January 28, 2011

Can't wait to say goodbye to January

This month is almost over and I can't wait! I am not a fan of January.  We always have a harder time staying afloat, the gas bill and the credit card bills are higher but this year we didn’t have to dip into the savings account to pay the bills. I didn’t pay the credit cards completely off but it will have to do until we get our taxes

We have cabin fever too, it’s dark outside by the time I get home, so no late walks or kicking the ball even during the weekend I only let Monkey play an hour at a time outside, it’s just too cold. He does love the snow! The snow is about to his belly, he was trying to climb the snow bank that, he keep saying “step” “step” then he would say “stuck” “stuck” “me” “Me” “mommy out” I was cracking up. He also enjoys throwing it too. Monkey would grab the snow, run right up to you then count “2..3” finally throwing a tablespoon of snow at our legs and laughing running away.

I did have or attained a dinner party every weekend this month! Well expect for this weekend, just my brother is hopefully going to come over. I also have been having more lunch dates with a couple of friends which has been great. I feel blessed to have so many love ones in our lives that I can see so often.    

We also got a new computer this month, I just wish I had more time to play with it lol

What will February bring?

What Monkey said

today as we walked out of his room..... "bye bye Jesus, see ya" then he something else in baby talk that only God knows what he said. Followed by Monkey's famous Queen of Elizabeth wave to his cross. I love kids

January 26, 2011

Week of 1/29-2/4

There really aren’t any great deals out there so I am going to take this time and try bunch of new recipes. The first one is going to be taken advantage of the turkey on sale at the deli and making open face sandwiches.   

TV Dinner Saturday: Open Face Turkey Sandwich with mash potatoes and gravy and peas $4 serves 2 1/2
Sunday: Barbecue-Rubbed Chicken with baked beans and tomato wedges $4.50 serves 2 1/2
Monday:  Carrot Pancakes with green smoothies $4 serves 2 1/2
Tuesday: Pasta Night with a garden salad $4 serves 3
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chipotle Black Bean Chili with easy caesar salad and corn muffins $8 serves 4
Thursday: Left Over/Cereal Night
Girls Night Friday: Dinner over my sisters ;)

Saturday Morning: Scramble eggs with ham, bacon, and cheese mixed in with toast
WeekDay: Blueberry Carrot Muffin/Oatmeal/Cereal


January 25, 2011

What gets me going in the morning

is Monkey joining me in my morning prayers.  He will stand next to me and patiently wait to kiss the icon, the cross, and then he kisses me. Then after I cross myself he will try to cross himself (he moves his arm up and down really fast for like 10 times). I just love my little Monkey.

January 20, 2011

Offering Help

Why do I offer people help all the time? When these people think I can be “odd” (that’s prob saying it nicely) at some times? Let’s not even mention that it’s not my problem but I put myself out there to help, rearrange my schedule because I want to. I never evening think about me, I just want to help others. I offer advice and time and yet no one takes me seriously.  Maybe they think I am bloating because I really don’t complain about my problems to others (I pray about my small headaches or blog about them lol) And yet people will always say “Amanda’s perfect, always on top of things” which hurts because I am nowhere near perfect, I just stay focus on what’s important my family and God. I am not trying to say I have all the answer, but I can help, once a problem is addressed I like to come up with a game plan to fix it. I try to help other mommas to see that all you need is faith and that God will provide.

This is my help for problems at home?

First pray about your problems! Ask for strength for the entire family, guidance to get your family back on the right path. Go to church together as a family.

Second have a family day (Sunday) once a week. Spend the entire day together from morning to night. That included whatever daily chores, do it as a family.

Next spend some one on one time with each of your family members. Even if it's just food shopping, everybody loves special attention.

Finally don't forget about yourself! We all need to recharge.

January 19, 2011

Book Club: Cold Sassy Tree

Next week I will pick up Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, another blogger suggested it and the synopsis looks good.
Here a review on Cold Sassy Tree from amazon Cold Sassy Tree, a novel full of warm humor and honesty, is told by Willy Tweedy, a fourteen-year-old boy living in a small, turn-of-the-century Georgia town. Will's hero is his Grandpa Rucker, who runs the town's general store, carrying all the power and privilege thereof. When Grandpa Rucker suddenly marries his store's young milliner barely three weeks after his wife's death, the town is set on its ear. Will Tweedy matures as he watches his family's reaction and adjustment to the news. He is trapped in the awkward phase of rising to adult expectations - driving the first cars in town - while still orchestrating wild pranks and starting scandalous gossip through his childish bragging. He seeks the wisdom of his grandpa and has his eyes opened to southern "ways" under the tutelage of Grandpa's new Yankee wife, Miss Love. Still, Will "couldn't figure out...why in the heck she would marry the old man." But Miss Love's influence seems to be transforming Grandpa into a younger man, and the answer unfolds slowly and sweetly as Will Tweedy becomes the confidante and staunch defender of this unlikely couple. The lessons of life and death, of piousness and irreverence, form the basis of memorable characters and a story that is both difficult to put down and hard to leave

Meal Plan week of 1/22-1/28

Once every few month’s corn beef is on sale at the deli counter, on sale it’s $5.99 a pound but I just need half a pound to make Ruben’s ;) so it’s still within my budget and it’s a nice change.  

Saturday: Chicken enchiladas with spanish rice and bell pepper (from last week)
Big Family Dinner Sunday over family’s house ;)
Monday: Classic Ruben’s with sweet potatoes fries and cucumber salad
Tuesday: Left Over/Cereal Night
Wednesday: ravioli casserole with a garden salad
Thursday: Slow Cooker Maple Country Style Ribs with cauliflower mash
Home Date Night Friday: Fish and Chips served with carrot sticks

Saturday Morning: Bagels
WeekDay: Banana Chocolate chip (carrots) Muffin/Oatmeal/Cereal

Rice Krispies Treats
Baked Apples

Rueben Sandwich

8 slices rye bread
4 oz. Thousand Island dressing
16 oz. cooked corned beef
 8 oz. sauerkraut – drained well
 8 oz. Swiss cheese slices
Butter, softened
Spread each slice of bread with approximately one tablespoon of Thousand Island dressing
Place the hot corned beef, hot sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on one slice of bread.
Top with the second slice of bread, keeping the dressing side inside the sandwich.
Butter the top slice of bread and place the sandwich on a hot griddle, butter side down. Carefully butter the second slice of bread.
Griddle the sandwich, turning once when the first side is well browned. The sandwich is done when
sides are well browned, the fillings are very hot and the cheese is melted.

January 13, 2011

Salsa Chicken and Rice Casserole

 1 can (10 oz) Old El Paso® enchilada sauce
1 cup uncooked converted white rice
1 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
5 bone-in chicken breast halves with skin
3 tablespoon of taco seasoning (I make my own, see below)
*All prep work can be done a day ahead, just take the casserole out of the fridge 30 minutes before popping it in the oven.*
Heat oven to 325°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Reserve 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce for brushing on chicken. In large bowl, mix remaining enchilada sauce, the uncooked rice, salsa, and beans; pour into baking dish.
2. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle taco seasoning on chicken. Arrange chicken, skin side up, over rice mixture. Cover tightly with foil.
3. Bake for 1 hour with foil. Then uncover; brush chicken with reserved 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce. Bake uncovered 1 hour longer or until chicken is fork-tender, its juices run clear and skin is slightly crisp. Let sit for 5 minutes then enjoy!

Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Usually 3 tablespoons equals one packet

January 12, 2011

Meal Planning week of 1/15-1/21

Food shopping is the best with ShopRite’s can-can sale! February is going to be an expensive month for us so I will be cutting out our “order in” night and stashing away $10 a week for the next few weeks.

Saturday dinner party: Sesame Chicken Bites and Stuff cabbage with mash potatoes
Sunday: Salisbury steaks with cheese toast and peas
Monday (DH Name’s Day!) Beer Brats with carrot sticks and cucumber slices
Tuesday: Left over/ Cereal Night
Wednesday: Bean Chili with garden salad and corn muffins
Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas with Spanish rice and bell pepper slices
Friday: Loaded Black Bean Nachos 

Saturday: chicken salad with bell pepper slices
Sunday: BLT sandwiches
Week Day: For Monkey: sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fruit/veggies, mac and cheese.
Week Day: For DH & Me: Deli sandwich on whole grain/wheat bread with spinach &V8 $20 serves 10

Saturday: Tomato Spinach Sausage Omelet with toast
Sunday: Coffee Hour at church
WeekDay: Oat Bran Muffins and Oatmeal/Cereal (bought at Sam’s Club) with fruit

Carrot cupcakes (DH’s favorite)
Pretzel Sticks

January 11, 2011

I hide...

BOOKS around my house. I can never predict when I will get an extra 5-10 minutes to myself but when I do I like to be prepared.  I always have a cookbook the I'm reviewing in the kitchen, some sort of mom/child book in Monkeys room, a bible study book in my bedroom, and of course a current magazines in the bathroom. So while my DH and Monkey are playing nicely in the living room and I am done cleaning the kitchen I can pull out my current cookbook (Sneaky Chef) and relax with a cup of tea, both boys think I am still cleaning so they don’t both me lol.  I try to give Monkey some independent playtime a day, so I lock up both of us in his room (safest room in the house) and let him make the biggest mess he can, I don’t mind because I have a book (Happiest Toddler on the block) to keep me happy. 

How to you sneak extra mommy time? What do you do with it?

January 10, 2011

Dealing with credit cards?

Here are some steps that I take with my credit cards……
1. Give yourself $100 (or whatever your budget is) a month for shopping (birthdays, gifts, clothes, Christmas, and extras).  For this month I have already spent $50 on monkey’s birthday supplies, so I only have $50 to last me another 20 days. I found it easier to keep track of my “shopping money” by having it in another bank account, away from my bills, away from my savings.

2. Now that I have my “shopping money”  I completely stopped using credit cards, I actually don’t even carry them around with me. It’s a good feeling that you know your balance isn’t going up.  But if you have to carry a credit card, tape the balance of your card so you see what you owe every time you use it.

3. If you are still thinking about purchasing something and charging it, look at the price and think how many hours you have to work to pay for that item, how many hours you have to by away from your family to take this item home.

4. Now that you have stop using your credit cards, apply for an interest free credit card and transfer your balances. But if you can’t get an interest free credit card, then I would pay off your smallest balance first by paying the minim payments on the others and throwing all extra cash onto one card at a time.

5.  How do you get “extra cash” to pay off your credit cards; start being frugal.  Lower all your bills, your cell phone, electric, gas, and most definitely food.  Shop around for car and house insurance. Create a budget and see where your money is going!

January 7, 2011

Perrfect Shirt for Monkey's Safari Party

I am totaling getting this, hey it's my birthday too...the best part it only cost $20 hehe

January 6, 2011

Throwing a Safari Party for my Monkey!

Monkey will be turning 2 in less than 2 months and you know me I try to stay ahead of the game by planning his birthday party now this way I have plenty of time making crafts and testing out ideas. I am a full believer of house parties but I live in a townhouse so they way we work it is having 2 parties in one day.  In my DH eye's we should have two parties because Monkey and I share the same birthday.  Last year we had two parties on two separate days, after prepping and cleaning for one party I really didn't want to do it the following week. So this year we will be partying from 1:00 till 11:00ish!

This is what I got going on in my head, I am open for suggestions. The theme is safari, since Monkey LOVES giraffes.

*Sidewalk: Make animal paw prints using chalk

*Green Streamers hanging from the ceiling

* Palm Trees: You can make your own palm trees using the cardboard rolls from a fabric store. Cover them with brown felt strips and make palm leaves out of green felt. Placed wire in the middle of each leaf and stick them in a piece of foam that can be placed inside each cardboard roll.

*Dinner room table: Animal print tablecloth, novelties like plastic compasses, rubber snakes, lizards and plastic zoo animals

*Safari Masks Decoration Activity: Children love becoming animals and this activity will be an amazing experience for them. You can get Safari Mask Craft Kit from a party store. Have the kids design their own masks that they can wear at the safari birthday party.

*Jungle Mural: For this safari birthday party activity you'll need butcher paper, crayons, markers, paints, etc. Give each kid a piece of butcher paper. Spread out pictures of wild animals for ideas. Get the children to design their own jungle murals. Tape the murals on the wall when they are ready.

*Board Games: Barrel of monkeys’ and Elefun

*Safari Hunt: Dress children up up for this! (Hats, vest, biconculers, flaslight) Hide inflatable animal around the house and have the kids find them. 

*Simon Says Be A Giraffe Play the game using safari animals, such as "Simon Says be an elephant!"

*Animal Memory Game

*critter crunch (trail mix with animal crackers)
*Fried Ravioli’s

Children’s Menu
*Lion Tails (chicken fingers)
*Wacky mac-n-cheese

Family Lunch Menu
*Eggplant parmesan
*Roast or some other kind of meat
*Roasted Potatoes

Friend’s Dinner Menu
*Stuffed Cabbage or Lasagna
*Broccoli and Cheese

*Zany Zebra Shakes: Combine the following ingredients in blender - 6 cups milk, 12 Oreo® cookies (crushed beforehand) and 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream. (You may want to split the ingredients in half so it won't overflow). Blend until smooth.

*Chocolate Monkey Banana Pops

*Birthday Cake
*Birthday Cupcakes

Down Time
*Jungle Book and Tarrazon DVD

Goody Bags
Jungle Lollypops
Jungle Coloring books
Small box of crayons
Homemade Animal Cookies
Thank you note for the children
Every child takes home an inflatable animal, zoo stencil, a derby hat, animal mask

Time Line
Family Party: starts at 1:00/Eat at 2/ Cake at 3
Kids Party: starts at 4:00/ Games till 6/ then follow Friends Party Plan
Friends Party: starts at 5:30/Eat at 6/ Cupcakes at 7

January 5, 2011

Meal Plan for week of 1/8/2011-1/14/2011

I am so happy to see chicken on sale because my whole house is fighting a cold so I desperately need to make chicken noodle soup (not to mention I am out of chicken stock).  Also last week’s family dinner got postpone to this week so it’s kinda like a free night because I already paid for it lol.

Saturday: Chicken Noodle Soup $5.50 serves 4 plus free chicken stock!
Big Family Dinner Sunday: Roast with gravy, potatoes, carrots, corn, and rolls $14 serves 7
Monday: Sloppy Joes with Sweet Potato Fries $6 serves 3
Tuesday: Left Over/Cereal Night
Wednesday: Pasta Night with Salad $5 serves 3
Thursday: Take Out
Home Date Night Friday: Chipotle Fish Tacos with Rice and cucumber slices $10 serves 2

Saturday Morning: Sausage Egg Bake
WeekDay: Cranberry Orange Bread/Oatmeal/Cereal

Apple Chips (made by my new dehydrator)
Fresh strawberries

Can I be selfish for just a minute

After 4 year ff saying that we are going away somewhere nice on our 5th anniversary just the
three of us…. We are not :(

I can’t get too disappointed we are going away just not to a nice hot beach with the smell of suntan lotion in the air, cold girly drink in my hand, and watching Monkey play in the sand.

We have a family wedding to go to in Vermont this June which of course comes first before any beach but since DH gets limited time off paired with limited funds we will make this our New England Vacation.  I have 6 months to plan our vacation which gives me plenty of time to plan a fabulous trip. We can go to Boston and visit Monkey’s godmom (she been asking for us to crash at her house for a while now).  Then we can go to Lake George and stay with my aunt and uncle. And of course if you tell DH you are going a any state he will find a great brewery that we must see. Also we can go to Cooper town (baseball hall of fame) on our way back. Still I’m a little sad; it sounds great but I had my hopes for Monkey to swim in clear BLUE water, maybe next year for our 6th anniversary.  But now I am done being sad and selfish about it and I am ready to make this the best vacation ever! I do have my hands full though because my jersey boy husband is NOT a country boy. This will be fun. 

January 4, 2011

Hello 2011

Here are some things that I am looking forward to in 2011

1.     Starting bible study
2.     New England Vacation in June
3.     2011 Monkey Lesson
4.     Hopefully no more diapers by the end of the year
5.     Hopefully saving some money

Good Bye 2010
Now that 2011 is here I like to look back to where I was last year and what I wanted to accomplish in 2010

After church on Sundays, stay home and enjoy our house together as a family. Done-Check

Eat more vegetables. In the summer I started adding spinach to our lunch sandwich and I drink a V8 a day but I still feel we could eat more vegetables.

I did really well in this department from Jan-July but something happened in August (I don’t even know what) but I feel off schedule and never got fully back on track.  I still use the nordictrack once a week for 20 mins but that’s not enough.