Sunday, September 23, 2012

BigOven App Review

If you're like me, making dinner is more of a headache than a pleasure. I hate cooking! I'm not good at it and I could think of a million more useful things to do with my time. (Sean is the chef in this family, and a damn good one at that.) I can't just look in the fridge/pantry like Sean and instantly come up with a million different meals to make. Instead I stand there, letting out all the cold air, and go into a panic attack because I have no clue where to start.
Until now....

Sean came across this AMAZING app in the Android Market for people just like me! There are thousands of recipes ranging from easy and fast to world class chef. All the recipes are posted by average people and chefs. It's free to use unless you want to post a recipe or build a menu weekly and monthly or even create a shopping list. There is a small monthly fee of $1.99

The interface is super easy to maneuver. All your tabs are laid out across the top, including a search bar. You can simply type in several ingredients you have on hand (separated by commas) and select what you want from over 250,000 recipes. If you want something a little more specific, you can click on the Recipe tab and narrow down your search by category.

When searching the recipes, you have the option to search by course, equipment, ingredient or lifestyle. There are several options to choose from in each category. Once you have found a recipe to try, you can add it to you "Try Soon" or "Favorites" box.

Once you've established a nice "Try Soon" list, its easy to search threw it and select a recipe to try. Just select a recipe by clicking on it. The recipe pops up with a picture, (Not everyone uploads them) brief description, reviews and nutrition tabs. If I like the picture, I click on the recipe and read the reviews before even reading the ingredients. The recipe tab has all the information you need to make the meal and even an option to post your own note and review. On the right side of the recipe, there are tabs to "Add to Plan" "Add to Grocery" "Add to Favorites" "Try Soon" and "Customize". If you didn't like the recipe, you can simply remove it from your list by unclicking the "Add to Favorites" tab. You also have the option to email the recipe, review it, print it, pin it on Pinterest, Facebook, create a shopping list or my favorite, create a weekly/monthly menu.

The BigOven Menu Planner is laid out like a monthly calendar with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner tabs for each day. On the left side of the calendar is all the recipes in your "Favorites" and "Try Soon" boxes. You simply click on the meal of choice for that day, scroll threw your recipes and click and slide the recipe to that meal bar. Click the save button at the top of the screen or click the - button on the meal bar if you didn't want that recipe. You can add your own note under the recipe as well. Once you have finished your menu for the week or month, you can click on the "Add to Grocery" tab in the top right corner to create your shopping list for the entire week or month and email or print it out. Its that easy!

So you've made a meal and have some leftovers. I hate leftovers, but I hate child hunger in the US more, so I never throw away food unless its past its prime. One of my favorite tools with BigOven is the "Use up Leftovers" tab. You can select up to three ingredients and click the "BigOven, what can I Make" bar. This brings up new meals you can make with those annoying leftovers. It literally takes the thinking out of your job. That's a good thing if you're anything like me.

After using this app for a couple weeks, we are super happy with it. This is going to be my lifesaver during this home school year. Again it is available for Android, IPhone, IPad, Windows and is available online at Once you create an account, you can use it on any device, anywhere! Try it out, you'll love it!



Back to School Time!!

Not much is going on around here this week. Sean finally got his severance from his former job. They now only owe him one last commission check. It's nice to finally close that chapter in our lives.

He has registered for school and will start classes online around the 15th of October. He's pretty excited since he doesn't have to pay a dime.

Speaking of school, I just purchased Declan, Cian and Fionn's school work from Seton's. $1043 this year, including books, lesson plans and testing. I know it seems like a lot, but if we were enrolling them in Catholic school, it would be triple that price. At least this way we know they are getting a stellar education and not causing ourselves to be bankrupt.

I'm starting classes on Oct 5th, which is a Friday. Weird, but since Sean's set days off are Wednesdays and Thursdays, it made sense to have school Friday-Tuesday. I just purchased all their school supplies from Staples as well. Sean gets 40% off with his work discount.
30 3-ring plastic folders-$23.37
6 Pink Erasers-$3.58
48 #2 Pencils-$4.99
96 Crayons-$7.99
24 Pens-$2.58
1 Holidays Bulletin Board Set-$9.74
Total-$56.53 with tax
Final-$33.92....Not too shabby. Another reason to love this company!

Declan has 11 classes this year. Math, Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Vocab, History, Religion, Science, Art, English, and Handwriting. This year Reading requires 4 book reviews, 4 paragraphs long with brainstorming. This will be a challenge for him since he can be a bit lazy with the thinking process. He likes me to come up with ideas for him. It's going to be a long

Fionny is so excited to start Kindergarten. He will have 6 classes. Math, Phonics, Handwriting, Science, Religion and Art. He already knows all his letters and sounds. He can read BOB Books on his own. He can also add and subtract 2 digit problems. He is going to be a joy to teach!

Cian is starting first grade. This year the school grades his work, so it is going to be a bit of a challenge for him. He has 9 classes, Math, Phonics, Religion, Science, History, Spelling, Handwriting, English and Art. He has never had this many classes before and has a really short attention span, so this will be a huge wake up call for him. I am guessing the first few weeks will be rough, until I can come up with a good routine/schedule. Seton's supplies Lesson Planners but you have to write them out. I really don't have the time to hand write each lesson for each class and child. I would prefer to use an online based program/app (for Android or Windows) but I have yet to find one. If any of my homeschooling Moms have any suggestions, please let me know!

All their books and lesson plans will be here via UPS Monday or Tuesday. I am excited to get started going through the lesson plans and seeing what they will be learning this year. I have their classroom set up in the kitchen, along with a new bulletin board theme. This year is monsters in I have to clean out the cabinet above my washer and drier for all their books and lessons. It's going to be pretty crowded in there.

My second challenge is what to do with the little ones, (Liam, Mary, Lizzie and Sam). Sam will mostly be napping during school, but Liam is a HUGE troublemaker and gets into EVERYTHING the second you turn your back. LIKE RIGHT NOW....UGH!!!! If anyone has any suggestion for that problem, feel free to share!

Well, I'll post pictures of their fist day in the near future! Hope you all have a lazy Sunday with lots of football and food....GO PATS!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lots of Changes

Life around here has been pretty crazy. With Sean starting his new job, we have not really been able to come up with a good schedule. He does have set days off, Wednesday and Thursday but closes two or three days per week (1-10pm). That of course throws off our entire day because by time he gets home, it's about 10:15pm and he is still wide awake from work. For the first week, we weren't getting to bed until 1-2am. Of course the kids were up at 6am, so that didn't leave much peace for sleeping in.

Working for this company has its perks (Free cell phones, laptops and tablets) but until he really started working, he had no idea just how much he didn't know about computers and this amazing company. There isn't time for training, with the October launch of their new cell phones and tablet, so he has been pretty much training himself. There are so many classes to take, systems to learn and he has to get it all down in less than a year. His head is On the plus side, any classes, certifications or college courses are completely paid for by the company, including books. He wants to take App Development. That class is mostly online and starts next month. He's going to be a busy bee for a long time.

With Sean working crazy hours, the kids and I have been trying to keep busy around the house. It has been too hot for them to go out and play, so they have been playing tuns of Xbox. If I have to listen to that stupid Star Wars Lego theme music one more day, I'm going to shoot myself. In the middle of all this heat, our AC broke last Friday. It was 102 degrees and 88 in the house. The bitch landlord didn't return our calls for nearly 2 days. Sean looked up the landlord/Tenant laws in our state. Unfortunately, in this state it is not required to provide AC to the home or unit. So, she is taking her sweet time finding someone to fix it. Meanwhile my baby came down with a fever (4 teeth coming in) and cooling him off has not been easy. If this had been our old landlord Keiko, it would have been fixed the same day. Supposedly, someone is coming to fix it on Thursday.

With all this heat comes ants. My kitchen has been taken over by those little pests for the last week. Instead of making breakfast first thing every morning, I'm removing hundreds of ants from my food and cabinets. It's horrible. Though it could be worse, they could be roaches.

On a more personal note, I have been battling an unknown illness for the past two months. I originally went to the doctor for what I thought was a UTI. It was, but then came back a month later. The original urine test showed I had Staff in my urine. So the next appointment they gave me an antibiotic for Staff. After a week of taking it, I still had the same symptoms. The doctor said my second urine test was clear and that I needed to see an OB/GYN. Of course that freaked me out. I went to the hospital and had an ultrasound preformed. They did find a mildly complex left ovarian cyst. It seems to have been there for some time but is only 2.1mm in size. The doctors at the hospital said I had Cycstitus and needed to see a OB/GYN that specializes in urology. So, they recommended a wonderful doctor whom I saw on Monday. After asking a bunch of question and doing a pelvic exam, she decided to have me come back for a Cystoscopy. Of course that freaked me out all the more. She will have to place a tube with a tiny camera into my urethra. It's not suppose to be painful, but she took urine directly from my bladder and that really burned. That was her deciding factor. I guess that wasn't suppose to happen. She wants to see what is causing the inflammation in my urethra and bladder. In the mean time, I can only drink water. No spicy or sweet foods either. She also put me on Culturelle Probiotic and D-Mannose. Both are suppose to help cleanse the urinary tract. I go in for the procedure on the 11th of October. As if things couldn't get worse, during my exam, she found that my pelvic muscles were shot. She said I need to see a therapist to strengthen them back up or I will loose control of my bladder and bawls when I get older. That's just what I needed to hear. She said I should have been doing my kegel exercises after each birth. I may not be able to have anymore children, which breaks my heart. I wanted one more when Sammy was two or so.
Well, that has been our crazy life for the last month or so. School starts on Oct. 5th, so it's going to get a little crazier yet!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

To all those who lost their lives 11 years ago....We will never forget.

Saturday, September 8, 2012



So, I'm sure you've all heard of LinkedIn. Social network for job seekers...Well, a recruiter from the biggest IT company in the WORLD found Sean's LinkedIn profile and requested an invite. He was thrilled at the opportunity since it's near impossible to get in the company without someones help. She gave him her email and work number. So, he sent her a quick email thanking her and attached his resume. SHE CALLED HIM BACK WITHIN AN HOUR FOR AN INTERVIEW! She loved him and wanted to get him in front of a GM for one of there cooperate stores right down the street. (What's even funnier, Sean had already worked at this location. This store was one of his clients from his former job. He knew a few of the employees already.) The guy actually wanted to Skype the interview, that's how fast they were moving. He ended up going to see the guy in person the next day. He met with three people and was then directed to a Skype interview with a DM the next day. We have never used Skype before, so we had to install it onto our tablets to test it out. Way cool!! The interview went great and she wanted Sean to meet with yet another GM, for a flagship store. That guy loved Sean as well.

 All of this took place in less than a week. They offered him an Asst. GM position with the intention of making him the sole GM once he was fully trained because the guy running the place now wants to move to another state. Everyone he has talked to says this company is the BEST company to work for. They all love the place and feel blessed to be a part of the team. The benefits are FREE!!! Stock options and 401k are available as well. The best part, there is an entire network set up to help you get where you want to go within the company. They pay for your schooling and point you in the right direction. It's all like a dream come true.....except one thing....the pay. He is taking a HUGE pay cut to work for this company. He actually has another offer with another huge IT company, his former boss was just hired there and she wants him to be her  first hire. The pay would be about the same as his last job, with the same title (SDR). She should be getting back with him in a few days as to what the exact pay would be.

Since Sean accepted the offer with the first IT company, he just cleared their CRAZY background check and started TODAY! He's not sure what to do about the other offer. On the one hand, this current company is a DREAM COMPANY! He can do ANYTHING with this company, he just has to bite down and pay his dues for a year or less before he can make the big bucks. On the other hand, he can work with his former boss making the same amount of pay and doing a job he loved. He has freedom and can make his own schedule. It's a tough decision....what would you do?