Wednesday, October 31, 2012

riding out the storm......

Halloween has come and gone. It's one of my favorite holidays, but this year, instead of it being a fun day of trick-or-treaters dressed in their cute costumes and lots of candy, for many, it was a day spent dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We were very fortunate, other than a few things in our yard being blown over, our home, boats, and SUV were not affected at all by the storm. We live in a very low-lying part of VA, so we {actually Peter} decided we should go and stay with Logan in MD for a few days and ride out the storm there. We spent the last few days watching hours of updates on the Weather Channel, cooking and eating, checking updates on Facebook, playing UNO, sleeping, eating, watching the weather, calling family members, eating.......let's just say, it was a long few days...
what a storm.....unfortunately the predictions were correct.

thankful that we never lost power......we stayed glued to the tv.
 
day 3: we took a break from cooking and sent the guys out for chicken
 
a game or two of Uno....
 
Mom has become rather tech-savvy....getting updates on Facebook {Nathan said she definitely needs to get her own account!! :O) :O) }
 
Logan & Lindsey were very gracious hosts-they took great care of us!
{btw....that is the comfiest couch ever!}
 
view from Logan's balcony during the worst of the storm
That's as bad as it got for us. As you can see, we were very fortunate, it was a bit windy and rainy, but we never lost power and we felt very safe in his apartment. My sister didn't fare as well as we did. She had several large trees fall next to her house, but I am so thankful that they didn't fall on her house or car, also she didn't get any flooding. They lost power, so they moved to a neighbor's house for the night, but they were able to go back home the next day. Lindsey's family has been without power until tonight, but other than some fallen trees, they were spared as well. Unfortunately, for millions of others, things are much worse.
As we watched the news tonight, it saddened me to see all the devastation all along the east coast. I was particularly touched by the fires in Breezy Point, NY.
 
 
As we approach Thanksgiving, I need to focus even more on just how thankful I should be. I often take for granted the many things I should be much more grateful for. The past few days are proof that our lives can change so quickly. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families affected by this devastating storm.
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

deal of the day....fire pit

Don't miss this amazing deal!
Garden Oasis 26" Round Fire Pit at Sears
  • Steel bowl with black powder coated paint
  • Powder coated stand
  • High temperature painted fire screen
  • Dimensions: 26-3/32" Dia.
  • regular price: $89.99

  • sale price: $26.97
    *free shipping when you choose store pickup

    deal of the day....free sample BB cream

    Click on the link to take advantage of a free sample of Maybelline New York Dream Fresh BB cream. Hurry! Supplies are limited.

    Dream Fresh BB

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Happy Fall Y'all

    fall chalkboard
    I picked up the 3-wick candle from Walmart- it's Pumpkin Spice and it smells yummy!

     
    fall printable {source}




    Last year, I did a polka-dotted pumpkin w/monogram for our front step, but this year, I was really loving the white pumpkins. I found a couple at Walmart, but they had seen better days and were a bit bruised. I gave them a coat of paint and added a monogram, and it looked much better!
    I've been trying to fit in a little fall cleaning each day, and getting things organized is a top priority. While at Walmart, I found the perfect bins for Nathan's closet (only $9 each), so I finally finished off his closet.
     
     
    I cleaned out our bedroom closet as well, and rearranged things a bit. I used the idea of hanging up my purses with large binder rings, which takes up much less space.

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

    5Q Friday & volleyball anyone?

    I know it's Saturday, but there was no way I could post yesterday. When life seems it can't get any busier...it does! On top of an already hectic week, my yesterday went something like this: normal daily household stuff in the morning {laundry...laundry...and umm, laundry}, made cupcakes for the volleyball marathon, pizza bake fundraiser 2-4 p.m., made dinner {guess who had pizza for dinner?}, volleyball marathon 6-until w/ kitchen duty at the gym 6-8 p.m. Nathan's team is 2-1 after last night. Great night...round 2 tonight!
     

     
     
     
     

    Now on to 5Q Friday hosted by
     
    1. Where do you hide junk when people come over?
    Our bedroom seems to be the catch-all room.2. Do political ads help you decide who you are going to vote for?No, they are just plain annoying!! Besides, I already know who I'm going to vote for.3. What's your favorite holiday party to host?I usually host Christmas Eve dinner, but it's not a big party, just a small family gathering.4. You go to an island with your husband and can only take one personal item. What is it?Body wash w/ built-in shampoo! At least I'll be clean...LOL!5. If you found out your spouse was a Dexter style serial killer (only kills people to save others) would you rat?
    Yes, I would, I'm really not into serial killers.....

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    make-ahead, freezer, & crockpot cooking

    I had planned on doing some cooking over the weekend, but after the phone call I got from my Mom on Saturday morning, everything changed. Mom woke up early that morning with swollen lips and a very distorted face. I took her over to see a nurse friend, who told her that she should go to the ER with what she thought was Bell's Palsy. The first doctor she saw diagnosed it as a stroke, but after getting a second opinion, the MRI showed no sign of stroke, it was indeed Bell's Palsy. I had heard of this condition, but didn't realize how sudden it can hit, and the state it leaves you in. Fortunately, steroids should take care of it, and Mom sould be back to normal after a few weeks, maybe a little longer. Very scary! But I am so thankful that she is okay.

    On Monday, I spent the morning cleaning out the freezers/fridge/pantry and made a list of everything I have on hand. After reading several blog posts about getting organized in the cooking department, I was very motivated. I ended up cooking two meals that day, spaghetti sauce and cheesy broccoli soup, both of which I doubled. We had soup on Monday and spaghetti on Tuesday, then I froze a large bag of sauce, a bag of browned sweet italian sausage, a bag of browned hamburger w/ green & red peppers and onion, and 2 bags of soup for future meals.
     

    Cheesy Broccoli Soup
     
    2 Tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup diced onion
    1 cup finely chopped carrot
    1 celery stick, finely chopped {I was out of celery, so I subbed a can of cream of celery soup, diluted}
    1 Tablespoon minced garlic
    4 cups chicken broth
    4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
    1 Tablespoon flour
    1/2 cup water
    2/3 cup milk
    2 cups chopped broccoli
    {I also added 1 cup diced ham, 1/2 cup rice, and 1 cup cauliflower, that I had left-over}
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add onions, carrots, celery and saute over medium heat until tender. Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 additional minutes.

    Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender. Mix flour with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened. Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through. Top w/shredded cheese when served.

    Yesterday, I decided to do a little more make-ahead cooking. I have been pinning lots of good recipes on Pinterest, and this Teriyaki Chicken sounded like something our family would love.
     recipe source
    1 bag of carrots
    1 red onion cut into large chunks
    2 cans undrained pineapple
    4 cloves minced garlic {I prefer minced garlic in a jar-lasts longer!}
    {8} boneless chicken breasts
    1-1/2 cups teriyaki sauce
     
    Divide in half and store in gallon size ziploc freezer bags.
     
     Directions for bag:
    Add additional 1/4 cup sauce to crockpot. Cook on low 6-7 hrs. Serve over rice.
     
    I went ahead and cooked one bag of this in the crockpot yesterday, and froze the other half for a future meal. It was delicious!
    So, after spending only a few hours in the kitchen, I made enough food for 6 meals, plus 2 bags of recipe-ready hamburger and sausage. Best part about it is, I already had all the ingredients {well, except for the carrots} on hand. :O) I already know I will be doing more of this make-ahead, freezer, crockpot kind of cooking......knowing I can skip making dinner anytime I want to sounds very appealing!

    deal of the day....free address labels

    There are tons of freebies, coupons, samples, discounts, and other great deals out there that I see posted or get emails about every day but rarely take advantage of. A few months ago, I posted about a deal Shutterfly had for free address labels, and yesterday, I saw another post over on The Free Frugal Gal's blog for more free labels! This time, Vistaprint was offering the freebie and with my grad in mind, I ordered 140 {free} graduation labels (retail value $7.99). There were several pages of designs, here's what I chose:
    I had them printed with his full name and I think they turned out really nice! I only had to pay $3.50 s/h.
    I looked today, and the deal is gone, but check back often, they offer deals like this all the time. Maybe they will do a free business card deal soon, since I'm planning on getting my own cards done for next season, even better if they are free!
     
    Who doesn't like getting a deal? It only takes a few minutes, and finding those little surprises in your mailbox is always fun! For the rest of October, I will post my "deal of the day", with the link, and hopefully, you'll be able to get some free stuff too!!
     
    While I'm on the subject of my grad......SENIOR PORTRAIT proofs arrived today....OMG!!! :O)
    I'll try to share a few pictures soon!

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    best.biscuits.ever

    Here's a recipe you MUST try!!!! These are the best.....biscuits.....EVER!


    I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago, and I've been dying to try it. Four ingredients huh? Okay, here goes.........................

    Best Biscuits Ever

    2 cups Bisquick
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup 7-up
    1/4 cup melted butter


    Cut sour cream into Bisquick with a pastry fork.



    Add 7-Up, and continue mixing.

    This makes a very soft dough.


    Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on counter and pat dough out.
    Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9-inch square pan.
     Place cut biscuits in pan and bake at 450 degrees until golden brown.
    D*E*L*I*S*H!!!!


    5Q Friday: 10/12/12

          
    Linking up for 5Q Friday......
    1. Did you have any homecoming traditions? Nope
    2. Do you ask your spouse before spending money? Nope, unless it's a pretty big purchase, and then still, I wouldn't ask, we'd just discuss it.
    cut your spending from The Budget Diet
    3. If you could be famous for something what would it be?

    4. Have you ever seriously thought you were going crazy? This question made me laugh, but seriously, no I haven't.
    this is cute!

    5. How do you eat your steak? Burger? (as in, well done, medium, still moo-ing...) make it medium-well please!!

    blt burger; best burger.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday: favorite fall snack


    The Simple Woman's Day Book - October Edition



    FOR TODAY
    Outside my window... the sun is finally shining again! After a dreary, chilly, weekend our beautiful, mild, fall weather is back!

    I am thinking... how awesome it is to finally be home. :O)

    I am thankful... for a great year at the b&b, and how lucky I am to have a job I really love. It doesn't hurt that I only work half of the year and get to stay home the other half!

    In the kitchen... I had taco fixings left over from yesterday's dinner, so I made taco salad for lunch!-YUM!

    I am wearing... jeans & a white tee

    I am creating... a huge list of things I need to buy this fall for our home. Once I start fall cleaning {which I already did}, there are always things I need to finish off the room. Today, I'm finishing up Nathan's room, and his closet needs more bins for storage, which I've been looking for online.

    I am going... to book our trip for next February asap! We {Peter & I} will be heading back to WDW mid-February. Disney released their discounts this morning and it looks as though we will be getting FREE DINING!!! More plans to follow......

    I am wondering... how Logan is doing.....his boat is in the Gulf, so he's out of cell phone range. Miss his phonecalls...... 

    I am reading... nothing.....I haven't read anything in ages....it's on my to-do list!

    I am looking forward to... our trip to Annapolis!!

    Around the house... there is so much to be done. I finished up work on Monday and started right in with the fall cleaning yesterday. I will finish Nathan's room in a bit. I want to get all the cleaning done and we are having new windows put in....then I can settle back and enjoy the holiday season! :O)

    A favorite quote for today...
    <3


    One of my favorite things... spending time with friends! Yesterday, I finally got to spend a little time with my BFF Wanda. We have been friends since we were pregnant with our oldest kids. We meet twice a month to get our nails done {another favorite thing}, which we did yesterday, but we also added a trip to the ice cream shop to get some pumpkin ice cream {another favorite thing}, then went to a friend's Signature party. It's always nice when we can get together, our lives have gotten way too busy, so it's always good to get caught up {do we ever really get caught up though?}.
    Yes, yesterday was a good day!!

    A few plans for the rest of the week: more fall cleaning, church tonight, senior parent meeting tomorrow, nothing on the calendar for the weekend.

    A peek into my day...
    Nathan is selling all the games he never plays @ Amazon.com
    He did a trade-in and will earn a $$$ Amazon Gift Card. This is our first time using Amazon, as we usually use GameStop, but the trade-in values were much higher with Amazon. I'll report on this later to see how it goes. They provide prepaid postage for shipping, I just need to get them boxed up and mailed today.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    can you say "multi-tasking"???

    I bet you were thinking laundry/cooking/cleaning.....well, I can do that too, but I was actually talking about how I managed to watch 4 different shows on tv last night...at the same time! :O) First, let me say, I am not a huge fan of tv, I'm more of a movie kind of girl, but after last night, I've officially joined the ranks of Peter and Nathan when it comes to tv muli-tasking! You see, I really wanted to tune in to see Apolo Anton Ohno on DWTS.......

     
    but I also wanted to check in on the Baltimore Orioles because, as you know, there are birds fans in this house {through the good & bad, and the past few years-it has been bad!}. GO O's!!!!


    I also wanted to watch "Mike & Molly"........
    Mike & Molly
     
    this show is hilarious {and a bit over the top at times}, but I just love Melissa McCarthy, all the way back to her "Gilmore Girls" days!!
    But I spent to majority of my night watching our CHICAGO BEARS play an amazing game against the Dallas Cowboys. As Nathan puts it "When Cutler is good-he's GOOD!!!!" Bears won: 34-18!!!!!
     
     
    Although it was do-able, I don't think I'll try this again anytime soon...............watching tv is exhausting!!! :O)