Monday, June 28, 2010

Shutter Love: Mini Golf

Tuesdays mean SHUTTER LOVE over at The Trendy Treehouse
Stop by over there and post your cool pics of SUMMER FUN!

Here's mine ... mini golf on Father's Day

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finally, Something New for Dinner (and giveaway reminder)

I finally (finally) made something new for dinner tonight.  Shocking right?  I figured my family deserved it since I fed them leftover/snacks for lunch after church.

Here was our dinner tonight ... Caesar Salad, Garlic Toast and Alfredo Penne Pasta with Cajun Grilled Chicken. 

All thanks for the Alfredo Sauce goes to my dear Cousin Jana and Scott.  My daughter went for a visit and Scott made this dish and she fell in love with it.  So, after having the recipe saved in my email "recipe" folder forever ... I finally made it (well, more like I was pestered and pestered until I agreed to make it).  It was pretty easy to make; however, somehow I still managed to use almost every dish in my kitchen ... how does that always happen to me?

Does your kitchen ever look like this after a new creation?  Or maybe it was because I was, of course, multi-tasking.  While I was grilling the chicken and boiling the pasta I was also cutting up fruit for the week, because in my house - if the fruit is not cut up and "ready to go" -- it doesn't get eaten.

As a side note:  I purchased a VacuVin Pineapple Slicer a couple of months ago at Sur La Table (one of my fav stores ever) and finally used it today.  WOW.  How have I made it in life this far without this handy gadget?  I feel like running out and buying more pineapples to slice!

Ok, back to the main dish:  Alfredo Penne Pasta and Grilled Cajun Chicken

* I took out my agressions on tenderized some chicken breasts, sprinkled covered the chicken with cajun seasoning and threw it on the grill.
* While that was grilling, I started boiling my pasta.
* Once the chicken and pasta were ready, I slid some garlic toast into the oven and started the sauce.
* Note:  there is NOTHING low fat about this sauce at all (but it is tasty) ... and it was really easy.
-- Saute garlic (I just used a tsp or so of the chopped garlic that I keep in the frig) with (2) ... yes (2) sticks of butter.
-- Add (2) cups of heavy cream and bring to a boil.
-- Whisk in (2) cups of shredded parmesan, stir until thick.
* Dice chicken.
* Mix the chicken, penne pasta and alfredo sauce all together.
* Serve and ENJOY.

Reminder:  I have a GIVEAWAY going on right now ... for a $40 CSN gift card.  Be sure to enter!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Latest Finds at Costco

I have posted before about my LOVE of Costco.  It is a true wonderland of bargains and finds.  Here are my two latest discoveries:

Our Plano Costco now has Gelato!  And good gelato!
3 flavors:  Mixed Berry / Pistachio / Stracciatella. 
I had a sampling of the Stacciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings) and it was really good. 
Not as good as the AWESOME gelato we had in Europe last year, but still good. 
 And you can't beat the price ... 3 scoops in a waffle cone for $1.50!!!

My other find was, Motts Fruitsations Ice Bars.  You just stick these in the freezer and you get this icy, fruity mixture that is SO good (and only 40 calories).  So glad I took a chance and grabbed a bag of these.

NOTE:  Not a "review" - just my opinions on cool finds.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's a Social Parade ...WOO HOO

Woo Hoo ... Fridays = SOCIAL PARADE time.  Head on over to Smart and Trendy Moms and join in the blog hop and make some new blogger friends!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Night Night (and giveaway)

The giveaway is now closed.  Winner is HEATHER from Airplanes and Dragonflies.

So, I'm doing one of my favorite things ... I'm laying in bed reading through and commenting on the blogs that I follow (thank goodness for Google Reader).  I'm currently looking around my bedroom, which is very traditional in style - cherry wood, four poster bed with matching night stands, dresser, chest and desk.  Occasionally I let my mind wonder ... what would it be like if I went "modern" and totally changed up the entire room, starting with the bed.  I just wonder, how would I decorate around something cool like this ...

I could imagine snuggling down into this at night and just blogging the night away!

So, now you are sitting there with bed envy and redecorating in your head, right?  Well, you are in luck!  This is the first GIVEAWAY on my blog (thanks to CSN):

A CSN GIVEAWAY for anyone in the U.S. or Canada.
A $40 gift certificate to any of CSN's 200+ websites.

The rules are:  (1) please become a follower of my blog and (2) please leave a comment on this post letting me know.  If you are already a follower - just leave  me a comment letting me know that. 

The contest ends July 13th and I will randomly pick the winner.

There may be shipping charges or in the case of Canadian addresses, international fees for certain products.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hoo Are You Tuesday ...

Night Owl Crafting is hosting another round of "Hoo Are You Tuesday?"  Head on over there and join in the fun.

1. What are some of your pet peeves?

Well, where do I begin?  I have to admit that I am easily annoyed.  For those that know me, I know you are SHOCKED.  So let's dive into the list:  gum chewers in general (but especially those that smack and pop their gum) ... let's be honest, it's just rude; noisy eaters; noisy breathers; people that walk around talking on their phone via blue tooth; my husband picking his nails at night while we are watching TV; slow drivers; people who don't pull their weight at work; and many many more things.  I'm so glad that I don't have any annoying habits, whew! :)

2. Do you have a favorite or lucky number?

I don't have a favorite number and I don't believe in luck.  Everything is part of God's great plan, luck just doesn't exist.

3. What is one of your family traditions?

At Christmas, I always buy the kids new PJs (every year) and that is the one gift they can open on Christmas Eve ... so they have new jammies for Christmas morning.

4. Is there anything you are OC about?

Again, what kind of time do we have here? :)  Here goes:  I have to have the radio station volume on an even number; I'm obsessed with color coding (everything from my clothes in my closest to work related documents) ... love love love sharpies!; when clearing the table after eating, I hate it when people are helping me and they stack the dishes on top of each other; I cannot handle anyone else doing my laundry; and I wear a cross necklace everyday ... have I scared anyone off yet?

5. What is your favorite kind of food?

Italian (pasta, bread, pizza); and Appetizers - I would much rather get a sample of different foods than eat a whole plate on just one main dish.  It's so great to go out with friends and everyone order something different and share it all.

Practice Hospitality, Week 3: Recipes

Over at Southern Fried Dreams it is "Week 3 of Practice Hospitality! This week we are sharing our favorite recipe for blessing others. What is your go-to recipe for gatherings?"

I could have made up a cool story here about how I pull out all of the stops when guests come over:  fresh (hand picked green salad); slow roasted lamb; creme brulee ... but, I figured I'd go with the truthful angle!  So here it is, get out your pen to take notes on these complicated ingredients.

This is the Costco brand of meatballs and they are the BEST ... once I  discovered these, I never made homemade ones again.  I have 1.5 packages of these in my freezer right now.

I use the basic Prego sauce, also purchased at Costo.  No need for expensive sauce.  I have 5 of these in my pantry.
Hoagie buns, again purchased at Costco (are you seeing a trend here?).  Yes, I adore Costco ... I was actually there today.

Add some mozzarella cheese ... and it completes the sandwich.

Yep, this is it:  Meatball Sandwiches.  For large groups, I always make these (and people seem to love them).  Simple, but tasty.

I line my crockpot (the crockpot liners are a MUST) earlier in the day, add meatballs and sauce and let them cook on low.  Right before it's time to eat, I toast the hoagie buns in the oven and then the line of peeps is formed and everyone makes their own sandwiches.  Always a hit (and more often than not, served with a little vino).


Father's Day

Father's Day turned out to be a fun family day.  It started off with church (all the kids were there ... YAY).  Afterwards we met up at the house (since we took 3 separate cars to church) and sat around and tried to figure out what food/restaurant all 5 of us could agree on ... that can be quite the process!

We agreed on Campisi's ... yumm.  One of my favorites.  The "original, real" one, that is off Mockingbird in Dallas.  My husband and I LOVE this place.  It has been around forever, my husband's (late) parents used to eat there.  We always talk about the story of when Mitchell's parents were eating there and an ex girlfriend was chatting up the Mitchell's dad ... so Mitchell's mom threw an ash tray across the room at the girl ... she missed, but hit the wall and put a nice little hole in it.  I think I would have liked her!

After Campisi's off we went to Top Golf ... this is a cool place.  We didn't realize how cool until we found out there was an 1.5 hour wait for a spot.  We played a little miniture golf while we waited -- but it was HOT!  We gave up on that and headed for the A/C to wait our turn.

Beautiful day ... but SO SO HOT! 
Addison & Stephen (Ben skipped mini golf)

Finally our pager went off and it was our turn to golf.  We got our clubs and balls and headed to our assigned spot.  This was my first time at Top Golf and I have to admit -- it was pretty fun and very high tech.

It was similar to bowling.  Each ball is registered to a certain player and the computer keeps track of everyone's score.

 This is the course and depending on which set of holes you hit your ball into, you get different points.

Addison and Ben teeing up.

All in all we had a really nice day out (only had one meltdown, that child will remain nameless). 

I feel very blessed to have married such a wonderful, Godly man.

Mailbox Monday (a little late)

I found a cool blog, The Printed Page.  Marcia hosts MAILBOX MONDAYS, "it is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week."

Here is one of the new books that made it into my house recently.  I have already started reading it and love it.  So far, so good.

When you're in your late twenties and nothing in your life seems to be falling into place, knitting is an awfully seductive way to spend your free time. After all, as long as you're following the instructions, you can knit row after row with the knowledge that the pattern will emerge and you'll end up with just what you wanted. Life, on the other hand, doesn't come with a stitch counter, so Kathleen, Sari, and Lucy, the heroines of KNITTING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, just have to figure things out as they go along.

Their weekly Sunday knitting circle is the only thing holding them together as Kathleen is cut off financially by her family and forced to enter `the real world' for the very first time at the age of twenty-seven, Sari finds herself falling for the man who made her life a living hell in high school but who now desperately needs her help, and Lucy finds herself torn between emotion and reason when her lab and her boyfriend are assailed by an animal-rights group.

At their club meetings, they discuss the really important questions: how bad is it, really, to marry for money if you like the guy a lot anyway? Can you ever forgive someone for something truly atrocious that they've done? Is it better to be unhappily coupled than happily alone? And the little ones: Can you wear a bra with a hand-knit tube top? Is it ever acceptable to knit something for a boyfriend? And why do your stitches become lopsided after your second martini?

In Claire LaZebnik's hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking novel, Sari, Lucy, and Kathleen's lives intersect, overlap, unravel, and come back together-the result is an utterly satisfying read.

Five Favorties Linky Party

Rene over at Cottage and Vine is hosting a very cool linky party this week.  Here's the deal:

The question is, if you are going away for the weekend and can only take five products, in your cosmetic bag, what would they be. Are you like me and have been doing the same routine A weekend at the beach with the girls is always a good place to find about about new things that work for other people, but I missed that opportunity this year. So I am calling on you to fill me in.

So, my 5 MUST HAVES are ...

I am a huge fan of Renee Rouleau.  All of my facial cleansers, toners, etc. are from her line.


I use these products daily and swear by them * Gentle Gel Cleanser * Toner * Toning Cloths (the best ever) * Photolipid Moisturizer * Daily Protection Sun Screen *

I also use more of her products (including foundation), but I'm trying to play by the rules and only list the top 5.  ((however the foundation and my mascara would also have to be tucked into the bag))

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last Money Saving Day This Week

I learned a valuable lesson today ... hit CVS and Walgreens earlier in the week for sales.  By this evening both stores had removed their sales tags for last week and replaced them with the new ones for the upcoming week.  Of course, they still honored the sales prices, but I had to go back through the sales paper and find the sales prices ... good thing I had them with me in my binder!

So, Addison and I go to CVS (Addison refers to CVS as the "ghetto Target" ... not sure why really).  I purchased the following:

This rang up to approx $34.  I had a special CVS email coupon, manufacturer coupons (of course) and CVS Bucks from a previous trip.  When all of those were taken off, the final amount I paid was $4.04.  I think even the checker was impressed.  Then of course, I got additional CVS Bucks in the amount of $12 ... so yes, I MADE $8.

I made one last trip to Walgreens, just to pick up one item:

This was $7.99.  I had a $5 off coupon, bringing the price to $2.99 - then I got $4 in register rewards, plus I have a rebate to send in for $7.99 ... so again I will be making money ... approx $9.

As always, special thanks to The Money Saving Queen.  Her site is a MUST for all couponers!

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Savings at Walgreens and PetsMart

Again, all the props go to The Money Saving Queen.  Her website and coupon match-ups are awesome.

So yesterday I headed out to Walgreens and PetsMart.  Here are my deals.

This was my first trip to Walgreens:

  After using Walgreen coupons, manufacturer coupons and $5 in register rewards from a previous purchase, my total was approximately $7.  Plus I got $10 in register rewards back (which are just like cash and can be used on my next purchase) and I had a rebate to send in for 100% back of the Listerine original price, $6.49.  TOTAL, -$9.59 ... I'm making money on this purchase!

Then off I went to PetsMart:

Each of these Science Diet dog treat bags are usually $5 ... they were on sale for $2.50.  I had $3 off coupons (so the overages were applied the the bag of rawhides) ... total cost, $1.59.  WOW, can you believe that!!!

While I was over by PetsMart, I ran into another Walgreens:

Just bought a few things on this round.  After coupons, I paid out $11.54.  I received $10 in register rewards and I have a rebate to send off for the razor to get $7.99 back.  TOTAL cost, -$6.45.  I made money on this one too!

So for my day's total I MADE over $14! and got all of these items!  WOO HOO!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's a Social Parade ...

It's SOCIAL PARADE time over at Smart and Trendy Moms.  Head on over there and join in the

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: Twenties Girl

I am usually a big fan of Sophie Kinsella.  I loved her Shopaholic Series (hated the movie, thank goodness it was a netflix rental as I only made it through the first ten minutes and turned it off).  I would have probably been too cheap to have left the theater after paying to see it, so I would have been stuck.

With that being said, I just couldn't get into her new book at all.  I kept trying to plow through it.  I always feel like I should finish any book that I start.  So, I picked it up again last night.  I was on page 162.  I asked myself, why am I still trying to read this?  Life is too short and my time is too valuable to keep on with something that I'm not interested in.  So, decision made.  Book closed and put away.

I picked up one of my other books in my "to be read" pile.  Thanks to Half Priced Books' Memorial Day Sale, I have a nice supply at hand.  My new read is, "Knitting under the Influence."

Review to follow ... but it has to be good.  I mean come on, how cool is the title and the cover?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Renewed Spirit

Tonight was my first class of the new Summer Bible Study that I'm doing.  It was so wonderful to sit in a room FULL of women wanting to hear God's word.  It was so wonderful to sit at a table with some of the most awesome women that I know.  Godly women who are so strong in their faith.  Women that I have learned from over the years.  It did my heart some good to have this time tonight.

I'm not sure if any of you have ever done a Beth Moore Bible Study ... if you haven't I encourage you to try to find one in your area.  They are so awesome.  She can make you laugh so hard and then have that laughter turn to tears, all in the same sentence.  She is ... so cool.  Last summer I did my very first Beth Moore Study on Esther.  Wow.  It was great.  This summer we are diving into, "A Woman's Heart:  God's Dwelling Place."  This is the updated version (the original was done over 10 years ago).  It was only night one and I'm hooked already.

As Beth drilled home tonight (via video) ... God pursues us!  That is so amazing isn't it?  It continues to wow me when God meets us when and where we need Him.  With all I have going on with life in general right now (the foot deal, my very stressful job, etc), I really needed these two hours tonight to SIT QUIETLY, BE STILL, and LISTEN to God's word.  To really hear Him.  This was one of the first time in months that I have been able to shut my mind off from the "outside world."  It was a welcomed relief.  Whew.

I had planned on working from home tonight; however, after tonight's lesson, I have decided not to work.  I have just come home, slipped into my PJs and am working on my blog (as you can tell).  When I finish up here, the computer will be closed up for the night and I'll be doing some knitting.  I finally picked my knitting up last night and started back ... I have got to finish this entrelac scarf so that I can move on to other projects.

With a renewed spirit, I'm logging off for tonight.

HOO Are You Tuesday!

A special shout out and thank you to The Scrap Shoppe for hosting another round of Hoo are you Tuesday with Night Owl Crafting!  Feel free to drop by and check out Michele's blog and join in the fun ...

1. What is your favorite thing about your dad?

Never knew my biological "father" ... and I use that term loosely.  My step father was awesome.  I remember him being a hard worker and being able to fix things ... cars, furniture, etc.  He was very handy and I know he loved my mother :)  He passed away in 1995.

2. What are you favorite smells?

The body oil they use in the spa at Aventura Spa Palace (Mexico); "The Market" candles; Hot pizza; and Fresh laundry.

3. What is your favorite Holiday?

Easter (thank you Jesus); Christmas (again, thank you Jesus).

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A hotel manager (thanks to Connie Seleca and Hotel) and then later on, a stock broker (exciting huh?).

5. How many different places have you lived, towns not houses?

5, all in Texas

Sweet Smiles over at The Trendy Treehouse

It's Tuesday ... which means it's Shutter Love time over at The Trendy Treehouse.  Head on over and check out the blog and enter your own photo in this contest.  This week's theme:  SMILES!!

Here is a photo of my sweet girl that I will be entering...

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Simple Things in Life

Well, here in Texas it was SUPER hot today and I just happened to have to be outside for a couple of hours this afternoon doing a property inspection and tenant visits.  Since my lovely daughter is out of school for the summer, I took her with me.  By the time we finished the property walk, took photos and spoke to each tenant ... Addison was worn out.  I told her "Welcome to Mom's World."  Hopefully she has a bit more of an appreciation for what I do and why I come home exhausted and hot after work.  We'll see.

I'm so thankful for my dear, sweet hubby who never complains about what I cook (or at times don't cook) for dinner.  I do plan to some day start making more "foodie" type dinners, but tonight that just wasn't going to happen.  Here's what I ended up making.

This was my hubby's plate (I'm either going to have to stop feeding him like this or up the insurance policy).  These are fried egg, bacon and mayo sandwiches on Texas toast bread.  He enjoyed this just as much as if I had cooked a three course meal.  Thank God for good men!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I just discovered a new blog, Southern Reflections, and have just became a follower over there. Head on over to Marlessa's site and check out what all is going on and join in on the meet and greet Monday. See you there!

Remember, if you follow me -- I'll follow you!

Do the Bunny (Blog) Hop!

It's BUNNY HOP time again!  Erin over at Dropped Stitches has put together this cool blog hop.  Go on over to her site and check it out!

Remember, if you follow me ... I'll follow you!

Thanks again Erin for hosting!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Love Saving Money!!

From time to time I have clipped coupons (and have more times than not, have forgotten to take them to the store with me).  Well, I am organized now, thanks to The Money Saving Queen ... and am actually taking advantage of coupons.  I have become slightly addicted.

Here are some photos of my coupon binder (again, organization ideas were borrowed from The Queen).

I made two shopping trips today.  A quick one to Walgreens where I just bought a razor:

Regular price, $9.89:  less $4 coupon; then I rec'd a $5 register reward to use (just like cash) on my next purchase ... overall price, $0.89!

I head to CVS next and got quite a bit more items there.  All of these items were on sale, plus I had a coupon for each item, then the register rewards came into play.

I saved $25 with coupons and then received $14 in register rewards for future use!  Yahoo!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Saturday in Waxahachie

My mom and I met in Waxahachie on Saturday just to hang out, do some shopping and have lunch.  Yes, it was a 106 degrees in the shade, but we still had a good time.  First thing we did was hit the farmer's market ... one of my favorite things about summer is the arrival of the farmer's markets.

I couldn't resist the fresh red onions, peppers and GIANT zucchini.  Yumm!

Next stop was the arts and crafts marketplace.  Such cute stuff.  I controlled myslef and only purchased a few things ...

I thought these domino necklaces were super cute and they were only $2.50 each.  There was a mom and son running the booth!  He was so cute.  He told me all about the necklaces, put the ribbon ties on each domino and handled the money too -- cuteness.  I got the red FAITH one for myself and the blue "cool" one for my sweet girl.

And I couldn't pass up this super cool quilted, reversible apron.  I adore aprons!  Such a lost "art."  The craftsmanship on this is beautiful and I thought it was a great deal for $20.

By this time, we were hot and ready to take a lunch break.  After lunch, off to a super cute shop called the Dove's Nest.  I had to take these little trinkets home with me:

I love cross necklaces, I guess you could say they are my "signature" accessory.  I wear one every day (I have quite a collection, from super simple to glitzy).  I love the all!

That was our day ...