Family Fun Activity

Thursday, December 17, 2009

During my Christmas Break, it is my goal to make some homeade bread. that's right, I mean from scratch, the yeast, the kneading, all of it, I have never done it and its time to learn! Having a little extra time, I feel it will be good to have a project to look forward to. I will try to take photos of how it turns out and post them for you after the new year.

Another family fun activity that was recently shared with me that I enjoyed, is making snow cream. Ice Cream from the snow. The kids really had fun with this and have asked to eat some each night since we made it. Here is the recipe for you to try:

1 gallon of snow
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Mix all together and enjoy!
Have fun! Don't forget to stay away from the yellow snow!

The Best Days of my Life

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Every year, my husband and girls use the day after Thanksgiving to drive to a local tree farm
to cut down our family's Christmas tree. This year was no exception. My husbands aunt owns a tree farm in Bear Creek. We took a lazy day drive, enjoying the sun all the way and after a little hiking, we found what was to be the tree lucky enough to go into our living room!
A few swear words later, Jay had cut down the tree and we were off.
Of course, before cutting down the tree, we take a family photo of it for memory. I would have to say these are some of the best days of my life.

The passing of an ERA

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last night my husband and I took our children to the downtown Appleton Christmas parade. While my honey and I enjoyed it, I think our girls have outgrown it. Its sad to say,but I think we are at the end of an era. I just don't understand how they grown up so fast. That used to be a huge deal to them, but instead it was boredom and complaints. I spent most of the parade thinking about Christmases past and wishing I had "cherished" the time more.

Don't get me wrong, I have always been very thankful for my time at home raising my children. My wonderful husband was so supportive of us and never questioned our decision- not even when living on one income got very tight.

Jay, just got a promotion at work. I am so proud of him. He is a very hard worker and incredible at detailed work. He has been capable of this promotion for years, and has been turning it down for years.

For those of you who quit your very busy hectic career to be a more supportive mom- you will understand when I say that I was a little bit jealous of him. I couldn't help but wonder if that would be me had I not quit in September, 1999. I know most of you wont understand what I am talking about, but for the rest of you, you know-Its a tough balance. Knowing you are wonderfully blessed to be called "MOM" and putting their needs ahead of your own, versus choosing your career where you have promotions, raises and measured success. Its a struggle I have contemplated since 1999.

That brings me back to the parade. Those days are gone, my babies are now turning into lovely young women. I am not sure what they will need from me next, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will put their needs ahead of mine. If that means I need to -I will pass on the fancy job, fancy car, fancy title so that I can simply be "mom". I still feel that is the best job ever.

Flex Spending Accounts

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For those of you fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take advantage of your company's Flex Spending Accounts, I would tell you with a Great big YES! Go ahead and do it!

Many companies offer options to help pay for Child-care costs, out of pocket medical, dental, vision expenses as well as over the counter medications and prescription drug expenses.

So, it may seem like a little bit of work to fill out the papers ahead of time and try to estimate for next year how much to put aside. But you work hard for your money- Take advantage of this money saving benefit!

For example: if you make $30,000/ year and contribute $600 per year pre-tax for health care expenses, and $4800 pre-tax for child care expenses, your net spendable income would be $17,798. If you DID NOT contribute money to the pre-tax account and paid for them out of pocket, using the same amounts for expenses, your net spendable income for the year would be $16,305. The difference is the amount of money you save on taxes!

If you want a faster way of looking at projected savings, you can use the rule of thumb that you will save between 27% - 43%. (Its a wide range I know, but tax situations vary widely!)

Now, the trickey part is trying to decide how much money you plan to spend. You will need to figure out your child care expenses seperately from the medical/dental. The first thing I do is add up my prescription costs per month and multiply that by 12, easy enough. Now think about anything specific you know needs to happen this year- new glasses, kids braces, fill a cavity. Once you have a list of items, try to estimate what that will cost you. Dont freak out about getting it perfect, just estimate.
Now, you have a good number, I would be willing to bet it is larger than you expected isn't it? Now, what you do here is up to you, you can round up for those expenses you under-estimated, or you can take the safe route of rounding down to make sure you dont end up at year end with a surplus, because you CANT GET THAT MONEY BACK.
Money left over in your account is EASY to spend. You can buy asprin, NyQuol, band-aides, hearing aid batteries, contact cleaning supplies, allergy medications, or cough syrup. The only stipulation is that you have to spend this money before 12-31 at the end of the year.
I hope that this helps some of you. If you have any questions, feel free to post them and I can try to answer your question.

Tomato Basil Pasta

Monday, November 16, 2009

MMMMM, I am writing this blog as I eat my leftovers, tomato basil pasta. It is one of my favorite meals! It is vegetarian, and delicious very good for a Lenten meal. But, I don't want to wait that long for it!

Saturday night, we had dinner guests, and my husband made Beef Stew. It is one of his signature dishes, he has 2. (love you honey:)) Anyhow, as the guests were in delicious amazement regarding his Beef Stew, my guest and neighbor, told me that she asked another neighbor to borrow a cup of flour. I cannot believe what this woman told her, she doesn't keep those things in her house. Hello......What? How can you live without having flour in your house? Even if you despise baking, what about cooking? Breading, making a Roux, thickening sauces, Beef Stew?? WHAT?

A few years ago when I was a stay at home mom and had time on my hands, I made homemade cookies quite often. I was appalled at how the stores were selling place and bake cookie dough. I remember talking to another SAHM about it and we couldn't believe it! Why would you buy that when the homemade cookies are Light years better?

Well, I have since gone back to work and the night has come when I was in NEED of a hot chocolate chip cookie and have had no choice but to buy the place and bake. So, I succumb, however I still make my own cookies most of the time.

So, my question today is this, do you keep flour in your house? If not, how do you handle those cookie cravings?

Oh yeah, the pasta, is gone. And it was SUPER. I think it was better than many restaurants I go to.

Completed Bathroom Photos

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ok, I finally have found the time to publish these photos. I have been enjoying this new bathroom since the last weekend in April. Isn't it lovely? I think my husband did a STELLER job. We did have a little help, just to make things move along a bit faster, we hired a friend to hang the drywall and then to "Skip Trowel" over that. Everything else Jay did on his own. I love being married to a handyman! (The only problem is that I come up with projects faster than he can complete them!)
The color in the photos is a bit deceiving, its a chocolate brown (I told you I can't take pictures!). One of my favorite parts of this bathroom is the detailed tiling above the sink. If you look closely, you can see a thin strip of different colored tiling there. The dark pieces are actually brown glass.
I also really like the Barn Star. My husband once told me that the only place we will have a Barn Star in our house is under the bed. HE found this at the craft store across the street from the waterpark in the Dells. I guess I won that arguement!

Well Well Wellness

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ok, I feel compelled to answer the question about which has more calories, the Iced Sugar Free Grande Latte or the Frappachino Blended coffee (grande as well).

The Iced SF Latte has 110 calories and the Frapp has 430.

Just curious

Monday, August 17, 2009

Does anyone out there eat zucchini? When I was young, my father used to pick a huge a** zucchini out of our garden and slice it up (the slices were the size of saucers) and fry (or more PC saute) it in butter and we would eat the whole zucchini this way. Did anyone else ever do that? I am wondering if my dad was so poor he would have fed me anything and called it food!

HAHA! My dad would be laughing at that one! My dad was a single father in the 70's and we didn't have much of anything- except zucchini. I have some seriously groovy photos of those days, however I am not going to share them. Just picture a hand me down wearing, tall lanky underfed skinny girl, who seriously didn't fit in.

Isn't it amazing what comes into your mind when you are procrastinating doing something? I am staring down my Fiscal Year end "To Do" list (FY year end is 8-31-09) and feel like doing ANYTHING besides working on it. (Sorry Donna).

Did I ever tell you about that time I split my tongue down the middle and had to have stitches on my tongue? No lie- but I will save that for next time. Back to that to do list.

My beautiful Daughters

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh my Heavens! Have you ever seen such beautiful little girls? I know, I am a little biased, however they are so beautiful!

The older one, with the curls changed my life. She changed my focus from me to her and family. She put me to the grindstone in those early years, like a diamond being shined, she "polished me". Staying at home to raise my kids had to be the hardest thing I have ever done. It was a joy to watch them grow and learn and discover. But it was WORK. Hard work. Meals, dishes, diapers, laundry, crying(mainly from me), fighting, disciplining, teaching, leading, guiding, but mostly loving. It was tremendously hard to be taken out of society and isolated to your home. Sure I could go anywhere I wanted but really where are you going to go with a baby and a 2 year old?

I will cherish those 8 years I was a stay at home mom. I look back and feel so thankful that I was able to be with my girls for all of those years. I am so thankful to my husband for supporting us during that time we lived on his income only. Nothing can replace those years, nothing can compare to that time especially now as I watch them grow so quickly. There are so many things that happen in their daily lives that I dont know about. I used to know their favorite food, favorite book, new word for the day what they ate, how much they ate and everything they did and saw. Now, I barely get time uninterrupted with them.

I know I have many teeth-grinding years ahead with each of them, (They are currently 8 and 10) but I wish I could just slow it all down. I wish I could somehow bottle it up and save it. I dont want them to grow any taller, I dont want to throw away all the books about bugs to make room for books about boys. I dont like seeing the baby faces make way for young womens' faces. I dont like all of the worry I have for them, about safety, about boys, about school, grades, teachers, developing eating disorders, being treated poorly by friends. I would be content to go back to sitting in the rocker with them, as babies in the middle of the night when holding them was all it took to make them happy.

Well well well, WELLNESS is the new BUZZWORD

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I am sure that you have all heard the new buzzword for a while now, WELLNESS. Yeah yeah yeah. Well, I know its getting pretty tiring kinda like that "Going green" thing, however there is a lot to be learned and applied from this mantra. Did you know that a study done in 2002 discovered that only 28% of Americans get only 2 servings of Fruit a day? And even worse, only 3% get 3 servings of vegetables a day! WOAH! That is crazy! That means that 97% of Americans arent eating enough vegetables a day, no wonder our healthcare industry is booming.

I found a few really helpful websites that I want to share with you and I am encouraging you to check out. There were some items on these websites that I found to be engaging. (Ok, its not like watching American Idol, but its pretty neat.) On here, I found a listing of the fruit and veggie of the month that was educational, and an interactive area called "analyze my plate." Here I found many many resources, you can calculate your BMI, I know you will be having so much fun here, you will skip boys night out to navigate this site. wink. (Try to think of your health, and your childrens' health.) There was the new food pyramid and how it works, shopping and meal planning guides, a lookup for calorie information on foods and many other items that were helpful to trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Another more fun website (seriously) is one called This website lists calories for all of the foods known to man as well as calories for your favorite restaurants. (This is quite scarey!!)

So, that brings me to my next thought, (no not photos of my new bathroom) I am going to challenge all of you on a little game. I am going to start an ongoing game with you all. I will list two popular items and ask you which has the least amount of calories. I want you to write down the answers to these questions somewhere so that when I post the answers you can see if you really knew it or not.

I thought we would start with everyones favorite: Coffee!!
Which has fewer calories?
Iced Sugar Free Syrup Flavored Latte with 2% milk
Frappuccino Blended Coffee
Both Grande size

I will post the answer later!

Old Glory

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Many of you know I am very patriotic. I have had many of my family members serve in our countries' wars, I have family members who are currently serving in the war in IRAQ. If you have been to my house, you know that I have American Flags everywhere as part of my decor. Its just who I am. I wanted to share this poem with you for the 4th of July, I know I am a little bit late, but I would encourage you to read it.

I am the flag of the United States of America . . . My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings. I stand watch in America's halls of justice. I fly majestically over great institutes of learning. I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up! And see me!
I stand for peace, honor, truth, and justice . . . I stand for freedom . . . I am confident . . . I am arrogant . . . I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners . . . My head is a little higher . . . My colors a little truer. I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world. I am worshipped . . . I am saluted . . . I am respected . . . I am revered . . . I am loved . . . And I am feared.
I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years . . . Gettysburg, Shilo, Appomatox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines, the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Guadalcanal New Britain, Peleliu, and many more islands.
And a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.I was there.
I led my soldiers . . . I followed them . . . I watched over them . . . They loved me.
I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.I was dirty, battle-worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me, and I was proud.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free.It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country, and when it is by those with whom I have served in battle - it hurts. But I shall overcome - for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon. I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.
But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips to be used for bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle . . . When I fly at half mast to honor my soldiers . . . And when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son.
I am proud.My name is Old Glory.Dear God - Long may I wave.

If you would like to see this poem with many others, visit the link below.

Taxpayers to get Rude Surprise

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sorry, no update on the bathroom as of now, that will be next.
I had a great article shared with me recently that I wanted to put in front of all of you. (Thank you Karla K.)

"Making work Pay" tax credits could cost you a few headaches at tax time. Many people are thrilled at this new increase in their paycheck, but do not understand that MILLIONS OF TAX PAYERS WILL GET MORE THAN THEY ARE ENTITLED TO, YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO PAY THIS OVERAGE BACK AT TAX TIME.

Folks at risk: married couples in which both spouses work, workers with more than one job, retirees who have federal income taxes withheld from their pension payments and Social Security recipients with jobs that provide taxable income.

The IRS acknowledges the problems with the withholding tables but has done little to warn average taxpayers.

My suggestion to you, visit and take a look at the tax calculators. Or, call your tax advisor. If you don't want a surprise at tax time (who does?) it will be worth your effort. If you decide that you would rather circumvent receiving the credit on each paycheck and receive it at tax time, change your withholdings to a higher rate. You can see me if you work at Image Studios, or you can go to and download a new W-4 and give it to your employer.

To view the complete article please visit

Bathroom Renovation

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So, I am VERY embarassed to show you my old bathroom. I cannot believe how NASTY it looks. My husband finally decided it was time to renovate and he started DEMOLITION this past January. Over the next few weeks, I wanted to share the process of our remodeling with you, I hope that you enjoy it!
A little history of my home. It was moved, yes that is right, moved. Up on stilts going down the street. It is a 1950 style ranch. There really isnt anything special about it, I mean from a structural or character standpoint. Just a plain old ranch home.
Ok, back to the renovation. Jay (my husband) decided to rip out the walls from where the wainscotting was down to the floor. There was just too much there to deal with, so we went for the fresh start. you can see if you look close that the fixtures were all blue. A really ugly baby blue. Blue tub, blue toilet, blue sink, blue counter. Seriously? Yeah, I am serious. I really have no idea why anyone would do that! The only answer I can come up with is a Sale at M. Schuetel Freight Sales.
So, Jay and I knew we would need to start with a clean slate. It was complete demolition. It was reported to me (I didnt help with the demolition due to my back injury) that the demolition was SUPER! It felt so good to destroy that bathroom that my husband and I had come to hate. The only downside to this was the dust that covered every inch of my home. Even with the bathroom door shut and the window open, it didnt matter. DUST WAS EVERYWHERE.

Human Resources World

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

There is so much going on in the HR world right now, I wanted to be a source of information for you! Mainly for the employees of Image Studios, I have added a list of websites that I find helpful. If you are from another company and also find this information helpful, I invite you to dig in!

The website I want to highlight today is the "" website. On this site you can check your claim status and history, review your benefit information, compare in-network and out of network costs, use the Pharmacy Online, and even participate in a Health Improvement Plan, not to mention the many other items that I have found to be useful on this site.

I invite you to check it out, with the costs of Health Care on the rise, get yourself more informed!

Food Critic

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

As stated earlier, I love food. Love to cook it, bake it, eat it, taste it and smell it. Along those lines, I wanted to share a little treat with you! I made a Red Velvet Cake for Valentines Day. This is not a mix, it is made from scratch. I love the photo that one of our photographers took of it, PROPS to SHANE VANBOXTEL.

So, I also like to critique the food that I make. Here is my breakdown of the above cake. Color and presentation- Beautiful! Fun to look at, fun to serve and brought on the WOW factor from my guests. Frosting- home made cream cheese frosting, when made correctly, you really cant go wrong there. I use this frosting on my pumpkin bars, carrot cake, zuchinni bars- you get the idea. Flavor- pretty good. Certainly not my favorite cake. It has a mild cocoa flavor on the back end. It is NOT a good cake for a chocolate fix. Sweet, a little but not too much (hence the use of the cream cheese frosting), more rich than sweet. What I DIDNT like about the cake is the texture. It was VERY dense. Moist yes, but dense. I prefer a tender, fluffier cake.

Overall, it went over very well. Everyone liked it. I would give it a "B". I would only make it again if it were requested. There are too many other yummy cakes that EASILY get "A's".

Sledding- Not such a big fan today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I love to sled, ski snowshoe, play in the snow, all of that. I know with complete certainty that I was made for snow. I love the winter and I love snow.

For this year, I am taking some time off from sledding. It "won" this year. That's fine snow, I win every other year. You haven't heard the last of me.

Lemon Flavor- For Real?

Lemon flavor, can you please tell me who invented this and why? Yuck. Doesn't everyone know that RED is the #1 most preferred flavor? Why doesn't lifesaver just make every other color RED? I like red, my kids fight over it, its usually one of the 2 maybe 3 colors I eat.

Sorry yellow, but when I throw you away, I dont even feel bad. You can sit in the trash next to lime. Better luck next time.

"Why are taxes so hard for the Average Person"

Monday, February 2, 2009

This morning that is what a co-worker asked me. I personally do not think they are hard, I like them. I like trying to figure out how to bring my AGI down so that I can pay less taxes! It's a bit of a cat and mouse game. I would never ever lie on my taxes and I dont think you should either, but there are ways that are COMPLETELY LEGAL, that bring your AGI down therefore lowering your tax due for the year. Here are some of them:

Deductions, Deductions, Deductions! Find them, use them, make them! You can deduct a portion of medical expenses, home interest paid, personal property taxes paid, sales state tax paid, financial donations...the list really does go on and on.

Skip the standard deduction and go for the Itemized Deduction- its well worth the effort- if you are crafty enough it could reduce your AGI(Ajusted Gross Income) by a lot of money. For example, if you can find $20,000 in deductions, you lower your taxable income by that amount and can save $1000- $2000 on your taxes. (Depending on your tax bracket!)

Why do I work?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I have had people ask me, "If you were a stay at home mom, and your family learned to live on one income, then why would you ever want to go back to work?"

I work because it is good for my daughters to see their mom working. It is good to see that a woman can do what I do. They will see me using my intelligence to support our family, they will see someone that is proud of working hard and a job well done. They see that a woman can take care of herself, I have the most wonderful husband, but I could live my life if I didnt have him. I need for my daughters to know that deep down they are Self Reliant, Self Sustaining, Intelligent women.

That is why I work.

The best Days!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Here is a picture of my dog. His name is Vinny. We are all packed up and ready to go camping. Do you think he is excited? I know - he has a face only a mom could love. He is a pound puppy.

No personal Photo

Hi there! I know you are all dying to see what I really look like, I promise to work on that soon. I was thinking that maybe I could get one of the "Professional Photographers" that I work with to take a picture of me and actually make it look good! That will be a project I will be working on! Lets see how talented they really are.

Dieting Sucks

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So, how many of you are working dilegently on losing weight right now? Is this one of your resolutions? Well, I am here to tell you, I have found the secret to losing weight- I know for sure this is the ticket. I know because I read it in an article the other day. All you need to do is take in less calories than you use in one day. No kidding! You know, as I was sitting there reading that, I was thinking if only I had heard that years ago, just think about how skinny I could be!!

Are you serious? I mean really....serious? Yes, we all know that. Its eating so few calories that is the hard part. (You're saying...yeah!) I am here to tell you that I LOVE food, I love it. There is no way around it. I love to cook it, grow it, cut it, serve it, and eat it. I love how it looks and smells. I just love it. I even love healthy food- yup veggies, fruits, weird whole grains like Quinoa- all of that. Then why am I not thin? Well, in case someone forgot to tell you while you were reading that little chart in the Doctors office- dont fret, we are all different. We dont all fit into the mold that the "Physically Fit" Doctors call appropriate. And I am starting to learn that its okay. I dont fit into ANY mold. None of them, not the proper weight, not the proper height, I certainly dont fit into any clothing mold, and even my personality is a surprise to most people. I am who I am. Love me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

So, here it is, my first official post. Well, most of you know me and who I am but if you didn't know me, I am an Accountant. That is what I like to call it, I also currently carry the title of Human Resource Manager.

Ok, ok, I know what you are this going to be all about Financial Statements/W2's and Fiscal year jargon? No, don't worry, I am an accountant and I love it (more on that later) and I currently work for the Coolest Place!! No, seriously! When you come to my office, you would think you are walking onto the set of Friends. In fact, When I interviewed for the job, I went home and thought "I am totally not cool enough to work there!" They are the funkiest set of folks I have worked with! Have I wet your whistle? Want to know where I work??

I am surrounded by Artsy people. How I ever got in the door I will never know. I will just keep on coming to work and maybe they wont notice they hired a GEEK like me who likes to reconcile checking accounts, and balancing debits to credits. If you like to look at seriously cool pictures then you can click right on over to the Image Studios link right now. Don't worry sweetie- I will be here for you when you return!
Christy Glocke. Design by Pocket