Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stuffed Peppers

Here's dinner tonight!

4 Large Green Peppers, cut tops off and poke holes in the bottom to allow a little drainage

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
a few good shakes of grated parmesan cheese
salt, pepper
Garlic Powder ( I love garlic so I shake quite a bit!)
Add a small amount of tomato sauce just to make it nice and wet

Scoop the mixture into each pepper
Sprinkle the tops with Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Top with a spoonful of tomato sauce (a thin layer)

Preheat oven to 350
Put a small amount of oil on bottom of pan
Place Stuffed Peppers in the shallow baking pan and cover tightly with foil

Cook for about 40-50 minutes.

I chose to do the stuffed peppers tonight because we had a family over for dinner last night which was Spaghetti with Meatballs and Sausage/Sauce, so needless to say we had leftovers! I always overcook, LOL!

So tonight I figured I'd use the sauce for the peppers and serve them with a side of thin spaghetti.

Note: This is a basic, Italian Homestyle recipe from my mom and you can totally americanize it, southwestern style it, simply add mozzerella cheese on top (or cheddar for you cheese lovers)...there are many variations. This is just the way I grew up eating them. I googled stuffed peppers to try to find an image closest to what mine would look like and boy there are some gourmet looking ones out there. A basic, cheap dish can be "fancied" up and sold at a fine dining restaurant at a RIDICULOUS price. I am one of those people who would NEVER pay alot for basic, traditional italian better make it a specialty if I'm paying over $10 for it! LOL

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I saw a fellow mamma's blog doing the "Wordless Wednesday" and LOVE the idea so I 'm copying! :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Now that's a D-E-A-L!!!

I got an INCREDIBLE deal today!!! First let me start off with a little history....

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to bargain shop! I'm not just talking sales, coupon stacking and basic stuff like that, I'm talking "hunting"! I love thrift stores and always have! My sister and mom always thought I was nuts, even when I first started in kindergarten going to a neighbor's garage sale! Mom never understood why someone would buy another person's "trash" - - - but you know the old saying! :) Even as a teenager, yes I loved to hang out at the mall and LOVED to blow my paychecks from working at "Athletic Attic" on clothes. I swear I would get my check and spend it in the same day without even leaving the mall, LOL! I loved to shop at The Gap and Express, those were pretty much the best stores we had in our crappy mall! But, my favorite places were stores like TJMaxx, Ross, Marshalls, etc... Then I discovered Plato's Closet! Nothing better than second hand, broken in jeans ...oh I loved it!!! That is when I got hooked on second hand stuff and decided to search for more stores! This all revolved into going to my FAVORITE hunting ground....Goodwill! I swear, I find the BEST deals there! So instead of boring you with more history...check this out!!!

I went in there with a half hour to kill before Adrianna's Softball-TBall practice and got the following STEALS!!!!!

The best deal . . . Lucky Brand Jeans! LOVE THEM! THEY FIT LIKE A GLOVE! Oh and how much????? No, not $110 like you would pay retail, BUT TRY OH, UHMMM 8 BUCKS!!!!


Then I also got a GREAT pair of low rise, slim leg Gap Jeans, a Juicy Couture Peace Sign Baby Tee and a VERY cute baby tee from American Eagle, all for....hmmmmm... $22.00 +tax!!

You can't tell me there is anything better than that!
Oh I'm on a "I got a deal High" right now! :)

So if you're like me, a mamma who loves stylish clothes, but have a stay at home mommy budget . . . GET YOUR BUTT IN THOSE THRIFT SHOPS!!! It takes time and it's hit or miss, but boy that is the one area that I have patience, go figure!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What a Night!

Well it's going on 1:30 am and my girlfriends just left!! Yup, that's right we hung out LATE! Aren't we a bunch of wild mammas?! Playing Cranium, talking about childbirth, embarassing moments with our children, vaccinations, being mothers, our husbands (good of course) and everything else, just like a bunch of girls....WOW that was fun! Never mind that my friend Adrienne brought over one of her best friends Ann who I am instantly loving! She is a great lady who has two children, one with Autism and the stuff I learned tonight was just amazing! We had some great conversations over wine, coffee, margaritas, diet coke and lots of sweets! My "Sock it to Me" cake fell apart when I was transferring it, but no big deal, it still tasted okay and my Cheesecake Fudge Cupcakes were a hit thank goodness. But I must admit, my favorite was Cindy's DELICIOUS scones with some sort of yummy lemon icing, WOW! (What a great thing to pair with some coffee..oooh!) I kept one for breakfast in the morning, screw the diet! :) We had queso of course for the "salty ladies" and it balanced Carries Peanut Butter Cup Cookies quite nicely!

Wow! This is the stuff I am talking about when I mention "Community"! Slowly, our small group is growing, meeting and befriending new people who bring so much to my life it's simply amazing! Each time I meet someone new I feel "renewed" , if that makes any sense. It's great to meet more and more people each with something unique to bring to the table. I so appreciate all these new strengths, personalities and insight. How wonderful it is to be watching this happen before my own eyes and experiencing/sharing it daily.

It's just so great! Adrianna and Chris went to see "The Enchanted" for their little "Special Night" since my game night started at 8 and Christopher was already asleep. She came home and said hello to everyone in her shy little way, hiding behind my back and asked if she could take a cupcake in my room with her and daddy while I play with my friends..... TOO PRECIOUS! I LOVE THAT LITTLE GIRL!

I am so wound up from such an invigorating night and it's so funny for all of us ladies to look over at the clock and see it was AFTER 1:00 AM!!! WHAT ARE WE 20 AND SINGLE?!?!?!? LOL I'm sure we'll pay for it in the morning, unless our sweet husbands continue to be angels and get things started in the morning....Hey Chris...there's plenty of sweets left over for you so LET ME SLEEP! LOL

Friday, February 22, 2008

Deals of the Day!

First off, I have to thank my friend Heather for taking the time during our playdate to explain in detail the way to work the CVS and Randalls system to not only save money, but to MAKE MONEY! ;o)

So, here are my two deals of the day....

CVS DEAL: (Make sure you have an ExtraCare Card)

Went to CVS, purchased 3 packs of size 5 Huggies (90diapers) and a wipes refill package (160wipes), used my Huggies coupons for $.75 off each pkge of diapers and $.75 off the wipes...

$8.99 each pack of diapers ~ $26.97- $2.25 in man.coups ~ $24.72
$4.99 Wipes - $.75 ~$4.24

CVS total - - - about $29.00 BUT I also earned $15 in ECB's! So really I only paid about $15.00! Now that I've started to build my Extra Care Bucks, I will go into CVS to ONLY buy things with those ECB'S that are part of the ECB promotion to earn more. Every week, they list the items in their flyer. If you are interested in reading more about ECBing...visit this thread...


Okay, now this one is great for stockpiling your pantry. I don't intend on going there for any other reason since it's SO overpriced! But, it's right down the road from me and is across the street from CVS AND has a Starbucks inside, SO it's a win win for me! :)

Purchase 25 qualifying items and receive $20 in a printout coupon which you'll receive with your grocery receipt. This $20 can be used for groceries or GAS! You need to have a Randalls card in order to make out on this deal. Super easy, just like the CVS card.

Today I purchased:

10 boxes of Rice a Roni (they have Whole Grain, yummy!) 10 for $10 deal
10 boxes of Pasta Roni (great for lunch for kids!) 10 for $10 deal
4 boxes of Fruit Rollups ( stackers, gushers, fruit snacks, many diff types) 4 for $5.00
1 can of Italian Style Diced Tomatoes 10 for $10 deal but just got one to make my 25 items

Total $26, got back $20 in a coupon.

Went back into Randalls after unloading the groceries and getting a SBucks to do it again.

Bought some more R-a-R, lots of Crushed Tomatoes (all on sale for $1 each), and some more items that are part of the deal (there are over 2,000 items that qualify, but I tried sticking to the cheaper ones that were like 10for$10 or 4for$5) to bring it to $25 items and using my $20 off coupon I spent $5! AND received $10 free coupon printed with my receipt! I left and used the $10 for gas before heading home.

Grocery and Gas Total : $60
Minus coupons/GC's - $30


Pretty good deals today and now I don't have to buy any of my side carbs for dinner for a LONG time! :) Now if I had some Man coupons, that would have made the deal even sweeter!

Here is the Randalls forum if you want to read up, oh and I know the sister company is called Safeway for some of you that have those instead of Randalls....


Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Monday!

Well, the fun is just starting! I was talking to a dear friend of mine today and she asked me, "How do you do it? Don't you get tired?" By "it" she meant juggling family, fun, love and a clean house. Fact of the matter is, I'm a little behind on laundry but was able to drop Adrianna off at a friend's house for a bit and get some stuff done which helped a TON, and I don't necessarily get it ALL done all the time, but I am proud to say I've developed a pretty darn good system. I've learned some stuff from fellow moms, some things I've tried just didn't work for our family but there are quite a bit of things that did work for us. I told her I would blog out my schedule for the week so here you go girl! :)

  1. LAUNDRY (make beds while 1st load is washing)
  2. Playdate for Adrianna (run to Walmart quickly to pick up some stuff I forgot for my weekly menu plan since I grocery shopped with just Chris (no kids) Saturday so it threw me out of my groove!)
  3. Vacuum and clean up kitchen and Master Bath while Christopher naps and Adrianna rests
  4. Go for a jog after dinner
  5. Dinner (Sauteed Chicken breast and Bok Choy)
  6. Family time until the kids are in bed, then I'm off to my Ladies LTG at Starbucks (9pm which Chris will be in bed anyway, Mondays are a killer for him!) to discuss 1 Timothy.
  1. Watch my niece's performance at school 9:30
  2. Attend storytime with a new friend at 10:30 followed by a lunch playdate with her and her son at the park.
  3. NAPTIME for Christopher and Quiettime for Adrianna, which is when I'll make a pot of coffee, run around the house like a lunatic picking up, making sure the last of the laundry is put away, vacuum, sweep and wash the floors. Make beds and pick up the backyard since it's a MESS from all the playing outside these past couple days!
  4. 5:30 Relay for Life meeting at Carmine's Pizza (I was asked to be Co-Chair Person and am just SOOOOO EXCITED about this opportunity, for sure!)
  5. 7:00 Resonate Church Leadership Meeting followed by some dessert and coffee with my husband and friends, without kids, since they'll be home with Aunt Beni! :)
  1. Free morning with the kids! Just us! We'll have fun, maybe make a McD's run and just take it easy
  2. At home workout while Christopher naps. (LOVE The Firm videos, just started them and boy they're a KILLER!)
  3. 3:00 Playdate with some new friends
  4. Pork Roulade, stuffed with spinach & feta served with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and fresh green beans (you have to by the new steam bags made by ziploc, steams fresh veggies in minutes and they come out GREAT!)
  5. 7:00 We have our friends Adrienne and Isaac along with their two boys coming over for coffee and dessert.
  6. After kids are in bed, Chris and I will catch up on any recorded shows we may watch (only American Idol for me, all Gordon Ramsay shows for him, LOL)
  1. Go through house in the morning and vacuum after making beds (first thing I do every morning, it always makes the bedrooms seem cleaner, LOL)
  2. Swiss steak in the crock pot (Paula Dean's recipe given to me by Erika, yummy and CHEAP, google it!)
  3. Throw in a load of laundry which will take the whole day to wash, fold and put away. Whenever it's a small load, it always seems to take longer to complete!
  4. No big daytime plans today, just play it by ear. Beni is off so we may go hit Wolf Ranch for some shopping!
  5. Go for an afternoon jog since Beni's home to watch the kids. Eat an early dinner...
  7. 7:00 Our friends Catherine and Mike are coming over with their two daughters for coffee and dessert. He's also bringing his HOMEMADE, smoked in his backyard smoker venison dry sausage! It was delicious Sunday!!
  1. Go through the house, dust and wash floors as well as the Guest Bathroom.
  2. Make sure the last of the weeks' laundry is done.
  3. Hit The Firm videos again!
  4. $5 Little Caesars Pizza Night
  5. 8:00 Ladies Game night at My House! A house full of women and sweets, NOW THAT'S FUN!
  1. All I care is that it's Date Night, one night every weekend, even if it's a late run to Starbucks! It doesn't matter, I just want a little time, just Chris and I, even if it is to run to Jack In The Box for jalapeno poppers, it's still time with NO KIDS! :)
Weekends are spent having FUN! No chores, maybe outside stuff since we are already starting to experience Spring Fever, LOL! We may just spend the weekend with just the four of us, we may hang out with some of our friends or family, Chris will probably go have coffee with the guys one morning, who knows!

As I typed this it seems CRAZY! It seems too busy...where do I have fun? But pretty much all along I am having fun. Chris is happy with having more people in our lives, the kids are gloriously happy being around friends and seeing their parents laughing I am sure it's great for them too! We don't have tons to do every week, in fact we try to only commit to 2 evening events during the week, but of course some weeks are busier than others. I make cleaning a "Team" thing with the kids and of course make it fun, I'M FUN! Ha! We break in between things we're doing to play outside, to color, to play with the infamous play-do, we read together (she's doing great with the High Frequency Readers, thanks Belinda and Erika!), when daddy comes home it's usually You Tube Music entertainment for the kids while I prepare dinner and Adrianna helps set the table. We work as a team in the house. I try my hardest to get things done and am usually successful, but we all have our weeks and when that happens, Chris jumps in for recovery. :)

I'm enjoying my life more than ever, I feel so full sometimes I want to just explode with joy! I have a support system at home as well as with the friends I have in my life so when I need a break, I get one. I'm there for them and they're here for me, it's great to live with a community of people, a true community who really loves and values you. It makes all the "to-do's" not seem like such a big deal and so easily manageable. Now, realistically I couldn't put in all the things to do, you can't schedule everything, Some days I may even skip a thing or two. I try to fit working out at least 3 days a week but am not too hard on myself if something comes up and I can't. Some mornings I talk on the phone longer than I should which just means my internet time is just more limited since I CANNOT spend hours on the phone, on the internet AND enjoy quality time with my kids, family, friends and time for myself, it's just not possible! Not for me at least.

I don't mean to paint a perfect picture, because I am in NO way perfect, but I wake up every day striving to do the best I can and pray to have the best intentions in everything I do during that day and that's all I can really do. Life is Good!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Congratulations to Our " Lil Horn " !!!

Well, it's official!!! We went with Adrianna to Hutto's 1st Girl's Softball Opening Ceremonies today! How exciting it was to see all the moms, dads, and children at the Hutto High School eating some good chopped bbq sandwiches, laughing and anticipating the Team and Coach Announcements! We had Grandma with us for the special occassion and hung out with my friend Cat and her daughter hoping we were on the same team, but we weren't. Of course there are two girls teams and we are on opposing sides, LOL! With two strong personailites like ours, it's probably better that way! HA! At least we won't fight to be Team Mom! :)

Chris and I ordered our TShirts and he can't wait to go get her mitt with her tomorrow at Academy as well as her cleats. Of both teams, OF COURSE she had to get stuck on the team Lil Horns and have a burnt orange, white & black uniform! Man I have to get used to the whole burnt orange thing! You know I was hoping for the red & black team colors that the other team has, oh well! She's going to look absolutely adorable in her uniform no matter what the color is!!!!! Watching her walk up on stage to meet her team members and Coach Stacie was so exciting, I almost wanted to cry. Chris was so happy too of course, especially since baseball is his number one sport over all! He's ready to start practicing with her right now! :)

So ladies, looks like it's time to get creative! Time to stock up on the burnt orange ribbon, laces, and anything else we may need!

so cute...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 14, 2008

My sister . . . My forever friend . . .

Yes, it's a COUNTRY SONG!

You all know I am NOT a country fan but I LOVE this song. I sing it on the top of my lungs, laugh at the same time while it plays LOUD! It's funny, I was this girl at one time. (Not the one he was cheating with of course!!!) I did almost everything she did to the Cheatin' Man's truck! LOL

Many of my friends have called me a "firecracker", but I'm a little more subdued now (well sort of). . . call it being a wife, a mom, a woman in her 30's . . . whatever! I am still a little firecracker, I just don't live the same life that I was living back in my late teens/early twenties - - - THANK GOD FOR THAT!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Little Sugar in my Bowl Please!

Okay, today's tone when I woke up, well let's just say SUCKY! Yesterday my dryer decided to stop working which was just lovely since I didn't do a load of laundry all week last week while Chris was off!!! I had a load in the dryer ALL WEEK and didn't even care (which you know is insane since I do laundry every day!), well I didn't care until I went into the laundry room smelling a funk! I turned the dryer on, which I usually have to do twice normally since it's 10 years old and realized that the laundry wasn't drying. But I figured no big deal, I'll hang dry them all and still get the laundry done since I was staying home all day anyway. Then, Chris came home from work disappointed that his bonus check was not what we had expected AT ALL, in fact it was pretty much nothing and it breaks my heart when he feels disappointed. He's not the type to get angry easily, but definitely feels disappointment for sure! He's under lots of stress with work and his family so right now things seem a little glum. I am usually the cheerleader for him and found it just so hard to do yesterday since I was already stressed out by the day and by him not walking in the door until after 7 so the bonus (or lack there of let's say) just iced the cake for me. I told him how sorry I was for him and went to bed. It's better for me to do that since I am NO GOOD at hiding my feelings, I wear them all over my face!

I woke up this morning thinking, I am NOT going to the Valentine Play Date that I rsvp'd yes to and made special cupcakes for but knew that I just needed to go. When I am stressed or feeling down, I usually want to lock myself inside and not go anywhere or talk to anyone, but I've learned through all the disc training on personality types I've gone through that I NEED to be around people and socialize, that is what makes me feel better and sure enough it did! I met a new mom with a little boy just 7 months older than Christopher and she loves to scrapbook and do crafts just like me! I can't believe it! So the playdate turned my morning around for sure. I saw my friend Sabrina who was away for a week so it seemed like FOREVER since I last saw her and her hug made a huge difference for me too! I was definitely energized by being around all my friends and my perspective has changed which is great since tonight is one of our Church Leadership Meetings and those are the highlight of my week. I get back on track after Tuesday nights for sure! I'm going to go ahead and start reading 1 Timothy (for my ladies LTG) while Christopher naps and make a nice pot of coffee to go along with it.

I woke up one morning last week and picked up my Bible and just prayed for God to show me what I needed to read and opened up to Phillipians. Never knew anything about that book nor even heard the name before. But I did want to share that I couldn't put it down until I was done which was easy because it's such a short book. I was overwhelmed with all the insight and feelings I got from the readings and fell in love with Paul! Well, you know what I mean! Anyway I couldn't wait to read about Timothy since he spoke of him in those readings so I suggested to my ladies that we read Timothy and here we go. We did a Character Quality Study on "Patience", again one of my suggestions since you ALL KNOW I DON'T HAVE ANY!!! LOL Well, I keep thinking about my notes and the conversation that I had with my friends comparing our notes for discussion and know that I need to go back and focus again on Patience. Will it ever not need to be a focus of mine? Will it ever come naturally!!?? :o)

I'm listening to " A Little Sugar in my Bowl " by Nina Simone and it's what I'm asking for right now!!! Adrianna is dancing around in her panties trying to sing the words while I type and I can't help but laugh and realize, life is sweet....

gotta go dance with the princess.... :)
Thanks for letting me vent!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Amy Winehouse

I HATE to admit that I like her music, but I just do! I don't want to, I don't like all the gossip about her going around but Chris said it last night while watching the Grammys...."Drug use, over dosing, alcoholism, homosexuality, it has always been out there, even in Hollywood, it's just less taboo now to talk about it, and it's so easily spread ALL over the news and net! So even though I can't stand her dancing or her looks, man I love her voice! I love those jazzy like artists!

Rehab Video

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a Weekend!!

I don't know what else to say but "WHAT A WEEKEND, WHAT A WONDERFUL, AMAZING, ENCHANTED WEEKEND!" Oh and let's not forget, "romantic". That seemed to be Adrianna's favorite word this weekend. LOL

Friday (her actual birthday) was spent going for pizza and purchasing 2 plush princesses at The Disney Store in The Round Rock Outlets. After that we went home, played some games and dressup, took a bubble bath and got ready for the Daddy Daughter Dance! After I got her all dressed up with her "Diamond Crown" (that's what she called it!) and her rose wrist corsage that I made for her special day, she stared in her full length mirror posing and saying "Wow this is going to be so romantic!" Gotta love those princess movies-ha!
After the dance, she went with her friends and their "dates" to Baskin Robbins for Ice Cream and boy was she a chatterbox when she got home! Erika was just leaving after we finished up the Belle Cake . . . (Thanks for working your magic and helping with my low patience level,LOL) Adrianna went on and on about her evening and was SO EXCITED about her Belle Cake.... After she went to bed, Chris and I stayed up until about 2am finishing up the decorating and present wrapping. Our house was truly transformed into a kingdom, at least Adrianna and I completely thought so! She woke up absolutely amazed at the house and so excited for her princesses to arrive that she kept asking over and over again, "Is it 1:00 yet?". Mommy worked extra hard on this year's party and boy was it a success! Everything went smooth, the kids played games, got their fingernails painted, lipgloss applied, danced the day away and ended it with playing outside in our CRAZY 80 degree weather! That was a first since every single birthday, it never has failed to be freezing cold and usually either some snow or freezing rain . . . I swear God was working with me this year to make it work as miraculously as it did, that's for sure. Almost everyone left right around 3:00 and those who hung out, well we turned it into a big barbeque party for the adults, LOL! Beer, wine, burgers, chips and queso, playing outside with the kids and chatting away---now that was a way to end the day or should I say night since my friend Cat and her family hung out until around 11 I think!

So, today I'm beat! We spent the morning taking down decorations, cleaning up, preparing the menu for the week, activities and playdates, as well as laying out work clothes since playtime is over and Chris is back to work tomorrow after a much needed, relaxing week off. Adrianna, Beni and I went over to Hutto Elementary school to register her for TBall, did a little shoe shopping and that is how we went out with a bang for the weekend! :)

I am so thankful for all the wonderful friends and family that came to celebrate Adrianna's birthday, and I'm amazed that it went so smoothly and I wasn't freaking out or stressed this weekend. I am still asking Chris, "How in the world did it all go so well? How did I not freak out this year! This was the biggest thing I've done and it was the one time I didn't freak on party day, so funny!" Yesterday was another reminder of how lucky I am to have the people that I have in my life. I want to cry as I look at the pictures because I'm so happy and my family was so happy . . . okay, enough of the sappy stuff, enjoy the slideshow!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Birthday My Sweet Little Angel!

Taking you home from the hospital. . . new parents,scared to death!
Your FIRST Princess Party at Uncle Jay and Aunt Ruth's House . . .

You've been a "Cake Lover" from the beginning!

"TOO LOUD", you've always been so sweet and soft spoken!
You're 2nd Birthday at The Little Gym. . . (yes I still made you wear a dress even to go tumbling!)

Ready for your 3rd Birthday at McDonald's!
We did a Puppy Dog theme. . . this jump started your LOVE FOR PUPPIES!

Your 4th Birthday Party at Gattiland, now you can actually ride the Bumper Cars my long lean little doll! You love those cars and Mommy does too!


Today will be celebrated by having pizza and getting all "dolled" up to go to the Daddy Daughter Dance with your daddy! All of your friends and their daddys are going too and then you are all going out for ICE CREAM!! Mommy and her friends are going to transform our kitchen and living room into a ballroom, create your Belle doll cake along with baking cupcakes and heart & star cookies. I'M SO EXCITED!

I live and breathe for you, your brother and your daddy!