Archive for December, 2010

Some deals today!!

First, I wanted to share the STEAL I got today.. on A VW Beetle Powerwheels for Addy. Some of you understand why this is such a major find for me… Ok, so the original price $129.99. How much do you think I paid?? . . . . . . YEP! $60! That’s less than half price, and an awesome birthday gift for Miss Addy. That also means off of her Birthday gifts have been purchased a whole 5 months early!

We went on to Payless and Meijer to get our groceries for the next 2 weeks and saved $115. We spend $99 and some change, and even picked up some toiletries too!!

For free today:
Chi Chi’s salsa (I NEVER pay for this stuff!)
3 boxes of excedrin
1 bottle of body lotion
1 pkg of Huggies diapers
1 pkg tortillas
3 pkgs coast soap bars
1 bottle of gold peak tea

For cheap today:
Olay body wash w/ a free bonus on the bottle!
The VW powerwheel!
Yogurt
2 pkgs Heluva chip dip (19¢ and I forgot chips!! Lol)
Eggs (actually had a coupon for them!!)
Toothpaste (50¢ for 3d white!)

That’s all I can think of right now.. but I made one heck of a deal and can’t believe I saved so much! And the money I saved on the powerwheels- the highlight of savings in 2010!! The most I’ve saved on one single item!

Now, to organize my stockpile tomorrow. That means emptying ALL the cabinets and giving homes to each item! Wish me luck!

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Extremes, etc..

First of all- did you catch the special on Extreme Couponing last night on TLC? If not, catch it next Wednesday at 8 pm, or 1 am that same night (technically Thursday morning).
Some of those ladies/men are crazy. I mean- seriously what would you do with 40 years worth of tp? I do have a stockpile, but not more than 10 of the same item. Why? Because I draw the line at one back room with stuff packed into it. And, NO you can’t see it unless you go rummaging through my cabinets.

Ok, on to the next extreme! I was on my way home tonight and pulled up next to a van at the stop light. OH MY OH MY! Seriously, her whole front passenger’s seat was stacked full of crap. What kind of stuff? Old fast food cups, grocery bags, paper- lots of paper, and other random junk. Who does that??? I mean a trash can is provided at every single public place! Throw your piece of trash there. I’d have a panic attack if I sat there any longer and wanted to break out my camera on my phone to take a pic. I totally would have if it wasn’t dead. I am sure she saw the dropped-jaw look on my face! I think that MAY be a health hazard to her kids too.

Addy & I went on a little road trip today. It was nice to get out of the house, and even nicer to see some of the family we don’t get to see very often. It was even sweeter to be greeted by gifts, and two very special ones at that. Some days I need a little something to keep me going. Thanks again Melinda!

While we’re on the subject- I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone my dis-faith in the criminal justice system right now. After some discussion it has been brought to my attention the amount of favoritism that is being given to a certain criminal. A criminal is what he is, and someday he will get payback. Sometimes I wish I were the higher power so I could make things happen- I know I can’t- but we CAN wish, right?

An announcement & last few thoughts for 2010

Addy has had a ‘good’ day today.. but I fear she has another ear infection. Geez, I can’t get a break. So tomorrow i’ll be taking her to her doctor after therapy. Poor baby.

Ahhh yes- the announcement!! I was hired today for a new job. It’s part-time, but gives me a ton of room for growth & development and also will be great while I finish up my Master’s degree! Yahhooo! I’ve been waiting for a great opportunity and this is the one. I’m the newest member of the Gymboree team! Retail isn’t something I have done before so I am super eager to learn something new! I’ll be heading back to work next week-which doesn’t leave me much time to nail down daycare plans.

A couple of friends have asked me to post some toddler meal ideas.. so I wanted to share a couple of ideas I have came up with. Keep in mind we don’t eat much meat around here. Just not my thing. Also keep in mind I strive to provide Addy with healthy, sugar-free or low sugar meals. I also avoid sodium as much as I can!!

Dinner:

1/2 cup cubed steamed butternut squash
1/2 cup green peas (frozen). Also steamed (I KNOW! I need a micro cooker from Pampered Chef!!)
1/4 cup blueberries cut in half
and for her drink- Addy had some cold milk from a cup & straw

A couple of other ideas:

1/2 cup Black beans (One of Addy’s favorites!)
1/2 cup cooked crumbled ground chicken or turkey. I season it with southwestern seasoning from pampered chef, or sometimes a grill seasoning. It’s too bland by itself and I wouldn’t blame her for throwing it at me!!
Sometimes I cut chicken tenderloins up into chicken nuggets and bread them with bread crumbs!! (I also bake them!)
1/2 cup mandarin oranges or 1/2 orange with slices cut in quarters
1/2 cup of pears (I buy the dole cups!) or peaches diced
1/2 cup cooked carrots (from frozen)
Grilled cheese baked instead of buttered and grilled! I use a spritz of canola or olive oil on each side, then cut the edges off!
On occasion I will give her chicken or turkey lunchmeats from the deli, but I prefer to stay away from them because all of the preservatives.

Addy’s favorite meats are chicken & pork.. so I do pork chops or chicken breasts in the oven and coat them with bread crumbs and seasoning. She eats about 1/4 cup of meat with 1/4 cup veggies.

For snacks, we have came up with these easy ideas:
*ritz bitz peanut butter bites.
*nutter butter bites
*regular teddy grahams (not honey)
*any flavor goldfish
*Earth’s best organic smiley snacks (only found at babies r us)
*cereal bars (also Earth’s Best)
*Grammy Sammies. I find these at babies r us too! They are a great snack and peanut butter has a good amount of protein!

Did I mention the best invention ever!?!? Snack traps! She still makes a little mess, but nothing compared to her snack in a regular bowl. She sits in her beanbag chair for snacks 🙂
The key to toddler meals is to find balance!

2010 in a nutshell

Ok- first things first. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. 2010 has been one of the worst years ever. For me at least.

This year I have been forced to do something really hard: say goodbye to one of my best friends, who was also a big part of my life for 10 years. I said goodbye to my job and hello to my Bachelor’s degree.

The most positive thing that has happened this year: Miss Addy turned one and had a fun party.

I’ve spent about 4 months at home, and was able to see Miss Addy take her first steps. That, I would trade nothing for. Had I been working I would have missed it. I always wonder how stay at home Mom’s do it.. and now I am really questioning that. It’s time for me to go back to work. I’ve had fun being home but I also like to spend money- so I need to make some. Photography season is over and I am super sad I haven’t gotten a chance to work with any clients this month.

Banking isn’t for me. I liked certain portions of my job- but hated others. SO- my next venture= retail children’s clothing. Yep, I’m totally interested! Kids are totally my passion and ONE day I’ll be able to show how much kids really do mean to me. More of my own? I love Addy and am not sure I want her to have siblings at this point. One day I may change my mind but for now I’m satisfied with her being an only child. Besides, after all we’ve been through this year I’m not sure what our future holds.

I’ve wanted to move out of state for quite some time.. and just maybe I’ll have the chance very soon. Somewhere sunny and warm- but that also means hurricanes usually. Suggestions? We need something where the cost of living isn’t ridiculous.. I’ve always wanted to live in NYC but that isn’t feasible with a small child who has to go to daycare. 😦 I wouldn’t find anyone I could trust.

Tomorrow we have a couple of stops to make, and on Saturday I had planned on staying home like we did last year, but my Grandmothers want to see Addy so I will give in. Besides, my Great-Grandma will be out to visit, and I hope to get a 5 generation photo with Addy, my father, grandma, great grandma, and myself. Not many kids get to meet their great-great-grandma’s. I think it’s pretty special!

Don’t worry I will be blogging on Saturday or Sunday to fill you in on Addy’s reaction to the room full of gifts. I can’t wait to see the look on her face! Last year she screamed.. This year I think she will be excited, at least a little bit!

Look at this face : How can you NOT love her?

A new skill, mastered.

I love to share recipes.. and this one I will taunt you with because it is TOP SECRET! I just wanted to share with all of my readers that I mastered Mom Mom’s green bean recipe. Yep, it took me like 10 years of trying but I finally got it. They are delicious too!

That brings me to tonight’s menu which I will share (- the green beans).

As you know I’m on a break from ‘processed’ foods.. they aren’t being consumed in our house.

Tonight’s chicken & noodles (tear** I didn’t get to use canned chicken!)
Chicken & Noodles
I used 48 oz chicken stock
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1/2 sweet onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
approx 1/4 cup milk
10 oz freeze dried amish noodles
8 oz chicken (I used carving board all natural by Oscar Mayer today) It’s rotisserie chicken! OR you could grab a whole chicken at the grocery for about the same price.

I made a roux (melted butter and let it cook for a bit) sprinkle it with flour, and whisk in a few splashes of chicken stock.
Then I added the rest of the chicken stock, the onions and carrots.
Cook for 1/2 hr
Add chicken
Simmer for 15 mins or so
Then I added the noodles and a splash of milk (somewhere around 1/4 cup!)
Simmer away and add salt & pepper to taste. DELICOUS and done in just a bit.

Mashed potatoes:
6 large potatoes peeled
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp butter.
Boil potatoes, drain, mash with butter and chicken stock.
Season with salt/pepper to taste.
These are AMAZING!!

I’m off to enjoy a plate now, with Mom Mom’s green beans. Be jealous- very jealous =0)

What’s for dinner?

Here’s what we’re having tomorrow! I got this recipe from a Pampered Chef party once.. and since my microwave is too small for the covered baker (BIG TEAR!!)I will be using a pan on the stove instead 😦

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad
———————————
1 tablespoon Garlic Oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk Rub
1 pound chicken tenders
1 medium pineapple
1 red bell pepper
3 green onions (white and light green parts only)
2 heads romaine lettuce
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

Dressing
2 limes
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pineapple preserves or our Spicy Pineapple Rum Sauce

In Classic Batter Bowl, whisk together oil and jerk rub with Stainless Whisk. Add chicken tenders; mix well to coat and set aside. Peel pineapple and cut in half lengthwise with Santoku Knife; reserve half for another use. Cut remaining pineapple in half lengthwise and remove core. Slice crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. Add chicken; cook 3-5 minutes on each side, turning once. Remove from pan. Add pineapple to pan. Cook 1 minute on each side, turning once; remove from pan. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces using Utility Knife; set chicken and pineapple aside.

Thinly slice bell pepper and green onions on Cutting Board with Measure Cups using Santoku Knife. Arrange 12 large lettuce leaves around Simple Additions® Large Round Platter. Chop remaining lettuce; set vegetables aside. Drain and rinse beans using Strainer; set aside.

For dressing, zest one lime using Microplane® Adjustable Grater. Juice both limes into Small Batter Bowl using Citrus Press. Add lime zest, mayonnaise and pineapple preserves to batter bowl; mix well.

Layer chopped lettuce, beans, bell pepper, chicken, pineapple, bacon and green onions over each lettuce leaf. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Cookies..

You may notice I didn’t share a chocolate chip recipe- that’s because I don’t really care for chocolate chip cookies. But, there’s a good recipe on the Nestle toll house chips bag! 🙂
Rolled Sugar Cookies (good for decorating!)
Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 400º F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Snickerdoodles!
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*Heat oven to 400ºF.
*Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
*Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
*Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
*Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.
*Heat oven to 375ºF.
*Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork dipped into sugar.
*Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Recipes anyone?

I always have friends ask me for my recipes and I wanted to share and pass them along so I will be doing so in a series of blog posts this week! I will be sharing some recipes for good Christmas treats. I haven’t done any baking for about 3 years, so bear with me!

Tonight’s recipe is for some YUMMY icing! 🙂 It can be used on cookies, cinnamon rolls, about anything!

8 oz cream cheese, softened (YES! I have 8 blocks in my fridge that were FREE)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened (important to use butter not margarine)
1 tsp vanilla (do yourself a favor and buy the expensive one. You will notice the difference)
2 cups powdered sugar (I sift mine but you don’t have to!)
Blend together and add milk if you want your icing to be a bit less stiff! It tastes great on cookies!!

Stay tuned, I’m searching for a few other favorite recipes to share!

Life as we ‘know it’

Tonight’s title is inspired by a quote I’ve liked for a very long time. It honestly makes me sick to think of all the times it has been appropriate for me to say. I’m pretty sure the last time I was discussing this theory of my life it was with one of my best friends ever, Adam. I really miss him a TON. The times when I needed some advice he would always be there, and have something to say. Life as ‘we know it’ has changed, once again and that totally stinks.

So, on to the main purpose of writing this post. I just wanted to give a little insight into some of my beliefs, etc. I’m not saying they are the correct ones by any means- but they are mine.

Ever wondered how someone with a less-than-model parent turns out? Well usually it’s one of two ways. 1- they are just like their parents. 2- they choose to better themselves and make better choices for their children. You guessed it- I’m 2.

Growing up I always got what I needed, and sometimes wanted. My Mom gave me most of the things I asked for. I didn’t get the coolest clothes, we didn’t drive a new car, and we didn’t have a giant house. In fact we lived in a trailer. Those aren’t really the most important things either, but to a kid they are. It’s so unfortunate how the world has become. Seriously, kids are vicious! My little Addy isn’t going to have to go through some of the things I did when I was growing up. I won’t allow it.

Although we didn’t have a lot of money, I did have one valuable: my family. From my earliest memory I recall my grandparents (2 Grandmas and a Grandpa) always spending time with me. My Dad’s Mom always had me one night a week- never failed. She never skipped our day and she always made me dinner (macaroni & cheese). My Mom’s parents spent as much time as they could with me too. In the Summers and on Winter break I would always go stay at their house. Grandma always made me pancakes and Grandpa and I would sneak away for lunch (he had heart surgery and was on a limited diet). I have countless memories of fun things from my childhood and 9/10 the people involved were one of my grandparents.

Grandpa and I used to have vegetable stands. I went on vacation with my Grandparents, and spent a ton of time with them. It was always a treat to go on vacation because Mom never really got one- she always worked. We went on all sorts of travels and it was so much fun. Also a treat for me because we got to go out to eat- even for breakfast.

Sometimes it is the little things in life that matter the most. As you know from my post last week- in an effort to enrich Addy’s experiences I have began looking for playgroups and activities to do with her. Last week we checked out toddler time at the library. She had so much fun! She played with a toy that we have at home, and didn’t even cry when a little boy took part of it away from her. Next, I am going to join the local MOPS program and take her to playtime 2 times a month. That will also provide me with an opportunity to meet more Moms around town, and Addy to meet more children of different races. (another criticism I have from my childhood) I want her to see no difference in color. In today’s world she will be surrounded by other kids of all walks of life. I don’t want her to be taught the disrespectful things certain people in my life TRIED to teach me. It’s a diverse place and I want my little princess to understand we are all different, but the same.

Parenting isn’t a book although sometimes I wish it was. Everyday I wake up and make a choice to instill my best qualities in my daughter. I can’t be the only one to teach her life lessons. Parenting isn’t a one-person job although it feels that way lately. One of the best things I have ever done is to stay at home with her these past few months. After all I would have missed her first step, about 8 teeth, and a couple of other milestones.

I guess the point of this post is- too many people take things for granted. You may wake up tomorrow and it will be gone- poof – into thin air. Think about the one thing you should do, or have been meaning to do, and go do it. I wish I had gotten to see my Grandpa more before he passed away 2 years ago, but I didn’t. I am so thankful I did get to see him just two days before he left us. I miss him so much and would have given anything for Addy to meet her Great-Grandpa she gets her middle name from. Grandma always called him Kenny but to everyone else he was Joe.
I want to close this post with a super-adorable photo of Addy the other morning in her PJ’s in her bean bag chair. Her crazy hair reminds me of the crazy hair I used to have in pictures when I was her age (except mine was a carrot top!)

This little face keeps me going every day. Without her I seriously don’t know what I would do. I would be totally lost and probably a hermit by now. I wake up every morning and see her pretty little face- I say her name and that reminds me of the greatest people I’ve ever known. That, in itself fixes everything.

I LOVE Free stuff!!

First- the blog has a new format!! Do you like it?

I saved far too much money today at Walgreens to NOT share!!
Check out this pic!

Walgreens Freebies!

I headed out to Walgreens this morning with only ONE coupon! I knew what I was looking for and I found it- wrapping paper! So I decided that I would skim the aisles for any other good deals while I was there.. their ads get a bit over bearing sometimes because they are SO cluttered!

This is what I got:
8 Vitamin Water Zero- 25¢ each (on sale!)
4 Wrapping paper BOGO ($1.99 for 2)
4 Tissue Paper 3/99¢ (on sale!)
2 Cans Pork & Beans (this is for a TOP SECRET baked bean recipe!!) on sale for $1
2 bags of chocolates– these just looked good (AND I paid $4 for just these 2 items!!)
Total: $9.56
–$2 Jingle cash I had left from last week
7.56
–$5 Jingle cash I earned today
Grand total out of pocket $2.56!! Basically I paid for ONE bag of candy and tax.

What is jingle cash? It’s Walgreens format of a register reward. This week you get $5 when you buy 6 or more hallmark items (wrapping paper and tissue paper!) and the FREE ones count towards that too!

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