Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I love free stuff

 but then who doesn't???
I put a quarter next to the samples to show size

My free sample of Pantene shampoo and conditioner came in the mail last week. I will say, nice sample size. I hate when they send you the little foil packet. How are you supposed to know if you're going to like it after one use? Although those are great for when we're camping, no shampoo bottle to leave behind at the camp shower.

    The sample was for colored hair (yes I cover my grays) and since it's winter and I only wash my hair every other day (I know gross, but washing it every day in the winter just kills it!) I had a weeks worth of the product. It was ok. If I had a coupon and it was on sale, I'd buy it, but nothing I felt like I had to rush right out and get. 

The shampoo was nice, had a nice fragrance, but the conditioner left something to be desired. It didn't feel like a strong conditioner. To me a good conditioner works the knots out of your hair when you rinse your hair. With the Pantene I felt like my hair really wasn't that smooth.

   So anyway... that's my review. I think if you had short hair you'd like this product. For those of us with long hair, I'd say pass this one by.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

30 Looks for $30

    So inspired by the blog of the young lady who was doing New Dress a Day, the young lady spending $365 for the year and making a new dress out of what she found thrifting and my nephew's darling GF over at Chocolate Covered Bridges with her 30 Day challenge, I came up with my own challenge. I thought I could do 30 looks for $30.

   So this weekend armed with $30 and Hubby to watch the little ones, I went off to the thrift stores. I know some people groan at the mere thought of walking into a thrift store (my teen boys included) but to me it's like going hunting for the 12 point buck, some days, you'll just take your gun for a walk and some days you'll bag the buck. This weekend I bagged my buck!

    I found 12 tops for $30, not too bad of a deal. But my real goal was to find things I could mix and match and really get the most bang for my money. 
So I found 12 items that I think I can get at least 30 looks from. I didn't find any pants/skirts, so I guess I can't really call them outfits, so I'll just say "looks"
   My purchases were
  • long sleeved black silky blouse
  • black and gray v neck sweater
  • plain black long sleeve t shirt
  • periwinkle 3/4 length sleeve blouse
  • long sleeve olive green blouse
  • eggplant v-neck sweater
  • light olive green v-neck sweater
  • white with brown striped blouse
  • light olive green v-neck t-shirt
  • lilac scooped neck sleeveless sweater
  • short sleeve navy blue blouse
  • oatmeal scoop neck t-shirt

  So while some of these pieces I wouldn't wear by themselves, I know they'll fit into my overall plan.

    And if I wear something that doesn't really match, please feel free to tell me, I'm not the most fashionable mom on the block.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Helpful hints for grocery shopping for Thanksgiving

  I really do love my job, it lets me see I'm actually smarter then I give myself credit for.

 First off, when you are planning on getting your free turkey with you store rewards card, don't come in on Thanksgiving Tuesday and expect to get the 20 pounder, those are long gone, be happy if you found one for 15 pounds. Don't complain to the cashier, it's not their fault. Failure to plan on your part doesn't give you the right to be mad at me.

    Also on that same day, don't buy a frozen turkey and ask me Do you think it will be defrosted by Thursday? I'm going to guess no, but call the turkey hot line that's what they're there for.

    Don't ask the kid working grocery what bread, other then white bread, can you use to make your stuffing. You lucked out this time, you got my son and he's watched me make the stuffing, so he actually had a clue. Next time you won't be so lucky and the kid will point you to the Stove Top and tell you to have a nice day.

  Now I took off tonight (the night before Thanksgiving) because I don't think I can hold my sarcasm in all night long while people who have no business being in a grocery store (really ladies, this is the night you're going to send your poor man in to pick a few things up???) look lost and get mad when they can't find cans of cranberries, or the French's Onions to make green bean casserole. Once again failure to plan ahead of time, doesn't make this my fault, so don't take it out on me.

  To those of you who bought your turkeys when you were supposed to, got all your grocery shopping done last weekend and if for some reason you still needed to pick up one last thing and still had a smile on your face, thank you. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!! I'll try not to elbow you on Black Friday morning ;-p

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Conference Time

 So the week of Thanksgiving is conference time in our school district and we've got plenty to be thankful for in our family.

   Little Man is doing well in class. He's pleasant, helpful and brings something unique to his class (I think that's the teacher's way of telling me she's never had a quad riding, camping, fishing, "I'll tell you everything you never wanted to know about any of these subjects" kid in her class before.) There's some communication/comprehension/confidence barriers there, but I think it's because, well, she just doesn't speak "redneck" so the teacher sometimes has to ask Little Man to rephrase things. Which can make him think he's said the wrong thing. But he'll work on it and it will get better. And one more thing about Little Man, he LOVES his big brothers. His kid writing journal has stories of big brothers and the teacher said he smiles when he talks about them, so while it has nothing to do with education, it still made me happy to hear.

    On to Baby Girl. I know conference for a 3 year old, but hey, I'm a mom, I like to hear how cute my kid is. And if there really was a problem, I'd like to know that too. But Baby Girl is just a happy little butterfly in class. She dances, walking in to class in the morning. She's very orderly in putting things away (hhhmmm, are you sure we're talking about my daughter here??? The one who getting to the bed at night is like Moses parting the Red Sea???) So it was a nice morning for the mommy yesterday.

    Now tomorrow the big two have their senior/graduation project presentation. So praying that goes well. And so thankful I didn't have to do that back in the day.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

McCormick Apple and Sage Pork Chops

   The one nice thing to working in the grocery store (no we don't get a discount) is seeing the new food items that come and out getting new ideas for recipes. So tonight I tried McCormick Apple and Sage Pork Chops

It's a handy little package of premeasured spices and a recipe, so I figured I couldn't mess it up too bad. (oh the power of positive thinking)

   So I blend all the little spices with the flour like the directions tell me and set to browning the dipped pork chops.
   Already the kitchen is smelling good. Now I know the recipe calls for onions, but I don't like onions and since I'm the cook, guess what? No onions. So while the chops are browning I cut the apples. Instead of wedging them like they show on the recipe card I decided to slice them into whole circles and since I don't have the fancy apple core remover thing, I just used a knife to cut the seeds out. ( I know, I'm such a chef)

 OK take out the pork chops and toss the apples into the pan. It says to stir them, but I just turned them over with the tongs so they stayed like nice little circles.

  So now I'm supposed to add the apple juice, but...., yeah no apple juice, so I took 1/3 cup of applesauce and added water till it was a 1/2 cup and them just mixed them together. (I'd like to point out I'm a "just wing it cook") Mix in the brown sugar and put the chops back in the pan. Bring it to a boil and then turn on low till the chops are done. 

   I made this with sweet potatoes (served with a little brown sugar and butter) and cauliflower. The men folk seemed to like it and said the recipe could be added to the rotation, so while it's not exactly like the McCormick ideal, we still give it a big thumbs up!   



Friday, November 19, 2010

My Mom

 I'm not sure why I don't talk about my mom as often as I do my Pop? I love them both and they are both great people to know. I've very lucky to have both of them still alive and healthy. I thank the Good Lord every day for them.

   My mom is an incredible woman, no really, she is, and the sad part is, I don't think we give her enough credit. She gave birth to 7 children natural (at a time when there were woman who got knocked out and woke up with a baby). She also breastfeed all of them in a time when many just popped a bottle of formula in the kids mouth and called it a day. And sadly she had to bury one child when he was a teenager. As a mom of two teenage boys I can't imagine the pain and heartbreak our mother suffered, but life went on and she endured and managed to take care of the house, the store my parents owned and keep our family together. 

   Hubby likes to tease his father in law about taking good care of "his cook". Truth be told, Hubby loves mom for just more then her cooking, but, since he's a tough guy, I'll pretend I don't know.

     I didn't realize growing up all the teachable moments my mom was sharing with me. And even now at 41, I'm still amazed to look back and think of a quiet word my mom would have and how she was able to keep the peace in the house. I need to work on praying to be more like her with her quiet words.

Mom, Me and Baby Girl at her Baptism
    And lest you think I've put my mom up to be some sort of saint, I realize she might have what some might consider to be a flaw or two. As adult children we'll think of a joke we might want to tell Pop, not wanting to tell mom and offend her sensibilities. (of course she wants to hear the joke) And we all laugh at the time my parents were visiting an antebellum house in Louisiana and when mom said she'd take a mint julep, the lady cautioned mom there was "strong liquor" in the drink. Mom decided she could handle it. So it's nice to see even a stranger sees Mom as a lady.

    Most of all I know I didn't appreciate my mom till I had kids of my own. Oh and the teen years, I really feel bad for my mom, I know now how painful those years are for a parent. Although I'm still not sure who has it tougher, the teen going through it, or the parent watching their teen go through all the pain and anxiety and there's not much a parent can do to help along the way.

   Mom had her hip replaced this summer. And with Pop's help, she mended very quickly. I'm not surprised though, mom's a tough cookie! And now this fall she had her knee replaced. Once again, she came right home from the hospital and she's healing and on her way to being better. I have to say, even with the pain she has, she's still cheery and pleasant company. Of course we know it's just so she can head down to Florida with Pop as soon as possible. I mean who wants to stay in cold PA when you've got a nice little house in FL just calling for you to come visit?

    So that's my mom. No, she may not be perfect, but she's pretty darn good and I'm sure I'd be lost with out her. So thanks Mom for everything, but most of all for not killing me when I was a teenager, I'm sure there were times when it crossed your mind to sell one or all of us kids off to the gypsies. Maybe you figured they wouldn't take us anyway.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stuffed Shells

  So one of my favorite things to make is something with sauce and cheese, because let's face it, how can you go wrong with sauce and cheese? I'm pretty sure you could put that combination on a rat's butt and it would taste good.

  So here's my recipe for stuffed shells. I got it out of a JC Penny United Way recipe book my sister gave me. It's a little time consuming to stuff the shells but, the taste is worth it. Also this is a great recipe to freeze or take to a covered dish dinner (make sure to bring the recipe with you, people are going to want it)

Stuffed Shells

1 pound of ground beef
1/2 cup of parmigiana cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg (mixed well)
1 box of jumbo shells
1 24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
12oz of shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown and drain ground beef. Add parmigiana cheese, bread crumbs and egg to the ground beef, stir well and set aside.

 While your cooking the beef you can also be cooking your shells. Follow the directions on the box. Most call to boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
  Put a small amount of the sauce in the bottom of your 9x13 pan. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Spoon the mixture into the shells and line them up in your pan.

(my lovely assistant Baby Girl)

   Then cover the shells with the remaining sauce. 
 Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or till the cheese is melted.

 Now I would love to show you a picture of the finished product, but the men folk dug into this before I could take my last picture. (lesson learned don't put it on the table till after I take the last picture)

    To give this recipe a little kick you can add a tablespoon or two to the beef mixture.
   If you're going to freeze this, defrost before cooking and cook at 350 for 25 minutes, remove from oven, then add the shredded cheese, then place back in the oven for another 10 minutes (or till the cheese is melted)


Ack it's been way too long

 I've been reading everyone's blogs on a hit or miss basis, but I realized how much I miss doing my own, so here I am blabbing away on the internet. Hopefully I'll be doing some more cooking things and adding some more pictures (once I remember how to post them)

   So just craziness of life going on. The big things, the twins turned 18. Holy crap!! How did that happen???? I'm the mother of adults!!! I'm still a little in shock. They're good boys (for the most part) but it's now hit me with full force, we've got so much left to teach them and so little time. So I try to wrangle them in the kitchen when I'm cooking now. I mean they've got to learn how to cook more then just a microwave hot dog and a can of soup. Most girls out there today are expecting their husbands to be more helpful around the house (as they should).

   So I'll be trying to keep up better. I'm sure Little Man and Baby Girl will provide me with some cute stories as always.