Wednesday, November 30, 2011

days of thanks

A few friends on facebook had the thought to post something everyday that they were thankful for this month. I decided that this was a fabulous idea! I read somewhere, "What if you woke up only with the things that you said you were thankful for the day before?" Does that hit home for you like it did for me?

We should say thanks more often.

Days of Thanks

#1- I am thankful Jesus loves me.
#2- I am thankful for my parents, for the way they raised me and the Godly influence they are in my life.
#3- today I am thankful for my brother Jake and the fact that even though we don't always see eye to eye, he's still one of my best friends and I enjoy spending time with him. (My brother's response to my heartfelt comment: Awww!!! That's really nice!!! You're my best friend too! And we don't see eye to eye cause you're shorter than me...)
#4- I am thankful for my husband Jason and the hard working, fun loving, God fearing, hugs & kisses giving, daddy and husband that he is! I love you!
#5- today I am thankful for my kids. Even though they drive me crazy, I'm blessed to have them and love them very much!
#6- whoops, missed this day!
#7 & #8- I am thankful for yesterday and todays rain!
#9 - oh dear. Blank again.
#10- today I am thankful for children who (most of the time) say please and thank you. It's a really nice feeling when your 4 year old sits at the counter and says, "Thanks mom for making me a turkey sandwich with mustard!"
#11- today I am thankful for all of our veterans, past and present! Thank you (and your families) for you service and sacrifice!
#12- today I am thankful I have survived 3 weeks with no soda. I've been missing my caffeine!
#13- today I am thankful for biscuits and honey. When you're sick (which I am) there is nothing better. Well, at least in my opinion.
#14- today I am thankful that I appear to be the only one who is sick in the family. Praying no one else gets this.
#15- I am thankful for rainy days, where I can just lounge around in my comfy sweatpants and watch movies with Liam.
#16- no thanks today. This was all I posted-

#17- today I am thankful Jason has a job.
#18- I'm thankful it's Friday...
#19- Mmmmmm, homemade pumpkin spice donuts! SO good! Days of Thanks #19 - I am thankful that my mom was the kind of mom that let me help her make cookies and such as a kid! It instilled a love of baking (and cooking) in me! I need to be better at letting my kids help me in the kitchen, so they develop a love of cooking as well!
#20- I am thankful for red nail polish and 2 sets of tiny toes to paint on the girls.
#21- I am thankful for hugs. There is nothing better than a good squeeze.
#22- I am thankful for a live in plumber. It's so nice to not have to call someone to come change out a faucet, fix a shower head or unplug a messed up toilet.
#23- I am thankful for imaginative children. Even when it results in my vacuum attachment being broken because one of them was pretending to be Poseidon with his trident and threw it down the hall at a Greek foe...
#24- I sang this song for the kids on Thanksgiving and posted the words on facebook. Now... I could have recorded myself singing it, uploaded and edited the video and then posted it here, but I thought I'd just share this rather cool YouTube clip instead.

#25- I am thankful for Turkey Day leftovers!
#26- I am thankful for shopping with the parental unit and that they bought me a cute shirt, hat and scarf as an early Christmas present!
#27- I am thankful for popcorn, hot chocolate and a movie with my family on a Sunday afternoon!
#28- today I am thankful for a bread machine. I can just toss all my ingredients in there and voila, a few hours later I have a hot, yummy loaf of honey wheat bread.
#29- today I am thankful for my happy, happy Finnegan! He's always smiling and is rarely fussy anymore. It makes my day every single time I go to pick him up, or just walk by him, or call his name, or start singing and he grins at me. :)
#30- today I am thankful for you. Yes, YOU! For all the laughs we've shared. The tears we've cried. For all the hugs. For midnight movies and long talks into the wee hours of the morning. For crazy adventures and times of boredom. For old friends from years and years ago and for new friends. For history- good or bad. Whether I know you a little or a lot you've made an impact on my life and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Have you heard of Pinterest?  If you have not let me enlighten you.

It's an online site that allows you to find, pin or re-pin and organize all sorts of random stuff.  Or better put, "pin-ter-est (n.) A fun reminder of the clothes I will never afford/fit into, the home decor I will never afford/fit into our small home, the recipes and crafts I am too lazy to ever make, the sayings I wasn't clever enough to think of on my own, the photos I wish I had taken but didn't."

It's a wonderful way to waste spend time (something I don't have) and I am in love with it.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Even though the above saying is mostly true for me (and no, I didn't think of it, I found it on Pinterest...) not all of it applies.

I'm not very lazy about making crafts or cooking- they are two things I really love to do.  So finding crafty ideas that I can afford or a new recipe to try is a real joy for me.

One thing that I found on there was a post about making and storing salads in a mason jar.  I've stored salad in tupperware before but it spoils rather quickly.  I thought this was a fabulous idea as whatever I put in my mason jars appears to stay fresh a lot longer, as they seal better in my opinion!  I love salads but I hate making them every day and I would eat one everyday if it wasn't such a pain.  Tada!  Pinterest.

I saw 2 different blogs about salad jars, on one of them she vacuumed packed her jars and the other didn't.  Since I don't have a way to vacuum pack my jars I decided to just wing it and see how long everything stays fresh.  I did however decide that I should buy a salad spinner to get as much moisture off the lettuce before I "canned" it.  Hello!  10 minute road trip to Ikea!  Introducing my $3 salad spinner-

A fresh bunch of red leaf lettuce, a bunch of spinach, carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green onion and celery (I know, I'm not very exciting) an hour of my time and I've got 8 jars of salad ready to go.

5 are just a lettuce/spinach mix, but 2 I made special for Jason: a balsamic dressing at the very bottom and some things like raw onions, mushrooms and avocado in his jars and let me just say, he was THRILLED to grab a jar and a fork and head out the door to work this morning!  All he has to do is shake it up at lunch time and he's got a much better alternative to a PB&J sandwich.

I made 3 for myself with the list of ingredients at the top and I just dump it all on a plate, add a little bit of Italian dressing and eat it up!

I'm slowly consuming one now as I work on this blog!

I'm looking forward to trying other things on Pinterest and I'm sure you'll see more blogs with that in mind!  As "they" (whoever "they" are) say, Happy Pinning!

tiny freezer, lots of food

The other day I opened the fridge and it looked like this:

No milk, I think there were 2 eggs in the carton, no fruit or veggies. As you can see, there was bread and salsa, some minced garlic, grape jelly, Hershey's syrup and whip cream.  The only things in the freezer were half a bag of peas and corn and a frozen pie shell.  It would have been an interesting meal.

A trip to the store was sorely needed.  So I went to Sam's Club (I used to have to drive 2 hours one way to get there, now it's 15 minutes away!) and did some bulk shopping.  One of the nice things about living in Austin is that you're only charged sales tax on non-food items at the grocery store and that includes Sam's.  So if you only buy food, you get out of there tax free.  I've never "just" bought food at Sam's, but I digress.

After Sam's I hit the grocery store and got the rest of what I needed there.  Then it was time to go home and cook!

Now, I've done once a month cooking before, see here, but I've always had a deep freezer along with the one that's apart of my fridge.  I've never just used the little freezer before.

Let me just say that after employing some mad packing skills I got the following in there:

2 bags of taco meat
2 bags of chicken tortilla soup
1 chicken and wild rice casserole
3 pans of chicken enchiladas
2 balsamic-garlic pork tenderloins
10 dijon burgers
4 bags of spaghetti sauce
2 bags of meatballs
2 bags of honey-orange chicken breasts
10 twice baked potato halves
12 egg & sausage sandwiches
6, 2-packs of waffles
a family size bag of peas, corn and green beans
(and I have all of my frozen pumpkin puree in there too)

The pie shell previously in the freezer didn't fit, so it was turned into pumpkin pie.  :)

All in all it comes out to about 20 dinners and then some breakfast items.  I had planned to freeze some pizza dough as well, but it won't fit.  Dough is easy to make the same day however, so not a big deal.

Oh and my fridge looks happier better too!

Now that I know I can get quite a bit in my little freezer I will definitely get back into the "bulk" cooking.  It saves me quite a bit, I think it was around $200 for all of this (I used no coupons and I had to replace/purchase quite a few staples that didn't survive the move like balsamic vinegar and a big package of tinfoil pans from Sam's) so that comes to about $10 a meal.  Now that I have some basics, my next trip will be even less.

Phew, I think after all this cooking and blogging I need to go enjoy some of that pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Here are some pictures for the grandparents of the kids on Halloween! (Sorry they aren't clearer, I've been having issues with my camera, normally I take a better picture.)

We had a nice evening collecting the most candy the kids have ever gotten and there were only 2 houses that were unpleasant.  Liam went up to the first one and was scared to death by it- the guy at the door was very nice and took his mask off and came all the way out on the lawn to show Liam it was just pretend and give him some candy. After Liam saw it wasn't real he was good to go, but refused to walk up to anymore "scary" looking houses till we checked them out first. We ended our night having a little chat on the way home about good vs. bad costumes and scary home decor. Oh... and we had a little piece of candy as well.

The best part however was that it was 70 degrees outside and I walked around all night wearing a tank top, jeans and flip flops. :)

Katie, Evie and Liam

Liam as Iron Man!

Evie was Princess Jasmine

Katie was a fierce pirate!

Finn was a lumberjack!

Jason rounded out the group as a ninja! 
(And they must not see a lot of ninja's here as he got comments like, "Oh cool a ninja!" ALL night!)

Jason came down the driveway after going up to this house and said I had to check this guy out. I was too scared to ask him for candy as apparently he twitched creepily when giving it to you. As you can see from the video, I was a scaredy cat to even look around the corner. Liam flat out refused to go up to this house and I wouldn't have let him anyway. I wouldn't have let the girls go either, but they ran up before we could stop them. But they came back and said it was creepy but they weren't frightened. :)