Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Books

Please Help! I need some new books to read. I like something fun, whether that's action, murder mystery, romance, or whatever. Just nothing serious. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Meal Plan Monday!


Apple Strudel Muffins and Oatmeal


Mahi Mahi sandwiches/ PB & J sandwiches/ Bananas/ chips and dip


Mon: beef and chicken empanadas w/ refried beans leftover from last week
Tues: Oven fried Chicken and Mac n' Cheese
Wed: Gnocchi w/ sausage and vodka sauce w/ italian monkey bread
Thurs: Hot Dogs w/ homemade french fries
Fri: Leftover Mac n' Cheese w/ tomato soup
Sat: Biscuits w/ sausage gravy
Sun: Dinner w/ my parents

S'More Pie- I'm so excited about making this it looked amazing! I'll try and take pictures while I make it and the finished product.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beautiful ONE year old Bella (pic heavy)

I wanted to post some pictures of Isabella from her first birthday dinner party last week and our trip to the Zoo this weekend. We had such a fun time! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Food Waste Sunday!

A day early... We are going to San Diego Zoo tomorrow not only for Valentines Day but to celebrate Isabella's First Birthday! I'm so excited! She is going to love all the animals.

Unfortunately I had completely forgotten about some leftover meat marinara sauce from when I made lasagna at the back of the fridge and so I had to throw it out. It was at least enough for one good sized spaghetti meal. I was very bummed. But on the good side of news that was all that was wasted this week. Very impressed with myself and Adam. Hopefully better next week.

Also, I was really happy with Adam and I we ate all the meals we said we would and we haven't gone over budget once yet this month. We're just barely at the middle but I am very pleased with ourselves. I have two more shopping trips left for the month and I have exactly 1/2 of my grocery budget left. I should definitely be able to stay within our budget this month.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

I keep reading how people can make their own cleaning supplies and the idea is very intriguing to to me. So I googled. There are a load of different ways to clean one's house all while using just lemon, baking soda, vinegar, salt and a few other ingredients depending on what you want to clean.

Here are a few of the most practical and most used formulas for cleaning your home, like Great-Grandma use to do it.

All Purpose Cleaner- Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep.

Uses- remove water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

Disinfectant- Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)

Uses- to clean the the bathroom sink or toilet bowl.

Laundry Detergent- Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads.

Uses- Doing laundry

I have a lot of cleaning supplies at my house but I think as I run through them I may just try some of these recipes and see how I like the outcome. There are so many things running around out there on the web about what a person can do to be more environmentally friendly while being frugal, now it's time to try some of them out. I got these formulas from Earth Easy Try them out tell me how you like using homemade versus bought.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Meals for the Week 2-8/2-14

Breakfast- Oatmeal(me and bells)/ granola bars(adam)

Lunch- ham and cheese sandwiches/ leftovers/string cheese/ oranges/ chips

Monday- Baked potatoes topped with chili, sour cream and cheese, cornbread and salad
Tuesday- Italian sausage pizza and salad
Wednesday- Leftover chili and cornbread
Thursday- Hawaiian baked chicken and fried rice
Friday- Date Night Out for Valentines Day!
Saturday- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and tomato soup with oranges
Sunday- San Diego Zoo day! If were home in time for dinner tamales, retried beans and chips

Dessert- leftover Superbowl King Cake and Birthday Carrot Cake

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Food Waste Sunday!

We haven't been doing very well at not wasting food, but it's not as bad as it used to be. This week it was mostly produce that I didn't use fast enough. Hopefully next time I will notice before they go bad and cut it up to freeze.

Food Waste:

1/3 container Cottage Cheese
1/2 of celery
1 hard boiled egg
shredded chicken
lettuce about 2 cups

I don't have picture because I can't seem to download to my computer right now.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Expiration Dates

When was the last time you went through your makeup bag and tried to remember when you bought that purple eyeshadow or that really awesome mascara? Recently I was watching a show and the host was informing a lady of the correct amount of time beauty products are suppose to be stored. I thought I would dig up the list and place on here for all to see. I definitely did not know some of these I have some makeup older than my relationship with my husband(we've been together 5 years).

Oil Free Foundation- 1 year
Cream or Compact Foundation- 18 months
Concealer- 12-18 months
Powder- 2 years
Blush and Bronzer- 2 years
Cream blush- 12-18 months
Powder Eye Shadow- 2 years; Cream Eyeshadow- 12- 18 months
Eyeliner- 2 years
Liquid Eyeliner- 3-6 months
Mascara- 3-5 months (heavy use go with the shorter date because of all the air getting in the bottle)
Lipstick and lip liners- 2 years
Lip gloss- 18-24 months
Nail polish- 1 year
Perfume- anywhere between 1-5 years depends on perfume and storage

Now if your anything like me you'll be shocked to see some of these dates. It definitely puts into perspective paying astronomical prices for some of these cosmetics. Personally I would probably keep my nail polish at least 3 years. Blush and powder I go through fairly quickly but I definitely won't be buying in bulk ever. Not to mention the perfume restrictions, I won't be buying too much perfume any more because most of it will spoil before you ever finish using it. I used to buy one or two perfumes a year because I love it so much, done with that now.

To keep your makeup lasting longer it should be stored in a moderate temperature with no moisture, which rules out your bathroom. Perfume same rules apply but also keep it in a dark area away from light.

Also, many of the websites say you should clean your make-up applicators once a week, I say at least monthly. I just cleaned mine on Wednesday, so I should be reminded at the beginning of each month to clean them again. The cleaning helps to prevent the spread of any infections and helps to keep your skin clean from extra oils.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Raw vs. Paturerized Milk

This is a new topic of thought for me. My sister-in-law lead me to think about the good and bad qualities of the possibility of having Isabella drink raw milk instead of pasteurized. I had always thought that pasteurized milk was the best, I was taught that it was safer and healthier for a person to drink the pasteurized milk. So I began to do some research and found that depending on the circumstances of how the raw milk is produced affects whether or not you should purchase and consume the non-pasteurized version.

Some people may not know what pasteurized milk means- its the process where a diary
exposes the milk to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, those that can produce disease or cause spoilage, without radically altering taste or quality.

Many people think pasteurization is the best bet for their milk but the question is what kind of microorganisms are being destroyed? Are they all bad? And why are they only concerned with radically altering the taste and quality, how much is it really changing? What are we missing by drinking pasteurized milk?

Pros for Pasteurization

According to the FDA (Food and Drug Admin) pasteurization kills off the possibility of exposing the drinkers of the processed milk to Tuberculosis, diphtheria, polio, salmonellosis, strep throat, scarlet fever and typhoid fever. It also gives milk a longer stable shelf life of 2-3 weeks. Also with processing the milk you remove the possibility of animal bacteria to enter the milk from unclean utters, or barn areas.

Cons for Pasteurization

Depletion of certain vitamins such as thiamin(b-1), pyridoxine(b-6), cobalamin(b-12), folic acid and vitamin C. Thiamin if you don't know helps the body convert carbs into energy and it is also considered the anti stress vitamin because it enhances the activity of the immune system and improves the body's ability to handle stressful circumstances. Pyridoxine also converts carbs into energy and it also converts protein into useful protein for the body to use. Cobalamin or b12 is very much needed in the body because it helps make healthy red blood cells and it also helps create a fatty layer around nerve cells, which if not there can diminish brain function. Folic acid helps all the B vitamins, it is needed for basically all the normal growth and maintenance of every cell in the body. Vitamin C is the vitamin with the largest quantity removed during the pasteurization process, basically 100% of it. Vitamin C helps with collagen which basically helps hold the body together through the connective tissue joints, and muscle attachments to bone. It also helps to fix damage made to the body, without enough Vitamin C other vitamins and minerals can't do their jobs.

All 5 of these vitamins seem super essential to me, like they would be very important to keep in my diet at every turn. Yet with pasteurization their removed either partly or completely.

Pros for Raw Milk

Raw milk contains 22 essential amino acids, lactose intolerant people often have no problem digesting it, it's a complete protein, raw milk reduces allergy related conditions in 40% of kids (Internet journal of asthma). If raw milk is harvested from pasture fed/grass fed cows, in a clean environment and from a clean cow then the milk you drink should be safe. People only drank raw milk before the early 1900s when pasteurization was stumbled upon. The butterfat in it is also linked to helping the immune system and protecting against disease.

Cons for Raw Milk

The FDA is against the consumption of raw milk because they believe it puts people at an undo risk for diseases, such as TB, strep, and salmonella. If you have an already weakened immune system due to taking immune blocking medications such as when your doing chemo, you can become very seriously ill from drinking raw milk. Also, if you are not cautious about the farm and the cows your receiving the milk from you can also be exposed to mild-serious ailments. You should never drink raw milk from cows that are in confined feed given dairies which main purpose is for pasteurization. Only drink raw milk from dairies whose intention is for the milk to be raw; they have higher standards for the cows and removal of the milk. Also if you have never had raw milk and begin drinking it some people do complain of a minor or mild stomach issue for a short while during which time the body adjusts to the raw milk enzymes.

I caution the use of Raw milk, be very sure you are getting it from a reputable farmer. Also, do your own research into the matter, there are plenty of websites for you to look into. 28 out of 50 states do not even allow the selling or giving away of raw milk, so you'll have to find out what's legal in your own state.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Resolutions

Second Month of the New Year here I come!


#1) Continue Healthy Lifestyle Choices- I have a feeling this is going to be a resolution for awhile. This won't happen over night, but I need to focus on this more and more and then hopefully one day I'll wake up and healthy food and choices will be ingrained in me and I won't have to think about them. Until then, this is a major focus and something I can constantly strive to improve.

#2) Finish Isabella's Scrapbook of First Year- This has been my major project all year long. I've been working on it since she was about three months old and it has been a labor of love. I'm all caught up to the present so now I'm just waiting on her birthday dinner and our trip to the zoo. Should be fun!

#3) Go to the Library- I feel like it has been so long since I've read a new book. I must go pick something up, I miss my books. I will try to read 2 books this month.

#4) Limit grocery budget- I've decided as inspired by Cate at Budget Confessions that I will limit my groceries to $400. That's a huge chunk of money less but I think I can do it. I might have to become more inventive on how to fill out meals with less meat and ingredients but I am up to the task.

#5) Organize and Rearrange Children's Book Collection- I was given oodles of books and I also have oodles of books from my parents. I will go through and organize them according to age and reading range. This will be a big project to undertake but it must be done or I will never know what I do or don't have.

January Resolution Review

It's been three days into the February and no new goals or goal review. So let's start with the review.

Eating Healthier and Being more Active- This goal went fairly well. I know I wasn't perfect, far from it but it has been a journey. Most nights I have made from scratch dinners that have for the most part included more vegetables, less fat and much less preservatives and chemicals. We ate out a few times, hopefully less next month. Activity was at least 3xs a week, I only made it to my workout class once a week, I really would like to do 2x a week.

Isabella's First Birthday Party- I put all the invitations out in the mail before my scheduled date and I bought all the supplies. Unfortunately lots of issues arose and we had to cancel her official party. We're having dinner with a few people this Saturday night in lu of the big party and then we decided to use some of the money for going to the San Diego Zoo! Should be fun!

Buy and Use Quicken- Bought it, used it and then returned it. I didn't like it, the software program was strange, my system works so I'll use it.

Start 529 Plan- Adam and I did start Isabella's 529 plan which is awesome and we've dumped most of her money that she has accumulated since birth into. I am very stoked that we completed this goals, because college costs just keep going up and up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

When your World Crumbles...

If your world crumbled before you, what would you expect? That's what the people of Haiti are wondering right now. Their world has fallen, their government is literally in shambles, their jails are empty because the walls fell in, and yet last night on the telethon Hope for Haiti Now I watched a woman pulled from the wreckage of her home 6 days after the earthquake hit and she was singing. The woman was singing and praising God! I was in tears within mil-seconds.

What they are going through is devastating, I can't even imagine the pain and suffering, the fear and bewilderment that the Haitian people are going through. Every time the world goes through something heart wrenching it makes the world come together and show our true colors. Who are we if we don't help? As a Christian it makes me incredibly happy to see the people who drop their lives and their families to go and help in countries that aren't their own, for people they've never met, they risk their lives because humanity demands it of us. To help those that are less fortunate and cannot help themselves. We all are essentially selfish creatures but when times get tough we all seem to tap into the other half of our selves, our better selves, we dig deep even in times of recession and we find money to send to people who have nothing!

As horrible as the tragic events of the earthquake are I can be GLAD and REJOICE in the fact that God has called upon his servants to be there for those that are less fortunate. I can be GLAD and REJOICE that He is there in Haiti with them holding them up and loving them especially in the times of fear and pain. I can be GLAD and REJOICE that He can make beautiful, awesome and radical events happen in the midst of tragedy, that He can turn it all around. He is the only one who can make something horrifying and paint it into a beautiful picture of people helping people.

If you haven't given yet, there are a multitude of organizations, the Red Cross or the Hope for Haiti Now organization, your local church is also probably accepting specific donations for the small country of Haiti. Show your love with any donation possible.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Beef and Pork Chili with Beans

This recipe was awesome! I love spicy and yummy dishes and this was a perfect blend. The chili has a good kick to it without being overwhelming! We ate two dinners the same week and still had enough to freeze for dinner down the road.

Ingredients: Serves 10-12
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, diced
2 large red bell peppers, diced
kosher salt
2-4 jalapenos, seeded and minced
6 garlic cloves, minces
1 1/2lbs ground pork
1 1/2lbs ground beef
3 tbsp ground Chile powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz beer
Two 28oz tomatoes with juice
2 cups beef broth
Two 15 oz kidney beans, drained
sour cream, garnish
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced for garnish

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in large skillet over med heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and sprinkling of salt, and saute until the vegetables are tender 8-10mins. Add the jalapenos and garlic and saute for 2 more mins;remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2tbsp olive oil in large pot over med-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the ground pork and beef, and saute until browned, 10-15 mins. Add the Chile powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Reduce the heat, and cook, stirring for about 6 mins, until the spices form a thick paste on the meat. Add the beer, and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, for 2-3 mins, until slightly reduced. Add the reserved onion-pepper mix to the pot, then the tomatoes and beef broth with beans and simmer for 30mins to an hour.

Ladle the hot chili into bowls; top with sour cream and scallions and serve.

This recipe was found from my Down Home with the Neely's Cookbook.

Friday, January 8, 2010


At my apartment community they host Bingo once a month; there is no buy in; and the prizes are gift baskets. So far since we've lived here I have one three times out of the three times that I have gone with my mom. How funny is that. I think I should take myself to Vegas and see if I could win some serious money.... I never would because I probably wouldn't win but it just funny to think about.

Also I can now start substitute teaching out here at the local school district. It took a month to get into their system but now that I am in I just have to wait for jobs. I call in everyday hoping their are jobs that I can fill. But nothing yet. I'm only trying to work like one or two days a week to earn extra money for the extras in life, like presents, vacations and maybe a new car in a year or two. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I will post my yummy chili recipe later. It was fabulous with a really good kick to it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Avatar Day Date!

Avatar was AMAZING! My darling husband took the day off after his dentist appointment yesterday so we were able to have a day date. We decided to go and see Avatar in the IMAX and 3D. It was so cool. I wasn't so sure I would like the movie but it was perfect mix of action and romance. I was hooked. Plus 3D is amazing. I really enjoyed being able to do a day date too because there were only like 40 people in the movie theater.
I can totally understand why the movies grossed like $1 Billion dollars. It was awesome and I would love to be a Navi because they are cool, and I really want glow in the dark freckles too! Super fun movie, a must go movie!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One of my Monthly Goals

Quicken, oh Quicken, my how you suck. I bought it, I tried it, and I hated it all within about two hours! So I returned it. I'm very sad, but I figured since our money management has been working for us up to this point why change it if I don't love the software. That's counter-productive.

I was fairly sad when I realized it wasn't that easy and it would be more work to use it than what I have in place currently. Plus why spend more money on the software when I could save it for Isabella's birthday! But at least I bought it at Cost Co so it didn't matter that I had it opened. They return everything!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meal Plan Monday!

I love to cook and sometimes being on a Diet can be tedious with eating the same thing all the time. So that's why I'm trying to think of this as healthy eating with real food. Which means I have to watch portions and include the dreaded veggies wherever I can put them. Last night I ate all of my veggies that were in my serving of Chicken Pot Pie. I was very proud.

Mon: Chicken Au Gratin with Salad and leftover biscuits
Tues: Leftover Chicken Pot Pie
Wed: Chili with cornbread
Thurs: Salmon burgers w/ sweet potato fries
Fri: Leftover Chili and cornbread
Sat: Veggie pizza w/ salad
Sun: Fried Rice and egg rolls

Lunch is the norm; sandwiches, apples, yogurt, string cheese and chips

Breakfast is cereal and granola bars

Dessert is Adam eating the rest of the tin of butter cookies that is leftover from Christmas.

My Church Family

I was so proud of my church family over the weekend. Sometimes my Church gets alot of flack for its size and different objections to how it is run. I've learned to look past that because alot of the people who have oppositions and issues with it don't come regularly to see how awesome and fantastic the services are, how much energy and love is placed into the ministries, and how much people learn and grow in love for God and many other things.

But before the weekend our pastor informed the church family (that is the actual members) that the church had a shortfall at the last service of the year for tithe and due to the recession they had been clinging tightly to the budget all year and due to the low weekend service attendance they didn't make their normal tithe income. They were facing coming into the New Year with a deficit. So our pastor asked everyone to pray about the possibility to help close that gap that was created.

The outcome of the letter was astounding! The church family donated over and above what was needed by about 2.5 times! The church and more importantly the members do so much for the community its always amazing to see how they are willing to give even when money is tight to continue to help others. It put a smile in my heart and more importantly I think it put a smile on Gods face to see radical generosity from the church family!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! January 2010

I can't believe it's the New Year and a New Decade! My husband and I were talking and if you think about it at the close of this decade I will be 35 years old. That's crazy! But I don't want to focus on the long term right now, just the short term this month!

I restarted my focus on getting healthier and eating better yesterday morning. Counting those points, its time consuming but it will all be worth it! I made yummy red beans and rice last night for dinner with cheese biscuits. It was so yummy and surprisingly light in points. Basically just sausage and beans are the only calories included the rest is seasoning and vegetables. I really want to focus and keep maintaining a healthy life for Adam, Isabella and myself.

I want to make sure I go to the community gym three times a week. I need to sweat, exercise makes me happy, after the fact! Never while I'm actually doing it.

Save some more money for Bella's first b-day next month. I can't wait to have her first party it will be so much fun. Start planning for it and get the invitations out by the 23rd. That will give everyone 2 weeks to respond.

Start using my new budget software. Adam and I are going to Cost Co today to pick up Quicken! I've wanted it for like a year and I am just know going to buy it. Hopefully it will work well and it will help us track our savings more.

Start Isabella's official college fund. Were talking to a financial advisor next week about a 529 plan.

Lots of little things hopefully it will all go well. I hope everyone has time and energy to accomplish their goals for the month and the year! Start small and work up to the bigger picture!