Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
I couldn’t resist? I apologize if the song is now stuck in your head.

Since we have been sick, I have been all about simple cooking and quick dinners. I have had this recipe in my “to be tried” pile for quite some time, and it seemed like the perfect meal for this busy time of year.

Unfortunately, I can’t add this one to the Aldi Queen blog. It contains two non-Aldi ingredients- shell pasta (which could be subbed with a rotini or elbow mac from Aldi) and a can of cheese soup (currently not available at our Aldi).

Regardless, this is a quick and easy pantry meal. It is like Hamburger Helper, but definitely has more of a distinct flavor than those flavor pouches that come in a box.

The best part about this dish…only one pan to clean up! That is why skillet dinners get two thumbs up in our house.

Enjoy a stress-free night of cooking!

Cheeseburger Pasta

1 lb ground beef

1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can beef broth

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup ketchup

2 cups medium-size pasta shells

Brown the ground beef. Add all other ingredients and heat to a boil. Cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until done, stirring often. (Amy’s Note: This took a little over fifteen minutes for me, uncovered)

When Do You Have the Talk?

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Wow, I have been reading a sea of blog entries on teenage pregnancy since the whole thing with the Spears family has come out. Ironically, the feel-good movie of the year is, “Juno” which also deals with the issue of teenage pregnancy.

As a parent of children under five, I have not had the big talk yet. I am really curious who out there has had the talk and at what age you discussed this? Was it you and your husband together? Did the conversation stem from a particular circumstance or was it just something you decided to talk about with your child? Did you talk from the heart or did you tackle the discussion with some learning materials?

I guess what I am asking is, what can we as parents do to help prevent our children from being a statistic?

I don’t say this to stir up controversy, but only to understand how other parents have dealt with topics such as these!

Good News for Wii Shoppers

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Although I admit the Wii is not necessarily the most frugal purchase, people are definitely on the lookout for them this holiday season. Unfortunately, people are forking over hundreds and hundreds of dollars for their game systems and it makes an expensive system even more expensive than it should be.

GameStop & Nintendo are teaming up to make sure shoppers get their Wii game system and are now offering rain checks on the systems. This means, instead of you standing in line for hours on end only to find out the store has run out of systems, you can take your raincheck and go home to be with your family.

The rain check program—available only through GameStop stores—will “guarantee” that consumers can get a Wii after Christmas. On December 20 and 21, consumers can purchase a Wii rain check (“while supplies last”) for the full $249 price. The Wii systems must be picked up by January 29.

Of course, these will not be ready for the holidays, but a promise of a Wii could be all wrapped and tucked under the tree. How great is that?

**Special thanks to my hubby for the tip**

More Great Shopping Deals

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

I am trying to post these as I run across them for holiday shopping! I hope these are helping and let me know if you would like me to continue posting them.

This Webkinz Chihuahua is marked down to only $5.95, originally priced at $19.99. I hear it is the latest craze, although I don’t know anything about these since my kids aren’t old enough yet.

This retro Radio Flyer Rocket was originally $74.99 and the price is now listed at $35.00. Apparently it dipped just a tiny bit below that, but I didn’t catch it when it did that. It is still a great deal though.

I am not sure if the orders will be here by Christmas or not, without paying extra to ship it, but some of us are probably already stockpiling for next Christmas (or birthdays!)

Happy holidays everyone and I hope you are scoring all of the best deals for your holiday shopping!

Shopping Deal for Tween Mommies

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Barbie Girl MP3 Players were extremely marked down on Normally priced at $79.99 on their site, these are now $19.99 plus they are eligible for free shipping!

If you are looking for an MP3 player with more holding power, the 1GB version is marked down to $29.99 (versus the original $99.99 price tag).

Apparently, these are running for at least $50 in the stores, so it sounds like a great deal for tween moms everywhere.

I hope this helps someone out there!!

New Camera- Day One

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Love, Love, Love the new camera! Obviously, these are our first pictures from it, but I am having a blast pretending to be a photographer with it. My kids enjoy being my little models too so it makes it even more fun.

In this picture, you can see that our tree is up, but still not decorated. Emily is really into destroying things right now and waiting until the last minute to hang the ornaments just makes my day a little easier. I did wrap and put the tree up, but am daily handed shredded gifts that she has lovingly tore apart for me. Maybe practicing opening gifts with our Christmas countdown wasn’t such a good idea? I will get the ornaments up, but our tree might look a little strange with none on the bottom this year. All in good holiday fun though, right?

The second picture is of Emily in her super cute sock monkey pajamas that she got for her birthday. I am sure these will be making an appearance on Christmas day since it has been rumored that Santa will be bringing her a sock monkey this year.

This was the night we gathered the kids up to take them on a tour of the Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood. Ethan thought it was funny to go in his pajamas…Emily was less impressed since she takes Ethan to school sometimes in these.

This was a fun year to see the lights since Emily really got it this year. She kept saying, “Oh, WOW!” while Ethan was far less enthusiastic (“Are we done yet? Is it almost over?”) I can see how this age gap might bring on some new challenges as they get older.

Oh, and have I introduced you to my third child yet? She is a new addition the family and I love her so! My best girlfriend presented me with a brand-new purse (and matching shoes, no less!) for our gift exchange. Only a girlfriend who knows me so well would present it with the price tag still ON so she could show me what a most excellent deal she scored on this purse. And it was a most excellent deal, even better than any deal I had run across this year.

I just love the festive pom-poms and the knitted look on this bag. The brown boots that match are equally rockin’ and make me feel like a superstar momma!

Don’t we all deserve a little of that once in awhile?

Operation: Sterilization

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Today was spent sterilizing everything in our house, thanks to a bad case of the stomach flu. It used to be that I would get sick and my mom would change my sheets, hold my hair back when I got sick, and get all of that sick food out (Jello, Sprite, hot soup, etc…) Boy, do I miss those days! Nothing makes you miss your mommy more than when you get sick as an adult. Can I get an, “Amen”?

I stripped the beds and washed them in hot water, ran the sterilization program on our dishwasher for all of our dishes, killed the carpet germs with my super UV powers, steam cleaned the hardwood and bathroom floors, and sterilized the bathrooms with some of those homemade cleaners in my closet. If a winter storm wasn’t brewing outside, I would be whipping all of these windows open to do a little airing out of the house.

Would one call this obsessive compulsive or just high-maintenance? I am not sure, but I hope that we can prevent another family member from suffering from this plague. Each meal, my husband thinks it is going to be his last. Isn’t it amazing how differently you look at food when you think you might get sick from it?

On another note, I completed all of my holiday baking on the day I got sick. I am thinking I am going to be pitching my six 9×13 pans of goodies that I made. This almost makes me sick all over again, but I don’t want my gift to be the gift that keeps on giving (If you know what I mean?) I don’t think I have the energy or the funds to make a second batch of stuff so I might have to skip the goodies this year…which makes me really sad.

Side Note: I get tons and tons of emails about what I use to clean our hardwood floors. I bought a Bissell Steam Mop and it was BY FAR one of the best investments I have ever made for caring for our house. They had discontinued selling these, but they recently came out with another model of them and it looks to be the same, just a different color. It has replaceable terry mop heads that you can just throw in your washer. I bought extra of them because I use them so often. If you have difficulties carrying for your floors, this makes the job a lot easier. Amazon doesn’t have them in stock right now, but a quick Google search should come up with some other stores that sell them.

If anyone else has hardwood floor advice, please share! Who can’t use a little help when it comes to this household chore?

Prayer Request

Monday, December 10th, 2007

I have a very special friend named Amy that I would like to share with you. Amy & I actually met through the internet and through my website. Her husband worked for a news channel in town, who featured our site in one of their stories, and he told Amy about it and she decided to visit the site.

Our friendship grew through emails exchanged back and forth and we were so surprised by how much we had in common. Amy has a similar quirky sense of humor, she has a computer hubby, she & I both had one little boy…oh, and her name was Amy too!

When I got the opportunity to talk to a mom’s group in another town, Amy happened to be friends with the moms and had been planning to go too. She emailed me and said that she was willing to drive and I could ride with her to the meeting. It was a bit like a blind date for us, but we talked all the way there and back, enjoying great conversation about motherhood and all that goes along with it.

Amy later joined my mom’s group and quickly became a leader in our group. Sadly, her husband found a job in another town, and Amy had to move to another city. I have discovered though that Amy has found an awesome congregation, has found a rock-steady faith in God, and she has made a new and wonderful life for herself in her new town. We were sad to see her leave, but who can argue with all of that good stuff?

Recently though, Amy has went through one of the most heartbreaking experiences that a mother could ever go through. When she was only twenty weeks pregnant, they discovered that their child was diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease called anencephaly. They were told that they had to make the decision on whether to terminate the pregnancy or asked if they would want to deliver their little daughter to term, not knowing if the baby would even be with them when she was born.

They made a very brave decision to carry their daughter, named Lydia Grace, to term knowing that this was the best choice for their family. I can’t imagine how heart wrenching that decision must have been, but they knew that it was the only decision and proceeded on with her pregnancy and making arrangements that no parent should ever have to make.

Lydia Grace was born on December 3rd and she spent only 28 minutes with their family before going to be with the Lord.

I just ask that each of you lift their family up in prayer and help them during this difficult time. I have been so thankful for Amy and her friendship and I know that God has a reason for all of this and for all of the people who have been touched by their family and by Lydia Grace.

If you have any kind words to share with their family, please leave them here!

We are praying for you Mike, Amy, & Alex!

Grab a Cup of Tea…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

And sit down to read this most excellent interview with Michael Mead of Country Home Magazine, courtesy of Restyled Home. I just love the questions about the holiday season and his creative answers. Be sure to swing by and visit his site to see all of his wonderful ideas for holiday decorating!

Enjoy your mommy break!

Eat Your Heart Out, Martha: Elegant Photo Albums

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Grandparents can be difficult people to buy for because I think as we get older, we began to acquire so much and it can be a struggle to come up with an idea for something they already don’t have or can’t buy for themselves.

Last year I started doing photo albums for each set of grandparents and it was a real hit, particularly for the grandparents who don’t live near us. It is a great way to share with them what we have been up to throughout the year and give them a tiny glimpse into our everyday life. By making each of these albums personal and filling them with pictures from our life, it helps them feel like they are close by and gives them a great brag book to share with their friends.

I found professional-looking albums last year at our local dollar store, but I didn’t have any success this year. I decided to head over to Marshall’s and found some very elegant albums for
only $3.99 each. Not as good of a deal as the ones got for a buck last year, but still a phenomenal deal.

I found thirty pictures from our year to have printed for each book. I tried to put the fun holiday pictures in there, but also funny pictures from our year and included subtitles for each. How else can you share the joy your husband experienced from getting his hands on one of the first copies of the last Harry Potter book on a midnight run to Barnes & Noble? Those are the moments that I wanted to put in our books.

We included pictures that our son drew for each album…six in all! I decided not to wrap them since they looked so elegant without the wrapping and opted for a gold bow instead. I found the ribbon at Dollar General and plan to use this same ribbon for our treat boxes this year. 75 feet for $5 is a great deal and I love how beautifully it brought these albums together.

I ordered our pictures this year through This was the first time I used their photo services and it was a great experience. They had flat shipping of $1 and it was twelve cents per print, which I thought was very affordable! For a complete breakdown on photo deals for this month, be sure to stop by Baby Cheapskate. Angie has a great price breakdown on holiday card specials and coupon codes you can use.

The total cost for each gift was $7.80, which makes it not only a memorable grandparent gift, but also an affordable one!