Friday, March 30, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: Meal Planning

Since going down to a single income, we have grown accustomed to a fixed amount to spend on groceries each month. I have found that planning meals ahead of time and clipping coupons has made a HUGE difference in the amount of money we spend on food - and we don't waste nearly as much food, if any, as we once did. It also lets everyone know what is for dinner, and allows me to have one less thing to think about that day since the meal is already decided!

Here is my meal calendar - it is dry erase and as the topic of today states, "nothin' fancy."

I usually plan 2 weeks at a time to keep ingredients fresh. I choose my meals first, then compile a grocery list based off of those. Next, I will visit websites to click coupons. These are the sites that I use:

I have them bookmarked, so I just click on the icon at the top of my web browser and it takes me to the most current coupons they have. So easy! Select the ones you want, print, and you are on your way!

I'd like to challenge you to try this for one week and see how it goes. It may seem like a lot of work and time, but I think you will actually find it liberating.

Thanks again for following CantClockOut, and have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: March 29th

I am thankful for...
A child's innocence and cuddly new puppies
(our friends, the Houghs, got a new black lab!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Not Just Show & Tell...

In order to expect certain behaviors from our children, we need to model that behavior. The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t bode well with toddlers. They are a monkey-see, monkey-do breed of tiny humans and we need to be the person that we want them to be. It's not just about show & tell, it's about tell & show.

It sounds like common sense, right? Unfortunately, common sense isn’t all that common after all. I am just as guilty when it comes to this! I have, however, been more diligent in the way I act around my children. This doesn’t just set a great example, but it makes me be someone worth looking up to.

I think this can apply to all relationships in your life - You may have heard the phrase "Be the change you want to see in the world." Replace the words 'the world' and insert any of the following: your friend, your spouse, your sister, your brother, your child. I hope this convicts you as much as it has me!

Peace & Love- and Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Toddler Tip Tuesday: Learn & Play

Okay, maybe it's the "teacher" in me but I am excited to share some great resources for learning play. I thought it would be cute one day to teach Ben how to recognize and say the letter "B." Okay, fair enough right? Well, I was astonished when all of a sudden he knew EVERY letter of the alphabet, and I only "taught" him 1 of the 26 letters! I am convinced it is a combination of television shows (oh no, am I an awful parent because my child watches television??) and some educational toys & books. Here are some things I would recommend:

Television: SO controversial, but I truly don't see the harm in letting your child watch TV. Not only does it keep the parent sane, but your child WILL learn from it! I do believe that limiting viewing time is crucial - it cuts back on defiance at bedtime (or possibly any other time) and also decreases the chance of your child developing sleep issues (horrible nightmares). Some great shows are Word World (pictured below), Super Why, and Sesame Street.

Also, is a wonderful website with learning games, episodes, printable coloring pages, and more.

Toys: These toys are pretty annoying, but I have no doubt they played a HUGE roll in Ben learning his letters, numbers, and even animals. They provide audio reinforcement (saying the letters/sounds/words) so the child learns through that repetitiveness. TAG readers are also a great buy (you can find them at WalMart).

My Own Leaptop by Leap Frog and ABC Text & Go by Vtech

Books: Reading to your child is so important. Ben has learned a lot through books as well. Some of his favorites are Curious George's ABCs, Elmo's Search & Find, and Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet.

Finally, I would recommend reinforcers like flashcards (Eric Carle has some really cute ones), puzzles, and wall decals like the ones I put up in Ben's closet:

I bought these on sale at Lakeshore Learning Store for around $10.00. It came with a lot more stickers, but I just chose to put these ones up.

It is absolutely amazing what these little sponges (our kids' brains) can soak in. That being said, it's important to be mindful of what your little one is exposed to. By choosing products designed with learning in mind, you are giving your child a great gift!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Not Me Monday: March 26th

I did NOT forget it was Monday and almost slacked on posting today...


I did NOT cry after Thad told me his travel schedule for next month
(gone 14 days, which in mother-with-two-little-kids time is equivalent to a year)


I did NOT almost have an anxiety attack last night thinking about flying to Florida
(it's coming up fast!)


I did NOT almost go to an Open House yesterday, even though we can't buy again for another year (thank you, short sale....)


And finally, I did NOT start 5 days worth of reading today, that is "due" tomorrow



Friday, March 23, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: Poppy Seed Chicken

Hold on to your hats people! It's another "Foodie Friday!"

This week: Poppy Seed Chicken

It could just be called "Delicious," but don't just take my word for it! It's super easy, and sure to be a family favorite. Thank you, Jessi Nurmi, for the recipe! Here is the breakdown:


1lb of chicken, cooked & shredded
1 can cream of mushroom
1 c. sour cream
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 c. melted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Spread chicken evenly on bottom of a greased baking dish. In a small bowl, mix cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Spread sour cream
mixture over chicken. In another small bowl, mix melted butter, Ritz
crackers, and poppy seeds. Sprinkle over entire dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden & bubbly. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: March 22nd

I am thankful for...
... all the fun bubbles can bring :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: A Bad Day

“It’s just a bad day, not a bad life”

Hmmm. I need to remember this. It’s hard to believe it when you have several bad days in a row – then it DOES seem like a bad life!

My son is more than officially in his “Terrible Twos.” You’ve heard the phrase, but have you actually EXPERIENCED it? I put that word in all capitals because it truly does seem all-consuming. I feel like I am living with a ticking time bomb that deliberately disobeys, throws astronomical tantrums, hits/pushes/punches, gets up 4-5 times a night, and is relentlessly stubborn.

I believe the politically correct term is: “spirited.”

I can rephrase the quote by saying, “It’s just a bad phase, not a bad kid.” He can be so very sweet and has the best laugh of any kid I have ever known. He loves making his sister smile and gives her lots of hugs. He says "I yuv you" to me in his sweet little boy voice that I know won't survive puberty. I need to hold fast to these qualities and hope the bad ones get weeded out sooner rather than later!

But where have I heard that three is worse??

Heaven help us!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toddler Tip Tuesday: Your Babysitter Will Thank You!

I got this idea from my sister-in-law. I made a “Babysitter Binder” that includes anything from emergency information to kids’ schedules to instructions on how to work the television. It is so nice to have all this information in one place, instead of scribbling something on a notepad that may or may not be sufficient for your babysitter to have an evening of smooth sailing with your kids. You want your sitter to focus on your kids, not be flustered.

This binder is a no hassle, all-inclusive book of answers to babysitter’s FAQs! I can already hear them thanking you for making one. J

Here is a sample of mine:

Here is what is on the inside cover - "quick" activities in case they run out of things to do :)

**An all important page (which is not pictured because it has personal information on it) has all the emergency contact information. Our kids' full names, dates of birth, mine and Thad's phone numbers, emergency contacts, our pediatrician's information, our insurance information, and the number to a medical hotline that is available 24/7. Obviously, we would have the sitter call us first - this is more for anyone watching them while we are out of town (or if they can't get a hold of us for whatever reason).**

Next, I have the kids' bedtime routines

A "manual" for all the technology we have!

A couple of "quick references"

And there you have it! Your babysitter’s bible. ;) So what are you waiting for? Get started so you can have a care-free night out with your spouse - you deserve it!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Not Me Monday: March 19th

I did "NOT" get super excited about finding my laminator and think of all the new labels I could make


I did "NOT" football-carry Benjamin from a park full of people while he kicked and screamed so much I thought I'd have to take out his birth certificate to prove he was mine


I did "NOT" make a "Do Not Ring Bell" sign to put on the front door during nap time, but am leaving it on there 24/7


And finally, I did "NOT" stay home from church for the 6th weekend in a row and watch the podcast instead


Remember, DON'T BE SHY!
Let's hear something you did "NOT" do this week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursdays:

Ben has been very challenging lately.
Impatient, whiny, crabby, demanding. The classic 2 year old behavior I suppose.

I am thankful for moments like the one above:
A smiley boy on a nice sunny day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Just Do It!!

Today's post is plain and simple. Just Do It!

As I think of my mom and how fast those 17 months flew from her diagnosis to her death, I wish I had just one more day with her. One more conversation. One more hug...

I'm talking about being intentional. We all have these thoughts: "I should call _____ and see how they are doing" or "I should send ______ a card to let them know I am thinking of them" or "I haven't e-mailed _______ lately, I should do that..."

You get the picture.

Put those thoughts into action and Just Do It!

You might be amazed at how such a seemingly small gesture can have an astounding impact. You never know if that is the phone call, card, or e-mail that a certain someone needed to make it through that day.

If you care about someone, go that extra step to let them know that you do. You never know what tomorrow may bring, so avoid the woulda-shoulda-couldas.
You won't regret it, and the recipient will be so thankful you did.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Toddler Tip Tuesday: Cold Remedies That Work

My poor Ben. He has had a cough for what seems like forever. He doesn’t sleep well. He isn’t eating well. He gets the double-hanging-booger-string with every sneeze. What’s a mom to do??

I resorted to my number one search engine: Facebook.

When it comes to treatments that work, who better to ask than fellow moms? Furthermore, getting advice from moms (okay, AND dads) I know, just makes them that much more credible. So, I would like to share their ideas with you today in hopes you can cure your little one of the coughs and achoos this change in season tends to bring.


Before reading on, please know that

the medical information on this site is, at best, of general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professions (a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc). I, nor anyone that contributed information to this post, can take responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented on this web site.


That being said...

Nicole writes: I have recently started using Vicks Baby rub

Haley writes: I have given [him] cough medicine in his juice, but half of what the bottle says. Also, Vicks Baby rub on the feet with socks worked. I have also bitten cough drops in half and let him suck on those. I have also used Triaminic strips – they are like candy!

Jessica writes: I have wanted to give [him] cough medicine but it has too many other active ingredients. Try some honey to soothe him.

Kimberly writes: I gave [her] natural cough medicine when she was two. It helped a lot.

Shannon writes: I used all natural honey cough medicine I found at Target.

Eddy writes: Yo, guaranteed to work. Put ANY liquid medicine in a cup of V8 Fusion. Game over. Works EVERY time no matter the meds

Jamie writes: Start low with the cough medicine – like a teaspoon. Vicks – but not on the chest or nose like we always thought – could do more harm than good. Some article years ago stated that. Use it on the feet with socks and it works well! Of course, alternate Tylenol & Ibuprofen.

Stay healthy and happy, friends!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not Me Monday

I did NOT almost set the store on fire using the shrink wrap machine… no seriously, FLAMES were shooting out of it & the smoke detector went off!


I did NOT feed Ben fruit all weekend because that’s the only thing he would eat! (he wasn't feeling well) L


I did NOT sing a lullaby for 45 minutes in the car to keep Ben from crying

(Yes, it worked!)


And finally, I was NOT a teensy bit excited to actually go to work today so I can have a break from my kids… and get paid to do it!


::: Don’t be shy!!! ::::

Tell us something you did NOT do this past week!

("K"… I look forward to your loyal comments every week) J

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: Nurmi Family "Photo Fails"

I love taking pictures. I’m not the greatest at it, nor do I have the most expensive or fanciest camera to do it with. Nonetheless, I try to seize any great photo opp!

I thought I would share a few “photo fails.” Hopefully you will get a few laughs this Friday – at my family’s expense, of course. Enjoy!

"The Gold Digger"

"Just Keep Smiling..."

"Not Going to Cooperate"

Ben's Blue Balls

"Cute.... girl???"
I hope you were able to get at least one chuckle from today's post. :)
Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: Yummy Chicken Picatta

Thank you, Jourdan, for this delicious and super easy recipe!
Here is my version of the recipe - only a couple of minor changes. 98% of the credit must go to Jourdan! Be sure to check out her other amazing recipes at

(Who knew an iPhone could take such a nice picture! Ha!)

2 chicken breasts, cut in half (or use 4 thin ones)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
all purpose flour
6 tablespoons of butter
5 tablespoons of EVOO
1/3 cup lemon juice (the fresher the better)
1/2 cup of chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 package of thin whole grain spaghetti
fresh parsley, chopped (for garnishing)


Boil water for pasta and prepare as directed - set aside. (I just let mine sit in the strainer in the sink until I was ready to use it)

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to a plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter and another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When sizzling, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in the same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan, add the lemon juice, chicken broth and garlic. Return to stove and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Add some pasta to the pan and stir to coat. Add additional pasta if you have extra sauce. Remove pasta to a plate and top with chicken. Garnish with parsley.

Add mixed greens and fresh fruit as sides and you have yourself a complete, well-balanced meal! The food pyramid would be proud ;)

For more information on nutrition, visit for tips, recipes, and more!

Thankful Thursdays

I am thankful for nap time.
'Nough said.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Friends with [Health] Benefits

Did you know that a night out can actually improve your health? A new study finds that strong social relationships can increase your chances of living longer by 50 percent!
Say What??!!

Here is a short list of things to plan with your friends and buddies, just to get you inspired:

A Pinterest Party: Plan an evening when the hubbies take the kids and the girls get together to do things they found on Pinterest. For example, I saw this :: :: and a girlfriend and I are meeting at her parents' house to make one!

Sign up for a Class: Park districts offer classes for a pretty reasonable price. Also, I heard that Whole Foods has classes you can sign up for, too. Grab a few of your besties and do one together!

Volunteer: Check with your church or visit to get plugged in. Research shows a boost in mood, health, and sense of purpose as a result of giving your time and energy to a worthy cause.

A Few As & Ds: Meet up with some friends for some appetizers and drinks. Nothing beats a night out with some great people and good conversation!

As crazy as life can get, make sure you take some time - and MAKE some time - for you.
After all, it's what the doctor ordered!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Toddler Tip Tuesday: Take Advantage

My toddler tip for today was inspired by a trip to our local library. The Tip: Take advantage of FREE things to do in your community.

I only intended on signing up for a card and checking out a few books on potty training. As it turned out, we got there just in time for Toddler Story Time, so we joined in the fun! We all gathered in a room where the nice librarian read us a story. Then we sang a few songs, which included a few toddler classics such as The Wheels on the Bus, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and If You’re Happy and You Know It. As if that wasn’t enough FREE fun, we were brought to another room to do a craft project that went along with the story that was read to us! SO AWESOME! Ben absolutely loved the whole library experience. I have heard of these types of programs and always thought, “Yea, that would be fun” and just never did it. I avoided it mainly because Ben is an absolute terror 90% of the time we are in public, but he was so well behaved I seriously felt like a "good parent" for while there (you know the feeling!). I left on a little "mommy high" because I conquered an outing with both kids all by myself without any meltdowns [insert pat on the back here]. I really encourage you to check out what your library has to offer!

Another free activity we partook in was a craft for kids that Lakeshore Learning Store has every Saturday from 11-3pm. The store just opened up in Indianapolis! For the store nearest you, visit:

Finally, a great thing to keep your eyes peeled for is restaurants where kids eat free. They often vary by location, so just be aware of that. Ask your waiter the next time you are visiting your favorite restaurant. Otherwise, there is usually a blurb in the kids menu, or in the kids section of the adult menu, that tells if/when your kids meal is ‘on the house.’

Monday, March 5, 2012

Not Me Monday

I did NOT eat an entire box of vanilla wafers…. in one day… and could have eaten more!

(yes, I got sick that night…)


I did NOT want another baby (for a split second) while watching A Baby Story on TLC


I did NOT convince Thad to help me clean the house before leaving this weekend… partially because it needed to be done, but also because I was stalling and wanted to spend a little more time with him!


I did NOT go bathing suit shopping and didn't try a single thing on

(maybe next time??)


And finally, I did NOT sing a lullaby in the car for almost an hour to keep Ben from crying on the way back to Indy


What is something YOU did "NOT" do this week??

Friday, March 2, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: Very Easy Veggie Lasagna

By popular demand (mainly from my good friend, Amy Hough) I am making this a foodie Friday and posting a recipe today :)

For whatever reason, I was under the impression that making lasagna was a very tedious, time consuming feat. Maybe it's because I have Italians in my family and they make it from scratch. I, however, take the easy route and my lasagna recipe is super quick & easy - and might I say, DELICIOUS! Pair it with some salad greens and garlic bread, and you are good to go!

Here is the step by step - pictures included!


1 jar spaghetti sauce

Vegetables of choice (I use one can of mixed veggies) I have also used steamed bagged veggies - broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Totally up to you!

16 oz container of cottage cheese

1 egg, slightly beaten

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

6 strips of lasagna, uncooked

8 oz package shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In one bowl, mix spaghetti sauce and veggies, then set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg, ¼ cup Parmesan and blend well.

3. Spread just enough of the spaghetti sauce mixture to cover the bottom of an ungreased 13”x9” baking dish.

4. Top with 3 uncooked strips of lasagna.

5. Put half of the cottage cheese mixture on top of that, then half of the remaining spaghetti sauce mixture.

6. Next, sprinkle half of the mozzarella on top.

7. Repeat layers, starting with lasagna strips.

8. Sprinkle the very top layer with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

I am so thankful for the friendships and connections I have found and continue to build here in Indy!

::: Real Moms ::: Small Group ::: Northview Church ::: Friends of Friends ::: Lakeshore Learning :::