything you read on this site will be my honest opinions. If I don't like something I will tell you, but if I find something I like, you WILL read about it because I tend to go on and on about those finds!

I hope you find my blogs to be funny, uplifting, informative and helpful. I will be updating this blog frequently. My goal is at least 2-3 times per week if not more. I welcome any and all comments as long as they are respectful in nature. It is okay if you do not agree with me and express your disagreement, just please do so in a respectful way.

I am looking forward to this new venture for me and can't wait to start hearing from you!!