July 31, 2012

Menu Monday on Tuesday

I totally forgot about my Menu Monday post for yesterday! So I’m making up for it today (so I’m a little off late…story of my life).

Because we get paid twice a week, I actually plan 2 weeks at a time. My couponing “stockpile” has dwindled quite a bit so the menu this week is fairly simple. I’m hoping for some good sales in the very near future so I can stock back up.

  • Monday – Sour cream chicken enchiladas (I made a double batch last week) with black beans* (made in bulk in the crock pot) and Spanish rice.
  • Tuesday – Chipotle Chicken Pasta Salad*
  • Wednesday – Chick-fil-A (Chick-fil-A Appreciation day)
  • Thursday – Taco Ring
  • Friday – Pizza Night!
  • Saturday – Grilled Hamburgers
  • Sunday – Bacon Ranch Chicken (Crock Pot Recipe)

*Black beans are pretty expensive when you buy them in a can. If you buy them dry and make them yourself you can make them for about $0.25 per meal!!

Freezer Black Beans

  • Black Beans
  • Water

1. Sort and rinse the beans and put in crock pot

2. Season as desired. (I add salt, pepper, garlic, onion & cumin)

3. Cover with water. (Make sure to add enough water so the beans don’t dry up.)

4. Cook on high 6-8 hours

Once the beans are done, let them cool and then separate into freezer bags. I was able to get 5 “meals” (about 2 cups per bag) out of one bag of dry beans.

Chipotle Chicken Pasta Salad

  • 1 Box Chipotle Suddenly Pasta Salad
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Chicken breasts, diced
  • Olive Oil

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In a skillet, drizzle olive oil around one time and cook diced chicken, about 5 minutes on each side.

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While the chicken is cooking, prepare pasta salad as directed on the box. Add corn the last 3 minutes of cooking the pasta.

Once the pasta is finished add the black beans and chicken and mix into pasta.

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Put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Serve cold.

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It’s not all that pretty but it sure is tasty. And a good cheap summer meal!

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July 30, 2012


Like many of you, I am addicted to Pinterest. I can’t wait to get on there each day to see the latest and greatest recipe, cleaning or decorating tip, or to find out what my next DIY project might be.

When I first signed up, I pinned things and didn’t even give a second look at what I had pinned. One day, while looking through the latest pins, I thought to myself, “when are you going to actually do something with these pins? Will you ever do anything with them?” From that day, I decided I was going to do something. Maybe not with every pin but I was going to try out the cleaning tips, the recipes and maybe even be a little crafty in my spare time *cough cough*.

My first Pinspired project was this cute wreath that I did back around Easter time. I thought it turned out pretty cute. If you want to make it for yourself, be sure to pick up the free printable I have in that post!

Each week I plan to blog about the pins I’ve tried the past week. I’ll let you know what worked, what didn’t and what needed to be tweaked. So, without further adieu….

This week I made Toddler Banana Pancake Muffins based on this pin.

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They were pretty good. The girls seemed to like them ok. Honestly though, I think I would have used a different pancake mix (I just picked up a very cheap pre-packaged serving) or maybe even make my own pancake mix. A word of caution though…because they have syrup in them, they’re a little sticky so be prepared for a little mess.

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This next pin I didn’t actually make myself but my sister did and it was so delicious that I quickly hopped on Pinterest and pinned it for myself for future reference. It’s this banana pudding cake and it is To.Die.For. So go, go now and make it for yourself!


Another recipe that I tried was based of this pin. I don’t know if you have noticed, but since I coupon I notice the prices of things and granola bars can get expensive! So when I saw this pin, I just HAD to try it out. Here is my version….
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I have to say, they are pretty yummy (James really liked them) but they never set up very well. In the recipe, she says if they don’t set up you can try putting them in the fridge for no more than 20 minutes. Well, I’m having to keep them in the fridge and they are not getting too hard. She also suggested using less butter next time which I will definitely be doing. I would say it cost me less than $1 to make these granola bars (1 recipe makes 12 bars) so I’ll definitely be making more just to have a fairly healthy snack around!

Ok, this last one is a cleaning tip.

Our shower for some reason can get pretty nasty. The soap scum is horrible and it takes a lot of elbow grease to get it cleaned off if it gets too bad. So one day I saw this pin and thought I’d give it a try because I’m all about cheap cleaning ingredients.
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All you do is fill up one of these up with half vinegar and half dawn dish soap. James did the majority of the work…because I just happened to take this back to our bathroom right as he was about to get in the shower ;) and I have to say, I was pretty impressed! This little tool has earned a permanent stay in our shower!
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So these are the pins I’ve tried this week. Every one of them are things that I will continue to make/use.

Some other pins (all recipes…I seem to never leave the kitchen) I’ve tried recently that have a permanent spot on my boards are….

  • Garlic Chicken – I would make more glaze and bake longer at a lower temperature
  • These Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs are delicious!
  • I’ve been making this dip for a few years now and it’s one of my favorites!
  • These chicken nuggets were a hit with the girls. I need to make a batch to have on hand in the freezer for them.

Are you on Pinterest? Let’s be friends!

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July 27, 2012

Creating a Message Center

So one day for some reason, I was getting into the cabinet above the fridge. You know, the one where you store stuff that you rarely, if ever, use? I grabbed a chair (because I’m way to short for a step stool), climbed up and…was totally disgusted by the sight before my eyes!

So I scrubbed the top of the fridge and then I cleared off all the papers and reminders and business card magnets and artwork from our niece & nephews and cleaned the rest of it. Until it sparkled.

Then I saw the top of the cabinets. So I grabbed the vacuum and sucked up all the layers of dust and cleaned off the few knick knacks I have up there.

Then I noticed the grime on the cabinet doors so I scrubbed them down.

Then I scrubbed the microwave, stove and countertops. And then, after I swept and mopped the floor, I decided that I didn’t like our little area where we had the phone.

James is somewhat of a coffee connoisseur so I’ve always wanted to put a little coffee bar type thing here but I have yet to convince him so I decided to make it a little more functional and our phone/message center.

Here is the before…

And here is the after….
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This little makeover cost me NOTHING! We had this little table in the living room but the girls kept trying to kill themselves on it so it got moved. We didn’t have a place for it and it was just sitting in the living room right in the walkway so I grabbed it to see if it would fit and it fits perfectly!

The message board is something James had made for me for my craft room (the craft room that isn’t getting used these days). Since I wasn’t really using it, I moved it to the kitchen. It’s nice getting all of the papers and such off of the fridge. I’ve never liked a cluttered fridge.

I also already had the baskets and the cookbook stand was a birthday gift from my mom. The little pink basket (which will eventually be replaced with something that matches a little better and the dry erase boards were items I had in my growing collection of things I’ve picked up in the Target dollar.

Now I just need to figure out a way to hid that phone outlet and maybe do something with that stark white switch plate!

July 26, 2012

FMBM: You’re having twins!

I’m linking up today over on our new blog! What do you guys think of the new blog so far?

This is going to be a fairly short post. Are you ready?

Here it goes….

Since we did IVF, we weren’t really surprised to find out we were having twins. We transferred 2 embryos so we knew it was a possibility. We were pretty excited since it had taken us so long to get pregnant. We weren’t getting any younger, that’s for sure!

1st ultrasound

As for telling friends and family….everyone knew we were going through IVF & most of our family were impatient so we called them and texted pictures letting them know there were TWO babies on the way. I think they were all more surprised than we were. :)

And that’s our story. Pretty boring, huh?

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For MoMs by MoMs

July 25, 2012

Wahoo Wednesday

I look forward to these random posts each week but sometimes I am overwhelmed with the randomness in my head that I forget it all when I sit down to write!

Last week on Twitter, I asked for prayers for my dad who was having a bone marrow biopsy. Well yesterday, he had an appointment to find out the results and they were negative for cancer. Praise the Lord! Thank you to all that prayed for him.

My mom has started watching the girls once a week so that I can run errands. I am so thankful for this because I can get stuff done much faster not having to load and unload 2 baby toddlers all day.

This heat is killing us this summer with our electric bill. I think this is the first time IN. MY. LIFE. that I am ready to welcome Fall. I don’t mind the heat all that much but I am so not a fan of the enormous electric bills we get each month. We even decided to not open the pool this year to save money on the electric bill (running a pool pump can get pretty expensive). I don’t even want to know what it would be if we HAD opened the pool.

I still have the Mad Hatter tea party decorations up in the dining room. Just the ones on the ceiling and the chandelier. I’m getting close to taking them down. I’ll definitely have them down by Christmas. ;)
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Since the party, I have been dying to do some DIY, decorating and organization projects. I’ve pinned several things recently. That Pinterest, I tell you, is dangerous!

In the past week, I deep cleaned my kitchen and set up a message center in there. I have to take advantage of those random spurts of energy because they don’t happen very often.
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I’m loving the stage the girls are at now. I plan to do a 1 year post on them very soon.
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I started logging on My Fitness Pal again. And I started yoga. I love how relaxed I feel after just a few poses. I have trouble with tightening in my hips and lower back (I have pregnancy & poor posture to thank for that) and yoga just does wonders for both.

Looking forward to the potential for rain tomorrow and Friday. Not looking forward to having to get out in it if it does (Tillie has PT on Thursday and both girls have their 1 year WCC on Friday).

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July 24, 2012

How I saved 72% on My Grocery Bill

So you may know that I coupon. I’m certainly not an extreme couponer. Even if I wanted to be, the coupon policies of the stores around me pretty much make it to where you can’t be an extreme couponer. Besides, those people you see on TV? The stores make exceptions for them just so it’ll make good TV.

I often get discouraged about couponing and almost give up and then I have a night like tonight where I got a lot for very little and I’m happy and ready to jump back on the couponing bandwagon. I have a favorite store that I go to for when I don’t have coupons for things I need or for things I know are still cheaper after a sale and coupons at my “couponing” store. My “couponing” is the one that doubles coupons up to $1.00. It’s pretty much the only store in my area that doubles coupons. With that said, I made 2 stops tonight for our groceries for the next 2 weeks.

Because I meal plan around what I already have, I didn’t need much. So my first stop was mainly to complete the meals I’ve planned for the next 2 weeks. I only used 2 coupons and those were on toiletries. I spent around $55 and I have to admit, it made me a little sick to my stomach. If you coupon, you’ll totally get my feeling about that last statement. My second stop was for “stocking my pantry” items. Here is what I got…

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They had the full line of Kellogg’s cereals on sale for 50% off and I had several different coupons (my store only doubles the first “like” coupon meaning if you have two of the same coupon, only the first one doubles.) I bought 9 boxes of cereal…don’t worry, I’m not a hoarder. We are cereal eaters and will probably have it cleared out in the next couple of months…hopefully not before the next sale though. ;)

Cost of cereal before the sale and without coupons:  $40.41
Cost of cereal after the sale and with my coupons:  $10.45
(I paid $0.80 for some and $1.20 for others per box after coupons)

I also got my iced coffee…I don’t know what I’ll do when I run out of those coupons! I got 2 cans of Tuna for free, the big bottle of mustard for $0.69, and 6 yogurts for I think around $0.39 each.

If I had not shopped the sale and used coupons, my total would have been around $55.

So let’s recap:

  • 9 boxes of brand name cereal
  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 6 cups of brand name yogurt
  • 1 large bottle of brand name mustard
  • 1 half gallon of International Delight Iced Coffee

My total after the sale and with coupons (plus tax)………….$16.86!

I’m off to print more coupons now!

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July 23, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

One of the many do-overs I wish I had for the girls first birthday is that I wish I would have gotten more pictures of them. I actually debated hiring someone to come take pictures for me. After the party, James and I were discussing the success and failures of the party and he made one statement that still sticks in my mind and I will remember for the next time. What he said was something like, you can’t be the party planner, the decorator, the caterer, the photographer AND the Mom. He is so right and I will so remember that for next time……I hope.

Anyway, we did get some pictures of them eating their cake and opening presents (which I will not be sharing because well, I’m in them and I am not too pretty. Trust me, I’ll explain later.)

The girls had no issue WHAT-SO-EVER with digging into their cakes.


Opening presents was pretty entertaining. There were a ton of them because there was pretty much two of everything so it took a while to get through them and let me tell you, 1 year old girls don’t have as much interest, as one might think, in opening so many presents. I know someday they will though…and there won’t be enough. Ha!

They got lots of clothes and books and a few new toys. One present they got is a very special gift…a tradition that started with my grandma. On their first birthday, the grandkids get their first rocking chair. My mom did this for my niece & nephew and carried on the tradition with the girls.


The girls loved them and my mom did a great job! She made the little cushions to match their room and put their names on the back. The girls love sitting in them but we have to be watching them closely when they do because well…they need a little practice getting in and out of them (there have been a couple of face plants and trapped under the rocking chair incidents, lol).


July 19, 2012

FMBM: Starting Solid Foods

I’m linking up today on OUR NEW BLOG!

Let me just start this post by telling you that our situation with starting solids was not the standard and I haven’t really gone by the book that much.

We started the girls on baby food at around 4 months because Tillie had some really, really bad constipation issues (TMI?) Like crying, screaming, painful issues…for both of us. After a visit to the pediatrician, she had us start them on prunes, pears & peas. It took a couple of day for the girls to figure out what was going on but after that, there was no looking back.
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After a few weeks, I decided I wanted to make my own baby food so I started with peas, they were the easiest. Making your own baby food is so easy! My only regret is that I didn’t start making it sooner and storing it in the freezer. I also wish I had done some mixed food recipes. There’s always next time…right? ;)


Anyway, before I knew it, we were giving them food food! Like little pieces of food. We gave them puffs for a little while then BAM! We were feeding them off our plate. I guess you could say we kind of took a baby led weaning approach. The girls took to it perfectly! Honestly, I think they would have eaten just about anything we gave them…even now…well, maybe not Tillie. She’s gotten a little picky but still eats or at least tries everything we’ve given her. Tensley literally eats everything we give her…and then some.

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July 17, 2012

A Sneak Peek

When it rains, it pours….this time, in a good way! Right before and during my party planning madness with the girls’ 1st birthday, I had several custom order party printable requests. Now that the party is over, I have dug in and am up to my eyeballs in orders. And. I. Love It!

I’ve started this new thing where I create an inspiration board for the customer. This board has all the colors, patterns, fonts, and anything else I plan to use in their printables. I’m really liking it so far because 1. It gives me some focus when working on the order  2. It gives the customer a sneak peek at what’s to come and 3. It allows the customer to let me know of any changes they want before getting an entire set of printables done and having to go back and change it all.

So far I’ve completed a couple and have a few more to complete but I was so excited about the 2 that I’ve done that I had to share!

This first one is for a bridal shower.

Inspiration Board

And this one is for a little girl’s 1st birthday.

Inspiration Board

I can’t wait to start working on these sets!

Just FYI.
I’m working on a pricing sheet, along with some FAQs that I’ll have here on the blog and under shop info in my Etsy shop.

July 16, 2012

Menu Monday

Some of you may know that I coupon. I’m not quite as into it as I was right before the girls were born…simply because it’s hard for me to get to all the stores with 2 babies. So, in order to help keep our grocery bill down, I meal plan and it works really well.

When I start my meal plan (I usually plan 2 weeks at a time), I start by taking stock of what I already have and go from there. It goes in cycles but I usually have a pretty good supply of ingredients and buy meat every two weeks or so (pay day).

I also do fairly simple meals…with few ingredients. I like to cook, but I don’t like to have to do a whole lot of prep or have to use a lot of ingredients…especially during the week. Our evenings are hectic enough with dinner, baths & bed time.

The crockpot is also my friend. I usually use it at least once or twice a week. I love to cook chicken in it because it makes it so tender and makes it easy to shred when my recipe calls for shredded chicken.

Pinterest has given me a few good meals lately to add to my Meal Master List. I’ve only had one that was gross and it was Orange Chicken. That recipe quickly got tossed.

So here’s my menu for this week. (P.S. We like Mexican food)

  • Monday-Sour Cream Enchiladas w/homemade Black Beans
  • Tuesday-Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs – Not sure yet what I’m going to serve with these.
  • Wedensday-Chili Dogs w/homemade chili (I got 3 packages of Oscar Mayer Selects for FREE this past week!)
  • Thursday-Chicken Enchilada Casserole (AKA King Ranch Chicken to some of you)
  • Friday-Pizza Night or Eat out
  • Saturday-Spaghetti
  • Sunday-Chicken Fajitas w/all the fixins & homemade black beans

I don’t always follow the plan exactly. Some day’s I might be in the mood for something else on the menu so I’ll switch days. I also have a small stock of easy & quick meals that I keep in case I forget to thaw something or put that day’s meal in the crockpot I blame the baby toddlers for these days. ;)

Do you meal plan? Have any favorite recipes? I’m always looking for more so we don’t get bored with the same old thing every week.

*Don’t forget our MoMs post from last week. It’s not too late to link up!

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July 13, 2012

For MoMs by MoMs: Getting out with Multiples

Feels like we’ve been gone for quite a while! It’s good to be back to posting our MoMs posts after skipping last week! Jennifer, Amanda, Megan and myself missed all of you!

If you have anything to say about getting out & about with twins/multiples, please link up with us this week!

Let’s face it, if you have more than one child it’s darn near impossible to leave the house…especially if it’s just you and them. Just the thought of packing up everything you need for 2 or more babies just to go to the grocery store can be exhausting! However, it can be done….with a little bit of planning.

I think the first time I got out with TnT was for one of Tillie’s PT appointments. I didn’t have anyone to watch Tensley so I didn’t have a choice but to take both girls. I almost had a panic attack but I survived, believe it or not. I started by making sure I had everything packed the night before and then I loaded it into the car the next day. Then I made sure I had each girl buckled into their carriers, blankets & paci’s included then I carried both girls out to the car….a carrier on each arm. Once we got to the PT appointment, I snapped both girls into the double stroller and wheeled them into the building. I knew in advance that the double stroller would fit in the building and in the area where we would be.

If I went to the store, I would typically push a cart and pull them in their stroller. I tried it the other way around and it just didn’t work because the stroller was just too heavy to maneuver with one hand. If I didn’t need much, I had a couple of hooks that would attach to the stroller handle and I would just hang a basket from them.

Now that the girls are older, it’s actually a little more difficult getting out because they are no longer in carriers. So now I have couple of options that I use depending on where we are. If it’s just doctor’s appointments, I have a single umbrella stroller that I put one in and then carry the other. If we are going to a store that has double child seats in their carts, I usually drive around the parking lot until I find a space next to a cart return (making sure there are actual carts in the cart return).

I have yet to try to take both girls to a restaurant by myself (I’m absolutely dying to take them to CFA for breakfast or lunch). If I need to go to a store that only has carts with single child seats, I wait until James gets home from work or until my mom can watch them. I also do this if I need to make several quick stops because honestly, I don’t like to sweat that much and getting 2 babies in and out of a car and a stroller multiple times (even in the winter) will make you sweat….a lot!

Ok, so let’s recap. Getting out by yourself with multiples isn’t that bad. Just make sure you have a plan, pack well, and be prepared to sweat a little. ;)

Thanks for linking up with us this week! What do you think about Thursday’s? Is it easier than Monday’s when it comes to getting your post done? Let us know, we really need your feedback!

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July 10, 2012

A Very Merry 1st Birthday!!

WARNING! This is a picture heavy post.

So most of you have seen sneak peeks of the party d├ęcor and are just dying to see the rest, right?

It was a fun party and I’m pretty sure the girls had a blast. They both pointed to all the decorations and made ooh & ahhh noises…you know, the baby kind. ;)

Before we get started, I have to give props to my wonderful, patient & artistic husband for putting up with my party planning madness. He did all of the drawings/artwork and the set up of the rabbit hole, the forest, and the queen’s court. Oh, and the ceiling for the Mad Hatter Tea Party. There is NO WAY I could have pulled off what I did without his help.

When guests pulled in the driveway, they were immediately directed to park in back (we have an acreage so we have lots of space for a parking lot). Then they were directed back to the front where they were to enter through the rabbit hole.


Once they got to the rabbit hole, they were greeted by the white rabbit and as they traveled through the rabbit hole there were pictures of the girls through the last year.  (The fan kind of messed up the whole look but it was like 100 degrees that day. We had to keep people from passing out before they made it to wonderland.)


Upon entering through the door, the guests were immediately in the midst of Onederland. 


If you noticed above, there’s a sign that warns guests to “Go Back”. Well if they proceeded down the hall and into the bathroom, they were greeted by this…


Whew! Hang on, there’s more!

When guests found their way through the forest, they came upon the Mad Hatter Tea Party.


And last but not least….
If guests ventured to the back door, they had to make their way through a labyrinth that led out to the Queen’s Court in the backyard where we had a tent set up with extra seating (and a fan because it was so HOT outside!) and croquet, of course.


I have a lot more to blog about this party…including more of the details and of course, the girls (were you wondering why they weren’t in this post?) so keep checking back. Seriously, I could blog about this party for 2 weeks.

Hope you enjoyed the pics!

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