Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Publix trip

I couldn't resist heading back to Publix once I realized that there was a money maker on the yogurt. We don't love the yogurt, but when the store pays me to take it home, love for it increases exponentially. The granola variety of this particular brand is much better than the regular.

All I really needed to pick up at the store was dishwasher soap. But that free yogurt...I decided to figure out a way to get out of the store without paying a single dime. Just because I could. And, I had already hit my grocery budget for the week and didn't really want to go over. So this scheme was completely justified.

My first stop was WinnDixie, however. WinnDixie had the coupon I needed to make the yogurt deal work. I had to work the deal in multiples of three and I was short some coupons. After scoring the necessary coupons from the dispenser, Leelee and I went across the street to Publix.

Our first stop was Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. D wanted to know why I bought it since we aren't even going to be home for New Year's. It was free. That's my only reason. Thinking of saving it for Valentine's Day or something.

Then, the dishwasher soap. This probably should have been the first stop since I've forgotten to buy it the last few times I've been to the store. There hasn't really been a great sale on this since P&G stopped including the $1/1 Cascade in their monthly coupon insert.

Finally, 15 yogurt. Yup. 15. The kids inhaled them as soon as I got in the door, so I was only able to snag three of them for the photo.

The coupons I used:
(15) .50/1 voskos
(5) $1/3 voskos from publix yellow advantage flyer
(1) $1/2 Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice Printable
(1) $1/1 Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice from Publix All the Trimmings Flyer
(1) $5/$25 Save-a-lot competitor coupon

My total before coupons was $26.17. After coupons, including TAX, my total was....-$2.03! That's right folks, I handed over my coupons and that cashier handed ME back money. Sorry the picture is so bad. I was shaking with excitement! If I did the math correctly, it was a 117% savings if you don't include our pesky 10 percent sales tax!

This was probably the very best I've ever done at the store! I've always come close to getting change back, but haven't actually accomplished it until this trip. I was so excited I called a friend and posted it on facebook. I'm such a dork sometimes :D

Top 11 recipes of 2011

This year I tried many new recipes on my family. For the most part, they were hugely successful. We had a few recipes that have become part of our meal "rotation" and this post is dedicated to the favorite recipes from this year (in no particular order.) If I shared the recipe on this blog, I'll link to my post on it. If not, I'll link to the awesome blog where I found the recipe!

11. Bubbly Mexican Bake

4. Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls (award winning, I might add :D)

3. Lizzy's Pumpkin Pie Muffins (2 ingredients, so easy a four year old can do it!)

2. Apple Sandwiches (the new favorite snack in our house)

1. Cherry Cheesecake Cookies I planned to blog about these cookies but never found the time, They were all kinds of awesome and if I were rating the most popular recipe I tried this year, it would definitely be in the number one spot. I can easily see trying this with any type of pie filling to make fabulous cheesecake cookies all year long. (courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Publix week of 12/28

I haven't had much time to coupon at all lately. We've been living off the stockpile during the holiday season. Now that the big holidays are over, it's time to stock up again. I hit some great sales today, and let's just say...I hope my kids really like cookies! I picked up 30 bags today! My coupon was expiring...yeah, that's my excuse...

In this shopping trip I picked up:

30 betty crocker holiday variety cookie mixes (only ones on sale)
18 one step muffins
15 greek yogurt
1 box saltine crackers
2 boxes cheezits
2 nestle cookie dough
1 box crispix cereal
1 A-1 steak sauce
1 bakers chocolate
2 solo cups (sorry, they're orange not red :P)
1 otria greek yogurt dip (would have purchased 2 but my printer ate the coupon)
6 cans of beans
1 bag shredded cheese

I managed to save $167! My total BEFORE tax was only $30!

That's not too shabby :D

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Apple Cider Snickerdoodles

Apple cider is one of my favorite holiday drinks and when I saw that Food Network was featuring an Apple Cider Snickerdoodle in its 12 Days of Cookies this year, I knew I had to make it.

I took a quick glance at the recipe and determined I already had all the ingredients on hand! Picture me in my computer chair doing a happy little dance, like you do in the car to your favorite song when you think no one's looking. I was totally doing that.

Christmas baking really wasn't on the agenda for this year, but with the awesome new neighbors who have been dropping things by, well, I was pretty much guilted in to it. We had no idea we moved in to a real neighborhood with people who came by to borrow cups of sugar bags of cat food. Houses are decorated and tonight, we even went caroling.

The only real problem with me making the cookies was my hand mixer bit the dust. Actually, it caught on fire. Completely burned out the motor. A new hand mixer was on my Christmas list. I gave D that "please-pretty-please-I'll-even-share-some-cookies-with-you" look and he gave me that "you-ruin-Christmas-because-you-want-all-your-gifts-now" look right back. Party Pooper.

Instead, he built me some new shelves (pictures coming later) so I could have easier access to my Bosch mixer. And, basically no real excuse not to use it more frequently for things like cookies.

I began assembling the ingredients for the cookies and hit a bit of a snag. Apparently, I'm out of cream of tartar. That's kind of one of those things that makes snickerdoodles, well...snickerdoodles. Then the second snag...the apples? They're supposed to be dried apple chips. I only had fresh. And, it looks like I was supposed to use fresh apple cider instead of apple cider mix.


In a last ditch attempt to avoid a 10 p.m. trip to Walmart, I looked in my pantry and discovered a box of snickerdoodle cookie mix. My mind began working and I figured, what's the worst that could happen?

This version of the Apple Cider Snickerdoodle was born. I let the boy try one. He said it was just as good as the first one he stole while I wasn't looking. :/

Apple Cider Snickerdoodles

3 packets apple cider mix
2 C hot water
1 box snickerdoodle mix
1/3 C apples chopped
1 egg
1/3 C butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small sauce pan, mix together 2 packets of apple cider mix and 2 C hot water. Bring to boil. Let it reduce to a syrup, for about 14 minutes. It makes about 1-2 T of syrup. Cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, blend together snickerdoodle mix, apples, apple cider syrup, egg and butter.

In a small bowl, mix together about half of the snickerdoodle cinnamon topping and the remaining apple cider powder. If this is too strong of a apple cider flavor for you, add more of the cinnamon topping to the mix.

Roll about 2 t of dough into a ball, then roll in the apple cider-cinnamon mixture.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 9-11 minutes. Let cool about 2 minutes on pan before removing to cooling rack.

makes about 36 cookies


Next time (and there will be a next time) I will add more apples. I like a bit more chunky cookie. I am debating on whether to change the cinnamon to apple cider powder ratio. I like it tangy, but it might be too much. If you do try the recipe, let me know how you've found the ratio to be most pleasing. Adding more syrup into the dough may also give a more apple flavor if you don't care for the tangy cinnamon topping.

linked up at:

Tater tots & Jello ** Foodie Friends Friday **

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rockin' Around My Christmas Tree

This is the first year we've had two full sized trees. In the reception hall (seriously, that's what the room is called on the floor plans), we have a 7 1/2 foot artificial tree. I'm not a fan of fake trees, but it was from freecycle so I can't complain too much. In the living room, we have our 9 1/2 ft Fraser fir. In the dining room, we also have the small rosemary kitchen tree our neighbor made.

In the past we've always had Douglas Fir trees. They were the most common trees to have when we lived in Oregon because they were native to the area. We'd pay a pretty penny in this part of the country to have one. Fraser Firs are more common in this part of the country and Costco had a great deal, and I had a gift the tree came home with me. I have to say I'm a HUGE fan. And that's not just because this is the first year we all haven't gotten seriously stuff noses the minute the Christmas tree entered the house. Who knew we were all allergic to Douglas Firs?

The smaller tree is for the kids. On it go all the ornaments they can't break. The girls have redecorated the tree MANY times already. The bonus being they leave the big tree alone.

Our neighbor has a lot of time on her hands. A lot of time. When she gets bored, I end up with really neat things for my house. Even better, we both seem to have a love for all things kitschy, and crafts that are just this close to being a bit creepy, in a cool vintage-y sort of way.

Like this Santa from a dried gourd:

For the kids' tree, two of these

And a set of six of these vintage mini mugs. Santa is totally creepy looking, which is just how I like him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And, I in my hat

I love hats even though I think they look stupid on me.

Today, I was able to pick up two vintage hats and I'm now in the process of trying to figure out how old they are. I'm using my good friend google. And let me tell you, there is way too much personal information out there!

The hats came in a box and in the box was a receipt signed by Mrs. So and So, Jr. Well, Mr. So and So, Jr happened to own a business and when I googled the name, found his daughter on facebook! Facebook discussion on public groups is searchable via google and her name came up in a post where she identified her father by name. Like I said, WAAAYY too much personal information. Still, I decided to send her a note that I had come in to possession of some hats her mother had purchased, I'm guessing in the late 60s.

Leelee and I decided to try the hats on. I'm not sure which way to wear the blue hat. Either flat on my head or like Leelee is, around her bun. Both look equally dorky.

And then there's the black one that fits down around my head...maybe. Maybe it's supposed to go over the really big hair and stay in place with pins. I'm completely hat challenged.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder

D's been feeling under the weather and his comfort food of choice lately has been Chicken Corn Chowder...from a can. While I did get an awesome deal on chunky soups earlier this fall, when you're feeding a large family it's still generally cheaper to make things from scratch. This particular recipe used leftover chicken breasts, cheap frozen veggies, a can of veggies, free chicken broth, cheese, bacon and milk. This recipe made enough to feed my family with leftovers for just under $5 thanks to some great sales!

I have to say, I really think this recipe tasted better after it sat because the bacon flavoring really came out.

Chicken Corn Chowder
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 4 C shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1/2 cup Corn Starch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a crockpot, cover four to six chicken thighs or 2 large chicken breasts with water and cook on high for 4 hours. Shred the chicken and reserve 8 C of the chicken broth for use in the recipe.

Chop bacon into small pieces, then cook in a large stockpot over medium heat. In the bacon drippings, cook onions. Add the chicken, frozen corn and cream-style corn. Combine corn starch with milk and heavy cream and stir into soup.

Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cheese; stir until cheese is melted.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Candy Cane Craft

I love the look of Candy Canes on the Christmas tree, but I don't love the kids getting in to them and getting sticky all over my house. I also don't love the look of the fake plastic ones from the dollar store.

A solution was found on pinterest and I added my own little twist...or rather jingle to make it just that much cuter.

This is one of those awesome projects that anyone with a proficiency with a glue gun can handle.

The materials:

plastic candy canes
scraps of fabric
hot glue gun
jingle bells

Tear strips of fabric about an inch to two inches wide. Hot glue the bottom of the plastic candy cane and stick it to the fabric about a half inch from the edge. The proceed to wrap the fabric around the candy cane and hot glue the end down when you've got it all wrapped.

Snip a small edge of coordinating fabric, maybe 1/4 inch wide. Rip the fabric, leaving you with a small bit of "ribbon." String the ribbon through the jingle bell, then tie to the fabric covered candy cane.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More paint color ponderings

I am totally in love with the grey paint we chose for the living room. It is so soft and soothing. It's neutral but it's not beige and boring. It brings me to a happy place. It really does! And the living room feels like a home and not just a bunch of furniture tossed in a room together. This is really a first for someone decorating challenged like me.

I'm absolutely LOVING Sherwin Williams Color Collections. It's taking a lot of the guess work out of things for someone who loves color and doesn't have a lick of decorating sense. I'm using the Color Pizazz scheme for the house.

We chose Mindful Grey as the wall color for the living room. Sassy Green for the dining room. And I'm leaning towards Peppercorn for the space between the picture molding and crown molding. Not sure what that area is called but I'm sure there's a proper name for it LOL

Now, I also have to decide what color to paint the reception hall. We had plans to keep the wall paper, but the kids started picking at the wall paper and now it looks terrible. The room is adjacent to the living room, but is separated by the columns. Any suggestions from this palette?

Secret Santa

Well, I did a bad thing this year. I forgot to do one of our family traditions at the beginning of the month. And the kids remembered. Reminded me. And I still forgot. So, D had to organize our secret Santa service project.

I'm always impressed when the kids remember the traditions that involve them doing something for someone else. As much as they are quick to remind us of the things that get THEM some sort of reward, it's so much more awesome to see them excited about doing things for others.

Already there are whisperings about what sneaky nice things they can do for each other. This year, since the older kids have their own rooms, the go to answer seems to be cleaning up a sibling's room, making the beds, doing laundry. Danger girl thought very carefully before deciding she could definitely not do Leelee's algebra homework for her!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

My friend Debbie came by to help me make crafts today. My gigantic Christmas tree is sorely lacking in ornaments. The tree is so big, I don't have enough! And, I really don't have it in the budget to drop a large chunk of change on ornaments at full price. I'll wait to buy ornaments for next year...

Meanwhile, the need for cheap or free crafts made me turn to pinterest for inspiration.

I found the instructions for these popsicle stick snowflakes and fell in LOVE. I really want to put them on the columns in front of the house. But...I ended up hanging them up on the walls of the dining room to get them out of the way and I sort of like them there.

I need to make several more if I'm going to put them outside. I'm also going to use the smaller popsicle sticks instead of the jumbo size. The jumbo pack from walmart was $2.50 and made two large flakes. The dollar store has packs of 150, so I could make four skinnier flakes.

And this project was ridiculously easy. You hot glue popsicle sticks together. Eventually, I'll paint these but that's for a time when the littles aren't home.

linked up at:
tater tots and jello

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rosemary Christmas Tree

As if having the giant Christmas tree in the living room wasn't enough, we are now the proud owners of a lovely rosemary kitchen Christmas tree! Our neighbor is a retired florist who seems to be very excited to have someone appreciate her skills as much as I do. She has made us feel completely welcomed in to the neighborhood. Definitely a "borrow a cup of sugar" kind of neighbor.

Today, she brought over this amazing wreath she made for FREE using a tree in her yard:

It pretty much fills the entire front door. I absolutely love it.

Then, she brought over the most amazing Rosemary plant covered in ornaments! She called it a kitchen tree. And, she told me how to do it, and I will now share with you all how to make one :) I'm sure there are some of you that already know about this, but it was news to me!

  • Rosemary Plant/tree (you can find these at many home improvement stores ...who knew?) our plant was plucked from the neighbor's yard
  • Curling ribbon
  • extra wide ribbon
  • craft wire
  • mini tree decorations
my tree includes:
assorted mini kitchen tools (spoons, spatulas, rolling pins...found at the dollar store or craft store)
vintage metal cookie cutters
vintage tea cups

Fashion a large bow out of the wide ribbon. Attach it to the rosemary with craft wire. Arrange the larger ornaments on the tree first, attaching them all with craft wire. Be sure to add lots of pops of color.

Next, cut lots of curling ribbon (the kind used to wrap presents) and run it along the edge of a pair of scissors to make it curl up. Strategically (or haphazardly, if you're like me and non crafty) arrange the curled ribbon on the tree.

That's it! The tree does need watering every day, maybe about a half cup of water. The great part of this living Christmas decoration is your house smells AMAZING. Right now you walk into the living room and smell the tree, then walk into the dining room and smell the rosemary. Heavenly! And, you can use the rosemary, too, for cooking. It's one of our favorite herbs to cook with.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh Christmas tree!

That's Leelee standing on a chair next to the tree (duh). The tree is just over 9 ft! We've never had a tree that tall before. And for once, D didn't have to do any trimming of the height to get it to fit in the house. Heck, we could have gone a bit taller, I think.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Photos

I don't usually post a lot of personal family pictures, but I make the exception at Christmas :D I work at the mall doing Santa photos and we have the most AMAZING Santa.

He's super sweet and he's the first Santa Leelee's not been afraid of. She has a dislike of Santa, all costumed characters and clowns. The only reason she likes this particular Santa is because she got to know him as a person by coming to work with me one evening. So now he's not creepy to her! yay!

after we got this done very quickly (like two takes!), the kids got to do funny faces. It was so much fun, this is the one I had to put in a frame for the mantle :D

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Me on the news...again

I know I promised to post this last week, but with working Santa and all of that, it got a bit crazy!

The long and short of it is a local TV station gave me a challenge to spend $50 at a local Winn Dixie store and get enough groceries for a week using coupons.

It was my biggest trip ever and I really stressed over it. There was some concern about whether or not I could use my overage, but in the end they decided that as long as they weren't going to give me money BACK at the end of the transaction, it was all good.

Southern couponers know that Winn Dixie is difficult to save big compared to Publix. They don't have nearly as many store coupons to stack with manufacturer coupons. Stacking coupons is where you can really score big savings. I lucked out and we schedule the shop during a time when this particular store had an item on closeout that would net me 69 cents overage on each one. I had more than 70 coupons and purchased every singe one of them. Doing the math, I was paid nearly $50 to purchase those items! If I didn't have that much overage, there is no way my shopping trip would have been that amazing.

I also had to break it up in to three transactions to maximize the use of my $5 off $55 coupons.

Here's the video of the last part of the story.

And in case you are wondering, here's a good picture of all the groceries. In the end, I got more than $300 in groceries and spent exactly $37, including tax. If you factor out the sales tax, I actually spent closer to $20! It was a 90 percent savings!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paint paint paint!

Finally picked a living room color. I decided to go with a neutral of all things! I know I'm usually all about the color, but I really fell in love with Mindful Grey from Sherwin Williams.

Check it out:

There's really not a green hue. It's just my camera phone. It's a really soft grey.

D's not so thrilled. I think it's going to grow on him. Once I get the window coverings up and all the accessories, the room is going to look AMAZING. There will be plenty of color pops....just not the walls.

No Bake Energy Bites

With the kids home from school for a week on vacation, I'm trying to find filling and easy snacks for them. It's a bonus when the kids can make them on their own.

I found this recipe for No Bake Energy Bites on pinterest and I thought it would certainly fill a snacky void for a stormy afternoon.

This was assembled by Danger Girl and Little B. They didn't ask me for any help.

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Super easy right?

The only complaint the kids had was that these were actually too sweet! If we make these again, I'd definitely use less than 1/3 C honey. Honestly, I have to wonder if we really need the honey at all. We may try this again later in the week without the honey to see how it holds together.

Definitely a keeper recipe and something to do on the quick for school lunches.

linked up at
flashback Friday ** 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Couponing 101

I promised back in October that I'd share about my big shopping trip for the local news station.

Tonight, the first part of the series aired. So far, the only person to recognize me on TV was Mrs. Claus. She came to see Santa tonight and told me she saw me on the news this morning.

I'm wondering if I'm going to get more people recognizing me at work. I have had people recognize me from the other appearances I've made on the local news and it's downright strange!

I'm still trying to figure out how to download the video and then upload it to the blog but until then, I'll just have to include a link. It's a three part series.

Couponing Part 1

If that doesn't work try this link

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Secret Santa Swap

I love doing swaps. I'm completely addicted to them. I love making things for other people and getting a surprise in the mail. It's like Christmas or my birthday.

This time, I'm doing a secret Santa swap and the swap hostess has asked that we each post this on our blogs:

  1. What are your hobbies? Sewing and cooking
  2. What are your favorite colors? Right now, I'm loving turquoise and red
  3. Do you collect anything? i like snowglobes, snowmen, teacups and cookbooks
  4. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? dogs
  5. Do you have any pets? a cat named Josefina de la Gato
  6. Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate? Hot Chocolate is one of my FAVORITES as is apple cider. I don't drink any coffee or tea.
  7. What do you like to read? whatever is a free book on my kindle LOL
  8. Do you prefer Cookies or Candies as a sweet? depends on the mood. I can't eat hard candies or cookies (bad teeth), so whatever is needs to be soft, but not sticky.
  9. What is your favorite holiday treat? so many to choose from! hot chocolate, candy cane hershey kisses, caramel apple cider...
  10. Describe your favorite holiday tradition. Oh goodness. We have cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. I love doing that for breakfast. I love holiday music and I start playing it November 1. Christmas for me starts early November when I go back to work...with my boss SANTA! That's right, I am Santa's helper. For real! I work at the mall taking photos of kids with Santa and I love it. I drag my kids every year to get their picture taken with Santa. I look forward to it sooo very much!
  11. Did you believe in Santa as a child? Yup
  12. When do you open presents? One present Christmas Eve, and the rest in the morning
  13. Do you put up a tree and when? If not, how do you celebrate? We usually get a tree the Saturday closest to D's birthday, which is the Dec. 14.
  14. Does your tree have a theme? I try to change it with a color scheme each year. The family protests. One of these years we're going to have two trees. One for me to decorate and one for the family :P Not sure what colors I'm using this year. BUT for the first time ever, our tree is going to be very tall and visible from all around. New house with 10 ft ceilings and full window view of the tree.
  15. What has been your favorite gift to give? to receive? I'm not sure what my favorite gift to give has been. I just love seeing my family smile. To receive? To be honest, the gift of Jesus' birth, His life, His Death and His resurrection has been the greatest gift I've ever received. Nothing can really top that.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

a nice Saturday grocery haul

I finally made it to Publix for my big shop on Saturday. I had made a smaller trip earlier in the week but many of the items I wanted were out of stock. I also made a small trip to a different WinnDixie and that trip REALLY paid off.

I'll tell of the WinnDixie fun first.

There were several good coupon finds at WinnDixie. First, $1.50 off sour cream wyb 2 lipton soup mixes. Second, the wonderful buy 4 get 1 free Stove Top coupon. This will pair nicely with the $3 off butterball turkeys wyb four kraft products (stove top is included). Hopefully they will go on sale soon since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. This Winn Dixie also had the Heroes coupon book that my regular store hadn't gotten in yet. There are some great coupons in there that are perfect for use at Publix.

My big scores purchase-wise came in the produce department. They had several items on markdown and I was able to grab:

15 lbs of potatoes
1 pineapple
3 lbs of apples
1 loaf bread
1 can corn
1 pkg gravy mix

My total was an amazing $10 before tax! All the produce had been marked down to just $1 a package. Who says you can't save money on produce?

Before my adventure at WinnDixie, I had to stop to see Christine from My Bargain Quest. She's my real life coupon buddy and she had a stack of coupons I needed. She always finds the best deals. Seriously check out her blog and be in awe.

My savings total at Publix this week was 89 percent! And now my freezer is totally stocked. That's a real bummer since I need to get those OreIda potatoes!

I ended up getting:
3 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios
4 boxes Krusteaz Coffee Cake
2 Voskos yogurts
2 swanson beef broth
1 eggland's best eggs
20 (!) TGI Friday's meals

The total savings on my receipt was nearly $97! I love it when it gets up that high and I can still pay for my groceries with a $20 and get change back.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

burlap table runner tutorial

Just in time for the Pinterest Challenge over at Young House Love I made this lovely table runner for a swap. I have never actually made a table runner before. Heck, I didn't even OWN a table runner until this swap!

I think it turned out really nice. It would look a lot better but I took the picture before my new toy arrived (an iPhone 4!) Since the real camera broke, I'm just using the camera on my cell! Hopefully, I'll save up enough for a decent camera.

My inspiration for this project was a ruffled burlap table runner.

I made several changes. First off, I didn't like how the fabric looked ruffled up. It's such a visual pattern that it was just TOO much and looked sloppy. Instead, I just sewed it on straight.

Another change I made was adding a fringe. You can't see it in the picture, but there's a two inch fringe on the bottom! I saw it done on several projects while searching BURLAP on pinterest.

I also added a ruffly ribbon instead of a flat ribbon. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this ribbon and want to get more :)

So here are the details if YOU want to make a neat little table runner like this:

Measure the length of your table and add 16 inches to determine the amount of burlap you need.
60 inch table plus 16 inches is what I used. I ended up buying 2 1/8 yd

2 yards pretty fabric (16 inches by 2 yard cut)
1 yd ribbon

Sewing machine
DENIM or other heavy weight needle

Trim the burlap to approximately 19 inches wide.
Stitch down the long sides of the burlap to keep it from fraying.

finish the edge of the pretty fabric by doing a rolled hem or pressing under 1/4 inch and doing a narrow hem.

Place the fabric on the burlap and center. I marked mine approximately 2 1/2 inches from the stitched edge on the burlap on each side and about 6 inches in from the ends. Pin and stitch in place.

Measure out the ribbon to fit about an inch beyond the fabric. Fold under and place where you'd like against the ribbon. Stitch in place.

Next, determine how much fringe you'd like. I am a fringe kinda gal. I did about 2 inches. Pull from the side of the burlap, one string at a time to basically unravel the burlap.

There ya go! super easy and super cute :) i really hope my swap partner likes it!

Linked up at:

Tater tots & Jello ** 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekly Shopping totals. Only spent $35 pretax!

Sorry, no picture this week of the groceries. I made several small trips to maximize some competitor coupons at Publix and wasn't going to keep the groceries out of the pantry that long. That's like asking for disaster in my house.

My girls like to say this time at the store, I bought lots of great toys. That is to say, lots of things that fit on the lower level of my pantry shelf they are allowed to play with and stack. Punky Brewster turned five this week and received a play kitchen for the big event. It's supposed to stay in the real kitchen so they can play cook with me.

So, what did I pick up for my whopping $25 (before tax. I never count my tax because it's so dang high!) I also can't share all the coupons because there were just too many. My head hurt after doing these.

Transaction 1:

4 boxes betty crocker potatoes
1 pillsbury freezer biscuits (won't be buying those again YUK)
1 publix Peanut butter
1 reeses candy
10 cans of soup

total before sales and coupons: $31.13
after sales and coupons (before tax): $2.21
total savings: 93%

Transaction 2:
20 cans of soup
1 publix peanut butter

total before sales and coupons: $35.99
after sales and coupons (before tax): $5.01
total savings: 87%

Transaction 3:
20 cans of soup
1 pillsbury freezer biscuit

total before sales and coupons: $45.83
total after sales and coupons: $7.19
total savings: 85%

transaction 4:

10 cans of soup
1 bottom round steak
1 taco bell dinner kit
2 totinos pizza stuffers
2 fleishman's yeast
2 fruit roll ups
1 pepsi max

(can you tell I wasn't alone on this trip??)

total before coupons and sales: $45.52
total after sales and coupons: $11.30
total savings: 76%

So my overall totals BEFORE coupons and sales this week?


AFTER coupons and sales?


for an overall savings of
78 percent!

I know that's not really "extreme" but considering everything I bought (60 cans of soup and MEAT), it's not too shabby.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday--October 24

With the fair all done, it's finally time to get back in to menu planning. It's amazing how much more money I spend each week on groceries when I DON'T take the time to plan out a menu.

I'm also so amazed at friends who come over, and seeing my chalkboard wall with our "What's for dinner tonight" section, comment that they don't know what's for dinner until just before they start cooking. I don't mind some spontaneity but I just can't imagine not knowing something basic like dinner, even if the only thing I know is which protein we're eating.

If you don't menu plan, I really encourage you to start a plan! You don't have to plan the whole meal, but at least plan your protein. We eat whatever is on sale, and this week, it's chicken. Lots of it. That's fine with the family because they were getting really burned out on the meatballs that were on sale a couple weeks ago.

Menu Plan

Sunday: Herbed chicken bake, risotto, veggies
Monday: Taco Chicken bake, rice
Tuesday: Southern fried pork, smashed potatoes
Wednesday: Crockpot chicken and dumplings
Thursday: some sort of leftovers, veggies, and rice
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Breakfast

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Last night we had our first Halloween party in the new house!

We ended up with 30 people in the house. It was pretty crazy, but fun.

At the last minute most of the kids decided to come in costume. We pulled out our dress up bucket so there were several wardrobe changes. Having a box of dress up clothes really means hours of fun. I usually hit the after Halloween sales and pick up more goodies for the box and give them as Christmas gifts. It's really a win-win.

The big kids at the party carved pumpkins. We love doing templates. We're just not at all creative when it comes to carving. My favorite this year is the Angry Birds pig.

Friday, October 21, 2011

total savings!

This week, I was given a $50 grocery challenge by a local TV station. So technically, all the groceries above were free ;)

I can't tell you exactly how much I saved and what I spent, but I can tell you, I kicked butt did really well. Not only that, I did it at Winn Dixie! Southern Couponers will tell you that saving big at Publix can be done in your sleep. Their sales ads and store coupons usually match well with the current flyers. WinnDixie takes a lot more effort. Before we even got started, I almost had to redo my entire strategy because there was debate on whether or not I'd be able to use overage.

The other big challenge for those super high savings like you see on TV for those in my area, is our sales tax is very high. Ten percent. Even on groceries. So if I give my store card at WinnDixie and my total is $400, I will be paying at least $40. No zero dollar totals here. And no change can be given back and the coupons cannot take money off the sales tax.

I did find a few AMAZING deals...and stocked up hoarder style: 72 packages of yeast. But I made money on each one. It sounds excessive until you do the math for a family of 8 that makes pizza every single weekend. We will use on average 4 pizza yeast packages a week. If I make breadsticks, even more! So that is, conservatively speaking, a year's supply of pizza yeast. It doesn't expire until next year, so it's all good.

The other great find: generic cheez crackers for 28 cents a box. I put back the name brand on BOGO. I could get 10 of the generic brand for less than I was paying for two name brand with a coupon.

I'm really excited for this story to air in November. Yes, you all have to wait that long to find out how well I did. In the meantime, we're going to be enjoying all of our pizza and cheez crackers for the next few weeks!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fair Wrap Up

Sunday marked the official end of the fair, and I have to say, it was a pretty good year...aside from Leelee like, almost dying. I'll get to that...

So our ribbon total ended up with:
Punky Brewster: 3 blue ribbons, 1 red ribbon and 1 white ribbon.
The Boy: 1 white ribbon
the Mama: 1 blue ribbon, 1 red ribbon and 1 white ribbon.

The last two ribbons I won were for casseroles. Remember that Bubbly Mexican Bake from a couple weeks ago? That took third place! And the creamy baked pasta I make took second in the meatless category.

Early this morning, I got to appear on the local news again, this time demonstrating my first place winning cinnamon roll recipe! As you can see from that link, they lost half the recipe somehow. Just linking to it to show that yes, my recipe really did make the news. Here's the full recipe.

The last contest we entered was cooking with chicken and that's where it was literally almost Leelee's last contest. Ok, I'm being dramatic, but seriously, she could have died and didn't, so I'm really glad about that.

Leelee has a latex allergy. Latex allergies can be tricky because you don't just react to latex. You can cross react with other things like avocados, bananas, and peaches. These cross reactions can be just as serious as coming in to contact with latex.

The winning dish was right next to mine and it looked amazing. I figured it won when I saw the judges picked the chicken clean! Leelee is such a little foodie and asked for a sample of the sauce. She tasted it and THEN asked what was in it...big mistake and one that I'm pretty sure she won't repeat. It had peaches.

Her throat immediately started getting scratchy and she started coughing. It didn't go beyond that, but it could have. We didn't have our epipen, so she took benedryl instead. It made me realize that I don't really know WHEN to use the epipen. How bad does the reaction need to be? Do I have to wait until she's wheezing?

So, the fair ended as best as could ever be hoped for...with my kids all healthy. And, you really can't replace that with pretty ribbons.

Friday, October 14, 2011

15 cents

This week I hit Winn Dixie and made out pretty well. My total was 15 cents before tax! That's right for a whopping 15 cents I got:

2 old el paso dinner kits
10 packages of pizza yeast
8 oz bag shredded cheese
16 oz italian sausage

I saved so much, I actually feel sort of bad about it. It feels like stealing. I know I had all the coupons, and I had LOTS of overage. I think what makes me feel bad is the computer requires an override every time a coupon exceeds the price of an item. The store allows overage, but sheesh...the computer shouldn't lock up every time it happens! Even when I have a coupon that is for a free item, the manager still has to come in and override.

I need to note something about the old el paso dinner kits. I don't like them. Well, let me rephrase, I didn't like them until my friend Christine over at My Bargain Quest told me she always stocks up on them for the shelf stable tortillas. I can sometimes find refrigerated tortillas on sale for under $1, but it doesn't happen often enough. Buying the dinner kits for 60 cents or less, I not only have shelf stable tortillas but also taco seasoning. It's a much better alternative than buying it all separately. Who says you have to use them together?

The other night, I made taco soup parting out a dinner kit. I still have the salsa and the tortillas. The salsa pack is just perfect for the boys to take on a camping trip without risking the salsa jar breaking open in the cooler. Trust me, that's a mess you really want to avoid.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

They like me! They really like me!


I think the grin on my face is so big right now, it might be visible from space.

On a complete whim, I decided to enter the Bake for the Cure event. I had to make sure I had all the ingredients on hand, which is always a huge task. My craving lately has been cinnamon rolls and then I thought "ohh apple cinnamon rolls would be yummy." Then it hit me...what's better than apples and cinnamon?

Caramel Apples and cinnamon.

Oh yes.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls. They took me nearly all day to make. It wasn't one of those easy peasy overnight cinnamon roll recipes i'm so fond of. This involved not only making a cinnamon yeast dough, but actually caramelizing the apples AND making a caramel sauce from scratch because I didn't have any store bought stuff.

Was it worth it?

Well, the first place ribbon says it was! I've never won first place in a cooking contest before, and I wasn't expecting to win. It seems the only time I ever win at these fair contests is when I decide to enter last minute and just whip something together...well, not that these were whipped together, but you get what I mean. Leelee took the picture. I think she was shaking with excitement in my behalf.

So are you all just DYING for the recipe? Are ya? Are ya?

Ok. Just remember these are something you are going to drool over and never actually make yourself because they take stinkin' forever.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

For the cinnamon rolls:
6½ T sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
5½ T. butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3½ cups all purpose flour
1 package instant fleishman's yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tbsp. whole milk at room temperature

For the filling:
1½ T butter
3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup sugar
½ t cornstarch
¼ t ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 t vanilla extract

3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 T. butter
3 T. caramel sauce (I made mine from scratch or you can use ice cream topping)
1 T milk
½ t. vanilla extract
1 C powedered sugar

Cream together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the egg. Mix in the flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms. Knead about 8 minutes until the dough is silky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the filling. To make the caramelized apples, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until the apples are evenly coated. Cook about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon to blend; set aside.

On floured surface, roll it out into a rectangle(about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls). Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough. Evenly distribute the caramelized apples over the top of the dough. Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough. Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls. Transfer them to a prepared baking placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

To make the glaze, combine the cream cheese and butter in a small heatproof bowl and microwave in 15-20 second intervals until it is warm enough to whisk together. Whisk in the caramel sauce, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Swirl the glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Let cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

Lots of big winners!

Yesterday was the kids' big day at the fair. We had lots of winners!

There were three pretty big wins.

First, Punky Brewster took first place in the under 6 year old home baking competition! Her recipe is super easy and something a 4 year old can definitely pull off with minimal help.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 box spice cake
15 oz can pumpkin puree

Mix cake and pumpkin puree together. Pour into prepared or lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

They stay moist for a very long time :) And they are only 2 WW points!

Punky Brewster also took home second place in the crazy creations (they give the kids a bag of miscellaneous containers and cardboard and other assorted junk and tell them to build) and she took first place in under 6 pumpkin decorating. She ended up winning $70 in prize money! She plans to combine that with her upcoming birthday money and buy herself a new swing set.

Danger Girl was another big winner, taking first place in the crazy creations for the older kids. There were quite a few big kids competing. We were not expecting her to even place. It was a complete surprise to hear her name called. She won $30 and has plans to buy a pogo stick. We'll see...

The big upset came later that night in the Spam Cookoff. This has been Leelee's domain. She loves to cook and has gotten quite the diva attitude about her cooking abilities. I told her if she kept up the attitude she probably wouldn't win at all. And, after the judging, she was left more than a little annoyed because The BOY took third place! It was his first win ever at the fair.

The Boy made a Hootenanny, which is basically an oven baked pancake, just add spam. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. He did it all himself, including the chopping. He gets really nervous around the kitchen. I don't think any of the judged realized he has Aspergers Syndrome. This was just one of those huge personal victories for him. He never gave up trying to win something at the fair. And it was another one of those moments when I see him with the other boys who won (one was close to his age and the other much younger), it opens my eyes to how not typical he is. I sometimes forget because he's our normal.

1 C white flour
1 C milk
6 eggs
1/4 t salt
12 oz can Bacon SPAM, chopped

Blend up 1 c. white flour, 1 c. milk, 6 eggs, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan. Then, pour 1/2 cube melted butter over the top (do not mix). Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Cut in pieces, drizzle with Maple Syrup, serve.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I did some sewing

It's been ages since I broke out the sewing machines. One of my machines is having some issues and I can't figure out what's going on. It's one of those times I'm glad I have so many machines! The downside is now I'm "down" to one machine! I have four other machines that need some sort of repair :(

One of my favorite fair contests is a home sewing one where the children model the clothes. It's my goal when I sew for my kids for it not to look home sewn. I sew with my iron, making sure I press all my seams. I do french seams even though I have a serger. It's just faster.

This year, Leelee is barely young enough to be in the category with Danger Girl age sewing. So instead of competing against others sewing for their teen-sized kids, I get to sew for my teen-sized kid and compete with those sewing for little kids. I'm sewing for Danger Girl, Punky Brewster and Little miss, too. And I'll have two girls modeling in each category.

I really want to win. This year there aren't prizes for second or third place, just an overall winner in each age division. I'm hoping the fact that I sewed a much more difficult pattern (perfectly sewn zipper and pleats!) and did the fancy-schmancy seams, that I'll win the gift card to the fabric store.

Fingers crossed that my sewing nemesis at the fair doesn't pull out all the stops, too. LOL She always takes first and I always seem to take second. She usually wins because she sews for her boys and no one ever sews for boys. We have very different sewing tastes. Her items look like grandma sewed them and mine look like they were bought at a store :P

Anyway, here's my lovely Leelee modeling the absolutely gorgeous dress I made for her. It's Simplicity 2444. As far as difficulty level, I'm not a fan of the project runway patterns because it's too many choices, but this one wasn't too bad. After cutting, it took me about 6 hours to complete. But, I also made Cinderella in about 2 hours, so keep that in mind. It's definitely not a beginner pattern.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's Fair time!

The first week of October is probably my kids' favorite time of year next to Christmas. They really look forward to entering various contests.

This year, the fair started a bit early for Leelee and I. Last Saturday, we were called by the national organization that sponsors state fair cooking contests to do an interview with a local TV station about entering the cooking contests. Of course, I said yes! I never really mind being interviewed.

I really should have asked what the interview entailed before I agreed for Leelee and I to go on TV.

Not only was it an interview, it was also going to be LIVE and I had one minute to demonstrate the dish I placed with in the Spam cookoff!

I've watched enough Food Network Star to know the time goes very fast. I did as much prep work as possible the night before and tried to go over in my head what we could possibly be asked.

It went pretty well. I cringed watching myself because I realized I forgot to take my nail polish off. It was BADLY chipped. Terrible.

Today was the first day for the kids' contests and so far Lizzy is the only winner. She took third place in cupcake decorating.

Hopefully we'll do well again this year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When good computers go bad

This post is dedicated to what happens in my house when I can't use the computer. It's very scary. Thankfully, this time, it only progressed to stage one: Arts and Crafts. Stage Two is actually terrifying: Organizing and Cleaning.

And I don't just do normal organizing and cleaning. I start really purging things. Given that I already did a major purge before we moved just last month, a purge right now wouldn't be a good thing. People might actually lose things they need, like bedsheets or shoes. I still say we have too many shoes in this house.

The Arts and Crafts stage is just as scary because I'm not exactly good at crafty things. I can sew because there's a pattern. If I am left to my own devices, things don't turn out cute.

Case in point: the Halloween Wreath I put together last night...

That picture is more to show off the front front door as opposed to the inside front door (you can sort of see it if you look closely). Here's a better picture of the monstrosity:

My kids all think it's awesome because I have them completely brainwashed convinced that I am the best mom ever and can do pretty much anything. Whatever I can't do, Dad can do it. Except for The Boy. He's now pretty sure D and I know absolutely nothing.

I managed to fix the computer, which will surely annoy The Boy since he thinks he has the answer to every computer related problem since starting at the computer magnet program for high school a MONTH ago. He likes to forget that 13 years ago I had a job where I answered the phone with "Thank you for calling Microsoft Technical Support, my name is Addhousewife how can I help you?" I know I know, even 13 years ago, it was a technical support requirement to have stupid names so the callers knew you were totally lying about your name.

With the computer running again, it may have actually saved the life of the curio cabinet. I was really starting to think about how to repaint it to make it look not so...boring. I still may tackle that project after I'm done with Danger Girl's birthday party this weekend.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

This week's menu plan is coming straight from the public library. Our internet isn't working, so I'm having to update from the library. I feel at a loss without being able to look up recipes at home and have them on hand to make. The past two nights, I ended up getting "creative" in the kitchen and came up wtih some pretty terrific recipes!

Temps are back up in the low 90s for the week, so any hopes I had of making soups is all gone for another few weeks. For more recipe and menu ideas, check out Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Sunday: caramelized onions and pears with pork chops
Monday: Pork Stir Fry
Tuesday: Coconut Chicken (I'll post the link soon. I can't access Pinterest from the library!)
Wednesday: Meatball Marinara Subs
Thursday: Cheese Burger FlatBread meltsFriday: Pizza for Danger Girl's Birthday party
Saturday: Breakfast

Friday, September 23, 2011


When we first moved in to the house last month, we didn't really think about the clearance between the first landing and the ceiling. With the exception of D, no one was having to duck coming down the stairs. That changed about two weeks after we moved in.

The Boy came bounding down the stairs and, THWACK! we realized he grew, just enough that the clearance was now an issue.

That's when my good friend Debbie came to the rescue. She's a fabulous artist and agreed to paint a mural on our wall!

She worked very quickly and I am absolutely thrilled with the results. Here you can see The Boy and why we needed a bit of a warning:

Don't you just LOVE her work?

Debbie just launched her very own custom illustration business, too! That means you could get your very own Debbie Draws original :) Check out her blog and enter to win her first giveaway. Go give Debbie some bloggy love and follow her on Twitter!

Shopping Totals for the week

I had another great week at publix, or at least my cat did!

About six months ago, there were some awesome sales on cat food and I really stocked up. I stocked up so much, that I haven't actually had to purchase cat food since. Miss Josie's food has all been FREE even the moist food she prefers. In fact, she's becoming one spoiled little kitty. My cat food supplies had started to dwindle so I had hopes the sales would cycle soon. Stocking up for six months worth of food really paid off because once again, FREE cat food! In fact, I even made money on the cat food this time.

Check out what I brought home for only the sales tax (my store won't give you overage to cover the sales tax. In fact, the coupons state that the consumer is responsible for all taxes).

2 bags Whiskas
9 trays Whiskas
4 cans Dole tropical Fruit
1 box Fiber One cereal
1 box Fruit Snacks
1 package angus nitrate/nitrite free hot dogs

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A very pink paradigm shift

I didn't particularly want to be a mom to girls. In fact, when D and I got married, his mom only had three granddaughters. My mother-in-law had four boys before she had her two girls. From the looks of it, the chances of my husband giving me daughters were pretty slim. And I was very okay with that. I figured one girl would be nice, but I wanted that house full of boys.

The joke was on me, I guess. I ended up with two boys and four girls. I have a house full of crazy hormones!

I have tried my best to raise my children with options. No stereotypes. They can be who they are. Because that's what good parents do. There would be no giant hair bows for my girls. The froo-froo was definitely not happening here. Sure, Leelee loves pink and girly things, but she's not really "girly-girly." She knows she has a brain and likes to use it. Danger Girl, well, she's my tom boy. Rough and tumble. Sometimes I think she's the third boy I always wanted.

Then came Punky Brewster. She knows who she is. She likes who she is. And she has attitude and self confidence to spare. But, she is a girly girl. If there's pink or purple she wants it. Is it fluffy and frilly? Makes her look like a princess? Oh yes, she must have it. When it came time to paint her bedroom, it had to be pink. And not just any pink...princess froo-froo pink. Pink. Pink. Pink. Punky Brewster has been begging for bal-la-lay (ballet) lessons.

When I read The Happiest Mom's post on her daughter's pink closet, it started me thinking, "What am I doing wrong that my daughter is obsessed with pink girly things?" I know that totally wasn't the point of Meagan's blog post, but there really does seem to be two camps of raising girls: Totally embracing all things girly and fluffy vs No fluff allowed. And there's really not a middle ground. Honestly, I am quite happy declaring my home a "No Princess Zone."

And this leaves me feeling like I have somehow failed as a mom who is supposed to be raising a confident girl, a mom who wants to help redefine girly. Girls raised like this are not supposed to be all pink and fluffy and princess obsessed. They are supposed to be interested in math, science, art and everything other than big dorky hairbows, dresses, sparkles, etc.

Those who know us, are probably scratching their heads going "Wait, I've never seen Punky Brewster in anything frilly, other than on Sunday" and that's because I don't buy the stuff! She'd be in heaven if I did.

Thinking about all of this leaves my head spinning. Am I doing Punky Brewster a huge disservice by not allowing her to embrace her sparkly girly side? By doing this am I telling her she can't be the pink bal-la-ley princess and being just as damaging as telling her she can't be a scientist? Probably.

As much as it kills me, I'm going to have to go to the pink section of the store. I'm going to have to buy something glittery and sparkly. Because I've managed to raise yet another confident girl, who just happens to embrace all that is froo-froo about being a girl.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday--Sept 19

It's finally starting to feel like fall down south. That means temps are only in the 80s. That also means I'm not running heat or a/c! My favorite time of year: not too hot and not too cold.

I am really looking forward to soup weather which is still a couple months away. Right now, we're in cooking inside the house weather.

This week's menu includes goodies I've found on pinterest.

Sunday: Taragon roasted chicken

Monday: Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

Tuesday: Chicken Tetrazinni

Wednesday: Pork Stir Fry

Thursday: Lazy Chicken Parm or maybe an eggplant parm or both. depends on the mood.

Friday: pizza

Saturday: pancakes

For more menu ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday!