Monday, January 31, 2011

Rants~N~Raves

I am starting a new ongoing series called...

You guessed it, Rants~N~Raves.

I am not committing to posting it on any particular day nor even on a weekly basis for that matter but rather as often as I feel necessary since this is MY blog and I make the rules. 

Although I try to be optimistic and happy go lucky, most of the time on my blog, there are definite times when a Rant is clearly what the dr ordered.

So here it goes....a few Rants....


1.  Why is it whenever you are in a hurry (or have to go to the bathroom) you hit every red light?

2.  People when you are driving in your car, picking your nose, the windows are see through...We can still see you!

3.  Men in long black trench coats wearing dark sun glasses when it is clearly dark outside, don't make me feel all warm and fuzzy.  (Not to stereotype, but I would venture to say this person was up to something)

4.  Waiting in drive through for 7 minutes is not what I call fast food, just sayin (especially when only have 1/2 lunch; maybe it's a sign and I shouldn't be eating fast food?).

5. If you are going to say you are going to do something, do it and stop talking about it!

Raves....chirp, chirp, chirp... 


Yeah, not coming up with too much. Wait....

1.  It's not raining!

2.  My husband and I went to an awesome concert on Saturday night.  The Winter Wonderslam Tour w/HOH, my boy Brandon Heath and TobyMac.

3.  Our church collected 91 pairs of socks for a local homeless congregation.

That's all I have. 

It's Monday, what did you expect?



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Destination Unknown

They say it's not the destination necessarily that matters but it's how you get there, right?

First off who is "they" and what do "they" really know about where "there" is for me? 

"There", for me, today, couldn't come soon enough.

Let me rewind, today started out like any other Sunday, get up, get dressed, wake kids up (if they aren't the ones that woke me up which is pretty rare since my body clock usually wakes me before the sun shines), get them breakfast, dressed, etc...

And out the door, off to church....(oh wait, coffee stop then church)

After church we knew we had to go to the Children's Museum which is about 20 minutes away to pick up our clay figures that we created a few weeks back, but had to leave there to have them fire them, then pick up a few weeks later.  Husband decided he was going to do this and take our 3yr old with him while K and I stayed at home.

K was pretty cranky and tired so I thought that sounded like a good plan.  While they were gone, I would get her down for a nap and maybe, just maybe, I could do a few things around the house.  The only concern I had is that it was pretty close to nap time for H too and I knew if he fell asleep in the car for even just 5 minutes, good luck getting him back to sleep when they got home. 

All good intentions of course, get K down for nap, get a few things done around the house.  Husband and H get back and  put H down for a nap too!  (Both kids down for a nap at similar times even if a bit overlap, one can dream, right?)

Ha!  That's funny!

By the time I got K to settle down to nap, even though she was clearly tired, I was exhausted!  Heck, I need a nap...so there I laid with her.  Finally, off to sleep she went only to be woken up a mere 20 minutes later when H comes bounding through the door, excited as ever about playing on the trains at the Forestry Center (which is right next door to Children's Museum).

And he did fall asleep in the car on the way home even though husband tried to keep him entertained and awake without success. 

Needless to say both kids had about a 20 minute nap today.

Fast forward a few hours, I am E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D....both kids cranky and honory as all get out for most of the afternoon, running amok, reeking havoc all around the house.  It is fair to say that I didn't get much downtime this afternoon because husband went to play basketball for the afternoon and by 630 or so my patience were running just a bit thin....

But alas, there is a light at the end of the tunnel I thought to myself, we had to be somewhere at 730pm so I decided we are leaving early...Yes, we are leaving early!  Kinda funny because most of the time these days, although I am not usually late, I am merely on time which prior to kids, even prior to 4th kid, I was always sometimes early.  Not anymore.

Leaving early means that both kids will be in their car seats, confined (I know that probably sounds really bad) and hopefully somewhat content so I can sit down for a few minutes even if it is in the car.  They both like riding in the car for the most part so this was perfect!  Win-win situation is what it is!

So that is what we did!  We left about a 1/2 hour earlier than what we needed to just so I could drive around a few extra minutes for a few extra minutes of  relaxation (if you call driving relaxing which today it was because it meant I was at least sitting)...

And guess what?  We made it to our destination, picked up T and by the time we were on our way home, both kids fell asleep.  And, when we got back, we brought them in the house and they went back to sleep.... no problem! 

Ahhh, life is good.  Nighty, Night!




This is not them sleeping today but alas still sleeping

Friday, January 28, 2011

5 on Friday

Protein. Check. 

Vitamin B1, C, E, K, Omega 3.Check. 

Carbohydrates. Check.

Calcium. Check.


This weeks 5 on Friday is none other than the quick, easy, budget friendly CHEESY TUNA CASSEROLE!

Or Tuna Mac as we call it in our house.  Casserole sounds to elaborate to me.


Cheesy Tuna Mac

Ingredients
  • 1 package of elbow macaroni (or you can use most any other pasta noodles you have on hand)
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cheese soup
  • 1 soup can of milk
  • 2 cans (6 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1-2 cup frozen peas or fresh/canned peas

Directions

  • Cook the noodles according to package directions; drain.
  • Stir in the cheese soup w/ milk while on stove top on low heat
  • Add the tuna & peas, continue to stir and heat for 5-7 minutes until tuna & peas are warm.
If you want the "casserole" to be a bit crunchy instead of cooking on stove top do the following:

  • Mix cooked noodles, soup mix, tuna & peas into a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish
  • Add a layer of bread crumbs on top
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. 

There are tons of other variations for this recipe:

  • Add carrot shavings
  • Add small slices of celery
  • Add a layer of cheese rather than bread crumbs if you cook in the oven
  • Instead of cheese soup use cream of mushroom soup
  • Add broccoli instead of peas
  • Want a little bit of zing? Add pimentos or onions.
Pair with a salad and you have dinner!



*Stock Photo





*I was not going to use this dish as my 5 on Friday meal originally therefore I did not take a picture of it.

Improv

Look what  I used.....





For this......









In conjunction with this because I had too many noodles and not enough sauce (nor any tomato sauce, paste or soup)...



Now that is what I call improv!


Funny thing, my husband says, "Man, honey that spaghetti tonight was really good (not that that was the first time it was good by any means) but he goes on to say, "It had a little bit of a zing to it. What did you do differently."


Should I tell him?



I did...and now looks like I am going to have to add that to it more often to add a little bit more spice to our life or at least our spaghetti.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The "C" Word

In this neck of the woods, the Pacific Northwest, the "c" word is Coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I mean really, Starbucks was first introduced right up the road in Seattle.  And Stumptown...started right here in our backyard....

I read recently that Portland is one of the top 5 cities in America that spends the most at coffee shops (per person) each month...


Who is the #1 you ask? 

Really?  You had to ask?


1. Seattle $36
2. San Jose $34
3. Phoenix $33
4. Portland $33
5. Las Vegas $32

Funny thing I originally thought this was per person PER WEEK.  Yeah, I think most people who have a coffee habit spend this in a week not a month, EASY! (or maybe that is just me?)

Las Vegas and Phoenix kinda surprised me because of the warm weather.  Las Vegas, I guess they are a city that never sleeps (because they drink so much coffee?).  Yeah, probably not the reason....

I am more of a cold weather coffee person.  And tend to drink more coffee during the fall/winter.  It is so hard to roll out of bed to go to work when it is still dark outside.  There is something enticing about a HOT coffee that gets me motivated.  It has to be hot, can't stand ice coffee drinks AND it most likely has to be coffee shop bought.  To me, home brewed, not the same.  I have tried my darnedest to drink home brewed coffee with all the different creamers they come out with and just not the same.   I just can't do it.  (Kinda funny, huh?)

My poor coffee maker at home sees no action.  There it sits all by itself, all hunkered down in the corner...

Coffee swigging momma is what I am (just not home brewed).

And when it is so cold in the mornings (I leave to work most mornings at 530am so it is COLD) I warm my hands on the cups (burning them often) unless of course I have a Coffee Cozie!

Have you seen these?







They come in all sorts of prints, adjustable to fit several sizes of cups, reversible and machine washable.  Much more eco friendly then the cardboard paper ones you get at the coffee shop. 

Would you like one?

One of my friends here locally started making these and they are being sold in some local coffee shops around town.  $6.00/each. 


Buy one for each season?  Each holiday? Each sport season?  They have tons to already choose from.  They make great gifts for any coffee lovers you know. 

Let me know if you are interested and I will put you in contact with her!









**This is not a paid endorsement

$20.53

Another successful run to Growers Outlet (162nd & Glisan) .....I picked up a whole bunch of spices for .79 each, too!




2 Heads of Lettuce
2 Cucumbers
2 bunches of Green Onions
3 Navel Oranges
4 Pears
5 Roma Tomotoes
2 Avacados (that I forgot to put in picture)
6 Bananas
5 Ears of Corn  **The last post was pics of corn husks**
1 Bag of Salted Peanuts
5 Seasonings
1 can of Dr Pepper & Twix (sorry not included in the picture because they didn't make it home)




What's This You Ask?

Any guesses?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Say It Ain't So

A few things I have said over the last couple days that I never thought I would say, maybe shouldn't say or normally wouldn't say but since I am a mother of small children, I did....and probably will again many more times throughout the years ahead....

Can you please take your toilet out of the kitchen! 

Do I smell like poop? 


Help!  She has poop dripping down her leg!


Is that snot on your shoulder? (this was to my husband before church this past Sunday)


You have a booger on your eyebrow!

Can I pee by myself, pretty please with sugar on top...just this once (this of course I say all the time and I know a little TMI but I am sure many other mothers of small children can relate)  ( I say this alot about taking a shower too)

It ain't got no spices in it honey...(not sure where my language skills where at this point)

No, honey I didn't see you...Why? Because I wasn't looking at you. Why, weren't you looking at me?  Because I was busy doing something else not paying attention  I don't have eyes on the back of my head. Why?  (Yes, we are in the why stage and I can't come up with things fast enough sometimes so luckily he forgets and moves onto the next why question)


Why do you need your lipstick?  (this is odd saying it to my little boy when he is asking me to find his lipstick which he does not have)

What does lipstick have to do with my toenails? (apparently he wants to paint my toes with lipstick)

Yes, I heard your burp.











Remember Haiti-Give A Water for Life Filter

Join The Fish today for the Water For Life project with Compassion International. $55 will purchase this water filtration system for Haitians and provide clean water for sixty people for life!
Call 866-994-6484 or visit www.1041thefish.com to help!





Wacky Wednesday-Mommy Rhapsody

I ran across this on youtube.  OMG, so funny!  Have you seen it before?





They nailed it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This Won't Hurt, I Promise!

Everyone is talking about saving money these days.  With the economy the way it is, you can't afford not to. 

Even those that are "better" off are often times having issues making ends meet these days. 

"Too much month at the end of the money," is what I always say.

Gas, $47.25 to fill a 15 gal tank.

Groceries, $100.00 easy each week for the average family of 4.

Electricity bill, $147.23 last month.

Saving a few bucks any way I can, PRICELESS!


Because of this I came up with some fairly "painless" ways to save a few bucks.  And a few bucks multiplied by a few different things, can add up to some big savings!


Many of you may have read or heard of these ideas or similar ones already, if that is the case, let this be a refresher.

  •  To insure you are getting the best mileage on your car make sure you maintain it regularly and always check tire pressure.  Low tire pressure does make a difference in the miles per gallon.  (And gas now $3.15/gallon?  Ouch!)
  • Carpool or take mass transit.
  • Turn your thermometer down a few degrees and use an extra blanket or make sure you wear pj's/socks, etc when sitting around the house or in bed.
  • Turn your hot water heater thermometer down a few degrees.  You won't even know the difference!
  • Wash your clothes in COLD water only. 
  • Instead of using a whole scoop or cup full of detergent, use half.  Your laundry soap will last much longer.
  • When leaving home for an extended amount of time put lamps, outside lights, etc on timers rather than leaving them on the whole time.  This is also good for general security purposes as well.
  • Make your own cleaning products (I know many of my blog readers already do this).  This is not only more economical but also healthier for your family.
  • Eat out less often.
  • Brown bag your lunch (I always make extra at dinner and use left overs for next day lunches).
  • Menu plan.  Every week!  No if and ands or buts about it.  This will take you a long way on your food budget.
  • Use coupons (this is a no brainer).
  • Only buy items on sale and watch for the BOGO especially on meat.  I love Albertsons in our area, they always seem to be having a BOGO on meat.
  • Stock up on items when they are on sale, if you have the extra money/storage and know that you will use the item in the next 30 days.  (No need to stock up on items that will sit on a shelf and expire by the time you use it/eat it, etc.)
  • When having get togethers, parties, etc can you say, POT LUCK?
  • Brew your own coffee rather than making that Starbucks run every morning.  
  • Regift items.  I know many of you might not be too fond of this but remember chances are the person you give the gift to will never know.  One persons unused bath salt or picture frame is anothers treasure.  (Just make sure you do not regift to the person who originally gifted to you).
  • OR rather than regift an item, give a "coupon" to whomever for their special day, anniversary, etc such as babysitting services, house cleaning, walking dog, etc...
  • Downgrade cable tv service
  • Downgrade home phone service (if you still have it)
  • Rent movies from Redbox $1.00/night rather than $3.99-$5.99 at Blockbuster.  OR borrow videos from library.
  • When making bigger purchases evalute if it is a "need" or a "want".
  • Buy secondhand on most items.  Craigslist, resale shops...(Other Mothers .25 sale is this Friday & Saturday)
  • Barter your services for items your family needs rather than purchasing the items.


Do you have any other painless ideas that I have not listed?  Comment, please.



Monday, January 24, 2011

Plum District

Plum District.com  have you ever heard of it?  I stumbled on it awhile back and now one of my favorite blogs are promoting it.

Kinda like Groupon. 

Today they are offering $10.00 Papa Murphys gift certificate for $5.00.

There are only 10,000 vouchers available nationwide, so act fast before it expires.

Your gift card will be mailed to you in about 2 weeks.

Limit 1 voucher per person. Deal is available until tonight at 11:59 pm (1/24). Voucher expires January, 2016.







**This is not a paid endorsement

Friday, January 21, 2011

REAL SIMPLE

Life....It can be REAL SIMPLE, can't it?  I know maybe a lot easier said then done?  No, not really....

Life doesn't have to be all that complicated. 

Your Life is what YOU make of it. 

It's all about the choices you make along the way.  Every choice you make, has an impact positive or negative. 

Be the leader not the follower. 

Dare to be different. 

Color outside the lines sometimes.

My FAVORITE:

Take the road less traveled.  (I framed the following poem for my daughter this past year when she graduated high school). 

The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—


I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.




Tulip Festival Woodburn, Oregon



By the way, the magazine I ordered a subscription to is REAL SIMPLE.  No, really that is the name of the magazine.  Have you seen it? 

It has lot of ideas to "simplify your life" not in a demeaning way but in a way to make better use of your time, money, etc...It also has some very encouraging articles about marriage.  Great recipes and the like.  Check it out! 





**This is not a paid endorsement

5 on Friday

For any new visitors, this is my "5 on Friday" series which is a main entree meal with 5 ingredients or less.  I post one every Friday.  It is tried and true; all the recipes I  post are ones that I have recently used for quick and easy family dinners (and often times budget friendly since I am frugal like that).
 
We had this Wednesday night.  It was very quick to make which was nice since we had youth group that night.  I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare dinner. 
 
 
And the best part....the kids loved!!!  (which is always a good thing in our house)
 
Taco Salad
 
Ingredients
 
1 lb ground beef
1-2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 head lettuce, shredded
1 12 oz pkg. shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag tortilla chips, crushed (or if you want to have real taco salads you can use taco salad bowls that you can either make yourself with tortillas or purchase at the store; the store ones are pretty expensive)


      Directions


1.  Cook ground beef in large skillet until golden brown.  Drain fat.
2.  Toss together shredded green lettuce, chopped tomotoes and cheese in large bowl.
3.  Mix ground beef into the salad.
4.  Crunch up tortilla chips and put in single serving bowl.
5.  Spoon salad into bowl over tortilla chips, mix


You can then add a dab of dressing of your liking.  I didn't include that as an ingredient since salad dressings typically are an item that most people have on an ongoing basis.  And since it is such a minimal part of the meal.

If you want to spice it up you can add a dollop of sour cream and salsa instead.

Enjoy!






Simply beautiful and yummy, too!



 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Is The Stuff

This is the stuff. 

Have you heard this song recently from Francesca Battistelli?  I hear it everyday at least 5x and always chuckle and of course sing to it loudly but off tune.

This is really like my anthem these days! 



I lost my keys (I need a beeper or something for my keys so when I clap it beeps; they have those don't they?)
In the great unknown
And call me please
'Cause I can't find my phone
(The problem with finding my phone is it is usually on silent/vibrate so even calling it to find it is tough)

This is the stuff that drives me crazy.
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately.
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed

This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I've got to trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I might choose
But this is the stuff you use
(Amen)

45 in a 35
Sirens and fines
While I'm running behind
(Life story always a day late and a dollar short; used to always be early now I am just on time; no ticket though ever. KNOCK ON WOOD)

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
(I am truly blessed.  I have my faith.  I have my friends and family who love me dearly.  I have happy and healthy kids, a wonderful marriage, a roof over my head, warm clothes on my body and food in my belly.)



This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I've got to trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I might choose but this is the stuff You use

To break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation

It's not the end of the world

(We need to remember that all the little trials and tribulations that we have on a daily basis are indeed not the end of the world.  Someone out there has it so much worse.  Don't sweat the small stuff and everything is the small stuff.)

This is the stuff that drives me crazy.
This is the stuff
Someone save me
In the middle of little my mess
I forget how big I'm blessed

This is the stuff that gets under my skin
And I've got to trust you know exactly what You're doing
Might not be what I would choose but this is the stuff You use

This is the stuff You use





Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Dance

I am doing the Happy Dance!!  I know you can't see it but I was...and still am...Not right at this very moment obviously since I am typing this blog post but I am super de duper happy!





Something that I have been working on for awhile is finally coming to realization and I can't wait....



What is it you ask?


Wait for it......







Our church is opening a Food Pantry for those in need of a HAND UP during these tough economic times.  For now it will only be for members of our church but the long term goal, when we move into our new building and have much more room, will be to open it up to others in our community. 


I am so excited to be part of this new outreach at Harvest Christian Church

Monday, January 17, 2011

Low (er) Fat Lasagna

Low (er) Fat Lasagna.  Yes, there is such a thing.

I made this last night for Sunday night dinner. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with Garlic & Basil (Italian Blend)
  • 32 ounces low fat small curd cottage cheese
  • 3 cups low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Bag of fresh spinach (in salad section)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 15 boiled lasagna noodles (al dente)
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat brown the ground beef. Drain the grease.
  2. Add the can of diced tomatoes to meat.  Heat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, eggs,  salt and pepper.
  4. In the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish evenly spread 5 of your lasagna noodles across the bottom of dish.  
  5. Spread half of your meat/tomatoes mixture on top of the lasagna noodles
  6. Layer 1/2 of the your cottage cheese mixture on top of the meat/tomatoes mixture. 
  7. Place a layer of spinach on top of tomatoes/meat mixture.
  8. Sprinkle layer of mozzarella cheese on top (approx 1 cup).
  9. Cover with 5 lasagna noodles, repeat steps 5-8 (spreading the rest of meat/tomatoes and cottage cheese mixture). 
  10. Spread 5 additional lasagna noodles across top.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top of noodles.
  12. Add 1/2 cup water to the edges of the pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
  13. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F(175 degrees C) oven for 45 minutes.
  14.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.






Hopefully I didn't miss anything.  There were a lot of steps to this dinner.

Her Last Gift

Courtesy of The Boston Globe.


BOSTON – The father of the youngest victim of the Arizona massacre says some of her organs have been donated to a young girl in the Boston area.

John Green tells The Boston Globe in Sunday's edition that he received a phone call about the transplant, but he doesn't know any other details about the donation.

He says the call "really lifted" his spirit, and he and his wife are proud parents once again of their daughter, "who has done another amazing thing."

Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green was born Sept. 11, 2001.

She had just been elected to her Tucson school's student council, which is why she went to see Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

A spokesman for the New England Organ Bank says he can't comment on donations.

The Arizona Republic reported Friday that Tucson's bishop told the crowd at Christina's funeral that her organs had been donated.


Such a tragic ending for such a sweet little girl but we know she is in heaven with the LORD and even in her death has made an impact on so many.  May the child who has her organs live a full life like Christina tried to do in her short 9 years.

RIP Christina!

Are you an organ donor?




Gone but Not Forgotten

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Subscriptions

I broke down and subscribed to a magazine.  I don't normally subscribe to magazines, although I read many often (probably too much) I ordered one from Tyler's school fundraiser this past November for $10.00 for 6 issues.  Not bad, right, considering this magazine is usually $4.99 at the check stand.

Lo' and behold, it was in my mailbox yesterday and I can't wait to get a quiet moment (fat chance for that, huh?) to thumb through it.  I am already drooling looking at a few of the topics.  Maybe tomorrow bright and early when everyone is still sound asleep?

The name of the magazine really hits on the nose what I have been trying to incorporate in day to day life these days and I have a whole other post that I am going to be doing on the subject for that matter...

Can you guess what magazine I ordered?






Friday, January 14, 2011

Now That's What I'm Talking About!

A bowl of yummyness!  It wasn't a Hot Fudge Sundae but it will suffice...


What a way to end a long and hectic week!








Have a great weekend everyone!  And may you eat lots of ice cream !

5 on Friday

This Fridays, 5 of Friday is brought to you by....A crazy and neurotic mother of 4...lol...It has been one of those weeks but TGIF!

I made my 5 ingredient entree last night for dinner.  So easy, loved it!

Onion Pork Roast w/Carrots




  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix

  • 1 1/4 cups water

  • 2-3 pounds Pork Roast ( I bought a 3 pack of Pork Roasts this past week at Winco for $7.26.  Which turned out to be $1.21/lb; the total weight of all 3 roasts was approx 6lbs)




  •  

    Directions

    1. Place your Pork Roast in 13x 9 casserole dish. (slice a few openings throughout roast to help get juice flowing)
    2. Mix dry onion soup and water.
    3. Place carrots around Pork Roast (I used baby carrots)
    4. Pour Onion Soup and Water over Pork Roast/Carrots
    5. Place a layer of tin foil over Pork Roast
    6. Cook on 350 in oven for 1 1/2 hours.   Remove tin foil from Pork Roast approx 15-20 mins before done to get the outside golden brown.

    You can also use a roasting bag instead of putting the Pork Roast directly into the casserole dish.  This helps the Pork Roast to contain more moisture and flavor. (You would just put all ingredients in the bag, tie it and throw it into the dish and bake accordingly) 

    We paired this with some mashed potatoes. 

    Perfect comfort food dinner for such a cold and dreary night.







    And you can even do this in the crock pot!  For everyone that loves a good crock pot dinner.  Same instructions just put everything in Crock Pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Tight Ship

    Some might say I run a "tight" ship around our house, most of the time anyways, and sometimes to my own detriment.  I know that is part of the OCD that I have, that I am working on daily....But let me tell you this week, I have fallen down on the job, HARD.  My head hurts I hit so hard and fast!

    I think our 3 yr old is the captain of the ship at the moment....LOL...

    Between burning the candles at both ends because of some major life changes that might be coming our way sooner rather than later, regular work day schedules, kids, house, PMSing, yes, it is *that* time of the month, trying desperately to fight off yet another cold (and failing miserably), our house and life this week seems a little bit more chaotic than I remember.  My memory of course is not the greatest either but I definitely remember better days (better weeks for that matter).

    Really,  all I want right now is to take a long hot shower, by myself, I might add, no knocking on the doors, no "MOM" he hit me, "MOM" she spit up, no "MOM" I have to go potty....just me, myself and I, in the shower for at least 15 minutes...And then when I get out, a nice HOT Fudge Sundae with nuts and whip creme would be good, followed up with a Chex Mix chaser...lol...Yes, it is all about the sweet and salty. 

    And then, I know I am asking for a lot but I want to crawl into my nice warm bed and go to sleep for at least 8 hrs straight.  I can't remember the last time I slept that long in one bout. 


    Snap out it!   ( I can dream right?)


    Until then, I need to go clean up the milk that is spilled on the kitchen floor from earlier, wipe off the toothpaste that somehow got all over the mirror in the bathroom, change the laundry for the 30th time today (Yes, I am exaggerating),  put the 36 pieces of puzzle that clutter my kitchen table top up in the broken cardboard box, change a dirty diaper or two and then cook dinner.  Of course, I will wash my hands, extra GOOD.



    TTFN!




    Serenity Prayer

    I so need this, yesterday, today, this week, I thought I would share it with everyone in case someone else needs it too.



    GOD Grant me the Serenity to accept the things
    I cannot change, the Courage to change the
    things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.









    If you don't need prayer today, won't you pray for someone who does?

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Wacky Wednesday

    As reported in The Daily Telegraph.

    A cat in New Zealand brings new meaning to the term Cat Burgler.   At first he was stealing bark chips, leaves, newspapers, magazines and bringing them back to his owner. 

    But now Gus the cat apparently has a hankering for shoes (can you say Imelda Marcos?).  And not any particular shoe...he does not discriminate.  He brings home anything from hiking boots to sandals and makes an announcement once he gets home with a big meow.  If the items he is carrying are to big to get through the kitty door, he leaves them outside. And, he even sometimes goes back to the scene of the crime for the second shoe to make a pair.  To date Gus has made off with more than 60 shoes from his unsuspecting neighbors.

    Gus' owner are beside themselves as to what to do.  They want to return the shoes to the rightful owners so they put all the shoes in a box and leave them on their front porch for people to peruse.

    Missing a shoe anyone?

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    So What?

    They didn’t win…..They played a good game right down to the end.  A bit nail biting that’s for sure.  I actually had to close my eyes and plug my ears on several occasions there the last couple minutes because I was so nervous for them.   I thought for sure we were going to be able to hold them and we probably would have been able to force the over time had they not already been so close to the end zone.   I knew however once they started running the clock down so they could make that one last kick that it was over.



    22-19!


    It was an AWESOME game.  The DUCKS played their hearts out and sure did not go down without a fight.  I think both teams were pretty evenly matched.  And hey, we are still the PAC 10 Champions! That has to mean something, right?


    I heard one of the after game interviewers asked a player what Chip Kelly said to the players in the locker room after the game and the player said that Chip said something along the lines of this, “It is just a game, it is not the most important thing in your life.  You will go on to get married, have families, careers, etc that will be much more defining. “ 

    What a way to put it in perspective for these young, impressionable college football players that although this was a BIG part of their lives at the moment, it will most likely not be one that defines who they are or who they become.  It is just one day of the rest of their lives!

    Chip Kelly what a great team leader! 


    Way to go DUCKS! See you next season!


    Quack! Quack!





    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Fight, Fight, Fight






    Oregon Fight Song


    Oregon, our Alma Mater
    We will guard thee on and on
    Let us gather round and cheer her
    Chant her glory Oregon
    Roar the praises of her warriors
    Sing the story Oregon
    On to victory urge the heroes
    Of our mighty Oregon!
    Go Ducks Go!
    Fight Ducks Fight!
    Go!
    Fight!
    Win Ducks Win!

    The Big Day!

    It is here ...the big day...the day we (well any DUCK fans) have been waiting for all season long...........



    BCS, BABY!


    Are they going to pull it off you think?  Auburn is a tough one! 


    But lets have faith that our Ducks will pull through and make us proud. They will come out strong and fight to the finish.  They will WIN THE DAY!  



    I will be proud even if they don't win just to have made it this far.  I say regardless, give visor wearing Chip Kelly a raise...That man has definitely found some good players and is a top notch team leader having taken them his first year to the Rose Bowl (first time back since 1995) and now this year to the BCS!

    And any of you Beaver Believers out there, put aside the hostility and jealousy and root on the home state, even if you bleed orange and black. 


    GO DUCKS!









    WTD....Win The Day! 

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    5 on Friday

    Meatloaf...Simple & Glorious Meatloaf....

    It was my husband's birthday yesterday and one of his favorite meals is meatloaf, so guess what I made?


    MEATLOAF!!

    Ingredients

    • 2-3 pounds lean ground beef
    • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup (do not add water)
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 slices of toasted bread, crunched up (toast in toaster, put in ziplock bag and crunch up)
    • 2 eggs, beaten

    Directions

    1. In a large bowl, combine ground meat, soup, chopped onion and eggs. Mix well.
    2. Shape into a loaf in an ungreased 9x13 casserole dish.
    3. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 1 hour or until done.

    It was THAT simple!   Pair it with some mashed potatoes (instant ones are ok remember we short cut sometimes) and mixed veggies.



    Everyone scarfed it down....Barely a morsel left to spare.






    Thank you Rachelle B for an awesome pic!






    


    
    With all the birthday celebrating going on...I forgot to take a pic of the finished product! DOH!

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Remember When?

    My post on the Boob Tube yesterday got me reminiscing about a whole bunch of remember when memories...

    Remember when....You had to get up out of your chair and turn the TV on and off or turn the knobs, yes, knobs to turn the channel?


    Remember when....You could go to the corner quick mart by yourself at age 7 or so with a dollar in hand and walk out with tons of goodies....Lemon Heads, Red Hots, Zots, the small cans of soda? 


    Remember when....everyone wore watches...Now use our PDA, Smartphones, Ipod, Ipad, Cell Phones, etc...


    Remember when....we had to review and use a paper map when we were out and about...now we use GPS...


    Remember when...we used an 8 track or cassette tape player....I do remember the 8 track vaguely because my grandma still had one when I was younger (and a record player) but for the most part I used the cassette tape player when I was growing up...


    Remember when....all we had was rotary dial telephones....I hated those...It took 5 mins just to dial a phone number...

    Remember when....the first cellular phones were introduced, they were like a brick in size and weight AND they cost a first born if you were lucky enough or cool enough to have one....


    Remember when...you bought your first home computer....it was super expensive, very large and had very little memory....(kinda like me at times...just the memory part...lol)


    Remember when you were younger and you had to walk to school, 5 miles, uphill (both ways), barefoot in 6 ft of snow....(sorry had to throw this in because I remember when my dad used to say this when I would complain about walking somewhere)...

    What do you remember that our children today will probably never remember?  And then when we tell them about it, they probably won't believe us...OR make us feel very old!



    Boob Tube

    Ahhem...I said...Boob...hehehe

    Yeah, not sure where that name came from...but my dad used to call our television, The Boob Tube.  Have you ever heard that term? Maybe because it acted as a pacifier of some sort to his small child (i.e. me)?


    I don't know because I don't recall being pacified a whole lot by TV growing up.  I mean there were the usual shows that I would watch after school: Punky Brewster, Mr Belvedere, Different Strokes, Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, Webster, Threes Company... OK, wow, maybe I did watch a little too much TV.  Hmm....Those shows were the best though.  They sure don't make them like they used to.

    What prompted this post was I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard that people spend on average 34 hours a week in front of the TV these days...Yikes!  That is a lot of unproductive time.  Almost like a full time job.  That just seems like an awful lot of time in front of the TV.  And with all the different medias these days I thought for sure sitting in front of the TV actually watching regular TV was decreasing....With the Internet, Wii, Play Stations, Ipods, Kindle, etc...Go figure...

    I do like to sit and watch a good show every now and again.  And I do get addicted to a few... ahem...reality shows (Survivor, Hells Kitchen....) Did I just admit to that? But 34 hours?  I don't have enough time to watch TV for 34 hours...I am working, blogging, watching my children, blogging, taking care of our home, blogging, cooking, blogging....(not necessarily in that order).


    34 hours?  Really?  How much TV does your family watch?  Do you limit the amount of time your children watch?  What are some of your "old school" favorite shows?




    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Raspberries

    Succulent, dark pink, perfectly ripe, juicy raspberries...

    Add them to a piece of short bread with some whip creme or vanilla ice cream...is there anything better?

    Heavenly...

    Willamette Raspberries from Oregon of course are the best..BTW, did you know there are 40+ varieties of raspberries?  Me neither...


    I know, I know not the right time of the year for raspberries...but we can dream about them right? 








    Or how about, the raspberries that our daughter does...ALL THE TIME....hehehehe...(she was blowing raspberries this morning right when she woke up for her morning feeding).

    Those are pretty awesome too!

    Every time Miss K sees me these days, she lets out a BIG raspberry....spit flys everywhere so watch out if you are within a few feet from her.  Drool is forever dripping down her chin....(she even has a little rash below her lip from all the spit)

    She thinks it is the funniest thing especially when we do it back to her. On her cheek, in her chin rolls (yes, she has a few chins), on her belly when we are changing her diaper, on her arm...any exposed skin....

    We have quite the raspberry competition going on in our house these days...and everyone is partaking in it...even her brothers get in on the action....She loves when they do it even more, she just gets to giggling uncontrollably...


    It is the cutest darn thing in the world!  Just like her!









    Aren't those just the sweetest, most robust cheeks you ever did see? And the baby blues?  Love them!

    Wacky Wednesday

    I hear that mini vans are making a comeback...Not for your every day average soccer mom...anymore....



    Maybe this is why?











    Have you seen the "Sienna" Family videos?  They have definetly brought the "sexy" back to the mini van.





    Don't be jealous....I don't have one either...I have a mini van but not a Sienna.






    Note:  This is not a paid endorsement

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Envelope Please.....

    And the winner is…..Dave Ramsey!  Yes, Dave Ramsey…Do you know him?  Have you heard about him?

    Although, I have not had the pleasure to take one of his classes, I have heard great things about it from people that I know.  And right now our church, Harvest Christian Church in Troutdale is offering the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University.  This is a 13 week class that will change the way you look at money!

    If you can't attend Harvest class, if you go to the Dave Ramsey website, you can locate a class in your area.

    Here is an outline of the different subjects they teach from week to week:



    Jan 17, 2011Super Saving - Attend free!
    Jan 24, 2011Relating With Money
    Jan 31, 2011Cash Flow Planning
    Feb 7, 2011Dumping Debt
    Feb 14, 2011Credit Sharks In Suits
    Feb 21, 2011Buyer Beware
    Feb 28, 2011Clause and Effect
    Mar 7, 2011That's Not Good Enough
    Mar 14, 2011Of Mice and Mutual Funds
    Mar 21, 2011From Fruition To Tuition
    Mar 28, 2011Working In Your Strengths
    Apr 4, 2011Real Estate and Mortgages
    Apr 11, 2011The Great Misunderstanding


    One of the lessons that I always hear about on budgeting is the Envelope System where all your money is "deposited" into envelopes and labeled.  Each envelope has a designated amount of money in them based on your budget for a particular expense.   For example you might label envelopes as follows: Entertainment, Groceries, Clothes, Savings, Tithes, etc... Once you spend the money within the envelope, then it is gone until your next pay period (deposit).


    This allows for you to visually see how much money you have at any given time and then perhaps help you think twice before spending it.  I know for us personally when using our debit card, which comes directly out of our checking, we still spend more than we should.  And we don't realize how quickly it adds up until we shriek when we look at our bank statement. 

    The class itself cost between $80.00-$100.00 depending on where you take it.  And like our pastor recently said, "If you don't have an extra $80.00-$100.00 a month after all your bills, food, etc than you NEED to take this class."

    So many people, after taking this class, have paid off huge amounts of debt sometimes even while still taking the classes.  Cars, Mortgages, Medical Bills, Student Loans, GONE!


    What do you have to lose?  (more money?)











    Note:  This is not a paid endorsement


    Monday, January 3, 2011

    N & J's Excellent Adventure

    In my Wrap It Up post I teased about a new adventure my husband and I were going to be taking on in 2011...Well, here it is!

    Without further ado....

    In order to get us out of our funk of going to the same ol, same ol restaurants around town, we are going to go to 52, YES, 52 new restaurants this year.  One new restaurant each week. 

    And we are going to blog about it! 

    We do however have some rules that we are going to adhere to:

    1.  Must be locally owned not part of a franchise.
    2.  Must be locally owned and have 5 locations or less (which rules out McM).
    3.  Even though we are going to blog about the 52 restaurants, does not mean that these are the ONLY restaurants we will visit.  Which means we can go to McM just not going to be part of our blogging adventure.
    4.  We will visit many types of restaurants including family friendly and budget friendly.
    5. Some of the restaurants currently on our list are some that we have visited before but will only visit once again during this adventure so not to duplicate.
    6.  We have items that we will be critiquing at each visit and will share these with our blogging audience.
    7.  We intend to have this be somewhat of an interactive experience so we are definitely looking for other ideas of restaurants to try as well as your thoughts and ideas of what you want to know about the restaurants.  (Please comment on this blog post for now and we will add to our list)


    We have set up a separate blog (www.52weekspdx.com)  for this project however it is still in the design phase and will be online this next week.  We already went to our first restaurant yesterday for lunch and will share that in our first blog post scheduled for this next week.

    We hope you enjoy this new adventure and glean some useful information from it!

    Cheers!




    Thank you Bill & Ted

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