Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

We all have them. Whether in the form of chocolate, coffee, tv shows, gossip magazines, etc. Well mine is reality TV. Mainly Dancing With the Stars and American Idol.

And since DWTS isn't on right now, I'm watching AI. I watched it for the first time in Season 6 and then not again until Season 9. So far, the past two seasons (4 if you also count the ones I haven't watched) have been won by guys. And I'm throwing my predictions out there now... This year will be another win for the guys.

Outside of Adam Brock, the annoying family man calling himself White Chocolate, and Eben Franckewitz, the 15 yr old with a high voice and no feeling/soul in it, I'm loving all the rest of the male finalists (and if they throw in Johnny Keyser or David Leathers as the surprise save). 

I can't really say the same for the girls. There may be one or two girls I could vote for, but only if I had to vote for a girl.

Here's some other random predictions for the AI Season 11...  
1. Either Chase Likens or Jeremy Rosado will be the first to go.
2. Either Haley Johnson or Elise Testone will be first for the girls.
3. Heejun Han is going to stick around longer than he should because he's so fun to watch.
4. The judges will wait to use the save till at least the final 6.
5. I think Johnny Keyser is the male surprise save and his good looks voice will keep him around.

Who knows if any of this will happen, but it's still fun to guess! I may do another post after I see the first show or two and add some more of my own predictions in there. You just never know what's going to happen on this show!

What's your guilty pleasure?
Anyone else who watches that would like to give their own prediction? Who do you think is the surprise male save?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Will this be our month?!

FYI, this is another TMI kind of post...

As I'm sure you're all well aware, Gabe and I are trying to get pregnant. And we've been seeing drs in Tucson for the past 6 weeks getting all kinds of prescriptions, blood tests, and ultrasounds just to get my body to do what it's supposed to do.

Well I took my pills to start my period (which seemed to take FOREVER to come), then some Chlomid to get my ovaries to produce some eggs, and now Ovidrel to "induce" ovulation. Let me tell you, that many hormones one after another have done QUITE a number on my small body! Mood swings, hot flashes, cramps, not sleeping well, and now my allergies are starting to act up. UGH!

Anyway, my point of this post is to inform you that I have been injected (got a shot right in my tummy) with Ovidrel and the least graphic way of saying it is... It's go time! haha (tmi maybe?) I know most of you have already read my post on Facebook and know this, but just in case there are a few random people out there not on my Facebook who read my blog, I'm letting them know. :)

I go back to the drs next Thursday for a blood test that will determine if the injection did make me ovulate and drop an egg. If so, the following week I return for a pregnancy test! And then their work is done and my "work" begins!

Gosh, I'm SO nervous! I don't know why, I've been through two pregnancies before but this one is different. It's taken MUCH longer to get pregnant and we want it soooo bad. I just feel so much pressure right now. Like we HAVE to get it right. I need to relax and really practice patience now. Maybe I'll use my spa gift certificate Gabe got me for Valentine's Day and get a nice loooong massage. That should calm me down for about a day, right? hah!

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that this will be it and we never have to go through this again!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meal Reviews

So remember that post I wrote about the Home Cooked Meals? Well I made all but one and I'm going to tell you about them. :)

I didn't remember how EXPENSIVE pork tenderloin was so I'll have to wait for some to go on sale to make the Brown Sugar and Balsamic Pork Loin meal.

The first recipe we tried was the Lemon Garlic Spaghetti. This was supposed to be a meatless dinner but Gabe HAS to have some sort of meat in all his meals.  I went with shrimp. Gabe and the kids love seafood. Me, not so much but I can do without meat when pasta is involved so it worked out. My main concern was the pasta ending up dry. You make your own sauce from garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Well the pasta was a little dry and I might have added too much lemon, but the taste was ok. Gabe said it was a nice taste change from what we've been eating lately. The kids weren't big fans of the pasta, but devoured the shrimp. All in all, I wouldn't make this on a regular basis and I would definitely be trying to change the recipe a little to better suit our taste buds. I grade it a C.

Our second recipe was the Beef Taquitos. OMG were they AWESOME! They were super easy to make and you can basically add any ingredient you want. I added just beef, onions, a little bit of green peppers, salsa, and cheese. The tortilla shells were a little hard to roll without them ripping, so we put them in our electric saucepan with a wet paper towel. That kept them warm and moist and they rolled SO much better. The kids each ate one without too much complaint. But Gabe and I stuffed our faces! They were just so good! We'll be making these often. This one definitely gets an A!

Third was the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken. I looked everywhere and could not find ANY hawaiin BBQ sauce! I ended up making up my own "sort of Hawaiian" chicken. I added regular BBQ and then chunked pineapple and onions. It definitely tasted more like just BBQ sauce but still tasted good. Christian ate all his chicken without complaint and Alena didn't like it. Gabe loved it and I thought it was just ok. So this grades all over the board from us! I may try it again if I can find that darn Hawaiian BBQ sauce! I give it a B-.

Last, we have the Egg Brunch Casserole. While we haven't eaten it yet, this is in the crockpot now and I can tell you the smell is GREAT! I'm thinking this one will be a keeper.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Home Cooked Meals

So as of this Saturday, we are "celebrating" two weeks of eating nothing but home cooked meals! Heck yeah! It's a pretty big deal to us considering we used to eat out at least twice a week. As we finish this second week, I'm realizing that it's getting easier and easier to resist the temptation to eat out. YAY!

I'm not sure what made us change what we were doing. Money, health... Who knows but I'm not questioning it. :) It wasn't until the end of the first week that I realized how long it had been and I mentioned it to Gabe. I didn't have a meal plan at all, (I know I should have because I would've had a lot easier time coming up with dinner ideas!) so each afternoon I had to scour the fridge and freezer to see what we had that I could come up with.

Well, I have just about run out of ideas without having to start repeating meals from the past two weeks. Then it hit me last night as I was sitting at the computer wasting spending time on Pinterest. (Oh Pinterest... the best way to make yourself feel unaccomplished. ) I was pinning recipes and DUH! How did it never occur to me to actually put all those food pins to good use?!

So at some point today I'm hoping to get the recipes and my shopping list together. I'm excited to try the recipes because they all look so delicious!

Here's what's on the menu this coming week. I have linked them all in case you're interested in trying them out too. :) Oh, and they are or will all be Gluten Free since Gabe can't have any gluten.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Pork loin

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Egg Brunch Casserole
We love breakfast for dinner!

Beef Taquitos

YUM, right?! Just doing the links for all that made me hungry and my mouth water. *drool* If I remember and motivated enough, I will review them and let everyone know how they all tasted. If you try any of them too, be sure to let me know how they all turned out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Refrigerator Memories


is our fridge. I took this picture at 5pm today. Here is our refrigerator in all its child drawn pictures, family photos, reminders, special quotes, and family calendar glory. And this is generally what it looks like at any given time.

I know many people probably cringe at the sight of such a chaotic fridge, but I don't. I love it. If you were to get up close to it, you could probably figure out our life pretty easily.

*You could see the many drawings and paintings from the kids and see that we are proud of them and the time they took to make those pictures.

*I have comic strips for a good laugh when I need one. And those yellow pieces of paper are quotes from a desktop calendar that I want to keep for a quick pick me up when I'm feeling down.

*There are photos all over the place. From my best friend's wedding, our kids, funny family photos from the mall photo booth, and other photos sent from family.

*Chore charts for the kids (which we are sadly horrible at consistently filling out).

*Notes for the babysitter, coupons, and business card magnets.

*My ever changing white board that I love writing reminders and notes on.

*And my favorite... the family calendar. Our whole schedule is on there and without it, we would not know what to do, where to go, and when to do it all! Haha Yes, we NEED it to know what's what in our life!

After almost two years of having this blog, I think I have finally got THE name for it! Can we get a WOOHOO! Apparently, that is because it has taken that long for me to realize our life is centered around the refrigerator. Weird? Maybe, but what you see on our fridge is us. You can't fake a fridge like that! Plus, added bonus... there's food in it! And we in this family, love food! :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Anyone Watch the Game?

I did! That was the first time in four years I was able to watch the Superbowl. Funny enough, the last one I watched was also the Giants vs Patriots match of 2008.

I'm a sucker for underdogs (maybe because pro sports in Ohio are usually the underdogs?) so I was rooting for the Giants. I thought the first three quarters of the game were quite boring. No big plays, turnovers, fumbles, or interceptions. Until the Giants intercepted the ball in the 4th quarter. I was pretty vocal and jumpy by that point in the game but when they got that ball back, I started to lose it. Hey, I only get to watch one game of the season so I've got a lot of pent up rooting and cheering in me!

I would like to thank Gabe for putting up with me the last few minutes of the game. Thanks hun! We got a sitter to watch the kids because if this is the only game I get to watch in a season, I want to be able to actually sit and WATCH it!

Halftime show... hmm, still don't know what to think about that. I'm not a Madonna fan and it did nothing to convince me I should be. She did keep it clean so I give her that much.

Commercials! I love Superbowl commercials. I had a few faves. The naked M&Ms, Doritos (both baby and dog one), and the Voice Promo (love Betty White!). Is it just me or did anyone else notice that half the commercials had half naked women in them?! I get the whole "sex sells" thing, but really?! I think they could come up with something a little better to try and sell their product.

So what did you guys think of the game, halftime show, and commercials?
Did you watch?
Did they live up to your expectations? Better? Worse?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Little Pockets

As I as was putting laundry in the washer tonight, I noticed Christian's pants were a lot heavier than they should be. Sure enough, upon checking his pockets, I was surprised amused at all the stuff I began to pull out.

Spare change, rubber bands, keys, and two sets of mini cymbals. Apparently, I need to make checking pockets a habit now for him. I think just about every mom I know could probably tell me some pretty funny stories of what they have pulled out of their own son's pockets. And here, all I ever pull out of my pockets is lint and the occasional dollar bill!

What was going through his head as he was choosing these random items to put in his pockets?. I love watching children when they don't know they're being watched. You can almost see the wheels turning in their head as they play and it is such a joy to see those moments.

What kind of things have you pulled out of your child's pockets?

I would love to hear about them!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Worth It Wednesday - Why Coupons are Worth It

This past week I was reminded of why I love using coupons. This was a hard post for me to write because I don't want to sound smug, braggy, or bossy. I do want to get my point across that coupons can be very helpful and should have a place in every home.

I've been couponing now for just over a year and while I have taken breaks now and then, I have still saved my family hundreds of  dollars. This past Monday and Tuesday, I made two trips to our local grocery store, Fry's, and saved a total of $129.70 while only spending $70.99!

Those trips included name brand products such as Hebrew National beef franks, Oscar Meyer hot dogs, Ragu, Kraft cheese slices, Welch's juice, Mission Tortilla chips, Hunt's tomatoes (free), Ken's Dressing, Brawny paper towels (free), Skintimate and Edge shaving cream, Wolfgang Puck coffee (free), Post cereals, Eddy's ice cream, milk, and produce. I already have enough meat and chicken, so none was needed this week.

A few of those things were needed and others were to increase my stockpile. I proudly have a 6 month - one year supply of many items and I credit it all to coupons. See?

Let me give you an example... You can go to CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, or wherever you shop and get a can of name brand shaving cream for $3-4 (YIKES!). With coupons, you wait until it goes on sale and then buy. I got two cans of Skintimate and two cans of Edge shaving cream this week. They were on sale from $2.99 down to $1.49. I had a .55 cent coupon for them. Our grocery store makes all coupons equal to $1. So that .55 cent coupon was upped to $1 and I got each can for just .49 cents. So for what I paid for all four cans, a non couponer would have only gotten one at regular price.

And it's not just health and beauty products. You can easily find coupons for MANY food/drink items that you regularly consume.

Let's do some math. (I know, what am I doing making you think?!) I'll do the math for you so just follow along. If you save $100 every week on your grocery bill, in one month, you would have already saved $400! Multiply that by 12 months and you will have saved $4800.00!!! Um, that's big. Like you should be running out and finding yourself some coupons... NOW!

Getting started seems like a giant, daunting task. And it kind of is if you're doing it alone. Lucky for you, there are nice people out there who do most of the work for you. :) Awesome, huh? Using the help of Google, you can easily look up and find bloggers in your area who will find deals, match coupons to sales, and post them to their site so you can go on it, get the coupon, and shop.

For those of you in Arizona, I HIGHLY recommend Cents'able Shoppin. She lives in Phoenix and does the grocery match ups for us and is always posting new deals and coupons for us. I have met her and she is such a good person. Once military herself, her husband still active duty, and with three kids, she still manages to find all kinds of good deals for us.

I encourage all of you to just give coupons a try. It will seem pointless and hard for the first month, but I guarantee if you push through, you will see the benefits! And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Happy couponing!