Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


It was a really wonderful, albeit, BUSY time for us these past few days!!  Thanksgiving was a fantastic, blessed day, filled with family, fun, and Ava's 4th Birthday party thrown in!!  I had to work the next day--Black Friday--and boy was it BUSY!!!!  I came home with achy, swollen feet......I need to wear better shoes next time!  (after 10 years with this company, I should have known!!)  Saturday was a full day of downtown Seattle---taking in the sights, riding the carousel, seeing the Gingerbread houses, lunch and shopping----LOVE this time of year!!  Yesterday, we, somewhat, chilled....although, while the kids were napping, I made a dash to a few stores and picked up some sweet deals---Bananas (25 cents a pound!!!!) and clearance Chicken (.60 cents a pound!!!), among other things!  We also started getting our Christmas decorations out, last night, and we set up the tree---tonight we'll start decorating it!  The kids can't wait!!

It was such a great, great time these past 4 days......why do they always seem to fly by so quickly?!?!  I literally am in awe that December is upon us.  SO IN AWE.  Crazy.

Here are a few pictures to catalog the last four days:


Ava wearing her "headdress" she made in Preschool:

Auntie Martha and Ava:


Trying (oh. so. trying) to get a family picture.  No one wanted to hold still!!

Ava eating her Birthday cake, with her crown on:

Opening Presents:

Mark's sister's family and us:

It was a loooonnnng, fun-filled Thanksgiving, and this is how we found the kids that night:

A couple shots from Saturday's visit to Downtown Seattle

Ava and Daddy on the Carousel:

Auntie Martha and Lukie:

In line for the Gingerbread Houses:

'A Christmas Story' Gingerbread House:

All of us (Mark's taking the picture):

It was a lovely weekend!!

Now, on to a NEW week!!!

Our Menu Plan for the week:

Monday:  Homemade Mac and Cheese, Smoked Sausage, Green Beans

Tuesday:  Honey Chicken, White Rice, Peas

Wednesday:  Homemade Potato Soup (freezer), Homemade Pumpkin Rolls (freezer)

Thursday:  Chicken and Lentils, Broccoli

Friday:  Got a screaming deal for a frozen Turkey, so I'm going to do a Turkey dinner with all the trimmings!!

For more Menu Ideas, check out, I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Have a great week, everyone!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sweet Cheeks

This is a darling profile shot of Anna, yesterday, watching her big sis, Ava, open her presents at her 4th Birthday Party!

Such a sweetie!

(Thanksgiving AND a Birthday party--all in one.......who could ask for more?!?!)  :-)

I'm going to take a few days off, but will be back on Monday.  I'll share more pictures of our Thanksgiving Day (and Ava's party!), and our Menu Plan for the week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tip Tuesday--Cellfire

If you read my post HERE about, then you might be excited to know about Cellfire, if you don't already!

Cellfire is pretty much exactly like Shortcuts----you download your selected coupons onto your store Club Card, just like you do at  (You can also save non-grocery coupons to your cell phone, but I haven't tried that yet!)

Your downloaded coupons are automatically redeemed at checkout, and the VERY COOL part is this:  There are often times the SAME coupons are on Cellfire and Shortcuts, so you can get a DOUBLE discount!  Plus, to top that off, you might just have the SAME coupon in your hand!  This has already happened to me and it works EVERY time!!  Just the other day, I purchased a Betty Crocker Cookie Mix pouch.  It was on Sale for $1.49---I had two .40 cent coupons downloaded onto my Club Card (one from Cellfire and one from Shortcuts), then I also had a .40 cent paper coupon---that's a total of $1.20 off!  I got the cookie mix for .29 cents!!!

Check it out!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Hey, Peeps!  We're back to a Monday, again!!  Whew!

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL and THANKFUL week!

Here's our Menu:

Monday:  Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Bacon, homemade Hashbrowns, Pear slices

Tuesday:  Chicken Wings, homemade Jo-Jo's, Green Beans

Wednesday:  Three Cheese Ravioli, Green Salad, toasted Bagels

Thursday:  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday:  Baked Potatoes (with all the fixings!), Corn, and Banana-Pear-Berry Smoothies

For more Menu inspirations, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie

Friday, November 20, 2009


As I stated in THIS post about vaccines, this subject is heavy on my heart, and I am doing EVERYTHING I possibly can to fully educate myself on this topic.  As I learn more things that are eye-opening and that I feel are important to share, then I will do so.  This, is, in no way, me telling you what to do.  YOU have to make the decision that you feel is right for you and your family.  I am not an expert on this subject and would NEVER tell you what decision to make.  But, this post and upcoming vaccine posts are simply my way of getting information out, regarding vaccines, that I feel is important information.

I said this before, and I'll say it again-----I will NO LONGER naively and foolishly let any Doctor inject anything into mine or my children's bodies without being FULLLY EDUCATED about it. My husband and I (along with millions of other parents!!!) have vaccinated our kids, because, simply put-----WE WERE TOLD IT WAS THE "RIGHT" THING TO DO. Kind of like, an, "everybody's doing it" mantra.  The government tells us it's the right thing to do, the CDC tells us it's the right thing to do, the Media tells us it's the right thing to do, and our Doctors tell us it's the right thing to do.

But, is it really??!?!?!?!?!?

I will no longer let someone pressure me and tell me what they think I should do.

In my endeavor to be FULLY educated, I came across this-----this is a FACTUAL ingredient list of all of the TOXINS that are found in vaccines.

This is taken from

Vaccines contain ingredients such as MSG, antifreeze, phenol (used as a disinfectant), formaldehyde (cancer causing and used to embalm), aluminum (associated with alzheimer’s disease and seizures), glycerin (toxic to the kidney, liver, can cause lung damage, gastrointestinal damage and death), lead, cadmium, sulfates, yeast proteins, antibiotics, acetone (used in nail polish remover), neomycin and streptomycin.  And the ingredient making the press is thimerosol (more toxic than mercury, a preservative still used in many vaccines, not easily eliminated, can cause severe neurological damage as well as other life threatening autoimmune disease).  These vaccines are grown and strained through animal or human tissue, like monkey and dog kidney tissue, chick embryo, calf serum, human diploid cells (the dissected organs of aborted fetuses), pig blood, horse blood and rabbit brain.EDUCATE BEFORE YOU VACCINATE!!

Faithful Friday

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your


Proverbs 3:5,6

100 FREE Custom Made Photo Cards

If you haven't already seen it, check out Money Saving Mom's post HERE

You can receive 100 Custom Photo Cards from SEE HERE. COM----that INCLUDES shipping!!

(Here's your Christmas Cards, folks!  :-))

HURRY!  You must place your order by November 30th!!!

AWESOME DEAL!  Who can resist FREE???!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3 Months!

Anna is such a sweet, precious, easy-going baby.........She is so happy and joyful!!!!

She is blessing our family immensely.

She smiles all the time, is "talking" like crazy, loves sucking on her fingers and thumb, and is just now starting to reach out and grab things!

At her 2 month appointment (that was already a month ago?!?!?!), she ranked right up at the 95th-100th percentile in every area!  We'll see if she ends up being a tall one, like her brother and sister!  (and Mom and Dad!!)

She is still an amazing sleeper, too.  Her bedtime is about 6:30-7:00pmish, and she typically sleeps until at least 4am---9-10 hours straight!  Of course, every night is not the same, but, for a 3 month old, I am constantly impressed by her.

We are so blessed by this little doll!!!  We love you so much!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

High Value WET ONES coupon

Hey!  Since my tip yesterday was on WIPES, I thought it was more than appropriate to post this AWESOME coupon!!!

Just go HERE and click on 'Pledge Today' and you'll get a coupon for $1.50/1 Wet Ones!!

(Remember to click your 'back' button and you'll get TWO coupons!!)

These are the exact wipes we keep in the car for quick clean-up and sanitizing of hands!!!

This could definitely score you some FREE, or, almost FREE Wet Ones!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tip Tuesday

I'm a little behind today!!!  I'll keep this tip short and sweet this week:

Tear Baby Wipes, Make-up Wipes and Sanitizing Wipes in HALF.

You might roll your eyes at this, because I know it sounds, maybe, OVERLY frugal,

but what a money-saver it could be!!

Wipes are just as effective in a smaller size, and doing this will only take an extra second.

Your wipes will last TWICE as long!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It was a super, fun-filled weekend, and our sweet Ava turned FOUR!!  I can't believe it's already been four years since I gave birth to this precious girl.......what a true blessing and joy she is!!

Although the weekend was full of events and fun, Luke, Anna and myself are a little under the weather........All symptoms are pointing to the common cold, but we're keeping an eye on it, just in case it might be something worse.  We're praying for quick recoveries!

So, once again, we're to another Monday!  I tell ya, I love Menu Planning, it is such a godsend, but, there are some weeks when I just can't seem to fully execute every meal-----and last week was one of them.  I just couldn't quite get it all together every night of the week last week, and we ended up with a couple make-shift, simple meals, but, hey.......there was still food on the table, right?!  :-)  I still felt guilty for not following through on the plan, but I know I need to learn to give myself a break every now and then!  If things don't always work out the way we had's OK.  Really.  It's OK.

So, with that's my plan for this week:

Monday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Green Salad, Garlic Bubble Bread

Tuesday--Baked Chicken, Lentils and Rice

Wednesday--Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs, Baked Potatoes, Corn

Thursday--Meatloaf, Mashed potatoes (Both from freezer stash), green beans

Friday--Homemade Pizza and Banana/Kale Milkshakes

Oh, and by the way, I keep forgetting to mention a STELLAR highlight from our Menu Plan a few weeks ago:

THIS Honey Mustard Chicken was Deeeeeeeeelicious!!!

For more menu ideas, check out I'm An Organizing Junkie

Have a wonderful week!!!!


Our sweet Ava is FOUR today!!

I can't believe it!!!!

Happy Birthday to our precious girl ---What a blessing she is to our lives!

Here's a few photos of the first four years of her life:


41906 (2)



Ava aug 07


Ava turtleneck




Happy Birthday, Ava!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kale Milkshakes

I'm constantly trying to find ways to incorporate veggies into our diets-----specifically:  GREENS.  We are a veggie-loving family around here, even the kids, but the dark green veggies aren't high on their lists!!  So, since I've been able to add (almost!) anything to our smoothies without anyone noticing, I thought, why not try to make them GREEN!  :-)

Today, Ava is gone on her "special day" with Grandpa and Grandma R., so as a special treat for Lukie, instead of a Smoothie with our pizza for lunch, I decided to make Milkshakes!!  Yummy!!  And, not just any milkshake----a beautiful, green, KALE milkshake!!  Dark greens contain so many vitamins and nutrients, and at this time of year, I want to add as many greens to our diet as I possibly can, to ward off any viruses that might come our way!!

Here's how I made it:

4 big Kale leaves

2 Oranges

3 Bananas  (They are on sale at Walmart for 39 cents a pound!!!)

3 hearty scoops of Vanilla Icecream

A touch of Milk

4 tablespoons of Protein Powder

2 tablespoons of milled Flaxseed

A touch of Wheat Germ

And, here's what it looked like:


It was ABSOLUTELY delicious!!  You could not tell ONE BIT that there were any veggies in there, and Lukie thought drinking something green was very cool!!!  He drank through 2 cups in no time!!

Next up to try:  Spinach Milkshakes!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

FREE Icecream and Pie??!!!

Yes, it's true!!!!

Starting TODAY at Albertsons, this is the deal:

Buy ONE Sara Lee Pie for $6.39 and you get this for free:

ONE MORE Sarah Lee Pie


2 cartons of BREYERS Ice cream!!!!

That's 2 Sara Lee Pies and 2 cartons of Breyers Ice cream for:  $6.39!!!

That comes out to about $1.60 each!!!!

(There's NO LIMIT, either!!)

But, wait, that's not all!!!!

Sweeten the deal by going HERE

Print out two coupons for $1.00/1 Sara Lee Pie!!!

When you use these coupons on this deal, you'll be getting 2 pies and 2 cartons of ice cream for:


That's only $1.10 each!!!!

Don't walk, people..............RUN!!  :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tip Tuesday

Since I just had a baby, you can imagine that I have Medical bills rolling most anyone would who just gave birth in a hospital.

Well, you know what I found out?????

MANY hospitals offer a DISCOUNT if you pay within 30 DAYS!!!!  Did you know that?!?!

I never knew that.

Too bad the hospital NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT THIS.

I just happened to call to ask a question about a statement I received in the mail, and the lady I was talking to told me this GREAT news!  This particular hospital offers 10% off if you pay within 30 days!!


You know what's not so cool?  If you made a payment within 30 days (and didn't know the hospital's policy), they don't automatically refund you the 10%.  YOU HAVE TO ASK.  Not so cool if you ask me.

So, right away, I asked her if there were any other bills that I paid within 30 days that I could get a refund on.  You betcha!!!  I'm getting a nice, hefty refund check in the mail soon!!!! you can tip this week is to KNOW THE POLICY of the hospital, clinic, doctor's office, etc, that you attend!!  Many of them, (as I just learned) will give you discounts, but they often don't give it to you unless you ASK!!

You can bet that I'm going to call my doctor's office, the kids' pediatrician, chiropractor, etc, and see if they might have a policy similar.

Maybe not.........but it NEVER HURTS TO ASK!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday, Everyone!!!  It was a great, productive weekend at our household.....hope you all had a nice one!

Here's our Menu Plan for the week:

Monday:  THIS Corn Chowder, homemade Rolls, Crackers, Apple Slices

Tuesday:  Biscuits and Gravy, homemade Hash Browns, Fruit

Wednesday:  Polish Sausage Hot Dogs with THESE homemade Hot Dog Buns (first time making them!), homemade Macaroni Salad, Chips, Smoothies

Thursday:  THIS Teriyaki Chicken, White Rice, Veggies

Friday:  THESE Crockpot Sloppy Lentils, with homemade Hamburger buns, Green Beans

For more menu ideas, check out:  I'm An Organizing Junkie!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Granola Bars

On Fridays I like to try to do a cooking/baking project with the kids.  Neither of them have school on Fridays, so it's a great day for both of them to be involved.  Today, we decided on homemade Granola Bars!

I researched quite a few recipes, and decided on THIS one.

Gobble Up Granola Snacks

2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal

2 cups quick cooking oats

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A few changes I made:

Instead of oil I used honey

1/4 cup brown sugar instead of 1/2 cup

1 cup of raisins instead of 1/2 cup

I added Wheat Germ and Milled Flaxseed

I used creamy Peanut Butter instead of Crunchy

I added 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

So, I had my trusty Sous Chefs, Ava and Luke in place, and we began!

Here's Ava measuring the Rice Krispies:


And here's Luke getting the Raisins measured.  (And, no, folks, you're not seeing things!  Lukie doesn't have any pants on!  We're full-speed-ahead potty training, so underpants only!)



Here's our Granola Bar mix:


The kids loved helping pat the mixture down on the jelly roll pan:


And, here's our finished product all patted out:


The recipe didn't call for it, but I decided to put the pan into the freezer to "flash freeze" it to set them more quickly.  I kept them there for about 30 minutes and when I pulled them out, they were perfectly, I cut them and, of course, we tasted them and the were DELICIOUS!!  This recipe yields such a soft and tasty treat!

I wasn't quite sure how I should store them, so I thought I'd individually wrap them to make them true Granola Bars!

Here's how I did it:

Pull out a piece of wax paper and cut it in half.  Set a bar on it:


Turn it, then pull up on the top and bottom of the waxed paper:


Roll them down together:


Then fold the two ends like you were wrapping a present and fold them under the bar:


Voila!  There you have it!  Your very own, packaged, homemade granola bar:

P1010448 P1010449

I stashed some in the freezer and kept the rest in the fridge.  What a great afternoon snack, or lunch item!!  They really are so tasty, very frugal and much healthier than the store bought ones!!!  (And, since I'm frugal-that-way----I'll be saving all the waxed paper to package my next batch!!)

Here's a breakdown of what it cost me to make these:

Rice Krispies:  The entire box was 25 cents, so 2 1/2 cups would be about 10 cents

2 Cups Quick Cooking Oats:  Again, I got the canister for 25 cents, so 2 cups, about 10 cents

1 cup Raisins:  Canister cost me $1, so, about 25 cents

1/4 cup Brown Sugar:  Bought a big bag at Costco for $2.50, so, about 10 cents

1/2 cup Honey:  Big jar of honey for $2.50, so, about 25 cents

1/2 cup Peanut Butter:  This jar was FREE, so, FREE

1/2 cup Chocolate Chips:  Bought HUGE bag at Costco for $4.50, so, about 25 cents.

TOTAL:  $1.05

Recipe yielded about 30 Granola Bars----that's about 3 CENTS per bar!!  On average, a box of 8 granola bars that you would purchase at the store are about $2.50-$3.00 a box and sometimes full of preservatives and not-so-great-stuff!

This is one frugal (and tasty!) Granola Bar!!

Faithful Friday


--PSALM 118:24

This verse is so simple, and most of us know it, but do we REALLY do this everyday??

I know I don't.

We have to remember that THIS is the day that the Lord has made for us.

Rejoice in it, be glad in it, find GOOD in it!

We don't know if the Lord will give us tomorrow, so be GLAD for today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009




I didn't think I'd make it.....but I did!!!  Potato day was a complete success!  :-)

It started off EARLY, if you read my post below, but I kept the coffee flowing and made it a great cooking day!

Before I made breakfast for the kids, I started off by putting the two squash in the oven to roast, and I then realized I needed to clear the dishwasher!  There's nothing worse on a "cooking day" than having a sink full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher full of clean ones!

After I made breakfast for the kids, cleaned up the kitchen, and got them dressed, I prepped and peeled an ENTIRE 10 pound bag of potatoes.  Man......did I mention I REALLY don't like peeling potatoes?!?  I got through the entire bag, though, and Ava hung around as my "sous" chef!!  She LOVES......I mean LOVES to help me in the kitchen!!


After I got one of the bag of potatoes peeled, I started in on THIS soup.  It is such an EASY recipe and it's so delicious!  I urge you to try it!!   So, as the soup was simmering away, I had Ava help me spoon out all of the roasted squash and get that going for THIS Marbled Mashed potatoes.  This recipe was a little more labor-intensive than I thought it would be, but it was a really neat concept and it seemed to work out great.  Ava had fun "swirling" the squash and potatoes together at the end.  Both the soup and the Marbled Potatoes seemed to come out great!!

[caption id="attachment_1510" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Soup done!"]P1010428[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1511" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Marbled Mashed Potatoes"]P1010427[/caption]

After I cleaned up a bit---10:30ish---I realized that I needed to get lunch for the kids (Ava catches the bus to Preschool at around 11:20), and I also needed to get Anna down for a nap.

That's when I found this:


Ava and Luke were having a "sleepover"----under the Dining Room Table!!!  It was so cute!!  They are obsessed with sleepovers, lately, and I thought it was so cute that they came up with this on their own!!  They really are starting to play together so well and it's such a joy to see them using their imaginations!!

So.....we made it through lunch and got Ava on the bus by the skin of our teeth---and I got Anna down for a nap in the midst of it all!!  We made it!

Usually, after Ava gets on the bus, it's "Lukie and Mommy" time, and I didn't want to change that, so he and I played outside and had a fun time together before his nap.  But, once I got him down for a nap--the heat was on!  It was time to peel the majority of the other bag of potatoes and get to THESE mashed potatoes.  And, right as I was peeling the last potato, sweet little Anna woke up from her nap, so she was my trusty sidekick for the next hour, or so!

P1010430I then got going on the Freezer Mashed Potatoes and decided to double the batch, so that I could also use them for the muffin tin potatoes, too.  It worked out perfectly!!  And they are soooooooo yummy!

Here's the two tins of them:


And here they are in the muffin tin.  I actually just used an icecream scooper and it worked out quite well!


I let them freeze for a few hours, hoping my idea of individual portions would work, and it did!!  Cute little portions of mashed potatoes for the kiddos came right out of the tins.  I transferred them into ziploc bags and back into the freezer!


Woohoo!  All the potatoes were done, and I had some left over to bake for dinner tonight with our pot roast!!

It was quite the hectic day.....but, it was so great!!  It actually was  a lot of fun and it's great to see all of this in my freezer!!

P1010435Which, by the way....the pan on the left is THESE French Bread Rolls----I can't believe I had time for them!!  (They were still rising when I took this picture, but they are now baked and in the freezer!!)

If you're wondering how I package these up---I use plastic wrap, first, and make sure it's nice and covered.   I, then, go over it with aluminum foil and put a label on it.  I write down what the item is, how to bake it, and the date---then I put a few more layers of plastic wrap on it, just to be sure!!


Thanks for joining me on my 20-pounds-of-potatoes journey!!