Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Messy Pajama Mama

As you can see it's been quite a while since I've posted anything to this site. I am still blogging about my messy crazy life albeit infrequently over at PJs Til Noon. I'm not ready to give up on this blog yet, but since I've got a lot of potential changes going on in my life and with the crazy (wait) CRAZY (that's better) summer we've had I thought it was better to focus on just one of my creative outlets. PJ's won the coin toss.

If you're curious at all what's going on with me, and here's where I should put some scintillating tidbit that will make you drop what you're doing and head on over to PJs quicker than a cat on a hot tin roof. As you can see I got nothing.

Except some glorious self-promotion....go to the other blog!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'll Ask You To Remind Me

Me: I love you Jilly!

Jill: I know.

Me: How do you know?

Jill: Because you keep telling me, over and over and over, and lots and lots and lots of times. And if I ever forget, I’ll ask you to remind me.

Gotta love a 5-year-old's perspective on things. I'll enjoy it while I've got it! Just like right now I'm enjoying the view of her sundress hung up in her backpack and showing her undies. I tried to get a pic but it didn't last long, you'll just have to imagine.

I'm thinking there's a very deep lesson to be learned from Jill and I's conversation but right now nothing is coming to me. I am still in 'rush' mode after looking at the fridge this morning, realizing Jared had a field trip that he needed a packed lunch for and didn't take, calling the school confirming he needed said lunch, loading up Jill, packing said lunch, putting resistant (and wet and dirty) puppies in cage, rushing 20 minutes to school, arriving just in the nick of time (children lined up, bus arriving). Only to find out from Jared he didn't need a lunch after all, he'd be back in plenty of time to eat in the cafeteria. But he'd love to have a water bottle for the ride. SIGH!

Either I'm mellowing in my old age, I'm really tired, or maybe the pain in my shoulders and thighs from Level 2 of the Shred has just dulled all other emotions because I'm actually not upset.

My only regret is I had to get out of my pjs before noon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm a Teeny Tiny Bit More Shredded Than Last Week

(Because I pick and choose what blog I feel like posting at on any given day, this story has been drug out over both of them...if you care to get the back story it's here and here and probably somewere else to but I'm too lazy to look.)

Well, I’m still at it..sort of. I have semi-completed Level 2 three times in the past week or maybe it’s more like 10 days but who’s counting? Oh that’s right, I should be. Level 2 is full of push-up/plank style exercises. All I can is say is thank God for Anita, who is the low-impact version of the work out. I’m also trying to either get a daily walk or some time on the elliptical as much as possible.

Our spring schedule is starting to wind down and that leaves us with a little more free time in the evenings. D and I have been able to take a walk the last couple of days, we even broke out into a jog yesterday. And don’t fall over people, but it was actually my idea to jog! It was NOT my idea to jog the rest of the way home and to ‘burn it’ for the last two minutes…I think I’m still breathing hard from that episode. Burn it? Really? But that’s my trainer, always trying to push me a bit further.

So all of the aforementioned blathering was meant to lead up to the big ‘weight update’ I planned to do each and every week. Now it’s been what, 15 days? Oh well, if you read this blog at all you’re very aware of the fact that I’m a slacker, sadly our title is not just a catchy turn of phrase.

Now, drum roll please. Someone finally told my scale I was sweating copious amounts (eww) to try and work my badonkadonk off. Yay! I’m down 5 lbs or as someone once told my mom, that’s 20 sticks of butter. I bet you’ll think twice before buttering your roll now, huh? Not me, a hot roll without melted margarine is like a baked potato without cheese, bacon, and ranch…and I wonder why I’m carrying around XX extra pounds. Obvious, right?

Now I’m off to reward myself for all this hard work. Actually I just watched the season premiere of Jon and Kate plus 8 so I’m off to drown my sorrows in something loaded with some sugar and hopefully a good dose of fat as well.

I think there’s a Hershey bar left from our smores that I hid somewhere….

So the 30 Day Shred (plus some elliptical workouts and some trainer sessions) are working for me!

To get some actual useable good ideas, head on over to Works For Me Wednesday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oreo Pie

I posted yesterday about how my firstborn was celebrating 14 years of life on this amazing planet.

We grilled out last night to honor the occasion and I made his absolute favorite dessert to finish the night off—Oreo Pie. It’s insanely easy (and even more so if you choose to use prepared graham cracker pie crusts) and very refreshing and yummy! A perfect summer dessert for potlucks, especially ones with kiddos!

So here’s the recipe for a double batch of Oreo Pie:
(sorry if these aren’t exact, I just dump and mix for my crusts)

15-18 graham cracker crumbs
½ c sugar
4 tbsp melted butter

OR purchase two deep dish graham cracker pie shells

2 pkg instant vanilla pudding (also good with chocolate)
3 ¾ c. milk
16 oz. Cool Whip
Package of Oreos, crushed (Josh prefers the double stuffed)

Mix crust ingredients together and press into 9 x 13 pan, pop into freezer.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together pudding and milk. When mixture begins to set up, blend in ¾ of the cool whip and ¾ of the Oreos (reserving some of each for the topping). Pour over crust.

Top with remaining cool whip and crushed cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

However, do not use all of your cool whip in the filling and try to use ‘squirt cool whip’ to write your child’s name and then put back in the freezer b/c the fridge is too full….you’ll end up with a melted cool whip all over the top and no name. BUT your kids will still scarf it down like there’s no tomorrow.

Happy Memorial Day!

This post is linked to The Grocery Cart Challenge - Recipe Swap Friday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

All Girl Weekend

My family is evenly divided between the sexes, three males, three females. This weekend the male half will be heading off to a father-son camping trip with our church. This means we have a weekend of nothing but girl time! I love this weekend (even if it means I'm a single parent, at least he takes half the kids with him).

So here’s 13 things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

1. A weekend of NO sporting events (live or televised)!

2. The basement (the boys’ domain) is clean and will stay that way all weekend!! (Until they come back with BAGS of dirty laundry on Sunday but that’s another story.)

3. A mother-daughter picnic with my daughters, mom, mother-in-law, one of my sisters, most of my sister-in-laws, and lots of fabulous church friends.

4. One-on-one time with each of my precious girls. Maybe get a head start on a Father’s Day project?

5. Making special treats with the girls for the above-mentioned picnic.

6. Did I mention my house will stay cleaner this weekend?

7. Reading in bed until the wee hour s of the morning..if I want to!

8. Knowing all my boys (even my biggest one) are enjoying a great weekend full of fun activities and some serious ‘guy time’.

9. Having the ‘big’ tv ALL to myself..no sharing the remote this weekend!

10. Watching a chick flick with my chicks! (Which just means Disney around here…the girls are 5 and 8)

11. Thankful for a husband who will do anything and everything to have a good relationship with his sons.

12. Making a menu that will please us. Shh…don’t tell but we’ll probably have at least one meal of JUST deep-fried mozzarella cheese sticks! (I’m looking for a good recipe for homemade ones.)

13. Having my tired but happy boys tell me ALL about their big weekend on Sunday afternoon. I can’t wait for the details!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

This post is linked to Thursday Thirteen and Things I Love Thursday!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We had a gorgeous Mother's Day here in Virginia! Sunshine and nice warm weather...but today we're back to RAIN!

Our schedule this week is up in the air, so this is the current 'plan'. We've got a sick little one, an appointment for a broken toe, maybe a ballgame, and the boys leaving for a father-son camping trip on Friday...busy busy!

Monday - Chicken Casserole, baked potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Hoagies, chips

Thursday - Grilled Chicken, salad (if the parts needed to repair the grill are delivered in time!)

Friday - The boys are headed camping and I'm going to see Casting Crowns in concert with a bunch of my extended family--can't wait!

For a TON of other menu ideas head on over to Org Junkie's Meal Plan Monday!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

40 Days

Ever read a bible verse that you’ve probably read/heard 100s of times and all of a sudden, it’s like you have a major light bulb moment?

I had one this morning. Tuesdays are my busiest days, I’ve really got to boogie to get myself ready, Jill to mom’s, and be at work on time! (What? You think I should get up earlier on Tuesdays? ) Plus today is Jilly Bean’s 5th birthday AND for some unknown reason I decided since I had exactly 30 minutes before I needed to leave the house it would be a good idea to do a 20 minute elliptical workout. Okay, the reason was that my trainer suggested I should but I did do it! And yes, that left me 10 minutes to shower and get out the door…which I barely did in 15 and with no makeup and wet hair.

Anyway, all of that means I read my devotions online today at church and, yes, we’re finally getting to the story. Let me set up the scripture, Elijah has just destroyed the prophets of Baal and Queen Jezebel has told him he’ll be sleeping with the fishes by this time tomorrow. So Elijah does what most of us do, he complained! He cried and whined and then he went to sleep! Then an angel wakes him up, feeds him, he goes back to sleep, eats more, and then travels for 40 days! Finally after he finishes his journey God speaks to him (and then sends him back the way he came which is a whole other story).

If you’d like to read the devotional and the actual scripture go here!

The ‘a-ha’ moment for me was I truly realized that Elijah prayed, slept, ate, slept, ate, then he traveled for 40 days and THEN, THEN God spoke to him. Over 40 days people! And I often get frustrated when God doesn’t give an answer or fix a problem in two minutes!

I know in this situation Elijah truly felt alone and his very life was being threatened, but yet God took time to send an angel to prepare food for him and he rested. Sometimes the mundane, routine things of life are the very things that keep us sane.

Currently I’m praying for direction as to how the Lord will use me when my last little chick leaves the safety of the nest for Kindergarten in the fall (the same day as my oldest chick heads to high school…sigh…). And I want an answer NOW.

But tonight I’ll do laundry, bake a birthday cake, clean the kitchen and I will do my best to patiently wait for God’s answers and His divine direction in my life.

Has it been 40 days, 40 weeks, or 40 months for you? Hang in there…the answer is coming. And for that I’m grateful today!

For more Gratituesdays head on over to Heavenly Homemakers!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pets on the Brain

As you can probably see I’ve totally got pets on the brain.

I posted over at PJs about our dabbling into veterinary science.

And now the pets have even taken over my recipes for today!

If you’re wondering why you can go here and see pics of my new babies. I’m trying to get through this blog without another pic of them.

In our frugal pet quest, I found great resources through this blog entry from Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge and this inspired me to attempt some of these recipes.

The puppies got a bath on their first full day as members of our club. However, I think this caused some skin irritation so we gave them a Lemon Bath to help with the itching. They didn’t start scratching until after the first bath, but we were concerned about fleas as well. So we gave them a Rosemary Flea Rinse.

Lemon Bath
Thinly slice one lemon, bring one pint of water almost to a boil. Remove from heat, add lemon, cover, let steep overnight. Sponge onto puppy, starting at head (but not near eyes or ears).

Rosemary Flea Rinse
Same directions as above, only add one Tbsp of rosemary.
This has significantly reduced the amount of scratching we’re seeing so hopefully it’s working!

Now here’s a couple of recipes I’m planning on trying out next week. I’m not sure yet whether this will be the most frugal option or not but I’m sure it’ll be a treat for the little pups. I think my girls will get a kick out of making homemade doggie treats!

Puppy Meatloaf

Tons of Dog Treat Recipes

For some really tasty PEOPLE food...head on over to the Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap Friday and join in!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

I love ‘spoiling’ my kids. Come on, you know you love it too! I don’t mean giving them everything they want or giving in to their every little demand. I mean those times when they feel like you’ve just given them the greatest gift of their little lives. Let me just tell you how our weekend went.

Last Saturday morning we did our weekly inventory and made sure we had:
· Four kids – check
· One lazy, overweight beagle – check
· Three fish and a blue lobster – check

By Sunday afternoon we had to add to our weekly checklist:
· One bunny
· Two puppies

So my kiddos felt like this weeked was without a doubt the best day of their whole life!

Puppies are just the absolute best. I am so in love with them. The bunny is adorable as well. But without further ado…please welcome the newest members of our family: Cupcake the Bunny and Peanut Butter and Cookie. Obviously my family has an unhealthy obsession with food.

And I’m sure the fact that we’ve just increased our family by way too many has nothing to do with me counting down the days until my life changes forever. Our baby starts kindergarten in the fall and our first baby will start high school. The same day people! I've considered starting prozac now in order to prepare. My eleven year run as being a stay at home mom with a preschooler are gone. My era of only ‘elementary age’ children is over.

Sigh. I could go on but I’ll save it for another post. I’m going to play with the puppies.

For more 'Things I Love' head on over to The Diaper Diaries.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stuffing the Colliers

We occasionally play a game after dinner we affectionately call ‘Stuffing’ and D thought tonight would be a great night to break it out. We got the idea from a parenting book we read in our Sunday School class.

Here’s the game. We pick one person (in birth order, reverse birth order, how we’re sitting) and we go around the table and everybody says one nice thing about that person. Then we go on to the next. The goal is to ‘stuff’ each person with compliments. Usually we try to keep it to a one or two sentence statement, no repeats, and no saying ‘they’re nice.’ We like for it to be as specific as possible. For example, today Josie (8) said to Josh (13) “I like it when you help me with my homework.” Nice job, Josie. Josie said she liked her dad because he said she could have a bunny (I totally called that one in advance!) I said to D, ‘thanks for calling the fridge people today, I really appreciated it.’ (He totally called that one too.)

One of my favorite parts of this game is what the kids say about Daryl and I. One day I’m going to ban the phrases ‘she cooks dinner’ or ‘makes good food’ from my list! But overall it’s a lot of fun and occasionally eye opening. Yep, we enjoy a field trip to the corn fields every now and then, people…all right, all right, we’ve bought property there (add this to my list of ever growing second homes..I still haven’t sold my Egyptian waterfront home). Mercy! I’m following some huge rabbits tonight, sorry, back on topic!

Of course, there are those moments when, well, I don’t even know how to describe it, except to just tell you. We went in birth order tonight so Jill (4) was our last stuffee. And it was Jared’s (11) turn. Jared said something nice about her being funny and then he says “I don’t mean this to be mean or anything but Jill is like Smegal from Lord of the Rings.” Okay, we all just about lost it then but his explanation was even funnier. He said “you know, how she’s got like a nice side and she’s all helpful and sweet but then sometimes she’s like ’It’s mine! My precious! It’s like she’s two different people.”

So we are all hee-hawing out loud at this! And of course Jill, who craves the spotlight anyway, just loved it that Jared was talking about her, she didn’t care. Thankfully she doesn’t know who Smegal is or she’d probably have thrown her plate at his head.

So on this Tuesday, I am grateful for my family and for memories made around the dinner table and if I get my nerve up and am not embarrassed by my children's weirdness I will link this post to Gratitude Tuesdays at Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday

How’s your Monday starting off? Sigh. Well, it’s a rainy Monday here in Va. We need rain, or so my hubby and the weatherman tells me. My Monday started off wrong. Well, actually yesterday is when it started, but today it just got worse. Instead of a Monday Movie Quote, you’re getting my Manic Monday Madness.

Yesterday I was heading into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee when I heard this strange humming noise. I kinda looked around but in my pre-coffee fog I thought it might be my hearing. Honestly, first my eyes are ‘going’ and my hearing has never been the best….But back to the story, D comes in and says the fridge is making a weird noise. Great. Fabulous. Super Terrific! Did I say any of these things? Nope, not one of them. Well, I may have but if I did it was with a huge dose of saracasm.

So I spent yesterday afternoon lugging foodstuff from the 5-year-old *new* fridge to the 15-year-old basement fridge (thank goodness old Betsy is still chugging). The new fridge, which was bought so we could have more space, has now seen the repair man four times (not including repeat visits diagnois/repair). My repair man said basically ‘you’ve got a stupid lemon’. Well, those weren’t his words but that’s what he meant! Honestly he said I’ve never seen one refrigerator have so many problems.

Mr. Repair Man pulled out the fridge (wow, it’s really clean back there now—one good thing) and said ….”the compressor is gone, you’re looking at spending at least $600.” Boy he just likes to keep the good news coming, huh? Oh it gets better, “your warranty expired about a month ago.”

I’m about two seconds from auto shutdown at this point. He suggests we call the manufacturer and see if there’s anything they’re willing to do, but he wasn’t hopeful. I realize I am in no mental state to try and coerce someone into ‘understanding’ what we’ve been through. I’m thinking my crying and explaining I wouldn’t have bought the kids new Easter outfits if I’d known the fridge was going to breakdown would make any headway with anyone. So I make a phone call to hubby who is not really pleased that I (who am at home) don’t want to call. I try to make it sound good, like you’re the most persistent and persuasive one. But he’s not buying it, he knows I just don’t like dealing with this stuff.

I shot a quick email to my prayer partner and ten minutes later we have an acceptable answer. The company is paying for the part and we’re paying labor, should take the bill down closer to $200. More manageable. Especially when I was already starting to price new fridges…yikes!

At least the fridge got a complete and total clean up. If all goes as planned, it may be up and running by Wednesday or Thursday…until then I’ll be running up and down the stairs every time I need a snack. And if you're thinking that'll make me think twice before getting a snack...I'm way ahead of you, I'm just doubling up while I'm down there.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recipe Swap Friday

I meant to post this a week or so ago when this was actually on my meal plan. These are a family favorite but who doesn't love deep-fried, breaded chicken strips?

Chicken Fingers

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
1 c. buttermilk
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying

Cut chicken into small pieces or strips; place in large Ziploc bag. Combine egg, milk, and garlic powder; pour over chicken. Seal and refrigerate 2-4 hours. In another large resealable bag, combine flour, bread crumbs, salt, and baking powder (I also add a little Italian seasoning if my bread crumbs were plain). Heat oil in skillet to 375. Drain chicken, place a few pieces at a time in the flour mixture and shake to coat. Fry in small batches for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy the hot, steamy, delicious goodness! And if your nieces come for a visit one night when you've made these, they will ask you for them for the rest of your life. Trust me on this one.

For more delicious and practical home cooking recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap Friday!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

Feast your eyes upon these little ice cream filled cones of happiness. Pure joy. I bought a pack of these delicious, lower fat, lower calorie Skinny Cow treats and they are so fabulous. There were four in the box, I ate three. I did share one with D. But that's it, only one.

These babies have chocolate ice cream inside a chocolate lined cone with fudge, oh yeah, fudge on top all for around 150 calories and only 3 grams of fat.

As you can see by the empty wrapper I left in the photo, I scrarfed down every little morsel. Every single drop of chocolate was licked from the wrapper. Well, if there had been chocolate on the paper I would have licked it, that's how good they are.

Sadly they are all gone, but wait! This was the special club pack from Sam's and there's two other kinds. I'll report later on the vanilla cones with caramel....

For more Things I Love Thursday head on over to The Diaper Diaries.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Swapping Buns

I mentioned yesterday we’re enjoying spring break this week at the Messy Manor House. Last night we had some errands to run so we treated ourselves to dinner out at a local hamburger place. They serve the tastiest burgers and our favorite part is one basket of fries ($3.50) feeds our whole family of 6!

I’m a bit of a plain jane when it comes to my burger condiments. I don’t like mustard or mayo, and I’ll usually skip the onions too. I always remember to ask for no mayo, but last night forgot this restaurant puts mustard on their burgers. Lots of mustard. I mean a true heaping pile. So I scraped what I could off the bottom bun (applied more ketchup) and started chowing. I could still taste it but being the hamburgler that I am, a little distaste wasn’t going to deter me. It diminished my enjoyment but not my enthusiasm.

My darling hubby noticed my dilemma and asked me what I was doing. (Okay, I was probably embarrassing him with all my scraping and wiping w/ the napkins --making a serious mess.) When I told him I forgot to ask for no mustard, he promptly took his top bun from his burger and offered to switch with me. I didn’t ask. He offered. I even got an extra dose of cheese from his bun--bonus points!

So today I am grateful for my hubby. He knows me, understands me (as much as any human being can), and wants me to be happy. Even if making me happy is doing something so simple as swapping my gross mustard-soaked bun for his delicious sticky-cheese one.

And in case you’re wondering the trainer (aka hubby) forced a Bowflex AND two elliptical workouts on me after our greasy (but oh so yummy) dinner. Okay maybe forced is too strong of a word, he encouraged me, no I think he ordered me, is that any better? Either way I tried to work off my bacon-cheeseburger, two Pepsi’s, and a large quantify of fries. Did I mention they make killer homemade onion rings too?

This post is linked at Gratitude Tuesday and reposted here.

Monday, April 6, 2009


We're enjoying Spring Break this week..so there is NO menu plan! Even Messy Moms deserve a spring break.

We had dinner out at a local restaurant tonight-woo hoo! Hubby is gone for the next two nights and Friday is our Easter Family Fun at church! So I may have to cook on Thursday but it'll definitely be pizza or something quick and easy. We're looking forward to a great week.

Hope you have a blessed week and are able to truly enjoy the spirit and awesomeness of this Resurrection Week!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taco Leftovers

We had leftover taco filling but no shells. My first thought was to do a taco calzone type thing. So I made a batch of pizza dough and started rolling it out, and then inspiration struck or maybe it was just laziness? Why would I go to the extra trouble of making individual bundles when I could just make a pizza?

I did and it was yummy. My dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas, so with the other half I made cinnamon twists from a recipe my sister-in-law suggested. I think making dessert sometimes helps leftovers not be so boring!

Here's my recipe (originally found at Money Saving Mom):

Pizza Dough
1 TBSP yeast
1 c. warm water
2 TBSP oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 c flour

Mix yeast and water, add other ingredients and knead for five minutes. Roll out half of the dough and form to pizza pan. Add taco-seasoned ground beef and shredded cheddar cheese. I cut off the excess dough and put it on top for a little extra crunchy. Yummy! The kids ate it up.

But their favorite were the cinnamon twists:

Cinnamon Twists
Cinnamon (to your taste..we like a lot!)
1/2 c. sugar
melted butter

Roll out remaining dough. The recipe said to cut the dough in strips, then brush each strip with butter, dip in cinnamon and sugar mixture, then place on greased cookie sheet, twisting from opposite ends.

Again being lazy, I rolled mine out, brushed with butter, sprinkled w/ cinnamon sugar, THEN I cut into strips and popped into a 375 oven for about 10 minutes. When they came out I once again brushed with butter and gave a second dose of cinnamony goodness. I think it cut down on the mess of brushing/dipping each strip on my counter. Maybe, maybe not.

It was a quick and easy dessert...nothing like my cinnamon roll recipe but WAY quicker! Here's a pic on the Winnie-the-Pooh plate that is approaching 13 this year...

This recipe links to the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap Friday!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Bible and a Massage

Have you ever tried to read the entire bible in a year? I have. Tried that is. So far I have not met with success…ever. I don’t think I’ve even really come close. I think it’s a major accomplishment when I can say I’ve actually read a scripture for seven days in a row (because reciting our theme verse in children’s church on Sunday counts, right? Just say yes so we can move on.).

Well once again I have set this lofty goal for myself. D sets this goal almost every year and accomplishes it every single stinking time. I am proud of him but as I’ve mentioned before he is a very disciplined person. If he decides he’s going to follow a reading plan, he does, it’s just that simple for him. I don’t think we need to bring up all my other failed attempts at discipline (dieting, keeping the house clean, not letting the laundry take over the house…sigh).

Since my busy days are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I usually try to catch up on housework and my daily disciplines on the other days. One of my favorite things to do is to kick back with my bible, a cup of coffee, my fabulous microfiber blanket (I really love that thing but that’ll have to be another day’s story), and D’s perfect Christmas gift from his perfect wife. Yes, I mean me. He’s not married to anybody else that would be so wrong.

I really try to treat him at Christmas because he asks for so little during the year, he really is almost perfection. I’m not even exaggerating. (I hope my sister-in-law is reading this, she’ll be gagging right now. Hi Paula!) So one of his gifts this year was this massage insert. It . is. Amazing. It does shiatsu and rolling massage, you can change the width of the rollers, you can do lower, upper, and my favorite is you can add some heat..oh yeah.

Since today is catch up day (I am currently only 23 chapters behind in the OT and I’ve honestly lost cost in the NT), I spent 30 minutes getting relaxed in the back and Getting My Head in the Word. That just reminded me of a skit our church kids did last weekend based off of this video. It was SO cute!!! I know this is a scattered topic and I apologize but I’ve been off the blog for a while so I’m trying to squeeze everything in.

So now I’m off to the torture machine… I mean elliptical so I can truthfully answer my trainer when he asks me today whether or not I worked out. If you’d like to see more things people love, head on over to Diaper Diaries!

This post is being reprinted at my other blog..cause I'm lazy!

And if you're interested I follow..er..attempt to follow the reading plan in Our Daily Bread devotionals

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday Morning! We’re ready for April but no more showers! It feels like it’s rained for the last month around here. This week baseball season starts for Jared and for the rest of us too. I am NOT a sports fan, unless my kids are playing. I truly enjoy watching them excel in things I could only dream of doing :0). Truly, not an athletic bone in my body, now if there was a competition for reading, tv watching, cookie baking, or blog reading (snort--notice I said reading NOT writing).

Here’s the proposed menu for the Messy Manor this week:

Monday – Hubby’s out of town – Hoagie Night!
Tuesday – Gymnastics and baseball….guess we’re skipping prayer meeting again this week…another sandwich night!
Wednesday – Taco Pockets and first baseball game of season!
Thursday – Crispy Orange Chicken (if I’m feeling bold)
Friday – Pizza …Second ballgame of the season!
Saturday – Children’s Board Meeting--Guests for dinner!
Chicken Strips (my favorite recipe, I’ll post it this week), baked potato and salad bar

For more great meal ideas, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Messy Wordless Wednesday

Yum Fudgesicles!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

The kids are out of school for teacher workday so nothing is getting done around here! I 'lost' the oldest for the night, but gained four more, no, wait we're up to five extras and there's another due any moment. So there will be as many as 10 children running around this house...craziness. Thank God it's not raining...

There's a chicken in the crockpot and I'm trying to figure out the snacks for the week. I'd really like to skip my grocery trip this week considering I am WAY, WAY over budget. I couldn't believe it when I logged the numbers in. I spent what? But as usual with a house overflowing with children we're out of almost everything!

So here's what our menu for the week:

Monday - Crockpot Chicken (you'll see this a lot more often, everybody loves it and I scored 8 chicks @ .66/lb--boo-yah!)

Tuesday - This is up in the air...

Wednesday - Pigs in Blanket & Tots!

Thursday - Chicken Casserole (oldest's fave meal)

Friday - Pizza (probably) before hitting the road--our kids ministry is participating in a state wide 'talent showcase'...fun times!

If you'd like to see more great menu plans, check out Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

It's finally looking more like spring in Central Virginia. I hope it stays that way! Have a great week!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Cookie Jar Recipe

Mmm…chocolate and peanut butter cookies, hot and gooey from the oven, a nice cold glass of milk, are you drooling yet? To loosely quote Yo Gabba Gabba this definitely causes a party in my tummy!

This is my favorite basic cookie recipe. “The Cookie Jar Recipe” comes from a state-wide cookbook our church published back in ’96. As you can see from the pic, this recipe has been used and abused many times in my household. So today, Nellie Garrett of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, I salute you! Your cookies totally rock!

1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 c. (2 sticks) butter/margarine
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Variation Ingedients:
½ c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. chocolate chips

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, add eggs, vanilla, peanut butter. Mix flour, soda and salt, add to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Our other favorite variation is to add ½ c. cocoa powder to the flour mixture and then use 2 cups of peanut butter chips.

Happy Cookie Baking! Check out The Grocery Cart Challenge’s Recipe Swap.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Golf Cart Fun

We have been saving/searching for a golf cart for about a year now, and this weekend we found 'the one.' We set a budget, researched, revised budget, researched, waited, looked, test drove, and finally made the purchase.

The Messes are ecstatic, we've never had anything simliar so its pretty exciting. We're hoping it will help the two older messes in their all-too-quickly-coming journey to becoming licensed drivers. It also will save a lot of wear and tear on the 'burban this summer. We make LOTs of short trips to the bus stop, the grandparents, to take trash, and possibly the most important--my brother-in-law's pool!

So here's a picture of hubby, girls, and niece enjoying the sunny afternoon with a leisurely ride around the yard. I title this "Golf Cart Fun."

Let's fast forward a bit to the boys and their dad taking the cart for a joyride over to the grandparents. Jared is driving with dad right beside him. Josh is on the backseat. Josh (remember he's 13 and his brain doesn't really work) decides to stand up and 'let go.' Hubby said he heard a funny noise,turned around, and Josh is HANGING ON to the golf cart being drug down the dirt road. Did I mention his brain doesn't work?

Now here's a picture of dirt road rash, I title this "Not Golf Cart Fun":

Sigh...boys. He's fine and, yes, we're thankful it wasn't worse, and he now has a new appreciation for sitting down while riding a golf cart.

Lesson learned? Considering he's a 13-year-old boy..I seriously doubt it. He spent the entire night at church bragging about his 'battle scars' and showing everyone, the goofball was so proud.

PS - I definitely am obsessed with blogging, I had to have a pic before we even cleaned him up and he was like 'you're going blog this aren't you?' 'What? Me expose your goofiness to the whole world? Of course I am!'

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday

In my ever-evolving quest to lower my grocery budget, I have begun baking almost all of our snack foods. The easiest and yummiest is definitely cookies! We like ours soft and gooey. The Messes current favorite is a peanut buttery cookie w/ chocolate chips (I’ll try and post that on Friday).

So in order to save my aching and sticky hands I decided I MUST have a cookie scoop. I searched my Target high and low, no cookie scoop! I searched my grocery stores, no cookie scoop! I almost broke down and bought one from Amazon but then I remembered our Tuesday Morning. Do you have one of these near you? Our store has a great selection of kitchen gadgets. I’m thankful I made it out of there for under $20. It was dicey for a while I almost lost control quite a few times. Many items were picked up, thoughtfully considered, and painfully put back on the shelf. I will be back for you lovely Calphalon loaf pans. I dream of perfect loaves of crusty fresh bread. (Why is crusty okay to describe bread but otherwise evokes disgust? Just a thought.)

And there she was. There were several colors but oh turquoise-y beauty, you had me at $4.99.

And so on Monday I scooped out perfect little balls of yummy goodness in no time flat. It took me a few tries to figure out how she liked to be handled, but once I did we made dozens of cookies together and it was beautiful!

So my cookie scoop works for me!

For more great Works for Me Wednesday posts, head over to We Are That Family.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! We had a very fun weekend here at the Messy Manor House. We’ve been saving up for a golf cart and this weekend we found a good deal! The kids are so excited and will be even more so when hubby brings it home today. I’ll try and post some pics this week. Hopefully they won’t be of the damage I inflict on the trees in our driveway. I’m praying I don’t embarrass myself driving around the ‘hood. I ain’t even joking...

So here’s our menu for this week:

Monday – Pork Tenderloin
(still debating between Honey-Hosin recipe and old fashioned roasted w/ veggies)

Tuesday – Leftovers J (gymnastics and baseball practice)

Wednesday – Homemade pizza

Thursday – Lasagna

Friday – Birthday Party/Dinner @ Church Yay!

Here’s the goals for today’s Bake-O-Rama:
Fill up the cookie jar
Rice krispy treats
Granola bars
Refrigerator rolls

Hope you all have a fabulous and blessed week!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Love Indestructible Dishes

I have a split personality. My brain and pocketbook encourage me in my frugalness however my inner shopaholic screams for me to spend limitlessly. I balance a life of couponing and ‘reduce and reuse’ with strong desires for clothes for my kids and household items of any kind.

We’ve been in our house for almost 16 years now and a lot has changed and even more has stayed the same. Our kitchen had one paint job seven years ago—that’s it. We still eat off the same Corelle dishes we were given when we married--hope you can see below the pizza. Yep... peach and green hearts y’all. Can you say 90s? So my heart’s desire is to redecorate the kitchen and my bedroom (which has not even received a paint job during that time). My budget’s desire is to save to pay cash for a summer beach vacation and a golf cart (l’ll share why we *need* this some other day—we’re not golfers).

So today I spent too much time gazing adoringly at new Corelle patterns. Corelle is almost indestructible, in 17 years I think we’ve lost one bowl and one saucer. Do you know how often my children have ‘tossed’ their plates in the sink? It’s nothing short of a miracle really. Over at Corelle they have a feature called “What’s your Plate-O-Scope”? You choose a plate ‘sign’ and it gives you a description. I picked the red paisley..oh be still my heart! I have a secret passion for red (okay considering the boys’ bathroom walls maybe it’s not a secret). The paisley reminds me of the damask print I’m coveting for my bedroom.

Anyway, my Plate-O-Scope says I am practical (mostly) but a romantic at heart (um, maybe, sometimes). You’re as comfortable in jeans as a crepe skirt (wrong-o, jeans all the way). But the dead-on phrase: You believe Scarlett did end up with Rhett. Oh I so do! I totally heart that movie, it brings back memories of all night movie fests with my best friend in high school. This is odd considering I have a strong aversion to movies that don’t end well. I like them to tie up any loose ends AND give me a happily ever after last scene.

Back to the dishes, I have 3 sets of my country hearts, so a comparative amount of the paisley would be a grand total of $210. Oh be still my heart again but this time not in joy. My Corelle is in excellent shape. It has not faded, it has not chipped, it’s still so wonderfully useable, I bet the stuff could have another 20 years of life in it! Actually I know it would because my mom is still using her 1970’s “Gold Butterfly” set. Even though I believe Corelle is and would be worth every single penny I would spend on it, I’m not buying today.

Today my frugal, beach-loving backside has won! Don’t worry kids, mama isn’t spending your vacation money, not today anyway.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Works For Me Today

What worked for me yesterday? Will it work again today or tomorrow or next year? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But one trick that always, always works for me: going with the flow. Or as I like to say: ‘be fluid.’ One year at church camp the director continually used that phrase--be fluid. And yeah, it is a little gross if you take it there, but I’m NOT taking it there. If you did, shame on you, get back to the point of this post.

In the world of youth camp being fluid could mean many things. If it rained or activities weren’t running on a perfectly tight schedule, we needed to be fluid. We—as staff—needed to be fluid, change, adapt, rework the situation. If a child pooped their pants we were hoping it wasn’t…sorry I said I wouldn’t take it there.

Ahh life..you like to add some wave action every now and then don’t you? Some days we’re ready to Hang 10 on anything that comes our way. Other days we’re at the beach, picking up a sea shell one minute and knocked flat on our tushies by the big Kahuna the next. I don't know about you but I'm a planner and when my best laid plans go awry (no matter how small) I sometimes like to throw a hissy fit or even a pout party. But I know the best thing to do is to become more fluid.

So I say to you today….be fluid! Like water, baby, ebb and flow, be changeable, adapt, even if you can’t love the moment, you still wanna live it!

I (God) am with you and will keep you wherever you go.

Genesis 28:15

For more great tips, make sure you head over to Works For Me Wednesday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here’s what we’re dishing up at the Messy Manor House this week. Our Tuesdays have gotten even busier with the addition of baseball practice. So our Tuesdays will be leftovers, if they’re lucky, or just sandwiches or, all right, I’ll admit it, we may even eat cereal or frozen food on these nights!

Monday – Tacos/Bean Burritos (I’ve started making my own refried beans and hubby absolutely LOVES ‘em!)
Tuesday – Leftovers
Wednesday – Homemade Pizza
Thursday - Teriyaki Chicken/Oriental Chicken Wraps
Friday - Hubby’s working late so another potluck night (yay me!)

For TONS of awesome menu plan ideas, check out Org Junkie’s Meal Plan Monday.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Ungrateful Cinnamon Rolls

Strange title? It was born out of my bitter experience. This is the second time I’ve made these unbelievably soft, sweet, yummy, gooey buns of perfection. Seriously they are all that and a bag of chips (cheddar and sour cream Lays, please).

I thought since we were just having pizza (the lack of a menu plan has so kicked my butt this week), I would actually make dessert/evening snack. I then thought about how my family absolutely demolished the last batch of these cinnamon rolls. So I began the process expecting my adoring family to fall at my feet and adoringly lavish their praise on the culinary gift I was bestowing upon them. The children were excited and couldn’t wait for them to be done and, yes, they fell upon them like wild beasts who hadn’t eaten in weeks. Satisfying to the cook’s ego? Oh yeah.

Not so much so the hubby. “You’re making what? Why?” “Um, I thought you liked them?” “I do, way too much! I thought we were eating better.” So I explained I was planning to freeze some and send a few to his brother (next door neighbor). This seemed to mollify him somewhat, I think it was all a pretense anyway.

So I sent over four giant gorgeous cinnamon rolls, still warm from the oven, to my sister-in-law. Within five minutes, my phone rings. My sister-in-law is not happy. “How dare you send over homemade rolls still hot from the oven? Don’t you know I’m on a diet? Do you know that’s the first bite of real sugar I’ve had in two months? You have caused me to fall off the wagon.” Sigh… I was so upset by all the anger I had to eat another roll to make myself feel better. (I may have taken some artistic license with this conversation, she actually did say those things but she was only mildly irritated at me and she still loves me so we’re okay.)

I have done my job and warned you about the dangerousness of this recipe, please undertake this at your own risk and with the knowledge you could single-handedly crush diet plans everywhere (but they are SO worth it). You MUST try them. The recipe is a little long but it's really not complicated.

For more great recipes, visit The Grocery Cart's Recipe Swap!

The Ungrateful Cinnamon Rolls

½ c water
2 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1 - (3 ½ oz) package vanilla pudding
½ c unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
7-8 cups bread flour

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (I omit the cream cheese)
8 oz cream cheese
½ c. butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c. confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp milk

1. In a small bowl, hand whisk the water and the yeast and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar.
2. In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, prepare pudding according to package directions.
3. Add butter, eggs, salt and mix well.
4. Add yeast mixture.
5. Blend and gradually add the flour, kneading on slowest speed of mixer, until dough is smooth (8 to 10 minutes).
6. Insert the bowl into a large plastic bag and let dough rise until doubled (45-60 minutes).
7. Gentle deflate dough in the bowl and shape into a ball, and let rise again.
8. Gently turn out onto a lightly floured board.
9. Then roll out on floured board to approximately 30" x 20".
10. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface.
11. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and the cinnamon.
12. Sprinkle over top.
13. Roll up very tightly.
14. With knife, put a notch every 2".
15. Cut rolls with dental floss or a sharp knife. (knife works fine!)
16. Place rolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet (2 inches apart).
17. Lightly press down on each roll.
18. Cover and let rise until doubled.
19. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
20. Remove rolls when they start to turn golden.
21. For Cream Cheese Frosting, combine all ingredients with a whisk, in a medium bowl, until smooth and soft. Frost buns while they are still warm.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Summer Memories

I love winter, I really love me some snow and have spent many an hour whining about our lack of white fluffy powder this year and last year and...you get the point.

But today I put my belly-aching behind me and instead look ahead to the warmth and outdoor fun only summer can bring to us. In the spirit of summer, I give you one of my favorite day's from Summer '08...the Messes at Sherando Lake. This was one of those last minute, fill-in trips. We basically went to kill time between two baseball games. I think my family would agree, it easily makes it into our Top 10 day trips...it could even be a contender for first.

What summer activity are you and your family looking forward to the most?

Monday, March 2, 2009

One of Those Days...

Today we had this:

Which meant no school for the Messes.

So by late afternoon, I needed this:

Due to much frenzied hunting for snow boots, gloves, and hats and then repeated clean-up of same items, I have not yet made a menu plan this week. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow but I know it'll be too late to add to the fun at Menu Plan Monday. So instead here's the recipe for the aforementioned much-loved drink of choice.
(Note the pic is of a previous cup of yummy goodness and it's sitting on an old menu plan...isn't it ironic, don't ya think, a little too ironic...)

It's complicated and involved but so worth it. Just kidding! Plain old hot chocolate with a liberal dose of vanilla caramel creamer and a heaping dollop of cool whip on top!

Actually the microwave just dinged and I like my hot chocolate hot...go check out some actual menu plans at Org Junkies Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm a Cry Baby!

I have a love/hate relationship with my tears.

I hate it when I tear up at insignificant things like commercials or even more serious shows, articles, or the back of a cereal box (I kid about the last one). At least once a week I am fighting back tears during the morning devotions with my kiddos—these are children’s stories, people, and I can’t even get through them without taking a breather. I am also a sympathy crier, if anyone is shedding a single tear, they can count on me to join in. You know ‘weep with those who weep’, I get an A+ on that test!

Due to my uncontrollable tear ducts, I often skip shows I know will start the water-works. I pretty much avoid Lifetime at all costs. However, sometimes I just can’t resist which brings me back to the love/hate part of my relationship. I love stories of hope, joy, and triumph of the human spirit and yet I’m also drawn to stories of great tragedy. Maybe because the greatest joy often follows the greatest tragedy?

I get my overactive tears naturally, from a long line of criers: grandma, mom, aunts, and sisters, we all boo-hoo at the drop of a tissue. I will never forget sitting at my grandma’s table sharing about the death of my friend’s grandparent. The tears began to well up, the lump in my throat grew larger, and I had to stop. I remember being so embarrassed and saying, “I hate it when I do this!”

And then my darling Aunt Ruby (she’s my favorite, I hope the other 10 never read this but just in case I love you all!) said to me, ‘don’t ever be ashamed of being compassionate.’ That one statement changed my attitude toward my tears. I, even as a 14 year old girl, saw them as weakness. I felt I had a character flaw, I was a cry baby! But Ruby gave them a name, she called them compassion. Compassion is not a weak flaw it is a kind, sympathetic, caring character strength. One for which I am grateful God has chosen to use as part of my makeup, messy though it may be. Thanks Aunt Ruby!

Lamentations 3:22 – Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Double the Chocolate Muffins!

I've been on the hunt for a while for a good muffin recipe. Something that could double as a breakfast and lunch-packable treat.

Well I've found a contender. Let me introduce you to the Double the Chocolate Muffins. I'm guessing since most of the chocolate flavor comes from cocoa powder it's not too much of a nutrition nightmare! The recipe said it would make 12 muffins, but I got 24 mini muffins and 11 regular out of my batch.

Double the Chocolate Muffins

1 3/4 c. AP flour

1/2 c. cocoa powder, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs

3/4 c milk

1/2 c. veg. oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare muffin pan.

In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt.

In larger bowl, whisk together 1 c. of sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until combined, fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into pan. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.*

Bake for 10-12 minutes for minis, 18-22 for regular size.

*I have a great pic of Jilly sprinkling...okay..dousing the muffins with sugar but when I realized she was only wearing her undies I thought I better not post pics of mostly-naked children!

Instead here's one of her in a "Jilly-Bean Original" design. I hope her creativity shows up in other places because her color/pattern matching skills have not yet developed.

For more great recipes check out The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Love a Steal!

Have I mentioned I love a good deal? And even better are those deals that really feel like steals. And I’m not suggesting you ever in any way, shape, or form even attempt to break the Eighth Commandment! It's just kind of fun to almost feel like you are, you know what I mean? The rush of a good deal...whew..it's a total adrenaline rush for me. I know, sad huh?

So this past Christmas when I received an email inviting me to and was invited to participate in the Amazon Customer Vote deals, I thought, why not? Basically all I had to do was vote on different scenarios of three ‘rock-bottom bargains’. Then if I was picked I would get a chance to ‘possibly’ get one of the limited number of bargains. Huh? I know I was confused too, I just did what the emails told me. I was not really surprised when I got an email inviting me to participate in Deal #1. (I figured everybody got an ‘invitation’…ooh aren’t I special? Not.)

There was a countdown to the deal going live and I watched it like a hawk with my fingers hovering over the keyboard. But totally thinking I had no chance, especially with my stinking dial-up internet (which now thankfully is gone). But miracle of miracles I actually was able to purchase one of the only 500 bargains available. I wouldn’t believe there was only a limited # except I read comments afterwards where other suckers, I mean, unfortunate souls, got an invite but did NOT actually get to purchase the lovely bargain.

Have I whetted your appetite? Are you ready? My boys got a fabulous and very unexpected Christmas gift this year. They received a Playstation 3 with controller, DVD remote, Little Big Planet game, and the trilogy of Pirates of the Caribbean Blu-Ray. All for the bargain basement price of $199.99. I kid you not. This package retailed for somewhere in the neighborhood of $500. That’s right, it was at least a $300 savings!!!

So that’s my very best bargain of 2009. Well, I should say it’s my biggest ‘savings’ on a single item, even if that item is a totally unnecessary, mind-mushing video game system. My boys thought we totally rocked and isn’t that what giving to your kids is all about? Just kidding...well...sort of!

Selfish Confession Alert: I was still very disappointed I didn’t get picked for another deal. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer being sold for the disgustingly low price of $79.99. And, yes, my fabulous messes, I would have traded your Christmas joy for that fabulous appliance in a half a heartbeat…Sorry boys!

Wanna see what others are gushing about? Head on over to the Things I love Thursday link up at The Diaper Diaries!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It’s a pretty busy week here at the Messy Manor Home. Hopefully it’s going to be a very fun kind of busy though! Our children’s ministry is sponsoring a Girls Tea Party on Saturday afternoon. So I have to shop for the big event and spend some extra time at church this week getting our glam on. I think it’s going to be a fabulous fun event, the girls are being ‘introduced’ and given a chance to ‘walk the red carpet.’ I can’t wait to see my two sweet Messes all dolled up and sipping punch. What, there’s no tea at our tea party? Nope, not a drop!

As far as our very un-interesting meal plan for this week, I am trying to NOT grocery shop until Friday. Just a milk and bread run so we can make breakfast and pack lunch. I am hoping to stretch the pantry/freezer items until I can make a big trip on Friday!

Now, I think un-interesting might be a little harsh. I tried The Happy Housewife’s crockpot chicken recipe a couple weeks ago and my family scarfed it. And I apologize I can't find a link for the recipe (I think she had guest posted on another blog) but basically put a whole chicken in the crockpot, season with salt, pepper, and I use a garlic-herb mix from Sam's. Put on low for 8 hours and that's it! It’s really moist, yummy chicken and so cheap! I was a little skeptical b/c hubby doesn’t like rotisserie chicken, but this is so tender and literally oozing flavor—yum-o! And having leftovers for a second dish –BONUS!

Monday – Crockpot Chicken
Tuesday – BBQ Chicken Sammies, Homemade Buns
Wednesday – Leftovers
Thursday - Beef Tips w/ brown gravy
Friday - Homemade Pizza for the Mess Makers (if I make it to the grocery store…we’re out of cheese!)

For TONS of awesome menu plan ideas, check out Org Junkie’s Meal Plan Monday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm Not a Morning Person

I really do love to cook breakfast but so far the battle between sleeping later and getting up early and cooking is not going so well. Ha! Who am I kidding? There’s no battle, I squeeze every single sleepy minute I can each and every morning!

I am embarrassed to admit my school children eat a cold or previously frozen meal six out of seven mornings. And the only reason they get one morning is because my in-laws make breakfast for our entire clan on Saturdays. And I mean full scale breakfast—bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, cinnamon rolls—yep, it’s a small price to pay for those 7 a.m. wake up calls every single Saturday.

However, I do love to make breakfast recipes. I usually get to flex my culinary muscles for the occasional brunch and our annual Christmas breakfast for the Collier clan. (And, yes, we really do qualify as a clan. My husband is Child #7 of 8, so there’s a ton of us. Okay more like 52, I think.)

The Happy Housewife hosted a hot breakfast challenge and I really, really wanted to participate but um.. well I did mention I’m not much of a morning cook? Example, this morning the youngest and I had bacon and eggs at 10 a.m., now there’s a good time for breakfast!

So here’s my husband’s favorite breakfast quiche. I honestly do have a goal of finding recipes I’ll be able to make ahead and freeze. At least then I can serve a healthier-homemade version of those ‘previously frozen’ meals.


5 large eggs
½ c. milk
3 c. frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1/3 c. onions, finely chopped
1½ c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
4 – 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled or ½ c. real bacon bits
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat together eggs and milk in medium bowl, stir in potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Stir in one cup of the cheese and half of the bacon. Pour into a greased 9” pie plate. Bake 25-30 minutes or until center is set (I usually have to bake mine 35-40 minutes). Sprinkle remaining bacon and ½ c. cheese over top, continue baking 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

For more great recipes head over to The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

$5 or $10 Off HSM 3 - **UPDATED**

Go here and you can get a coupon for $5 off DVD, $10 off Blu-Ray.

And here's a $5 mail in rebate if you purchase any combo of 2 Hillshire Farms Deli Select lunchmeats or Sara Lee Smooth & Soft bread. Go Meat!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Heart Recipezaar and DSL!

How’s that for an odd couple? But it’s true and today they both saved me from certain dinner disaster. I was diligently following my Menu Plan and working on a yummy pancake supper. Which everybody complained about: ‘why can’t I just have a sandwich,’ ‘breakfast is gross for dinner’—but yet every one of them managed to lick their plate clean!

So back to me flipping a batch of my BFF’s Best Ever Pancakes and, yes, they really are the best ever, you must, must try them! We had plain, chocolate chip, and brown-sugar-cinnamon pancakes. In the words of Rachel Ray—DELISH! Another quick tasty tidbit, my favorite variation is to add brown sugar, mashed banana, and toasted pecans…oh…my…goodness.

Back to our wonderful breakfast supper buffet, I got the butter from the fridge, the new blackberry syrup, and then on to the cabinet to get the ...NOOOOO!!! The bottle of pancake syrup had nothing but the tiniest, itty bitty threads in the bottom of the bottle. Now my Messes are total Sugar Addicts, and if I serve pancakes with no syrup I might as well put on the riot gear, cause flapjacks will be flying. That might be a tad bit harsh seeing as they’ve never really thrown their food at me, except maybe when they were babies.

Anyway, since they were already not happy about the backwards menu, I knew I had to do something and quick! I dashed over to the laptop (what? Don’t you ever dash?), straight to Recipezaar, typed in pancake syrup. Voila, in just a couple of seconds I had an easy recipe in my hot little hands. I whipped up this syrup while the kids were making their plates and grabbing drinks. Just three minutes to boil, a minute or two to cool and we were in business! It was easy, quick, and pretty darn tasty, too. Who knew syrup was so stinkin’ easy? I may never buy another bottle again!

Now let’s move on to the second recipient of my love fest…DSL. Oh DSL, DSL, how I love thee, let me count the ways (and yes that’s pretty much the only Shakespeare reference I have—Oops! I just searched that phrase and it’s from Browning..my apologies for showing my literary ignorance).

We live in the boonies and have spent the last 10 years with dial-up (grrr) internet service. Go ahead and commiserate with me, it’s horrid and I hate dial up with a white hot passion. I still remember clearly that clear, cold day in the fall, October I believe it was, when my phone company called and said they were finally offering ‘extended reach DSL’ in my area. This began a long and, yes, even painful process filled with highs and lows and many missed appointments and quite a bit of frustration. Finally the day came, a wonderful glorious Tuesday in February and the most wonderful man in the whole universe came to my house and gave the greatest techno gift I’ve ever been given.

Not only did he bring high-speed world wide web access without tying up my phone line, he also gave me the ability to access recipes and blogs (and shop!!!) from any room in my house. Wireless, wireless, oh how I love thee wireless (Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sonnets from the Portuguese it really is gorgeous and short, go read it!).

So even though my installer was probably over 60, completely gray, and smelled of stale cigarette smoke, he is now my new stud muffin. I’m sorry Johnny Depp I have betrayed thee.

(P.S. I just found the Things I Love Thursday carnival at Diaper Diaries...and being the shameless self-promoter that I am, I tossed this post into the mix.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday - Produce Bags

My mom shared a couple of green produce bags with me a couple of weeks ago. I had seen them, but I’m always a little leery of buying ‘as seen on TV’ items. My cousin, who works at a grocery store, shared this tip with mom and said his customers swear by them!

Since mine were free, I was happy to try them out! And guess what? They really did work! I like to buy bananas at our local Sam’s Club. Since they routinely have the lowest price (44 cents per lb) and most of the Messes love them, I like to buy 6 lbs at a time (2 -3 lb bags). Of course, it never failed that I almost always had at least one or two ‘naners that wouldn’t make it to the end. And sometimes I am industrious enough to make banana muffins or even just to remember to pop the quickly deteriorating fruit in the freezer. Unfortunately, more often than not, we’d have to send them off to their great reward before they completely decomposed on the counter and we had to bring out the scooper to get rid of ‘em.

But that was before the entrance into our lives of green produce bags (I don’t have a better name, my mom bought hers from Dollar General). Here’s a picture of bananas I’m happy to say were consumed by the Messes. These bananas were part of the 6lbs I purchased on February 6 and this photo was taken on February 15th. That’s about 10 days, and they were deliciously ripe, just beginning to get a couple of dark spots. Now I don’t know if they would have made it another day or not because they were devoured later that evening.

So green produce bags work for me!

If you’d like to see more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, check out Rocks in My Dryer but only for one more week!

I’m also being lazy today and posting this article at this blog (my personal ramblings) and the blog I am proud to share with my BFF – PJs Til Noon (two people’s personal ramblings).