Friday, January 29, 2010


This just makes me feel better. 

Wishing you blue skies and sunshine during this long, cold winter.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Weight watchers points = 0

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I have a "baker's" block (that's like writer's block for bakers) when it comes to making dinner rolls from scratch.  I remember my grandma Saylor trying to help me, then I would go home and make a batch and honestly, if I would have tossed them outside and hit a bird, it would have killed the poor fowl!  I tried just as unsuccessfully after I married Dan - all with similar results.  When I use my bread machine to make bread, things go pretty well, but something happens when I try dinner rolls.  Yet, here I am stuck indoors with sick kids, extremely cold weather outside, and my mental capacities are just not as alert due to lack of sleep, so I stupidly try again!  Well, hallelujah and all that (imagine choirs singing right now), IT WORKED!!!!!

These rolls were devine!  They did not taste as good today, but fresh out of the oven, they were a huge hit.  I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen.   I typed in the ingredients on the WW site, and if you yield 21 rolls, it is 3 points per roll.  Not a great point value food, but sometimes you have to enjoy the fun stuff  - at least I do.  I just count it and eat more veggies!  I want to try adding some wheat flour next time (maybe 1/2 wheat, 1/2 white) to make it a bit healthier, but with the butter and sugar content, I think the points would stay the same.  Sorry.

2/3 cups Quick Cooking  Oats
1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cups butter
1/2 tsp. salt
Stir into that:
3/4 cups boiling water
Cool to 10-115 degrees
Dissolve 2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast in 1/2 cups warm water and stir into oat mixture.  Add 3 1/2 cups flour and form a soft dough.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - 5 minutes or so.
Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll dough out on floured surface about 1/2" thick, then cut with a biscuit cutter (I used a glass).  Place 2" apart on a greased cookie sheet.  I rolled my dough into balls after I cut it and put in a muffin pan because I like round rolls, not biscuit-shaped.
Raise for about 1 hour.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes and lightly brush with butter.  Serve warm.


I've really been on a roll with finding new recipes lately - and, actually, I expect my creativity to crash any day now, but I wanted to share this recipe with you.  It would be a great meal for working women because you can make it the day or night before, and then just heat it up when you get home.  ALL of the men in my house loved it (Levi and Noah are not men yet, so we won't count their votes).   Tyler liked it so much he actually asked me what the recipe was called.  I would love to show you what it looks like when it's cooked, but it was gobbled up before I got a photo of it - sorry!

Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1-8 oz. carton low-fat sour cream
1-10 oz. can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
butter flavored cooking spray
10 reduced fat Ritz crackers

Combine all ingredients, except crackers and spray.  put in your casserole dish and if you need to, cover it and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  
Heat over to 350.
Crush crackers and sprinkle on top of casserole.  Spray top with butter spray.  Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

4 servings (3/4 cup) = 7 points

IT'S BEEN. . . . .

This has been a tough week.  Levi was sick for several days with a cough, fever, throwing up, then Noah got it.  Noah seems to be susceptible to pneumonia, and after about 2 days of a cold, we ended up taking him to the ER.  He was breathing heavily and having trouble waking up.  Totally freaked me out.  Thankfully, the fever was what was making him non-responsive and not something worse, but they checked his lungs and got him on meds before things could progress any further.  I am hoping by the weekend we can stop the round-the-clock medications.

I mean, as a parent, you hear about "over medicating" your kids, so I try very hard not to overdo the Ibuprofen or Tylenol.  Then, the doctor at the ER looks at me like I'm a total idiot and don't know that a high fever can make a child act like Noah was acting that night.  I mean, in my own defense, I've had 3 other children who have had high fevers in their lives, and I've never had one of them act like that, buy hey, WHATEVER!  So, now I am giving Ibuprofen and Tylenol every 2-3 hours, alternating, and giving that cough medicine regularly.  It is a lot to remember - which one did I give last???  How many hours has it been????  Especially in the middle of the night - what if I give him more than I should????   Oh boy!

Well, then I remembered that a good friend (Kim) got me this really cool timer when Levi was born.  It's called an Itzbeen timer.  It has 4 different timers on it, a night light, and a switch that says L or R for breastfeeding moms to remember which side they fed on at the last feeding.  I used this timer constantly when I was nursing, especially the first few weeks.  But it has been in my cabinet ever since, unused.  I was going to keep it and pass it on to someone someday that may be pregnant with one of my grandchildren. . . . . .   Anyway, that's a different post entirely!  I pulled that timer out and it has worked like a charm helping me to remember which medicines I gave last and how long "itzbeen"!!!!  (At least until Levi got a hold of it and reset all the timers, but after throwing a fit, I got over it and got back on schedule).

I don't know where Kim got this timer from, but I'm sure you could Google it.  It would make a really cool gift for an expecting mom!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Going Greek

Have you heard the buzz about Greek yogurt?  I saw a segment on Rachael Ray, read some information about it on the Hungry Girl website, and it seems Weight Watchers has some recipes using it too.  My curiosity got the best of me and I bought some.  I got some plain and some flavored.  Now, the plain non-fat is only 2 points for the entire container (6 oz), and has 18 grams of protein!!!!  

I think that there is something to increasing your protein when you are trying to lose weight.  There have been 2 times in my life that I had to be on a high-protein, low-carb diet, and believe it or not, I lost not only pounds, but my entire booty shrunk!  It seems that is my #1 "problem" area (actually, I have a lot, but I'd rank that as #1).    Another bonus is that high protein diets keep you feeling fuller longer - more satisfied.  I wish this were not true, because I am a true carb-a-holic (hence my huge backside).  Don't get me wrong - I think the no-carb diets should be avoided.  God gave us all this wonderful food and I think we need a little of everything, in moderation of course.   But, "man shall not live by bread alone. . ."  :-)   I am no expert, just giving you information on what's worked for me and what I've read (and I read a lot about how to lose weight-if only reading were enough!).

So, back to the Greek thing.  Here are some recipes I've tried and some I intend to try.

This one was fantastic.  I made it for the boys too so they could dip their animal crackers in it.  I used about 1/2 the container of yogurt (3 oz.) and 1 Tablespoons of peanut butter.  Then I sprinkled about 1 tsp. of powdered sugar in and mixed it all together.  This is about a 3 point dip for fruit, or just eat it plain.  

I found this recipe on the WW site, and true to my nature, I had to make my own changes and this time, it backfired on me because it is not as good as I had hoped.  I used 6 oz. of yogurt, chopped up a little bit of cucumber and some onion, added 1 tsp. dill weed, seasoning salt and some other spices I had in the cabinet that I THOUGHT would make it better.  It was a good veggie dip, but a bit strong.  I would recommend cutting back on the onion and cucumber and leaving out all the other spices I dumped in and can't even remember now.  The WW recipe also recommended using 1/2 cup of fat free cream cheese and that might have made it better.  However, after eating a few veggies and 2 T. of the dip, I was feeling pretty satisfied.  It would be a good mid-day snack to get you through until dinner.

Rachael Ray recommended using a cup of yogurt and adding roasted pureed carrot in for a good dip.  I want to try this, but I'm out of the plain yogurt for now.

I've also found some good ice cream "fake out" recipes using frozen fruit.  I'll pass those along if they prove to be tasty.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Salisbury Steak

I found this recipe in my Weight Watchers cookbook.  I don't know why I've never tried it before, because it was really good!

Here is the recipe straight from the book:

1-14 oz. can beef broth
3 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup picante sauce, divided
12 oz. extra lean ground beef
3 T. breadcrumbs
1 large egg white
cooking spray
1/2-8 oz. package presliced mushrooms

Combine broth, flour and 1/4 cup picante sauce in bowl.  Wisk and set aside.
Combine beef, breadcumbs, egg white and picante sauce in bowl.  Divide into 4 equal parts and shape into patty.
Heat skillet with non stick spray and brown patties on each side for about 5 minutes.  Remove and keep warm.
Add mushrooms and saute until browned.  Add broth mixture.  Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes until thick.  Add patties back to pan and finish cooking through.

It is 5 points per patty.

What I did: 
I did not have picante sauce, so I added some of the Salsa Verde I had left over in the fridge.  It added a little kick :-).   My ground beef was not as lean as I usually like, so I had to drain off a bit of fat and squeeze it out of the patty.  I also only ate about 1/2 of a patty.

I made the mashed potatoes (w/o butter - use fat free milk and ff sour cream), and also added some cooked cauliflower in the potatoes and mashed it together.  I figure it gives us an extra added veggie and not one single person knew!

I served it with cooked carrots (with a touch of honey and cinnamon), and a side salad.  It was a great meal!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I've needed some new inspiration for my cards.  I get bored doing the same old thing.  I have a blog I follow that has tutorials - it is where I found the instructions to make the flower pot cards below.  You can see the instructions here.  Dawn's ideas are awesome and she makes it easy to follow the instructions.  If you go to her home page, and click on the tutorial button, you can scroll through her videos and find ideas for all sorts of things.

I love the flower pot cards, but because I don't own a lot of Stampin' Up things, I just improvise with what I've got.  I think I made the flowers a bit too small here - they don't look like they are filling the flower pot - maybe I'll add a couple more.

This shutter card was a  lot of fun.  I've made 3 so far.  One I sent to my grandma, the other I made for my honey for Valentine's Day (don't want to show that one yet), and this one I made for my adorable nephew, Stephen, who will be 1 next month.

I have found that making cards is therapeutic for me.  When I'm working on cards, all I think about is the design of the card and it really gives my brain a break from the routine of life.  Plus, I know how good it feels to receive a card, so that makes me happy knowing I might make someone smile with my card.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Easy Pasta Salad

Who doesn't love pasta salad (except for my husband)?  There are so many versions of pasta salad, but I'll share mine with you.  I've tried to make it somewhat healthy so I don't feel as much guilt when I eat it! 

First, I always use whole wheat rotini.  Secondly, I always use extra virgin olive oil, and lastly, I always use McCormick's Salad Supreme.  It makes the difference, to me, in having a good salad or a great salad.

I also love to add chopped fresh basil!  It makes a huge difference in the taste, but when my garden is not yielding basil, I hate spending money on wilted, brown-edged basil at Walmart, so I use the dried.   

I always saute red, yellow or orange bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  It is also great to add fresh tomato (right before you serve it), shredded carrot, or whatever other vegetables you like.

It is filling and somewhat healthy!   If you have a different method or a great recipe you use, please let me know!


For those of you who read Holly's blog you may have read the day she posted about the Sour Cream Apple Pie recipe she got from here.   I had 4 Granny Smith apples I needed to use up, so I decided to make it.  It got a 4 1/2 star rating from my family.  Dan was not really keen on it, as he likes traditional apple pie.  I loved it and so did Ty and Tanner.  Ty said it reminded him of cheesecake.  

If you like my pie pan, you can get one here.  It is handmade by one of my bff - Marie - at Pine Springs Pottery.

As many of you know, Dan has been growing an orchard for years now and the past couple of years, we've had a good picking!  A friend of ours gave us this recipe to can the apples.  It is really easy to do, and when I want a 'fresh' apple pie in the middle of winter, I just make a crust, open up one of my canned apple jars, dump it in, and voila- great pie!  Here is the recipe I use to can my apples if you are interested.


Makes about 6 quarts

Cut/peel your apples and fill your clean canning jars about 1/2 way.  Then, add the filling (recipe below), and finish filling the jars with apples and then more sauce.

4 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
10 cups water
1 cup corn starch
3 tsp. lemon juice
cook until thick and bubbly.

Place jars in a hot water bath for about 20 minutes.

Eat apple pie - it's an American tradition!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Side In deciding if a dish is good, I use my family as a gauge.  If Dan likes it, I give it a 5 star rating because he's, well, kinda picky (sorry dear!).  If Ty, Tanner and I like it, it gets a 4 1/2 star rating because we like most food.  Levi and Noah seldom like what we eat, but they are still toddlers, so their vote does not count. These sweet potato fries were liked by 3 of us- you'll have to guess which 3 of my family did not like them (wink, wink).   

Please excuse a few of the "burned" ones  - oops!

I like them because they were good without any ketchup or extra seasonings, and because they are supposedly really healthy for you.  The health food experts tell us we should eat a rainbow everyday.  The more a food has color, the better.  I try to always include veggies at all meals (other than breakfast), and then I try to include fruits for snacks.  I always try to "strive for five" - not that I always make it!

Anyway, try these - I think you'll like them!

I peeled and cut the sweet potatoes (I think they may actually be yams, and I'm not sure what the difference is) into fry shapes.  I put them in a bowl, drizzled some olive oil on top (not a lot, but enough to coat when tossed), and added some seasoning salt.  I tossed it all together and placed them on my baking sheet.  I baked them in a 400 degree oven for about an hour and stirred them around 1/2 way through the cooking.

3/4 cup of the fries w/o oil would be about 2 points in WW, and I added another point for the oil and just to be on the safe side.

Monday, January 18, 2010


"It's just another manic Monday, oh oh, wish it were Sunday, oh oh, cuz, that's my fun day, oh oh. . . ."  Who doesn't love the Bangles? 

Mondays are probably one of the two most hated days of the week - I'll bet Wednesdays (hump day) are a close second.  I've never googled this information, I'm just guessing.  Why do we hate Mondays so much?  I can tell you why for most of my life, I've hated Mondays.  When I was in school, it was the "day back" after weekend fun!  When I worked, it was the start of a long week and the furthest day from payday!  Now that I'm here in Wisconsin, I dislike Mondays because it is my "catch up" day.  I don't do much work on the weekends and the house literally looks like a tornado went through, not to mention, the laundry is backed up 2 days, dishes are piled up, shopping needs done, etc, etc. 

Sunday night is popcorn night - there always lots of greasy dishes waiting for Monday clean up!
Not airing my dirty laundry here - this is clean laundry that needs folded!  LOL

I know I have no room to complain here - I mean, most of you probably  have a real job and hate Mondays for different reasons.  It seems like no matter what role I find myself in - student, work force, college student, stay at home mom - I dislike Mondays.  However, on  a more positive note, once I get past the Monday and back into my routine, it is usually about Wednesday, then over the hump, and looking forward to the weekend - just to start it all over again!

James says our life is like a "vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."  James 4:14     Oh those words become more true for me as each week passes and each season goes by so quickly.   Maybe I should cherish the Mondays!

Have a wonderful week!


I have heard this phrase many times and the older I get, the more I realize how true it is.  If you have ever been around someone and all of a sudden, you realize something is wrong with them - their mood has just changed.  Perhaps something was said, or perhaps a memory just popped into their head, or maybe they started feeling ill. . . whatever the case - how do you know the change has taken place?   Their eyes tell it all.  

I can tell when my husband and my children are paying attention to me, or when they are thinking about something else - all by the look in their eyes.  Most moms can tell if their toddlers are lying - by their eyes.  If you've ever seen a couple in love, you can totally see the love in their eyes when they look at each other.  

Our eyes always give us away!

I Am A Book.....Read Me

Read my eyes the words they speak
Passage of time things so unique.
They speak of past, future and of times today,
Look closer you can hear what they say.

Eyes have different pages, many chapters told,
And within each a different story unfolds.
There is pain written in some of the lines,
And also love capturing this heart of mine.

If you read the stories you can touch the soul,
You can feel the dreams realize the goals.
Words speak in a book that's good,
The meaning is well understood.

I am a book with many many pages,
Taking life in different stages.
If you want to read this book that is me,
It's in my eyes for you too see.

By Lady Cynthia

Friday, January 15, 2010


I did not get to take pictures of my friend's boys today - one was sick.  But I had set up the room, so decided to take some test shots of my boys (I really need some new models :-)).   I love the dramatic effect the black sheet has.  I would like some honest opinions please!



Penne Pasta and Meatballs

This was a simple and easy dish to make.  For the past few years, I've been making my own sauce out of crushed tomatoes and spices.  After reading the ingredients in the spaghetti sauces (lots of preservatives and unnecessary calories), and seeing Rachael Ray make her own in 30 minutes, I figured how tough could it be?  I found a recipe for sauce that I liked in Taste of Home magazine.  If you have a different recipe, please share it with me, as I'm always looking for something new and improved!

Here's what I did for this dish:

First, I made the sauce so it could simmer a while.
I chopped an onion in my food processor (it makes it very fine), and minced 2 cloves of garlic.  I sauteed them in olive oil, then added:
1 large can crushed tomatoes (or you could use diced, but we don't like the chunks)
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce (or 2 small cans)
1-12 oz. can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. basil (using dried right now)
2 T. oregano  (adjust these spices to your taste)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. thyme
You may want to double this if you like a lot of sauce.

While it is simmering, sautee some more garlic and onion for your meatballs.  Mix 1 lb. lean ground meat with your onion/garlic, Worcestershire sauce, a couple handfuls of bread crumbs, an egg, some oregano, salt and pepper (or whatever meatball stuff you like).  I used my measuring Tablespoon to make the meatballs -that way they are all exact.  I brown them in my skillet.

Cook your penne pasta - I use whole wheat.  We've really gotten to like the taste of it, plus I don't feel as guilty eating it.

Throw your pasta and sauce into a 9x13 pan and mix it up.  Fish out your bay leaf, or someone may find a surprise when you serve it up :-).
Distribute your meatballs throughout, then throw some mozzarella cheese on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes in a 350 oven.

I served it with green beans and a side salad with Italian dressing.  I wanted to make homemade bread, but forgot until it was too late - my bad!  So, I found a box of the Texas garlic toast in the freezer and warmed those up.  I think they literally soak those pieces of toast in butter. 

I am still diligently trying to stick to the WW plan, so I had 3/4 cup pasta with sauce and 2 meatballs and I figured it was 6 points (I use venison meat so it is very lean) oh, and I dug in the dish so I did not get any of the cheese (cheese is bad for WW).  I only had 1/2 pc. of the toast, which would be 1 1/2 pts.  The green beans are 0 points (love it), and the salad was 2 pts. because of the dressing.  For me, I have to have a good evening meal, so I save my points all day so I don't feel cheated.  I was stuffed after this meal and it was only 9.5 points!  Next time, I'll do w/o the toast - it was not worth it.  Plus, I had 2-3 servings of vegetables and a lean meat.  Healthy, healthy, healthy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Nothing much to blog about lately - my days are full of cleaning, laundry, cooking, playing with the kids, then cleaning up after everyone.   Winter is a long season for sure.

I have stepped outside my comfort zone and have taken the kids out to play for 2 days in a row now!  I know, I'm not exactly "mother of the year" for doing this, but for me, it is an accomplishment.  I find that playing outside for 30-40 minutes in the morning does 2 things:  1) wears the kids out (I mean the coats and boots must put an extra 10 pounds on them!) and 2) gives me exercise and fresh air (I am pulling them in the sled - usually running, carrying an extra 10 pounds of coats and boots myself!).    I am trying to embrace all the seasons here in Wisconsin, and since winter is the longest, I need to make it my friend, or at the very least, a tolerable acquaintance!

My good friend, Jeri, has asked me to photograph her children tomorrow - indoors!  I went out and bought a black and tan sheet and need to rig them up in the toy room, which has the best natural lighting.  I am a bit nervous.  I mean, taking pics of my kids and experimenting with lighting is one thing, but doing it for someone else . . .  Oh well, it is a learning experience.

Happy Thursday! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I needed a quick side dish for dinner, and I have a lot of Red Delicious apples that need used up.  I quickly did a search on Recipezaar and found this one.  It was really good, even though I did not have the exact ingredients.

1-3.5 oz. box butterscotch pudding (I did not have this, so I used vanilla)
1-8 oz. container cool whip
Mix these together until blended
8 oz. crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 large Red Delicious apples diced with skin on
3/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

You can garnish with more peanuts if you'd like. 

Like I said, I did not have butterscotch pudding, but the vanilla was so good, I can't imagine doing it any differently.  Also, Dan does not like nuts, so I scooped some out for him before I added the nuts and he liked it too. 

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Well, last week was one of those weeks that I felt like I accomplished a lot.  I love weeks like those, except that the following week(s) seem to be all down hill from there, but such is life.

One of my resolutions this year was to send cards out more often than I had in the past.  I love making cards, but it can be time consuming.  I am trying to make 2-4 cards a week, plus trying to catch up on some of my scrapbooks.  I worked so hard getting Ty's stuff all done before he graduated in May, that I kind of burned myself out, and have not done much since.  I am over a year behind on Tanner, and with the amount of pictures I take of Levi and Noah. . .  oh well.  Right now, I'm working on Tanner's album.   I've gotten several pages done!

Disorganized - oh no!

Please note:  I am not a "fancy" scrapbooker or card maker - I do basic simple things.  My theory is that pages "done" are better than "fancy" pages, and a card sent is more about the thought than the beauty, right?  Works for me.  I got a couple more cards done last week too!

The golf card is for a dear friend who recently had surgery, but thankfully, seems to be on the mend!  The other card is one I found on Dawn's Stampin' Thoughts.  She has a lot of fun cards on there and tutorials to follow.  The picture of Ty and Emily is not attached, I just used it to show you what the card is supposed to look like.  I have a friend in mind to send this to, but need to get a picture printed for the card :-).

And speaking of Emily. . . . she is here visiting this week.  We really love having her.  She is a sweetheart.  She got Dan and I these beautiful frames for Christmas - I love them - moose, trees and photos - a few of my favorite things!!

I know this is all very exciting stuff!  I'm sure you all will leave this blog feeling so fulfilled :-).


This weekend, my wonderful hub, Dan, redid a closet for me so I could have a pantry.  This closet is inside my front door, which NEVER gets used.  99% of the people that come to my home, use the garage entrance and therefore, we use the closet inside that door.  I needed more pantry room, so a couple of years ago,  I put in little shelves that Dan had originally built for me to put shoes on in my bedroom closets.  I stacked 2 up, but they have no back and cans were always falling off the back.  Here is the before:

Ugly, messy, disorganized!

Here is the during: 
Levi and Noah helped me move everything out the day before - they were really good helpers.  

Dan thought it needed painting, and bless his heart, he did that too (I was not feeling well on Saturday). 

Then he hung up the pantry shelves and put 1/2 of the coat rack back so we could hang up the extra coats.  I also store my steam vac and my regular vac in there.  It looks so nice and neat.  I absolutely love it!

Organization is my friend. 

French Onion Rice

I made this side dish tonight and got mixed reviews; however, it is one of my favorite side dishes and I thought I'd share it with you.  It is so simple and great for potlucks.

1 cup rice (not instant) (I use brown)
1 can French Onion soup
1 can beef consume
1 stick of butter (I left this out and added 1 cup of water)
1 can drained mushrooms

Mix it all together in a 9x9 dish, bake at 350 for 1 hour (may need a bit more time), stir before serving.

Bargain Day

Today was a fun day.   I went shopping with two of my good friends, Kim and Jeri.  Jeri and her husband are in the process of building a home in Spencer and she had to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to exchange some draperies she bought and get some other things for her new home.  Kim and I went along, and also our boys who are not yet in school (what an adventure).

I was not really shopping today - just along for the ride, but I did in fact find some really good bargains and wanted to share them with you.  I am so excited about this one, although the 3 older males in my family have been poking fun at me over this:

The cupcake/cake holder I was going to purchase in November from Michael's.  It was about $20 for just the holder and I figured I'd wait until I had a 50% off coupon and pick one up then.  However, I got the holder, the cupcake display rack and the cupcake pan all for $10 at Sam's Club.  I am just beside myself!  I am going back on Saturday and hoping to get a few more to store away for gifts - what a deal.  I know, it does not take much to make me happy.

I also got a Yankee Candle for 50% off the already reduced price! 

Then I got a gingerbread house kit for $2.00 - I've always wanted to make a gingerbread house with the kids and let them have fun with it.  I'll freeze this and get it out next Christmas and let them decorate it - as long as they don't eat it, I'm sure it will be fine :-).

Bargains - I love them.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Well, we are into week 2 of the new year and so far, I'm sticking to my resolutions better than I expected.  How is everyone else doing????  I'm working very hard at getting my menu and shopping lists organized so I can make ONE and ONLY ONE trip to the grocery store each week.  That sounds deceiving because I actually go to at least 3 different stores in order to get the savings, but hopefully it is all in one day.

I absolutely love Aldi's.  I save so much money there and 95% of the items taste as good as the brand names.  However, I always have to go to another store because I don't buy meat at Aldi's and there are a few other items I can't get there.  I usually go to Walmart and I hate to say it, but I really hate that store.  I have a huge list of reasons, but we won't go there.  I save money there - it is an "everything" store, so I hide my feelings and shop.  The other stores I frequent are the Super Value in Spencer and Festival Foods in Marshfield.  I usually hit these because they have the best meats and they usually have some pretty good weekly deals.

In the past, I have found that making a menu each and every week not only helps me shop and save money, but it makes me feel so much more organized.  I know each morning what I plan to cook that evening and I can make the preparations accordingly and not worry about it all day long.  I enjoy cooking so much more too, and it helps me stick better to my Weight Watcher's plan.   I think it all has to do with my Type A personality - lists, organization. . . .  

Anyway, I am trying 3 new recipes this week - 2 that I found on-line and one from the Pioneer Woman's cookbook.  I will definitely be blogging about these, Lord willing.  I know you are all on the edge of your seats! 

Last week I spent $112.31 for groceries and we ate very well.  My pantry is pretty well stocked for the most part, and our freezer is full of venison burger, so that helps a lot too.  I hope to spend less this week, but I doubt that I will - there are some good meat sales and I plan to stock up.   I hit some coupon sites each week too and that really helps, especially with frozen vegetables and cereals.  Click here if you're interested.  

I would love to hear how some of you save on groceries and how you plan your meals.  I really get in a rut after awhile, so I find it helps when I hear what other women do and some of their menus.

Have a great Friday!

Tracks in the snow

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Okay, stop thinking dirty thoughts!  Chicken strips and potato chipper fries is on the menu tonight, not sexy dancers! 

I love this chicken.  It is so easy and even the little guys gobble it down.  I start by cutting up boneless skinless breasts into strips.  Season it with salt and pepper, roll it in seasoned bread crumbs, then in beaten egg, then back in the bread crumbs.

  Cook it in a bit of hot olive oil, browning on both sides.

  Then, I transfer it to a baking sheet.  Before it goes into the oven, I brush it with a melted butter and hot sauce combo.  You decide how hot to make it! 

I bake it at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes. 

I usually serve it with a side salad with blue cheese dressing.  Tonight I also made fries - shaped like potato chips.  Not because I was being creative or anything, but because all the potatoes I have left  in the bin are fairly small and it was easier to slice them in my new food processor, than to manually cut them into a french fry shape with a knife (or pampered chef garnisher).   I use just a bit of olive oil and some seasonings for the fries and bake them in the oven - you'd be hard pressed to tell this was a weight watchers recipe! (fries, that is)

Easy dinner that everyone loves - you can't beat that!


My little cowboy, Levi.  He's 3 1/2, and for the most part is a sweet little boy (he has been known to throw an occasional tantrum).  His dad has recently introduced him to John Wayne westerns - heaven help us all!  He now rides his stick horse around the house yelling "shoot the Indians".  I tried to explain to him why we should not do that - I mean, the "Native Americans" (as I call them), were just defending their homes.  Levi was totally in agreement with me until daddy came home and they watched more John Wayne.  It's a losing battle (no pun intended).

His horse's name is Chester.  Chester likes to eat everything Levi does and he likes to drink milk.  Chester needs lots of attention from all of us and we have to make sure we say 'hello' to him when he "walks" into the room.

I took these photos today and I just love the innocence in his eyes.  I remember the years of make believe and how real it all seems.  It makes me smile.  I think the "sepia" overlay really adds to it!  Oh the wonders of  Photoshop!

Ya'll have a fine day, now, ya hear?