Monday, 19 December 2011

Stashbusting #12: Peppermint Biscotti

This was my first time making peppermint biscotti but it quickly became my favorite treat this year. I adapted this recipe from Taste of Homes Cookies cookbook. I say adapted because I could only get about 1/4 cup of my peppermints to crush so I basically left them out. It made about 3 dozen pieces.



Cookies:

3 eggs
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2.5 teaspoons peppermint extract
3 1/4 cup all purpouse flour
1 tsp baking powder
* 1 cup crushed peppermints (if you can crush yours!)


Frosting:
12 oz semis sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one a time. Beat in extract. Stir in flour and baking powder until well blended.If desired add in 1 cup crushed peppermint candy. 

Divide dough in half and roll out onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Move to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.

On a cutting board, slice diagonally. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate and shortening, stirring until smooth. Dip the biscotting in chocolate. If desired, roll in peppermints or in sprinkles. Place on waxed paper until set.

Its Begining to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Last week we put up a tree and decorated the house. Our tree looks so much better than it did last year. The only thing its missing is some tinsel. But buying some has proved elusive! I think if I drove out to Target I would have better luck but thats almost an hour away!

Tree!

Here's the postcard wreath I made!

Our stockings!

Snowmen given to us by a dear friend

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Stashbusting #11: Carrot Cake Cookies!

While I have been failing to blog a new recipe every week I have actually been trying a new recipe every week. I failed miserably one week at quick and easy apple dumplings a few weeks ago. But this week I succeeded in making birthday cookies for a dear friend of mine-Shelly/Lyric (who also has a fabulous etsy shop I hope to be reviewing this week). Shelly loves carrot cake but I was aprehnesive about sending one through the mail so I started looking for ideas and I found this recipe at Eats Well With Others. It says it makes 18 cookies. I got 10 sandwich cookies and enough frosting for 20.


For the frosting:


8 oz cream cheese
5 tbsp butter, softened
2 tspvanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered  sugar

For the cookies:
1 stick butter melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup  sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup all ourouse flour
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup quickoats
1 cup packed, finely grated carrots


1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.


2. Combine  together butter, sugars, and egg yolk in a large bowl. Stir in flour, ginger and salt. Add flour mixture to butter.  Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins.


3. Drop dough by tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake until the edges are crisp, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

4. Make filling - combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on until well-combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Increase the speed and beat until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.



4.  Pair up cookies according to size so that they match. Frost one cookie, top with the other and press together.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Stashbusting Recipe #10: Apricot Yogurt Scones

This recipe comes from the Tribune Review. I took them to work but no one (well one person) ate them! They claimed they didn't like scones, didnt know what a scone was or didn't like apricots. Can you believe them? Scones are totally fab.

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Scone Ingredients:
1 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
2 cups flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsps butter cut into small pieces
1 large egg
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup milk

Glaze Steps:

Whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle over cooled scones.

Scone Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400F andl ine a pan with parchment paper
2. Plump apricotsi n one cup of hot ater fir about ten minutes. Pat and set aside.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and sosa, sugar and cinnamon.
4. Cut the butter into the flour
5. Add the apricots and toss to coat with flour mixture
6. Add in egg, yogurt and milk. Combine well-until there is no more dry flour.
7. Scope out scones and drop onto baking sheer. Gently pat into discs.
8. Bake for around 20 minues. Once cooled drizzle with glaze.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Stashbusting #9: New England Style Pierogi Dinner

When you work seven days a week your days start to run together and Monday quickly turns into Tuesday. And its quickly becoming Wendesday....but here it is. This week's stash busting recipe from my Woman's Day Cookbook. As usual, the recipe is as I made it not as printed

Ingredients:


1 box of pierogis (potato and onion)
1 tbs cajun seasoning
1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded/torn
2 ears of frozen corn, cut in half
4 Italian sausages, sliced
4 tbsp butter

Steps:
1. Saute pierogis over low-,medium heat.
2. Meanwhile boil one cup of water and the seasoning.
3. Add cabbage, corn, sausages and 2 Tbsps butter. Cover and cook about 20 minutes, turning occasionall.
4. Add cooked pierogis to pot along with reaining butter. Toss to mix.

The verdict?

I loved it, and I'm not a big pierogi fan. I love cabbage, corn on the cob and butter so this dish was perfect for me.

Mike requested the leftovers for lunch (it beat out baked ham, homemade burritos, his momma's chili, and sweet bologna sandwiches) which is a pretty good rating. Its second to "When are you making  this again?" and on the opposite end of the spectrum from "Do you plan on making this again? And he's not a cabbage person.

Try it and let me know what you think. If you have it, the recipe calls for Old Bay instead of the cajun seasoning.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Stash Busting Monday #8: An Alliterative Snack

This week we had a lof of yummy meals, some tried and true favorties, a new recipe or two and a store bought deli made chicken pot pie. Which I consumed entriely by myself.  I also made salty sweet squares to share with my co-workers, which they ate entirely by themselves. In five minutes flat.

Salty Sweet  Shortbread Squares, as adapted from Marha Stewart Living

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/4 cup salted small pretzels (I used Newman's Own High Protein Pretzels)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1.2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 bag semi sweet choc chips (Aldi brand!!)
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a small casserole pan.
  2. Pulse 1 3/4 cup pretzwels in a food processor until powdery. Transder 1/2 cup to a bowl and discard the rest. Stir in flour and baking powder. Roughly chop (or pulse) remaining pretzels.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluggy. Beat in egg yolk and then pretzel flour mixture until combined. Mix in 1/2 cup chopped pretzels..
  4. Press dough evenly into pan. Top with 1/4 cup choppped pretzels. Press slightly.
  5. Bake until pale and firm aprox. 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool one hour
  6. Melt chocolate with a double boiler. Drizzle over cooled shortbread. Let harden then cut into small squares.
Yumo!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Stash Busting Monday: Lucky Number Seven

We have ALOT of frozen veggies in our freezer, thanks to the wonderful but sadly terminated Angel Food Ministries. This week I was looking for a recipe that would make use of the veggies as well as delight Mike's picky tasty buds. I found the answer in my Woman's Day Cookbook. I'm posting the recipe as I modified it, not as it appears.

Roasted Fall Vegetables

  • 1lb bag carrots, sliced
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium beets, peeled and cut in wedges
  • 1 medium onion, cut in chunks
  • 9 oz brussel sprouts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper
  • ginger
Heat oven to 450F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.

Combine veggies in a large bowl, lightly coat with olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper, crushed red pepper and dried ginger.

Divide between baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes.

The verdict? I am a new fan of parsnips! Mike liked everything in the mixture but the brussel sprouts, which I could have predicted because of their texture. Dinner received two thumbs up form both of us!

She's Not Talking to a Foreigner

In addition to cashering and freelance writing I work part time in customer service for a local paper. This mostly involves talking with irritable people for 7.5 hours a day.

Here is a most recent example, I swear this lady had an evil agenda when she picked up the phone:

Me: Company's Name, How may I help you?

Bitchy Woman: You sound like you're from a different state.

Me: (Opens my mouth to explain that I may sound far away because I've been having phone trouble)

BW: Where are you located? Are you even in PA?

Me: Yes Ma'am. I'm in Greensburg Pa.

BW: You don't sound like it.

Me: I'm sorry. How can I help you today?

BW: I want to order a subscription for a friend but I don't know if you have delivery there. She's in Friendlyville.

Me: I can check for you. Whats the zipcode?

BW: Are you even in PA?

Me: Yes ma'am, I'm in Greensburg.

BW: Do you even know where Friendlyville is?

Me (considers honesty as the best policy) : No, ma'am I don't.

BW: How are your from Greensburg and not know where Friendlyville is?

Me: Ma'am, I'm not from Greensburg but I am in Greensburg.

BW: You just told me you were in PA! What's the name of the Director of Circulation of the Pittsburgh Trib?

Me: Ma'am I don't know their name but there are some managers in my office, whose names I do know that I could transfer you to if you'd like.

BW: How do you not know their name?

ME: Just  a minute ma'am. I'll see if I can find out. (I place caller on hold and ask around my office. No one knows  the name of the Director of Circulation. The Director doesn't handle customer service but the technical side of circulation and is in  an office an hour away from mine) Ma'am I'm not sure what their name is.

BW: YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU WORK FOR?

ME: I don't know the name of the director of circulation ma'am. Would you like to speak with the director ma'am. I can transfer you.

BW: YES! I'M TIRED OF TALKING TO A FOREIGNER.

Yeah......I'm pretty sure she could use a field trip to Friendlyville. I

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Back to Menu Planning

Here's what we're planning on eating the next two weeks. I've had to plan more meals lately since Angel Food has shut down. What meals are you looking forward to?

Last night- Fish N Chips
Tonight- Pumpkin Alfredo (sauce from Giant Eagle)
Wednesday- Blackened Steak with Sage Mashed Potatoes *new recipe!
Thurs-leftovers
Friday-Pork and Roasted Fall Veggies *new recipe

We'll be gone SAT/SUN so no meals then!

Monday- Peirogi Casserole *new recipe
Tuesday-clam chowder with loaded baked potatoes
Wed- leftovers/bookclub
Thur- Steak and greenbean salad
Friday-Potroast and Potatoes

Looks like a yummy week for us. I'm excited about getting to use my crockpot again this season. What fall favorites are you looking forward to?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Stasu Busting Monday #6: Gimme Some Gumbo!

I love gumbo. I used to eat two platesful when the cafeteria at my college would serve it! Since I graduated last December I haven't had my beloved gumbo, so I knew I had to make it soon.

This recipe is adapted from a Better Homes and Garden Cookbook that my mother gave me when I first left for college. In my opinion the only thing that would have made it better was the addition of shrimp.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup all purpouse flour
1/3 cup cooking oil
3 cups water
12 oz smoked sausage links, sliced
2 cups frozen okra
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chpped green pepper
1 stalk chopped celery
4 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
3 cups hot cooked jasmine rice

Steps:
1. Make a roux by stiring together flour and oil until smooth in a mde saucepan. Cook over med-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to med and cook 15 more minutes or until a darkred-brown. Cool
2. Placce water in a crockpot, stir in roux, sausage, vegetables and seasoning.
3. Cook in low heat for about 7 hours. Serve over hot rice

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Stash Busting Monday #5: Nacho Cheese Beef Bake

This month's Taste of Home was packed with delicious looking recipes (causing me to add more recipes to my stash, but we're busting one of them so it's all gravy). This is the first one I decided to make, partly from the yummy picture and partly from the excess of frozen hamburger meat hanging out in my fridge. I'm presenting the recipe as I prepared it, not as it is in the magazine.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1lb ground beef
1 can condensed nacho cheese soup
4oz can chopped green chiles
handul of cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
ranch dressing
1/2 chopped onion
shredded lettuce

1. Cook noodles according to package. Also, brown and drain meat.
2. Return meat to pan and stir in soup, chilies, onion. Bring to a boil, reduce hear and simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
3. Stir in noodles, transfer to 11x7 casserole dish, sprinkle with handful of shredded cheese and bale at 350F for 15 minutes.
4. Top with tortilla chips and shredded lettuce. Drizzle with ranch dressing.

This was as easy as hamburger helper but tasted better! My huhsband gave to two thumbs up and has already requested it again.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Stash Busting Monday's #4: Randy's Turkey Burgers

(I know, this should be number 5 but it was a holiday and my parents were up from SC!)

This recipe wasn't given to me, exactly but I watched a friend make them and then tasted them. YUM! So I wanted to try and recreate the recipe.

Makes  4 burgers

Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
blackened cajun seasoning
buffalo sauce
4 slices of garlic/cheese texas toast
colby cheese, sliced

1. Combine turkey, bread crumbs and cajun seasoning. Shape into four patties. Grill until cooked thoroughy.
2. Toast Texas Toast according to directions.
3. Cut each piece of toast in half, to make 8 pieces.
4. Using the Texas Toast as buns, assemble sandwiches with cheese and buffalo sauce.

ENJOY!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Stash Busting Monday #3: Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

This recipe from BHG has been hanging out in my "Try Me" notebook since April so I thought I'd give it a whirl!

I'll post the recipe with my modifications and note where it differs from the original

Ingredients:
  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped into wedges
  • 1/2 cinnamon applesauce (o called for 1/2 cup apricot perserves and 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1TBSP. spicy mustard
1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In a skillet heat olive oil, add pork and onions. Cook 3 minutes, flip, cook 3 more minutes
2. Combine applesauce, water, paprkia and mustard. Pour over pork. Reduce hear and cook covered ten minutes.

3. Serve and enjoy!

The recipe suggests serving with roasted sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes. I served it with leftover macaroni salad.

I thought the porkchops were fabulous, but Mike didn't care for them.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stash Busting Monday #2: Choreos




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While filing through my recipes to find something sweet to make for our new neighbor, I realized that I had a recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Choreos save in several places.  I think that the orginal recipe came from Picky Palate.



I followed her recipe to a "t", well I tried to. And then I was half a cup short of flour and had to use a half  cup of whole wheat flour. That being said, I think the cookies turned out fabulous and don't have a strange taste/texture due to the substitution. However, my batch only made around 15 cookies, and not the two dozen that hers did.

I made these for our neighbor and planned to make them for care packages as well, but since they made less than expected I may have to send a bag of assorted goodies, instead of just choreos.

Here's the cute gift bag for the neighbor:



Sunday, 21 August 2011

Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman: Speaking Encouragement

Proverbs 31: 26-27

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

And on her tounge is the law of kindness

The above section of Proverbs 31 verse is what inspired me to participate in the 30 day Husband Encouragement challenge. For the next month (so until September 17th) I am not suppoused to say anything negative about my husband, to him or anyone else. I am also suppoused to say something positive about my husband every day to him and to someone else.

I am hoping that this challenge will make me realize how often I speak badly to my husband and work super-duper hard to change that. I want to make a new habit, not only of biting my tounge but of dissolving the negative thoughts about my husband and realizing that I most likely do not feel negatively about my husband but rather about the situation.

As part of my personal challenge to become a Proverbs 31 Woman I want to change old habits and make new ones. Not only when it comes to my husband but throughout my entrie life. I want this encouragement challenge to bleed over into the way I speak with everyone- even my rude customers at work.

My therapist friend says that if we take something away we must feel the void with something. I am going to take away talking and thinking  negatively  about people and replace it without a more structed thought process that allows me to analysis situations before issuing a carefully thought out, positive response.

I know this sounds like a bunch of sounds good goobly gook, but it is something that is important to me and something I AM striving to change and not just talking about.

What habits are you trying to do away with? What habits are you trying to replace them with.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Saints Are Marching In...

My husband is a huge Saints fan and they play tonight so I worked hard today to make sure my wreath was ready to reveal tonight.

I found the inspiration for the wreath while browsing pinterest. The pin linked to here. Its really a fabulous site, you should check it out!


I didn't have any of the supplies I needed so I had to take a big shopping trip on Wednesday, after indulging in Peach French toast from Denny's.

Supplies:

2 spools of curling ribbon, 1 in each color
hot glue gun and glues sticks
letters
black and white spray paint
brown paint
painters marker
letters
football shapes
wreath form (i had a poofy foam one because it was cheaper but in retrospect I would choose the flat wooden ones because there is less area to decorate)

Step 1:  Spray paint form black, letters white and paint/decorate foot balls. You may want to use the paint marker to make your letters polka dotted, but since my letters were smaller than I wanted I was afraid that if they had polka dots they would get kost in the wreath.



Step 2: Cut 6 inch lengths of ribbon and staple 4 of each color to each other, to create bundles of 8. I think I had close to 100 bundles.

Step 3: Curl bundles and hotglue around the form, filling in as needed.



4. Arrange letters and footballs and hotglue onto ribbons!




That's it! Its simple. It took me three days of on and off work to finish the wreath. I always say that I can envision things bunt not create them and I am starting to learn that I do have some skills but have a real lack of patience.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Favorite Things Friday!

I like to use Fridays to reflect on my week or to share some of my ATM favorite things. This week I want to reflect.



Some of my favorite things that happened this week are:

1. I discovered meetup.com and have joined a group of ladies that I hope to get to know and participate in fun activites with.

2. My Martha Stewart Living magazine came in the mail!

3. I picked up a cute,  polka dotted business card holder.

4. I finally got the schedule for my new job!

5. I had two days off in the middle of the week!

6.  I participated in a blog swap.

7. I set some crafty goals.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Revisiting: 7 in' 11

I think its time to check in on my resolutions:

1. I wanted to work out 3-5 times per week. I did really really well with this until summer time and then I lost all motivation. Hopefully starting my new job with a more consistent schedule will energize me!

2. I think I'm following through on number 2: learn to cook. I make dinner almost every night and enjoy trying new recipes. I can only make a few things from memory- pancakes, mexican manicotti, beet eggs, blueberry cake filling, twice baked potatoes, macaroni salad.  But thats more than when I got married!

3. I'm making or altering  most of the cards I send out to friends so thats a check for goal number 3!

4. As for sending out care packages, my two roomies got one while they worked at camp. And back to school care package gifts are chilling on my guest bed!

5. I have a job! So thats a check for number 5! I have two actually, and start my 3rd on Monday!

6. As for doing more crafts, I've been making more cards. I've got a wreath going right now. I haven't made a scrapbook or my wedding box yet but its coming!

7.  And I haven't gained weight...yet. I better get going with goal number one!!



Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Goals Are Always Nice

So lately I have been in a super crafty mood. I've yet to actually craft anything but I have been digging around for inspiration and making plans.

Here are my goals:

1. Make a Saint's football wreath (started today! my husband keeps asking me what I'm doing and I won't tell him!)
2. Make a Christmas wreath.
3. Make a shell wreath.
4. Make back to school packages (supplies bought!)
5. Make homemade vanilla
6. Make poinsetta pillow covers
7. Make 25 more Christmas cards.
8. Make gifts off of Pinterest.
9. Make vintage post card wreath for kitchen (just need postcards....(
10. Make man's shirt totebag

What are your craft goals? Have you started your holiday crafting yet?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Blog Swap with Sarah The Writer!

Today I am swapping blogs with Sarah from This Writer's Journey! She has a wonderful, eclectic blog filled with tasty recipes and interesting posts! Our topic was "Summer".





Hello all! I’m Sarah the Writer from This Writer’s Journey. Rachel and I were paired up for the 20 Something Bloggers Blog Swap. I hail from Washington state, a small city somewhere between Seattle and Tacoma and I blog about all kinds of things: interesting stuff that happens in my life (which isn’t often); recipes I bake; and my musings.







Now, I’m supposed to reflect on my summer, talk about cool vacations I took. The thing is, I kind of already did that. Back in June, my family (my parents, my two younger brothers, and I) went to Boston for a week, mainly to celebrate my and my middle brother’s college graduations. We planned just about every day. I documented the whole week in my blog, which you can read here. My only regret/wish from that week is for my mom and me to have gone to the American Girl Place Boston, which is really about a half hour out of the city. But because we walked everywhere and riding the T train would’ve been a 2 hour trip, we decided to forgo it. Besides, one just opened up here in the Puget Sound about a month ago. We can go then. I did love going to the science museum and the Red Sox game (despite the pouring down rain).






Other than unsuccessfully search for jobs (like I said – recent college grad), I spent a week in central Washington in a little town I like to call “paradise.” It’s a small town with plenty of time share resorts around a lake. We go every year with most of my dad’s immediate relatives and their families. A whole week of sun, family time, and pool – perfect for mid-July. It’s pretty much the only time I go in the pool, and over the past few years, I’ve only wanted to go in with my cousins. I guess that’s part of growing up? Anyway, this year while poolside, something happened that I know we’ll never forget: we found a butterfly! But don’t worry – we were gentle with it.



 


This Writer's Journey

So there ya have it, folks. My summer in a nutshell. Kinda boring, I know. My only excuse is that I’m too shy to make friends to hang out with. I’m hoping to try and not transfer that shyness to my blog now that I’m done with school, but at the same time, I’m still kinda new to this blogging thing. Anyways, hope to see you over at This Writer’s Journey!

Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman: Listening to What Your Husband Needs

Over the past year or so the verse, Proverbs 31 has popped up more and more in my life. And I think things like that happen for a reason.  Here is the verse (emphasis mine):

Who can find a virtous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
so he will have no lack of gain
She does him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax
and willing works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
she brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
and provides food for the household,
and a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
from her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength
and strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchanise is good,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
and her hand holds the spindle,
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of now for her household,
for all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sits among the elders of the land
She makes linen garments and sells themm
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
she shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tounge is the law of kindness
She watches over the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also and he praises her:"
Many daughters have done well
but you excel them all"
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised
Giver her the fruist of her hands,
and let her own works praise her in the gates

Everytime I  read the verse I focus on something different or walk away with a new understanding. One of my most recent understands lead to the life application that I need to keep house in a way that helps my husband.

My husband has a touch of OCD and finds it hard to function around clutter. Literally, walking into a cluttered room overwhelms his senses and stesses him out. When he is already stressed out from work or illness a cluttered house becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back.

My husband needs me to change the way I keep house. I am a piles person. Everything has its pile and occasionally (on weekends) those piles get sorted out and put away. Its my process. But it doesn't work for him. I don't make piles becase I am lazy but because it has become my default organizational system. So I am starting from scratch and making sure every item has a place. And yes, a designated junk drawer counts as a place. I am working hard to remember to put things away right after use and not leaving them out to stumble upon them again. I can stumble upon them again and think "oh yea, I need to put this away" and go do it. However, my husband sees the item laying out and starts to stress out. If I can take a few extra moments of thought and work to leave a place looking organized and prevent us from having a pointless argument over left out scissors then its worth it to me.

My husband is helping me with this endeavor and has recognized that creating piles is my "method". He's suggested that if I am having a stressful day and feel the need to create piles then I should do it in the guest bedroom and shut the door. It's out of his sight, gives me more time to come back later and keeps the rest of the house looking neat.

I'm not saying that he needs or expects me to keep a spotless house on my own. But I think that he needs me to change my cleaning and organizing habits. And if changing those habits benefits my husband, and my marriage and doesn't hurt me then why wouldn't I?


The verse says much much much more to me but I want to explore it bit by bit.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Stash Busting Monday #1: Gluten Free Strawberry Cheesecake

Hello and welcome to my first recipe stash busting post!


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We had friends come over this weekened for a cookout to see off a soldier. He requested a strawberry cheesecake as dessert. Knowing that his wife is on a gluten-free diet I wanted to make sure that I made something she could enjoy too.

I used the recipe I had saved in my  favorites folder from the last time they came up. Here is the link.
The recipe calls for a crust made of gluten free graham crackers but I decided to just skip the crust and added the nutmeg into the cheesecake itself.

Ingredients



  • 2 pounds softened cream cheese ((4 8-ounce packages))


  • 1 cup sugar


  • 4 large eggs


  • 1 cup sour cream


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Topping
    • 1.5 pints sliced strawberries
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Soften the cream cheese and then beat it with the sugar and nutmeg until creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla, cornstarch and sour cream. Mix until well blended and smooth. Pour into a parchemt lined pan and bake at 325 F for 45 minutes.

    Whisk together all of the topping ingredients except for the strawberries.  Remove cheesecake from oven and carefully spread topping. Turn off oven and let cheesecake set in oven for 15 minutes. Then chill 4 hours, top with strawberries and serve.



    Ratings? My sister-in-law described the cheesecake as "very light". And my friend ate two good sized pieces within the hour.

    If you want to share your stashbusting post, feel free to leave your link in the comments!

    Thursday, 11 August 2011

    Introducing Stash Busting Mondays

    Over the past year or so I have accumulated a huge stash.

    Of recipes. I have cookbooks, cooking magazines and a whole folder in my favorites devoted to them.

    I've decided that over the next 52 weeks I will make a minimum of one new recipe (savory or sweet) per week. And that the recipe will be one  that is already in my possession.

    Next Monday will be the first in my series. I encourage you to join me in a "stash-busting" adventure!

    PS: Does anyone know of a good, free linky tool? I've tried mister linky but haven't had any luck making it work! I haven't found one, but in the mean time you can use my button to link your page over to mine!


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    Tuesday, 9 August 2011

    Customer Service

    When  was in   school (high school and college), if you would have asked me if I would like a job in customer service, I would have told you no way. I am not good with people. And I waitressed once and the worst part of the job was dealing with the people.

    Yet, here I am about to transition from one customer service position (cashier) to one that actually has customer service in the title. Yep. I'm going to be a customer service rep at the Tribune-Review. It's a newspaper that's over the one that I currently freelance for.

    I was reflecting the other night, trying to come up with a reason for why I seem to only be able to get customer service type jobs lately, and realizing a fear of being stuck in that job path.

    And that was when God spoke to my heart. He's placed me in customer serving positions so that I can work on my lacking people skills.  And its those skills that I will need to move on to the next  bigger/better thing that he has planned for my life.

    I am grateful to have received this insight because I think it will help me have more drive to succeed and actually learn skills as a customer service rep rather than just skating by until I could find a more suitable job. I see now that I have things to learn. I also think it will help me to be happy when I experience bad days on the new job.

    When has God given you insight into His plan for your life? When have you realized that God's plan may not have been exactly what you had been hoping for?

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    $2 per trashbag full

    I went to a yard sale at a church this weekend. They'd had one the past few weekends and this was the one where you dump everything you want in a bag and pay two bucks.

    I walked out with:

    7 books inlcuding, The Kite Runner....a fantastic read.

    2 pot holders

    4 dessert plates

    1 salad plate

    1 wallet     

    1 set of notecards  

    2 Christmas tins for Christmas baking       

    1 shell shaped salsa dish

    3 Chrismas ornaments


    I think I did pretty well. There was a cute round mug with feet that I wanted to get but I forgot to put it on top of my bad :(. Darn it!!

    If you break it down I spent roughly 9 cents per item.


     
    

    Friday, 5 August 2011

    Five Questions for Friday!

    Thanks to My Little Life for the questions!

    1. Do you have siblings and are you close with them?


    I have a younger sister and yesterday was her birthday! I think the older we get the closer we're getting


    2. Would you rather be slightly UNDER weight or slightly OVER weight?

    As long as its slightly in either direction I think I'm okay!



    3. What's your favorite State Fair food to splurge on?

    I love funnel cakes and caramel/candy apples!



    4. What are your thoughts on your kid(s) going to school in a few weeks?

    I don't have kids!



    5. Pool or Ocean?

    Ocean all the way baby!

    Thursday, 4 August 2011

    Too Many Cakes Too Little Time

    I've been given a sneak peek at my next baking challenge. It involves making a cake. So I'm trying to decide what flavor I want to make.

    I'm strongly considering

    • An almond cake with apricot filling...and either a vanilla or almond butter cream
    • A choclate, peanut butter,  banana cake with some combination of banana slices,  pb cream cheese frosting and a chocolate ganache
    • A peach, mango, pineapple cake with caramel cream cheese icing
    • chocolate rum cake
    • strawberry champagne cake, filled with champagne soaked strawberries
    Which option would you choose? What is your favorite cake flavor or flavor combination?

    Tuesday, 2 August 2011

    My First Gluten Free Baking Experience

    We're having a cookout next weekend in honor of a friend who is getting deployed. His wife is on a gluten-free diet and has mentioned how she doesn't like that it limits her sweet tooth so I thought I would try to bake some cupcakes that she could enjoy.

    I started with a recipe from Cupcake Project and decided to follow through with the chocolate hummus frosting.

    The recipe calls for twice sifted flour and I usually skip sifting all together but after reading the whys behind sifting it I decided it was an important step. I set my strainer over my collander which was over my mixing bowl and and my Goldberg contraption was rolling.

    Sifting made the dry ingredients really light and fluffy!  Which is good considering the garbanzo bean flour makes cake denser. I guess the sifting counteracts that.

    Everything was going along normally, until I added the boiling water. Everything was super liquidy and not at all like a cake batter.  So I turned to Cupcake Project (via facebook) and was reassured that this was in a fact normal.

    So I kept going and the cupcakes baked beautifully, but didn't dome- which I was expecting. So I frosted them with the chocolate hummus and didn't like them. I'm not sure if its the "off" texture or the flavor but they just don't jive with me.

    I'm having a friend test them tomorrow and she will decide if they should go in the dumpster or off to work with Mike.

    Tuesday, 26 July 2011

    Here Me Roar!

    I AM WRITER! HEAR ME ROAR!

    The lady doing my eyebrows asks...so what do you do?

    My husband's friend from work...where do you work?

    And my standard response?

    I'm a cashier. I work at [enter name of crazy grocery store]

    Why? Why is that my answer?

    That is not the job I identify with, not the job that is most important to me, not the job I have the degree for or even the most experience in (althought I do spend a lot of waking hours there).

    But for some reason thats the answer I give.  I don't feel like I'm afraid for people to think of me as "a nutty artsy person". I sometimes like being that person.

    I don't care if some people don't think thats  a "real job". I do it. I get paid for it. I love it. How can it get any more real than that?

    I don't know what my deal is but to help myself articulate my job to others I've ordered cute business cards so now I can say  "I'm a writer. Here's my card."



    On the subject of jobs, I have/had two interviews  this week. One Tuesday and the other Thursday.
    The first is to work in a library and plan and implement their children's programming. Dream job material!  Except its only 25 hours a week.

    The second is work at the newspaper as a receptionist. Its upside is its fulltime with benefits at a place I'd like to write for. Can you say, foot in the door? The downside is its a receptionist poistion and doesn't involve kids.

    A Week (or so) of "Bentos"

    Todays cucumber sandwich, corn on the cob, mushroom bento went off without a hitch!

    At work I came up with a few ideas for the next handful's worth of bentos:

    Tomorrow- Bunless Turkey Burger w/Cheese, Kiwi, Strawberries and Chocolate!

    Thursday I'm off so I'll be having pancakes

    Friday- Turkey and Cheese lettuce wraps with pretzels

    This weekend we're camping in my mother in law's trailer park.

    Monday: Roastbeef and cheese rollups with mushrooms and carrot sticks

    Tuesday: PB, Apples and Berries

    Wednesday: Brown rice and a banana...as odd as this seems I had it in a hospital cafeteria (which I could eat at everyday their food was THAT good) and have loved it ever since

    Thursday : Peanut Butter and Apple Butter half sandwich with cucumbers and hopefully tomatoes

    What will you be having for lunch this next week?

    Monday, 25 July 2011

    Bento Day One: Mostly Successful

    Last night I made my first bento box lunch. I used a tupperware that I bought from Aldi. It was divided into 2 small sections and 1 large.

    I should have taken a picture but I'll do my best without one.

    In the first small section I stacked slices of kiwi and off to the side a bite of Tolberone.

    In the second small section I put in some mushrooms.

    In the large section I put carrot slices, peppered cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes.

    The lunch was tasty and filled me up but there were two problems.

    The chocolate was sweaty so it smeared on my hands. Maybe if I keep the chocolate tucked in purse?

    I washed, peeled and sliced the carrots, but somehow some of them had brown edges when I went to eat them. I'm not sure why?

    Tomorrow's lunch?

    Mushrooms, leftover corn on the cob and cucumber sandwiches...mmm

    Saturday, 23 July 2011

    Monthly Menu Plans

    Next Saturday I'm picking up our Angel Food delivery (and then we're going camping in my mother in law's trailer park- but more on that later)

    Using the food we're getting I've developed a lsit of 23 meals using mostly the food we'll be getting, which brings the cost per meal (for both of us) to about $4.39, but with a few random things leftover to create other, more creative meals, the cost will decrease once I account for all of the food.

    In no particular order:

    1. Chorizo
    2. Burgers
    3. Burgers
    4. Fettuccini Alfredo
    5. Vegetable Soup/Mashed Potatoe casserole
    6. Chicken and Vegetable Spaghetti
    7. Turkey Spinach Wraps with carrot fries
    8. Garden Spaghetti
    9. Green Onion Grilled Chicken and Homemade Fries
    10. Wings, grilled potatoesand green bean salad
    11. Crabcakes with veggies
    12. Shrimp and Sugar Snap Peas
    13. Mustard Glazed Pork Chops with Mac N Cheese
    14. Steaks, potatoes and corn on the cub
    15. Pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup, hashbrowns, eggs and sausage
    16. Lean Cuisine Meal dinner
    17. Stouffers  Meal dinner
    18. Chicken Jambalya
    19. Hamburger Helper
    20. Clam Chowder with Baked Potatoes
    21. Pork Chops Primavera
    22. Steaks with Sweet Potatoe fries
    23. Mediterranean Style Tuna Casserole
    If I buy extra chicken meal 24 will be Chicken and Dumplings, using the triple veggie blend included in our package . What yumminess (sp?) are you cooking up this month/week?

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    Going Bento

    I am thinking about buying a bento-style lunch box. But first I want to experiment with packing bento-style foods in my regular lunch carriers. I tend to "snack" more than eat full meals in the summer time, and at lunch time year round, at least when left to my own devices anyway.

    So next week I'm planning on packing a few veggies,  fruit, cheese cubes and a few other things as lunch instead of the increasingly boring, turkey and cheese on wheat.

    I do not like many traditionally asian foods (bento is a Japanese lunch box). I do  like  gimbop but I do not have the urge to make it. So I was wondering what non-japanese foods you use in your bentos/lunchboxes to make your lunches a little more fun and a little less sandwichy.

    What do you take for lunch/pack for others? How do you keep your lunches from getting too mundane?

    Tuesday, 12 July 2011

    I'm "different, but in a good way"

    According to my nephew, who's been staying the week with us I do things that are "different, but in a cool way." Well, at least he put me and cool in the same sentence.

    He mentioned this when I:

    - put carrots in to our sloppy joes
    -put cheese on sloppy joes
    -wrapped my husband's birthday gift in the Sunday comics
    - made homemade garlic bread using old hamburger buns


    I wonder what else I can do to suprise him with my "weirdness"....hmmm



    Oh, when I asked him to shred the lettuce for our salad he asked me where the shredder was... HA!

    Friday, 8 July 2011

    Wednesday, 29 June 2011

    What I Wore Wednesday:

    I don't think I've ever done one of these posts but I bought a cute outfir the other day and I just wanted to share.

    It caught my eye when I was shopping with my sister-in-law and her daughters but I didn't have time to try it on the way I wanted so I went back and got it later.


    Monday, 27 June 2011

    Chocolate Cherry Cookies!

    I bought a pound of cherries at Aldi for around $2. I ate a few in my ice cream and failed at making a cherry milkshake, but there were still a lot left so I decided to make cookies!

    I found a great recipe at Cooking Debauchery, based on a recipe from Alton Brown who I think is fabulous.

    Ingredients:

    2 sticks  butter


    2 1/4cups flur

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 cup sugar

    1 1/4 cups brown sugar

    1 egg

    1 egg yolk

    6 tablespoons milk

    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    1 ½ cups milk and/or semi sweet chocolate chips

    1 cup sour cherries


    Steps':

    1. Pit and slice the cherries. Pour vanilla over them and let stand for 1 hour.

    2. In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat.  Cook on lw until the butter turns a golden caramel color  Set aside to cool for a few minutes. (I missed the cooling step and think I almost caramelized my sugar!)



    3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.




    4. Put the sugar in a bowl and add the butter. . Mix on medium until the sugar is thoroughly coated and beginning to melt. With the mixer still running add the egg, egg yolk and milk. Once thoroughly combined begin adding the flour mixture in several parts.

    5. Stir in chips and cherries. Transfer dough to fridge for a least one hour.

    6. Preheat oven to 375. Cook 6 on a tray for approx 12 minutes at a time.


    These turned out yummy, but a little more cake-like in texture than I like my cookies to be. That didn't stop me from eating a handful of them. But I did make some to share!

    I wonder what lucky person will receive this later in the week:



    Saturday, 25 June 2011

    Weekend Plans:

    Friday: clean and organize fridge and freezer, organize downstairs drawers, clean out car, watch big bang theory, and shop at wer seal and old navy. kick myself all night long for not buying the discounted rewards card. eat a smore.

    Saturday: pick up Angel Food, possibly stop by new organic food store, pick up husband and go car shopping, hunt for car title that has mysteriously dissappeared from our safe keeping spot, argue with husband about whose fault it is, hopefully find it, make budget for next month, less $25 last nights shopping spree

    Sunday, wake up early and exercise, lunch with inlaws- in cute new outfit, picture post to come, work on blog posts for July's "meltdown", read The Fiery Cross (Outlander). clip coupons.

    What are you doing this weekend?

    Friday, 24 June 2011

    Good Deal Day!

    Today I spent a grand total of 1.96 on grocery items at 3 stores (no extra gas because I was on the way home from already scheduled errands (ie: a trip to the mall)).

    I came home with:

    2 colgate toothbrushes (giant eagle)
    2 scotch tapes (cvs)
    2 bbq sauces (shop n save)

    Thats an average of: 33 cents an item!

    What is your latest shopping success?

    Sunday, 19 June 2011

    Busy, Busy!

    You can tell that my life has gotten busier, now that the snow is melted, because although I have made it my goal to post every day I always mess up on the weekend!

    Friday I was just busy with work and doing things around the house.

    Yesterday we went car shopping to try and replace my outlander and went to Mike's grandfather's/aunt and uncle's house. We chilled on the porch drinking sweet tea out of mason jars! It was great. We found a few cars we wouldn't mind buying but nothing that we really wanted.

    Today I had to work at the grocery store and ended up staying over an hour. I came home, called my father and wished him a happy father's day, ate a boston butt my husband cooked, did laundry, clipped a tiny amount of coupons out of the paper and laughed over the comics. I love the one that poked fun at Oprah, and the Family Circus was really cute too.

    Before heading home I scored a good deal at Giant Eagle

    Hamburger Helper is usually $2 each.
    This week the sale is $1 each. If you buy 5 you get a coupon for $3 off any brand of beef, chicken or tuna.

    I bought six and used two coupons for a total of $3 off.
    6-3=$3 +$3 Meat coupon= essentially free!!

    PS: Do you have any good dessert recipes that don't use the oven?

    OH! And please don't forget to vote!https://www.mkmakeovercontest.com/US/EN/Gallery/?Id=53f2b265-c360-4b5d-9187-c3555c67e994

    Thursday, 16 June 2011

    Get Beautiful, Give Back! Vote please!

    I could really use your votes! I entered a makeover contest for a chance to win a trip and $$$ to a charity of my choice. You can vote 5x a day per email address. Please vote for me! Voting opens at NOON TODAY!

    I know my pictures are not the best ones up. We had to retake them last minute because the first ones turned out too dark. The first ones I looked better in though.

    But I also had to write a paragraph on what I would do to give back if money, time and talent were not an issue. I wrote that I would do anything and everything I could to help children in need. In need of anything, love, food, shelter, education, time, clothes. That being said, if I win I will choose a child related charity for the money to go to.

    So if you like me, like children or  like feeling beautiful, please vote for me. You can go through the link below or up above where it says please vote for me. Vote as many times as you can and share it with every one you know.

    https://www.mkmakeovercontest.com/US/EN/Gallery/?Id=53f2b265-c360-4b5d-9187-c3555c67e994

    Wednesday, 15 June 2011

    Do you Pin?

    Have you heard of pinterest?

    It's a great site that lets you make virtual bulletin board stlye collections of your favorite things on the net.

    I've divided my boards into a few categories.

    My most populous boards are:

    For the Home
    Travel
    Etsy  Wishlist

    But I'm slowly building the other boards up.

    You should check it out. Its a lot of fun, and slightly addicting.

    Tuesday, 14 June 2011

    Not again!

    So on the way home from my successful coupoing trip yesterday my car overheated and had to be towed

    It was close to 5:30 pm and I was ten minutes from my house when my service engine soon light came on. I thought that since I'd never had any problems and had no reason to suspect an immediate problem, thought I could make it the rest of the way home and could then get my husband to look under the hood.

    Well, about three minutes later, I was passing my place of work and the gas pedal started making a metallic clicking noise whenever I pushed it. I decided to pull over into the parking lot.

    To get to the parking lot, I had to make a left turn at an intersection. I am making the left turn and can no longer push the gas pedal. I see what looks like smoke. I pray "Please let me make it to the parking lot". It seems as if my car will stop dead in the intersection. The next thing I know I am in the parking lot. I think that God put my car there. I don't remember coasting in.

    I called my husband and he called a mechanic shop that tows 24/7. The guy said  to put antifreeze in my car, start it and drive to the shop. We put antifreeze in and it poured out the bottom of my car. Eventually the tow truck came and we made it home a little after 8pm over 2.5 hours from when I pulled over.

    Basically, a gasket blew and we can pay $1200 to "try to fix it" with no guarantee or $2400 for the motor to be replaced with a used motor that has more miles on it than my car or sell my car to a junk yard or we can wait.

    We're going with "wait". A lot of my husband's friends and family that are mechanics have stepped up and are looking around for a better deal on a used motor for us.

    Monday, 13 June 2011

    It's Official! I'm addicted to CVS!

    Shopping at CVS was so seamless and they were so friendly and eager to point out good deals that I now want to go back every week.

    Transaction 1:

    John Frieda Styling products Retail Value: 13.44
    Sale Price= $2/10
    -$5/1 q
    -$2/9
    =$3.18 OOP + $3 ECB

    Transaction 2:

    Hydro Razor Retail Value: 9.49
    Shick Shave Gel 3.79
    Sale Price: $8
    -$4/1 Q
    - $3ECB
    - 3.79 Free shave gel the CASHIER GAVE ME
    =1.06 OOP +$4 ECB

    Transaction 3:
    2 Hershey Drops Retail Value: $8.48
    Sale Price: 2 for 4.30
    Wrigleys Retail: 1.37
    Trail Mix Retail: .74
    -$2/2 Q
    -$4 ECB
    =.41 OOP

    Then I went to Rite Aid where I didn't do as well as I wanted:

    Transaction 1:

    2 Degree Retail: $9.58
    Sale: 8.88
    -  4.44 B1G1 Q
    - .75/1 Q
    = 3.92 OOP +$3  wellness bucks

    Transaction 2:

    Bayer Retail: 3.99
    -$2/1 q
    -1.99 rebate
    = FREE + 1.99 wellness bucks

    Transaction 3:

    2 Shick BladesRetail: 23.98
    Sale: 2 for 11.99
    -$1/1 Q
    -$2/1 Q
    -$3 wellness bucks
    -1.99 wellness bucks
    = OOP 4.24


    Total Spent: 12.81
    Total Saved: 63.25
    Savings Rate of 79.75%

    Total Haul:

    2 John Friedas
    1 Bayer
    2 Degree deodorants
    1 Shick Razor
    2 cases of relacement blads
    1 gum
    1 trail mix
    2 hersey drops

    12 items=1.06 per item!

    Whay drugstores do you prefer? Have any tips? Did you score any good deals at CVS this week?

    Sunday, 12 June 2011

    Strike One

    Whoops!

    I've offically lost on my goal to post every day in June! That just means I've got to make up for it in July! I'm not letting myself off the hook for June though- I'm still going to try to post everyday. Hopefully this week I can get some posts built up so I don't have to worry about missing.

    Anyway, here's why I didn't post yeterday:

    I was having fun!!!

    We had a couple over for dinner and game night and we had such a blast playing scategories, taboo and loaded questions (my 3 favorite games!). The couple have been friend with Mike for many years and  I'd  met them via Skype when we were in Korea but this was my first time hanging out with them in person. It was fabulous! We laughed the whole night through and I felt like I had known them forever.  I hope we have many more nights of laugheter ahead of us

      I made a pot roast in the crock pot with asian spices and root veggies. I southerned it up a it and made a broccoli casserole. Although, I'm not sure how "southern" a recipe is if you get the recipe from a Californian while you're in Glasgow Scotland!

    Yesterday I wanted to blog about a job offer I recieved Friday via voicemail through a staffing agency I've been trying to work with. They left the message at noon while I was cashiering. I called back at 3:30 when my shift ended and the offer had been filled! Why did they even bother leaving a message?!

    So tomorrow I am applying at Aldi because they are advertising a starting rate of eleven bucks! Sounds good to me! I'm also dropping my resume in the mail for an activities assitant job that I think would be really fun to have.

    Tomorrow I'm attemptinh my first ever CVS and Rite Aid couponing trips. My fingers and toes are all crossed that I'll make out okay. I've gotten deal match ups from a few different blogs, have cut my coupons and sorted them into envelopes labeled with the store names. I've also included coupon policies and an instuction sheet that breaks down my shopping list into transaction listed in the order they should be completed. Learning couponing is exciting and fun, but also a bit exhausting, confusing and nerve racking at the same time. But it is something I am dedicated to learning so I'm going to push through and see if I can figure out how drugstore couponing works.

    Friday, 10 June 2011

    5QF

    I haven't done this in awhile but today I'm particiapting in Five Question Friday over at My Little Life

    1. How close to your childhood dreams is your life now?


    Close but not there. I wanted to be famous, be a well read author,  be married, be a college graduate and have kids. So far I'm a married college grad. I also wanted to live somewhere sunny and that is not currently home.



    2. What is one must have item for the summer?

    A lawn chair! I can layout in a tanktop and bitty shorts but I need something comfy to lay out in!



    3. Do you have your kids stay up on school stuff during summer vacation? (Or, if you don't have kiddos, did your parents make you keep up on school stuff during summer?)

    I love to read so I would always do the summer reading programs and we would occasionally do workbooks to keep us uptodate.





    4. Do you can or freeze fresh produce?


    Nope but I really want to learn. I'm the type of person  that needs a hands on lesson thought


    5. Do you get ready for the day first thing in the morning?

    Eh. On the weekday yes and then I check my email while my hair drys- weekend I lounge around gor a bit first, unless I have somewhere to be

    Thursday, 9 June 2011

    I Have More Street Smarts Than You Care to Admit

    Certain people in my life (namely my father, sister and husband) are always getting on me because I like to read and the fact that I'm a little short changed when it common sense, and in fact they tend to form a relationship between the two which I think is dumb of them but anyway. I am not known for my street smarts, but I may have proven a few people wrong yesterday.

    Here's the dealio:

    A man got into my line and his total came to $2.12 and he  handed me a $100 bill. I checked it and started to count out his change.

    He stopped me and took back the $100 bill and put it in his pocket and said he had the $2.12 instead****.

    Then he says to me that he doesn't have the $2 but gave me the 12 cents and asked me for $98 change instead. So I  count out the $98 and set it on top of my register (At this point I knew what was going on and waas making sure to be extra cautious). I asked him for the $100 bill.

    He told me he gave it to me. I said no you didn't. He told me to look in the bottom of my drawer, that he watched me out it there. I put my hand over the changed and quickly flipped through the bills.  I told him I put it there when he first handed it to me and then he put it in his pocket and never gave it back to me.

    He handed me $2 and left.

    **** Indicates when I first realized what was happening. Bells went off in my head beacause I read an article about how conartists try to swindle hot dog vendors out of extra cash by confusing them about what bills were given to them by trading the money back and forth a lot during the transaction

    1 Mrs. BOOK SMARTS 0 Mr. Street Smart Loser

    Take that!

    Wednesday, 8 June 2011

    Coupon High!

    Today  I racked up on cleaning supplies at Giant Eagle.

    Here's how it went down:

    1st Transaction

    Charmin Sales Price: 2 for $13
    - .25 ecoupon
    -$1 mfg coupon
    = 11.75 + (-3 OYNO)

    2nd Transaction

    Cascade Action Packs Sale Price: 2 for $8
    Mr Clean Sale Price: 2 for $5
    -.25 cascade ecoupon
    -.75 -.75  mr. clean coupon doubled
    -.75 -.75 mr. clean coupon doubled
    -.50 -.50 cascade coupon doubled
    -.50-.50 cascade coupon doubled
    -$3 OYNO Coupon
    =5.23 + (-5 OYNO)

    Third Transaction

    20 GE Yogurts Sale Price: 20 for $10
    2 Yopliat Yogurts reg price: .70 each
    - 10% worker discount on GE yougurt
    -$5 OYNO Coupon
    =$4.95

    Grand Total Spent: 21.93
    Grand Total Saved: 16.09

    I saved 42%!Thats not too bad considering my goal is 60%

    I'm telling you this stuff is addicting. But one of the biggest things I've learned right now is pay attention- and save up. Don't use your coupons the Monday after you clip them and pay attention to store sales, clearances and randomly placed coupons.

    One more tip: Don't leave your car keys by the Cascade.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2011

    Have to make the changes

    Writing a blog everyday for the month of June is just one little step I'm taking to become the person I want to be. I want to be a well published/well read author and I want to be someone who makes a difference.

    I just haven't decided/realized how I plan/need to make that difference. I come up with ideas, thoughts and plans but haven't put many of them in action. These ideas come in the form of perssonal improvements I want to make just to make myself a better person to thinngs I want to do for my community. I'm starting to realizing that I need to step up and make some changes happen and not wait for the oppertunity to present itself.

    So I'm off to do some sould searching to identify where my interests match up with needs and then go from there!

    Monday, 6 June 2011

    Coupons

    Mike and I watch the Extreme Couponing show. It excites me and encourages me to try to match deals with my coupons and not just using the coupons alone.

    My husband doesn't see the point in couponing unless you do it on an extreme scale. He doesn't get that if I save $10 a month that equals $100 a year and $500 in five years- just by cutting up the Sunday paper! He doesn't seem to see any value in that saved money because we're not directly applying that money to say our student loans or hotel reservations. I see it though. I know that I would love to have an extra $100 at the end of the year that I can use towards a goal- or even just an extra $100 to spend on higher priced items like fruit. And I definitely save more than $10 a month

     Then he says "you're not saving money that way". Which is true in a sense but I am putting the saved money towards the fruit which we would otherwise go without- basically we're getting more for our money. I don't know what about that concept is hard to grasp. MEN!

    Anyway, I scored a good deal at Giant Eagle today. They were havign a BOGO sale on razors and I had two coupons. One for three dollars off and one for two dollars off.


    Original Price: 2 for 13.96
    Sale Price: 2 for 6.98
    After coupons: 2 for 1.98!

    Thats around 85% savings! Which is really good considering a lot of my research has lead me to believe that couponing on the scale I currently do should save me an average of 60%. I think thats a good goal to shoot for.

    I'm hoping to return to Giant Eagle tomorrow or Wednesday and score some good deals (OYNO coupons) on Charmin and Cascade and maybe yogurt! I'm going to also look into getting decent deals on much needed batteries (my voice recorder is dead!) and maybe free toothpaste.

    What deals have you scored lately? What couponing  tips do you have to share?

    Sunday, 5 June 2011

    Angel Food Ministries

    Have you heard of Angel Food? I hadn't until I moved here. Its basically a bulk buying program that helps families get their groceries cheaper.

    Mike and I decided to give it a try for next month. We ordered two different menus for a total of $103.  That means I won't do much grocery shopping except to pick up small things like fruit, butter, cheese etc that maybe needed to make a few foods into a dish.

    That's where ya'll come in. I'm going to list the foods we'll be receiving and I would appreciate recipes using the listed foods as the primary ingredients

    • (1) All Natural Whole Chicken
    • (1.5 lb) Whiting or Flounder Fillets
    • (2lb) Boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • (1.5 lbs) Boneless center cut pork chops
    • (1.5lbs)  Turkey Burgers
    • (2lb) Clam chowder (yumo!)
    • (2lb) Sloppy joe mix (yucko)
    • (2lb) Lasagna
    • (1.5lb) Smoked sausage
    • (1lb) ground beef
    • (1lb) ground chicken (might make chicken cakes with these!)
    • (1lb) carrots
    • (1lb) green breans
    • (1lb) triple veggie blend
    • (1lb) sugar snap peas
    • (24oz) natural cut french fires
    • (28 oz) baked beans
    • (1lb) white rice
    • (1lb) pasta
    • (26 oz) pasta sauce with mushrooms
    • Jiffy Cornbread Mix
    • (5ct) Oatmeal
    • (32 oz) milk
    • (1 doz) eggs
    • 7.5 oz cookie dough
    • 2.5 lbs Angus rib eye steaks
    • 2lbs Angus burgers
    • 1.5 lb bone in pork chops
    • 2lb salmon fillets
    • 1lb sugar snap peas
    • 4 ct corn on the cob
    • 20 oz twice baked potatoes (Mike is ecstatic I am not)
    See any tasty combinations?

    Saturday, 4 June 2011

    A Short Shoutout...

    to my soul sisters!

    Two of my bestest buds now have blogs all their own:

    K10 @ Yada Yada Yada

    And the chica I call Lyric, over at Life is a Many Splendored Thing


    And of course I can't forget the blog I share with my friend Luisa- Hotglue Baking Challenges. We're getting ready to have a "meltdown" over there and share 14 no bake recipes to help you get your sweets while still beating the summer heat. Feel free to leave us comments suggesting recipes for us to try- here or over there-.

    And don't forget to stop over and show my two buds some love and encouragement!

    Friday, 3 June 2011

    New Manifesto

    1. Chocolate is a choice!
    2. Sweets are a treat!
    3. Exercise makes you feel good!
    4.  Maintainence is part of organization.
    5. Cleanliness is.....well clean.
    6. Speak up when you have something to say.
    7. Writing brings you joy, do it daily. Maybe it will turn into a lifelong career.
    8. Edit everything.
    9. Sending mail is the best way to receive mail.
    10. Make an effort at least once a day to brighten your husband's day. (And any one else's)
    11. Pray.
    I know there was a  big gasp after the first one, I made one myself as I wrote it, but its true.

    These are principles, and ideas that I want to work on incorporating in my life. Yes, I love chocolate but I shouldn't feel like I need it. I should spend more time putting pen to paper then lazin' around on FB. I need to voice my opinions to others and to myself, and in doing so I hope to discover new passions.

    I need to work on sticking with my cleaning and organization routines. I enjoy putting them together but don't fare so well on following through with them. Everyday. But I'm determined to teach myself that skill.

    I want to write more, love more, exericse more,  enjoy life more and I think that the 11 items above, in addition to a few more I  am still mulling around in my noggin' will helo me do that. One of them is that I want to present myself like I sell Mary Kay. What would I wear, how would I do my hair, make up etc?


    What are "rules" or "principles" that you are trying to teach yourself? What goals do you have?

    Thursday, 2 June 2011

    Notes From Small Town Grocery Store

    I'm not as witty as Bill Bryson, but I have slightly stolen a title from one of my favorite books of his.

    I work as a cashier at the only grocery store in town. Yep. Double sad face.

    I hear lots of interesting things as a cashier. Here are some examples:

    1. Me:  May I have you (insert name of store loyalty card here)?
    Old guy customer: No. I'm not using mine anymore because they're illegal.
    Me: I hadn't heard
    Old guy customer: Yeppers, my buddy told me.

    2. Me: Would you like your gum left out of the bag?
    Middle-aged lady customer: *takes her gum out of her mouth and sticks it on her finger and waves it at me* This? You want this?
    Me: No Ma'am. I mean the gum you're buying now, do you want me to put it in a bag?
    Middle-aged lady customer: Oh, ummmm....no

    3. Me (just returned to the register from sweeping): Hi, How are you?
    Strange man customer: You're such a good little sweeper. Do you sweep like that at home?
    Me: Nope, I make my husband do it.
    Strange man customer: You're married?
    (I guess he really did think I was 4)

    4. Me: Plastic bags okay?
    Another strange man customer: Paper please.
    Me: *packs order in one paper bag*
    Strange man customer: *pats my hand* Atta girl!  (Hey, I packed your bag, where are my Beggin strips?)

    5. Me: And your total is $19.25
    Confused lady customer: No.
    Me: Excuse me?
    Confused lady customer: I said no.
    Me: Is there something wrong?
    Confused lady customer: No
    Me: Okay, that'll be $19.25
    Confused lady customer: *pays bill and leaves*

    6. Strung out lady customer: Can I buy my cigarettes here?
    Me: Yeah but you have to buy them at the customer service desk
    Strung out lady customer: If I get you money can you go over there and get them for me?
    Me: No, they need your ID.
    Strung out lady customer: I can give you that too.
    Me: I'll ring up your order and if you want you can go get them while I'm working on it
    Strung out lady customer: Ugh. You just can't get good service anymore.

    7: Me *cannont ring up anymore groceries because both sides of the belt are full and there is no where to put anything. The customer has not put any bags in her cart. I pick up a 24 pack of Pepsi.* Can you take this?
    Annoying Lazy Lady Customer: No.
    ME: Can I put this in your cart?
    ALLC: No. Can't you hold it?
    Me: *Puts pepsi in ALLC'S cart while thinking : "Yes, I can balance a 24 pack on my head while ringing up and bagging your order*
    ALLC: dramatic sigh

    Tuesday, 31 May 2011

    High School Dreams

    This post is inspiredf by a Mama Kat prompt that went something like :What were your plans and dreams when you first graduated high school?

    I had this problem when I graduated highsschool, but it was probably one of the better problems you could have. I had too many dreams and not enough direction.

    There were som nay things I could do, wanted to do dreamed of doing, that it was hard for me to pinpoint a major.

    I dreamed of writing popular fantasy novels (still do)

    I dreamed of being an archaeologist, experimental archaeologist or urban planner

    I wanted to be a TV reporter, or talk show host.

    I wanted to graduate from college (check), get married (check) and have kids before I turned 27 (no way jose!)

    I wanted to be a Girl Scout leader (still do).

    I wanted to travel the world (I've since been to England, Scotland, France, N. Ireland and S Korea and have dreams of visiting many more places)

    I dreamed of volunteering.

    I dreamed of publishing many things.

    Of working for the Girl Scouts, and eventually being  a CEO because the current lady sucks monkey butt.

    I thought about going into advertising.

    I thought about living in Charleston SC.

    I wanted a red convertible VW Bug.

    I wanted a job in PR/Comunications.

    I wanted to be an event planner.

    What were your HS dreams? How have they shifted? How are you living your dreams?