Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Winner!

How exciting, another winner!  The winner of the Lean Belly Solutions Book and free Cheerios is.....(drumroll please..).....

#7 Kristina G.!!!

Kristina please email me at with your info, and congrats!

I am loose....

I have had headaches for pretty much my whole life.  I remember being a little girl and rolling around my bed in pain. As the years have passed they have started to get worse and worse, and in the past few months I have had them everyday.  I finally decided I couldn't take it anymore, and had to do something about it.

So I went to the Dr., did a few x-rays and found that my spine in my neck is perfectly straight.  Normally people have a 40 degree curve in the neck, I have 0; which is also leading to my poor posture.

Not taking care of this can lead to arthritis and later surgery in my neck, so I am SOOOO happy I found out it can be fixed.  I am now seeing a chiropractor 3 times a week and will soon start physical therapy.  And I am happier than ever that soon I will be headache free.  In fact I have not had one headache this week. 

This is such a good thing.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winner Winner!!!

I  am 2 days late, but better late than never right?
The winner of a tie of their choice from Little Gentleman's Closet on Etsy is....

#31 Tabitha!  Congrats!  Contact me at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011


I am so sorry I have been MIA for the past few days.  Our computer has some awful virus in it and we have not been able to use it all weekend.  Once I get things fixed I will be back to normal.  If anyone has any advice for removing these a virus without spending huge amounts of money, I would love to hear!

I hope you all had a great weekend. I relaxed and actually got a lot of sleep! 

Be sure to enter my givewaways which are both ending soon!

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

so if you're anything like me....

and live anywhere near me, you are probably about to go INSANE with the weather we are having.  Cold, snow, rain, wind, sleet...everything BUT sun.  I have never wanted warm weather so badly.  So to get get my mood in order and to (temporarily) fill my need for a week away, I thought I would give you some warm weather scenes to enjoy.

Have a great day...warm weather is coming......

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

There's this really cool place by us that has an indoor carousel in it.  Jack loves going, but whenever he goes he is terrified at first.  After one or two times around he doesn't EVER want to get off.   Can you sense the amount of fun he's having?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A healthier you, and a giveaway....

In my quest to become healthier, tone up and lose a few pounds, I am finding ways to have a healtier lifestyle.  And while I didn't lose any weight last week, counting calories and working out regularly are working pretty well.  Well now I found a great book to add to my quest.

 Dr. Travis Stork from the TV show 'The Doctors',  has written a book-  The Lean Belly Prescription.  This book is an easy read, full of common sense, easy to follow guidelines and healthy eating tips.  This book doesn't promote crazy dieting or starving yourself, it promotes a lifestyle change.    It's definitely information that everyone should read. 
Also, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Commite, ninety-five percent of Americans do not get enough whole grain.  In fact, the average person gets a little more than a half a serving of whole grain each day.
MyBlogSpark and Big G cereals want to help. Big G cereals contain at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving (some with more than 16 grams.) 

MyBlogSpark is offering one of my readers a chance to win a FREE box of Multi Grain Cheerios and the new book “The Belly Fat Prescription,” by Dr. Travis Stork, MD and host of The Doctors.

Visit for more tips, additional information about the benefits of whole grain and how Big G cereals can be a convenient and tasty way to help you manage your weight by incorporating whole grain into your day.
Hopefully this will just make my journey, (and yours)  a little bit easier.

For your chance to win (mandatory) :
Leave a comment telling me how you make cereal a healthy part of your diet.

Extra Entries: 

follow me (comment if you do!)
Like Just Another Manic Momday on Facebook!

**General Mills provided me with the free product, information, and giveaway through MyBlogSpark.
Please leave your email address with comments. Contest ends on March 20, 2011 at 11:59 PM. The winner will be selected by and notified by email.  Good Luck!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

motivation is the key....

I feel like Jack is learning new things everyday.  It's amazing to me how fast and to much children learn.  It makes me realize that all children are motivated to learn and the key is to keep that motivation.  I see so many of my students unmotivated or not excited about learning and wonder why.  I wonder if their parents didn't read to them or didn't value learning.  I wonder if their parents ask them about school or if they have conversations about topics they learn in school. 

One thing I vow to Jack, and to myself, is to do my best to motivate Jack, and make him excited about learning!  Now of course it is easy, but I know struggles lie ahead of me. 
Sure as they get older they have many things out there to help them become "smarter", or a better student.  Things like after school tutoring, study groups, writing groups like The Writing Faculty, and many other educational groups.   Those all do great things, but I think they key to those are also parents that question and motivate their students to want to learn, to want to explore. 

I hope motivation is no problem for Jack, but I am sure it will happen when so many other "better" things come along instead of studying  In the meantime, I will just enjoy the little "sponge" I have as long as I can.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks's Day

“May the road rise up to meet you,  May the wind always be at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.  May soft be the grass you walk on, May fair be the skies above you, May true be the joys that surround you, May dear be the hearts that love you.

Today in Chicago everyone's Chi-rish!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: Irish Style...

Two years ago I went to Ireland with my sister. It was my 3rd time.  Ireland is one of my favorite places in the world  It was planned to be my last big "party" trip before I got pregnant.  Three weeks before we went, I found out I was pregnant.  We had a blast anyway...Guinness or no Guinness.

These are just SOME of my favorite pics...

Check out other Wordless Wednesdays at the paper mama!


Monday, March 14, 2011

giveaway...little gentleman's closet!

I LOVE ties on little them.  I get so excited anytime we have a dressy party to go to, just so Jack can get dressed up. 

So you can probably guess how excited I was when Michelle at the little gentleman's closet, sent me this tie for Jack:
(does he look like a GQ model or what?!?!?)

Michelle went from middle school sewing teacher to mom of two boys, and decided to combine her old life into her new one.  All the ties at her shop are fully adjustable and she has sizes for infants, toddlers, and children.

What I love about these ties is the snap closure in back.  It is much better than those clip on ties, and the tie will grow with Jack in length, and with his neck.  I can't wait until he wears them in his Easter pictures!

The little gentleman's closet welcomes custom orders for special occasions. If you have a specific color or fabric request, let her know!
Michelle is graciously giving one of my reader's a tie of their choice.  This will add the perfect touch to your little guys Easter or party outfit!  Here are just two of my other favorites:
To win (mandatory):

visit the little gentleman's closet, and comment on your favorite tie design

Extra entries:
1. Like the little gentleman's closet on facebook
2. Follow my blog (if you do, let me know)
3. Blog about this giveaway

Contest will end Monday March 28th at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be choosen via and contacted by email.  Good luck, and happy Monday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My attempt at a photo wall..

So I have been saying I am going to do a photo wall for almost a year.  Over the summer I bought the frames, and had the design I wanted.  Then came choosing the pictures.  Those who know me, know that I CAN NOT make a decision. 

So the frames sat unfilled for months until I finally made up my mind.

I think it looks pretty good. 

Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 11, 2011

Boycott those Blogs!

I am so happy today is Blog Boycott Day.  We have had state testing all week here at work and my head feels like it is going to explode!  That is also why you haven't seen me around here much this week.

State testing is over and now I am ready for the weekend.  I will be back next week with more great posts and a great giveaway!

#BlogBoycottDay is a day dedicated to social media.  It is a day designed to take a break from blog hopping and instead, focus on building relationships through Twitter.
#BlogBoycottDay is the 2nd Friday of every month, and please check out Belle Bean and a Chicago Dog for more info and to join! 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Welcome....Heir to Blair!

I am super excited today.  I have a new friend guest posting for me!  

I met Blair on the "mommy" message boards a couple years back, and we were instantly NOT friends.  Then we both had our sons, and I think, both grew up a little.  Being a mom changes you in so many different ways, and this was one of them.  Blair and I are now "blog friends", and I like that.

What I like even better is her blog. (If you've never heard of it, you must be living under a rock!)  I have been reading Heir to Blair, since the day her son Harrison was born, which is exactly one week before Jack was born.  It's nice to see someone else go through what I go through; struggles with weight, time, a full-of-energy boy, and juggling work and mommy-hood.  Which brings me to Blair's guest post.  I think she speaks for MANY working moms out there.

 It's not THAT bad.

When my son was 13 weeks old, I slipped back into a black pencil skirt & three-inch stilletos to take my place in the coporate world once more.   Every day for the next year, I tearfully kissed my little boy goodbye & bitterly plowed through paperwork & client calls.   I hated being a working mother.  I was wracked with jealousy over my stay-at-home-mom friends when they held playdates & lunches.  I struggled with finding balance between work, marriage, motherhood, home, & myself.  News articles hounded home that the children of working mothers were fatter, sicker, & worse off than children of mothers who stayed home.  & it didn't matter if Charlie Sheen himself wrote the study, I believed that I was failing my child by working.
Slowly, that cloud of despair has lifted as my postpartum depression healed & my little family settled into a comfortable routine.  I met a few fellow working momma friends that helped me feel less alone as we shared tips for managing it all.  & you know what?  I realized that it doesn't suck.  Sure, being a working momma is HARD.  You're "on" 24/7, not only meeting the demands of a family & toddler tyrant, but also the demands of clients, bosses, products, & everything in between.  But it definitely has it's perks.
Reasons Being A Working Mom is the Hot Jam
  • The paycheck.  Money pretty much rocks & whether you're using it to put a roof over your head (like me) or buy pretty things from Anthropologie (occasionally me), it's a good feeling to see the bank account swell & know that I earned some of the cash that keeps us full.
  • Lunch breaks that don't include peanut butter & jelly unless I'm lazy & pack that for myself.  They also don't include being pelted in the face with mushy banana.  I can sit down with a good friend in a restaurant or eat quietly at my desk.  Sometimes in the fall & spring when the weather's nice, I take a walk around my office or eat outside in the sunshine while reading a book.  It's a rare moment that I get to myself.
  • Running errands by myself. Lunch isn't all bon-bons, though.  Most of the time, I'm running errands - grocery shopping, dry cleaning, buying dog food & diapers.  It's the only time I can get my teeth cleaned or my hair cut or my lady-bits examined, so I'm that gal laying on the exam table, eating a taco while the know what? I'm not even going to go there. But I do get to do the mundane things in life by myself without hauling a screaming toddler in & out of a carseat, which makes them easier & faster.
  • The look on his face when I pick him up at the end of the day. I open the front door & he's there, running towards me with a big smile on his face.  He cannot wait to see me & it's reassurance that I'm still his favorite person.
  • Cute clothes. Okay, I'm actually torn on this one because some days I could really do without the tights & three-inch heels.  But when I'm at home, I tend to slave away in jeans & crummy tshirts.  Working ensures that I'm put-together with curled hair & least 75% of the time.
  • Adult conversation. Granted, chatting about budgets with a coworker that has horrible breath isn't necessarily my idea of a good time, but sometimes I think it beats listening to Wonder Pets on repeat.
  • Living for the weekends. By the time Saturday & Sunday roll around, our entire little family is haggard & in need of rest.  But it's also a time to celebrate being together, so we cook a hot breakfast every morning & spend as much time in the sunshine as possible, after being cooped up in offices.  Nate & I trade off getting time alone - both to ourselves & time alone with Harrison.
  • Things are 100% equal on the parenting front. Like all parents, we're both equally exhausted.  But since we both log 40+ hours in the office, neither can point fingers at who worked harder.  That means that chores, parenting, & responsibilities are split 50/50.   I have just as much time to cook & clean as he does, so when we're almost falling over dead on Friday night, we're both folding size 18 month onesies & pants.
Like I said, it doesn't suck all the time.  There's some bummer parts about being a working momma, but honestly?  I'm not going to go into those.  There's enough negativity out there about those of us with mommas that hold down a nine to five.  We know the benefits of staying home, but it's time to recognize that working can also benefit the family.  At the end of the day, I may prefer to be with my son & dream of a day full of playdough & Little People & yes, even tantrums.  But when I'm sitting in my quiet office at 8am on Monday morning while quietly sipping fresh coffee & checking email, I smile.  Because that moment certainly doesn't suck.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

I hope you all had a great weekend.  We had a nice relaxing one.  What's even better is I have today off of work for Pulaski Day.  I think it's only Illinois that celebrate's that day...either way, thanks Mr. Pulaski. After today there are NO days off for FIVE weeks!  Seems like forever.

Anyways over the weekend I made Torte di Pere for dessert at my parents house.  I never made and to be honest was a bit afraid of how it would turn out.  The directions are a bit complex and many of the comments on Smitten Kitchens blog said their torte sunk in the middle. 

I followed the directions exactly, and it came out great; it tasted even better.  This combines two perfect things...fruit and chocolate, and it is a great alternative to cake.  This is definately on my top 5 for desserts.

 Torta di Pere [Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake]Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room-temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 semi-ripe pears, peeled, in a small dice

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. (In a professional Kitchen Aid, it takes at least five minutes; on a home machine, it will take nine minutes to get sufficient volume)
While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the flame but keep in a warm spot.
Add the sugar to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.
Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to loose volume, turn the mixture down to stir, and add the flour mixture and brown butter. Add one third of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined — no more than a minute from when the flour is first added — and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.
Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, and bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes [updated, thanks for your responses], or a tester comes out clean.

Serve with whip cream, ice cream or all by itself. 


Thursday, March 3, 2011

from mac-n-cheese to filet mignon

Lately I have been trying to improve my cooking skills.  When my husband and I first got married, I would spend hours making the perfect gourment meals.  When Jack was born all of that went out the window.  Our meals now consist of easy, throw together receipes, simple sandwiches, and microwave soups. 

The time has finally come for me to get back to my love of cooking.  It may not be all gourmet, all the time yet, but it will be a work in progress. 

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time at work, or at home is to browse food blogs.  I have about 40 favorites that I read daily.  I figured, why not share some of my favorites with all of you.  So here are five of the food blogs that I LOVE (in no particular order).  There is a mix of everything here: simple, time consuming, gourmet, but all wonderful.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two fabulous winners!

I have two winners to announce:

The winner of the Pear Tree Greetings $20 gift code is #9 Jaclyn.  

The winner of the Beau and Stella Luck Necklace is #41, Jen (Mrs. Boom)

You both have 24 hours to contact me at


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

Jack loves showing off how he knows most of his body parts.  This is what he does when we ask him to show us his eyes.