About Me

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Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your stories with me as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Old South Jelly Roll Cake Recipe

My Mom used to make the most incredible strawberry jelly roll.  I found the recipe she used that I scribbled down at least 10 years ago but the directions are so vague that I didn't think I should try it, especially since this is for Mike's clients this afternoon.  So I found Paula Deen's recipe and almost didn't believe it was her recipe because it didn't call for a stick of butter.  LOL  But as always, her recipe for an Old South Jelly Roll Cake came through for me and turned out perfect!  The best part about this recipe is you can use your favorite jelly as the filling.  An endless amount of choices....

4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup jam or jelly, stirred well
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting, sifted

Whipped Cream, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and set aside.  In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until light.  Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, and mix well.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the sifted flour mixture to the egg  yolk mixture.  Fold in the egg whites into the egg mixture and pour the batter into a 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan lined with waxed or parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

Loosen edges of cake, invert cake onto a towel dusted with confectioners' sugar.  Gently peel wax paper off cake.  Begin with the narrow side and roll the cake and towel up together.  Cool cake on rack, seam side down, for 10-15 minutes.

Once cake has cooled, gently unroll and spread cake with jam or jelly and re-roll without towel.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or cover with whipped cream.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Crazy Menu Plan for this Week

We have a lot going on this week so making dinner plans each night is going to be difficult.  There are two nights that Mike will be home late, I have a girl's night out, and then we have two birthday dinner's this week.  So it will just be easier to make up several meals ahead of time, put them in the fridge and we'll eat on our own throughout the week.  Here are the meals I'll be making today and tomorrow:

Chicken Teriyaki and Rice with steamed veggies
BBQ Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, and Glazed Carrots
Baked Chicken and Stuffing

Our Weekend Trip to Charleston, SC

We visited Mike's parents in Summerville, SC  this past weekend.  They are 22 miles away from Folly Beach.  We made three trips to Folly Beach and made it once to downtown Charleston.  The boys loved the ocean, well Ty did.  Bradley didn't seem to care much.  Thanks Mimi and PopPop for the wonderful weekend.  We made some very special memories!

This is my favorite one of the entire weekend! 

There's nothing like a sunset on the beach!
Ready to hit the beach!

First time touching sand
Ty loved the ocean!

Completely exhausted from a exciting weekend!

Bi-Lo Deals - sale ends tomorrow, Tuesday August 23rd

I had a great grocery trip to Bi-Lo on Friday before we left for Charleston.  I spent $16.13 and saved $26.54.  Some of my favorite deals were:

Domino Sugar 4 lb bag - on sale for $2.50 and I used 50 cent manufacturer's coupon which doubled to make my final cost $1.50. 

Era Laundry Detergent - on sale for $2.99.  I used 50 cent manufacturer's coupon which doubled to make my final cost $1.99.

International Delight Coffee Creamer - on sale for $1.66 and I used a 55 cent manufacturer's coupon which doubled to make my final cost 56 cents.

Ball Park Franks - on sale for $1.79 and I used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost 79 cents.

EarthBound Farm Organic baby carrots - on sale for 99 cents and I used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost FREE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

20% Your Entire Purchase at Gymboree.com

Use code 11BDR8C8XZL83780 to receive 20% off your entire purchase at Gymboree.com

They have some really, really adorable fall outfits!  And you can earn Gymbucks right now so you will even have more fun shopping while earning!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Walgreens Deals - Three Free Items!

I bought the following at Walgreens today:

Deerfield Farms Shredded Cheese and Sliced Cheese - on sale 2/$3 with in-ad coupon

StayFree Maxi Pads - on sale BOGO and I used a BOGO manufacturer's coupon to make both packages FREE.

One Gallon of Whole Milk - $3.59

Herbal Essence Hair Spray - on sale for $3.00 with $1 back in Register Rewards.  I used a FREE Herbal Essence product coupon so they paid me $1 to purchase this item.

My total out of pocket cost was $5.18 with a savings of $22.15.  I also received $1 back in Register Rewards to be used on my next purchase.

CVS Deals - Free Gatorade

Today I bought the following at CVS:

Five Gatorade G Series Fit - on sale for $1 each.  Buy 5 and receive $5 back in ECB's so my final cost was Free!

One Revlon Clear Nail Polish - on sale for $4.99 with $3 back in Register Rewards.  I used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost 99 cents.

One Caramello Candy Bar - Free with CVS coupon from kiosk

One Tranquil Body Wash - Free with CVS Facebook Minute Clinic Coupon

My final out of pocket cost was $2.33 with a total savings of $15.54.  I also received $8 back in ECB's to be used on my next purchase.

Monday, August 15, 2011

FREE Baby Carrier from Seven Everyday Slings

Use Promo Code FAMILY2011 to receive a free baby carrier from Seven Everyday Slings.  Shipping and taxes will still apply but you will be able to purchase a $39.00 sling for around $15.00.  This sling can hold a baby up to 35 pounds.  Has anyone ever used this type of sling for your baby?  I'd love to hear a review on whether you liked it or not.

A Simple Way to Make Delicious Roast Beef

I love Crock Pot Roast Beef and there's nothing better than a recipe to make cooking simple.  One of my new favorite ways to make Roast Beef is to put it in the Crock Pot, add 2 cups of water and two envelopes (1 box) of Lipton Onion Soup Mix.  Add your potatoes and carrots and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I have another easier week as far as planning the menu because we are headed to Charleston on Friday so there will be less meals to plan.  But until then, here's what we will be eating this week:

Monday - Roast Beef, Carrots, and Potatoes
Tuesday - Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Zucchini, Squash and Onions
Wednesday - Crunchy Tacos
Thursday - Leftovers

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

$10 off your next order at Shutterfly.com

Use code 6B9Z-6DST-UYJA-TCAK2W to receive $10 off your next order at Shutterfly.com.  This code is valid for a one-time redemption per qualifying order per member. 
Qualifying merchandise order must total $10 or more before taxes, shipping and other charges in order.  Taxes, shipping and handling will apply.  This code expires on August, 31, 2011.

Thomas the Train Zip, Zoom, and Logging Adventure - 48% off at Amazon.com

Right now you can purchase the Thomas the Train Zip, Zoom and Logging Adventure from Amazon.com for only $31.50, normally $60.99.  This item also qualifies for free shipping!

The Perfect Piggy Bank

Mike and I have talked about how we want to teach our children to use their money wisely.  We love the Dave Ramsey principle "The sooner kids start learning how to save and manage their money the better off they will be in life."  He teaches how children need to learn how to save, give, and spend their money.  I recently came across a piggy bank that is perfect for this concept and even goes one step further, invest.  There is an individual slot for each of these categories where the child can drop their money.  Check it out here.  If you decide to purchase this bank, you can save an additional 10% by using code PTM911.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My First Attempt at Making Blueberry Jam

I've never attempted to make any jam or jelly other than strawberry.  I'm not really sure why unless it's because strawberry is my favorite and I just never took the time to try any other fruits.  Today I made blueberry jam and it turned out perfectly!  I used the same recipe as my strawberry jelly but used 4 cups of crushed blueberries and 4 cups of sugar.

One of my jars of Blueberry Jam!  Yay for success!

Monday, August 8, 2011

CVS Deals - Saved $23.15

I love it when Pampers go on sale at CVS!  This week they are on sale for $8.99 with $3 back in ECB's.  I used a $2 manufacturer's coupon so the final cost was $3.99 which makes it 11 cents a diaper. 

Skintimate Shaving Cream is on sale for $1.99 and I used $1.50 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost 49 cents. 

Renuzit air fresheners are 2/$1.76.  I bought 3 and used Buy 2 Get 1 Free coupon to make my final cost 58 cents each. 

Lipton Green Tea (12 pack) is on sale for $5.99 with $2 back in ECB's.  These will be perfect to put back for our road trip to Iowa next month. 

My total cost for all these items was $5.42 with a total savings of $23.15.  I also received $6 in ECB's to be used on my next purchase.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Menu Plan for Week of August 7th-13th

Yay for me!  I have another week's menu plan all figured out and it's only Sunday night.  Here's what I have planned:

Monday - Steak, Baked Potato, Broccoli
Tuesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Blueberry Waffles and Sausage
Thursday - DATE NIGHT (we are using a gift certificate for Brioso Fresh Pasta)
Friday - Chicken & Dumplings, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies
Saturday - Cookout at a friend's house (we are bringing potato salad & chips)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Completely Out of the Budget

 So I'm looking to buy a toddler bed for Ty so Bradley can move out of the bassinet into Ty's crib.  While browsing different online sites for toddler beds, I came across this AWESOME twin bed and swivel chair for their bedroom.  The boys will be sharing a room as soon as Bradley sleeps through the night (which might be very soon, 3 nights in a row might make him ready) and their room is all Red Sox baseball themed, so this would be perfect!  Of course this twin bed was completely out of our budget but it's just so incredibly awesome that I just had to share the picture.  It would cost us $869.98 to purchase these items and we would still have to buy a twin mattress and sheets.  Totally unrealistic....but it can't hurt to dream!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just one more mess

Do you ever have one of those days you feel like you are cleaning one mess after another?  While I was vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor, Ty was having a blast destroying his room.  One of his favorite things to do now, is to take all the diapers out of the cabinet and throw them everywhere.

Free Shipping TODAY ONLY at Books A Million

Use Coupon Code SHPFR82 at checkout to receive FREE SHIPPING at Books a Million.  This coupon is only valid today, Friday, August 5th.  There is no minimum order needed to receive this free ground shipping offer.  Be sure to check out their Bargain Books, children books starting as low as $1.77.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bi-Lo Shopping Trip - Spent $16.43 and saved $35.27

I was so happy to stock up on wipes today at Bi-Lo.  Each container only cost me 84 cents!  Lance's crackers are on sale BOGO and with two 55 cents coupons which doubled, the final cost was 39 cents.  Spot Shot stain remover is on sale for $2.59 and with $1 manufacturer's coupon, the final cost was $1.59.  Eggland's Best large eggs are on sale for $1.39 and I used 35 cents coupon which doubled to make my final cost 69 cents.  I paid 99 cents for the Goldfish Cinnamon Grahams and the Macaroni was on sale BOGO.  The bologna was 25 cents after coupon and sale price.  My final total was $50.69 but I only paid $16.43 after coupons and Bonuscard savings. 

Pampers Wipes - 84 cents at Bi-Lo this week!

Bi-Lo has Pampers Wipes 64-72 count on sale BOGO.  Use a 50 cent coupon that will double to make your final cost 84 cents per tub.  That's about a penny for each wipe!  This sale will end on Tuesday, August 9th.  This is a great time to stock up on wipes at this excellent price!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coupons for Bruster's Ice Cream

Ahhh, I'm a huge lover of ice cream!  My all time favorite is mint chocolate chip but give me any flavor of ice cream and I'll still love you.  It's been wicked hot lately so who doesn't need some Bruster's to cool down with?  Go here to print coupons for your next visit to Bruster's.  By the way their Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae is just sinful!

This Week's Menu Plan

I'm going to try and be better about making a weekly menu.  
So this week I have a menu plan!

Monday - Chicken (organic whole chicken that I bought at Ingles for $4.75), rice, and corn on the cob

Tuesday - Tuna Pasta Salad, Celery with peanut butter, and Toast

Wednesday - Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots

Thursday - Soft Tacos with ground turkey

Friday - Eggs, Biscuits and Gravy

Saturday - leftovers

Our lunches will include chicken salad sandwiches, tomato pie, roast beef on pita, and leftovers.

$10/$25 at Yankee Candle

Save $10 on your next purchase of $25 or more at Yankee Candle by using code AUG11.  I bought a Yankee candle earlier this summer, Vanilla Lime, and it is going to be one of my new favorites!  This code expires on August 7, 2011.  Shipping is a flat $5.  There are some great items on clearance....think birthday and Christmas presents!

Raspberry Blondies Recipe

Oh My Goodness!  As soon as I saw this recipe in a magazine, I knew I had to try it!  It's one of those desserts you could seriously eat the entire pan by yourself.  You must try these delicious Raspberry Blondies!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/ cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving at least 1 inch overhang on all sides.
  • In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Stir in brown sugar until moistened.  Let cool slightly.  Off heat, whisk in egg and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in almonds.
  • Scrape batter into baking pan, smoothing top with spatula.  Scatter raspberries over batter.  Bake until blondies are set in center, about 30-40 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  
  • Grasping overhanging foil on opposite sides of pan, lift out blondies and place on cutting board.  Cut into 16 squares and serve.
Tip:  For easier cutting, cover and refrigerate blondies for at least an hour before slicing into bars.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Save Money when Buying New Tires

Our old tires sold for $50.
This past weekend we had to buy new tires for our Toyota Camry.  One of the tires had a slow leak in it and they were overall getting pretty worn.  We are headed to Iowa next month for my brother's wedding so we knew we couldn't put it off much longer.  New tires can be very expensive but there are a couple ways to help with the cost.

First, be willing to negotiate with two companies.  We recently had a Firestone open up and they had their Grand Opening this weekend where they were offering $100 off 4 new tires.  We got a quote from them on what it would cost for 4 tires with a 70,000 mile warranty.  Then we took that quote across the street to Discount Tire where they gave us a lower quote for comparable tires.  The boys were getting cranky so Mike brought us home and then went back to Firestone just to see if they would match what Discount Tire gave us.  Not only did they match the price, they even took another $50 off!

Secondly, ask for your tires to be put in your trunk and you will dispose of them.  This will save you anywhere from $8-$10 depending on their disposal fee.

Thirdly, sell those used tires.  We listed our used tires on Craig's List and within 15 minutes we had a buyer. He gave us $50 for all 4 tires.  Even if your tires aren't in great condition, ours were 3 years old with moderate wear on them, they are still worth something to someone. 

Walgreens Deals - Saved $27.96

My favorite sale at Walgreens this week was definitely the cereal!  Select Kellogg's Cereal are on sale 4/$10 with $5 back in Register Rewards.  I used a $2.25/3 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost 68 cents a box!!  I'm hoping to find some more coupons and make another trip to stock up on this great sale.

My freebie of the day was Goody's hair clips for $2 with $2 back in Register Rewards.

My total was $10.65 with a savings of $27.96 and I received $8 back in Register Rewards!

One can of Mandarin oranges on sale 2/$1 is missing since Ty inhaled almost the entire can!

CVS Deals - Saved $37.79!

I bought the following at CVS this week:

Two Gillette Men's Body Wash - on sale $3.49 and I used a BOGO coupon to make my final cost $1.74 each. 

Christophe Styling Gel - on clearance for $4.99 and I used a $3 CVS kiosk coupon to make my final cost $1.99.  This normally retails at $9.79.

One Gillette Fusion Power Razor - on sale $9.99 with $5 back in ECB's.  I used $4 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost 99 cents.

Two Covergirl Face Powder - on sale Buy one get on 50% off.  One was $7.99 and the other was $3.99.  I used a $3/$10 CVS kiosk coupon combined with $2.50/2 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $3.24 each.

My total before sales and coupons was $49.40 but I paid $11.61 for a total savings of $37.79! I also received $5 back in ECB's to be used on my next purchase.

There were a couple other items I really wanted they were already out of stock on so maybe later in the week I'll try to stop by again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Walgreens Trip - Spent $9.12 and saved $16.15

I spent $9.12 at Walgreens this week and saved $16.15. I also received $4 in Register Rewards to be used on my next shopping trip. 

Best deal were the hairbands on sale 2/$3 with $3 back in Register Rewards making these FREE!.  The Huggies wipes came up on sale for $1.15 (unadvertised on the shelf) and I had 50 cents manufacturer's coupon and $1 Walgreens coupon so the wipes came out to be FREE also!  Butterball Chicken broth was 2/$1 with in-ad coupon.  Bounty Paper Towels were on sale for $5.49 with $1 back in Register Rewards.  I also used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $4.49 for a 6-pack. 

My biggest expense on this trip were the breast milk freezer storage bags.  They were $6.99 and I used $2 Walgreens coupon to make final cost $4.99 for 25 bags.  I'm thinking it might just be cheaper to use Ziploc freezer bags for storing breast milk.  Any ideas from those who have stored breast milk in the freezer before?

Did you find any great deals at Walgreens this week?  Feel free to add the link to your blog in the comments section!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10% off your next order at Shutterfly

 Use code DPSU-EVJW-RRXS-V8SXR9 to receive 10% off your next order at Shutterfly.com
This code expires on August 31, 2011 and is only valid for one-time redemption per member per household.  Taxes, shipping, and handling will apply.

I used Shutterfly for Bradley's birth announcements and for thank you cards for Ty's birthday party.  They did an excellent job!

Just Another Day in Paradise

One of three laundry baskets in our house

Ok, so I'm not a huge country music fan but the song Just Another Day in Paradise by Phil Vassar was in my mind all day yesterday.  I could go on and on about everything that didn't go as planned yesterday but the biggest problem was my dryer went out.  You know the lint dryer vent that is supposed to be cleaned out like every other load?  I guess it would help if I actually remembered that step and didn't break the heating element every 6 months.  I remembered as I went to pull out the damp clothes from the dryer and realized they didn't dry.  You don't even want to know how thick the lint was in that dryer vent.  So until my wonderful husband can fix it, looks like my laundry will be piling up...very quickly!
What my laundry room looks like now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Melissa & Doug Toys as low as $7.99

Zulily.com has some great sales on Melissa & Doug Toys and up to 75% off Book Boutique.  You can get the Melissa & Doug Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks for only $7.99, originally $12.00.  You can get the Nursery Rhyme Board Book Box Set for only $7.99, originally $20.00. Check out all their other great items here.

These items are selling quickly, the one item I had my eye on sold within an hour. 

Use code FAMILY10 for an additional 10% off your order!

Quotes from Foster Children

Most of you know that I'm a huge advocate for foster parenting.  I've been a foster parent for almost 7 years and I can honestly say I wouldn't of lived my life any other way.  All 22 children that have come into our home have blessed me and taught me more about life than anyone else. 

I went to our monthly foster parent meeting last night and wanted to share some quotes I read from children that have been in the foster care system.  Read these quotes and think about how you might be able to help a child in the foster care system even if you can't be a foster parent yourself.  These children need us and need to know that their community cares about them.

“We are normal kids in abnormal circumstances.” Former foster youth, Maine

“They were like, ‘You’re 16. You’re going to go off to college in a couple of years, why do you want a family?’ It’s about my entire life, it’s not just about my childhood. I want to know that I’m going to have a place to come home to during Christmas breaks. I want to know that I’m going to have a dad to walk me down the aisle. That I’m going to have grandparent for my children.”  MARY, Former foster youth, Tennessee

“I don’t think they (people) understand how it feels not being able to say mom and dad. … (G)oing through foster care, you don’t get to say that, you know, that often. And if you do trust somebody enough to say that, who knows how long they’ll stick around.”
Former foster youth, Iowa

“I felt like, you know, parents were torn away from us but it was even more hurtful for me to be torn away from my brothers and sisters. It wasn’t my fault or their fault. It was out of our control. And we shouldn’t have had to be separated like that.”
Former foster youth, California

“I wish I had someone with me, you know, like a mentor, for my entire life. I mean, I’m fine with all the changes in my social worker but … I never really met someone in the system or someone, (a) mentor, that was with me my entire life.”
Former foster youth, California

“When you have a family, you have everything. You are lucky to have parents and you should always remember that. When I won the Youth Spirit Award, it was exciting. And I have won many awards and things at school, too. But every time I walked up to receive my award, there was no family there to see me get it. Other kids had a mom or a dad to watch them get their award. It should have been a happy occasion. But for me … I wish I had a family there for me.” ANNA MARIA, former foster youth, Connecticut

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mama Zone Natural & Biodegradable Baby Wipes for only 3 cents each

Right now you can purchase Mama Zone Natural & Biodegradable Baby Wipes (case of 12) for only $35.88 (originally $47.88) from Abe's Market.  Use coupon code Hersh to receive an additional $10 off your purchase.  Shipping is a flat $3.99.  Your total with shipping should come to $29.87 for 960 wipes.  This coupon code expires on Friday, July 29th.

Grocery Shopping...Saved $52.32

I went grocery shopping this morning with both the boys.  I only had about 3 hours of sleep last night so I was a little concerned about how the trip would go and if I would overspend.  But I stayed within our budget and spent $56.87 and saved $52.32.  Being organized is the key to successful grocery shopping especially when taking children with you.  I had already browsed the circulars so I knew what was on sale and what I was going to buy.  My coupons were clipped and I had them in a separate envelope so I wouldn't have to go rummaging through my large coupon binder.  Some of my favorite deals were Brach's candy for 15 cents, Chinet plates for 57 cents, Mount Olive pickles for 34 cents, Arm & Hammer detergent for $1.69 and Smart Balance eggs for 99 cents.  I was able to stock up on some chicken breasts, ground turkey, and steak that were all on sale or on clearance.  So it was a great shopping experience to Ingles and Bi-Lo this week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

CVS Deals - Spent 24 cents and saved $33.99

This was one of my best CVS shopping trips in a long time!  I spent a whopping 24 cents for all of these items and saved $33.99.  I also received $7 ECB's to be used on my next purchase.  Total year to date I've saved $783.42 at CVS. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tomato Pie Recipe

Bridgette from Blessings Multiplied has given us a nice variety of fresh vegetables the past couple of weeks.  Mike has really enjoyed having the fresh spinach and tomatoes on his sandwiches for lunch and he actually snacks on the green beans like they were potato chips.  I found this recipe for tomato pie over the weekend and since Mike has never had it before, I had to make it with the fresh tomatoes and basil Bridgette gave us.  It turned out to be a real winner and we will definitely be making this often!  FYI - this recipe has several steps to it along with having the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  This isn't something you want to try to make 30 minutes before supper.

Ingredients for Tomato Pie:
Sour Cream Pastry
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Sour Cream Pastry Ingredients and Directions:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour cream

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a bowl.  Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas.  Add sour cream; stir with fork until combined.  Gently gather dough and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill 1 to 24 hours.

Directions for Tomato Pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare Sour Cream Pastry.
Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with salt.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Stir together next mayonnaise, basil, and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Roll Sour Cream Pastry into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold edges under and crimp.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over bottom of crust.  Arrange tomato slices over cheese in crust; spread mayonnaise mixture over tomatoes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 34-37 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How can a one year old little boy make such a huge mess in less than an hour?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two More 20% off coupons for Gymboree

Here are two more codes for 20% off your entire purchase at Gymboree.com

11J8FTZSPF83916 - expires on August 31, 2011

12D6Q2D05999240 - expires on August 7, 2011

 You can also save $15 off your purchase of $60 or more with coupon code 12GP46DG5T92294.  This coupon expires on August 7, 2011

I'm so glad I don't have a girl because I would spend all of our money buying their cute outfits.                                                

I love this ruffled shirt!  It would be adorable paired up with a white skirt.

$10 off at Land's End and Free Shipping!

Use code PARENTSA11 and pin 8355 to receive $10 off and free shipping on your next purchase of $50 or more at Lands' End.  Check out their adorable back to school clothes!

Figuring It Out...

Six weeks ago today, I came home from the hospital with Bradley. I could of never imagined what life was about to be with two babies 11 months apart. Being foster parents, we've had many children come into our home, sometimes 2 and 3 at a time. So I thought it would just be like those times. I was very wrong. 

I wasn't prepared for the fact that my body had experienced something so extreme that I would be in pain for almost six weeks. I'm not a very emotional person so I wasn't prepared for myself being able to cry for no reason at all. I didn't know how draining breastfeeding can be. You know when you have the flu and your body feels fatigued and drained? That's how it feels when breastfeeding. I knew Ty would have jealousy issues but I didn't know it would take six weeks for him to come around to liking his baby brother. I think he's finally realizing that Bradley is here to stay whether he likes it or not. I had five weeks of different family members at the house helping me. I was very grateful for their help, but I needed to figure this "Mommyhood" thing out by myself. 

In the past week, I've learned that my days are not going to go as I want them to. I'm a huge planner and I like for things to go my way. With two babies, it's not going to work my way. They make my schedule and control my day. I'm realizing that being a great Mother to these boys is the most important thing I can do. It doesn't matter if my sink is full of dirty dishes or if the carpet doesn't have vacuum lines on it. As long as my sweet boys feel loved and taken care of, that's all that matters in my life. Everything else gets tossed aside for now. I have to cherish these moments while I can. 

The song posted below I first heard at a Mother/Daughter tea banquet when I was about 12 years old. I didn't realize how meaningful it would mean to me today especially since the special moments with my own Mother are over. I can only remember the memories I had with her. I hope this song is a great reminder to you of how we just need to make each day count and cherish every moment!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Grace" by Laura Story

One of my friends posted this song on her Facebook wall this afternoon. It was my first time hearing it and was such an encouragement to me that I wanted to share it with you all. God's grace to us is so amazing when we fail to love him like He loves us.

Walgreens Deals Week of July 17th-23rd

Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color - on sale 2/$12 with $2 back in Register Rewards.  I used $5/2 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $2.50 a box.

Morton Salt - 2/$1 with in-ad coupon

Gas-X - on sale $4.99.  Used $2 instant in store coupon along with $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $1.99.

Motions Hair Products - on sale 3/$10 with $4 back in Register Rewards to make my final cost $2 per bottle.

My total out of pocket cost was $11.61 with a savings of $31.93.  I also received $6 back in Register Rewards to be used on my next purchase.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Save 30% at Lane Bryant

Are you tired of shopping yet?  If not here's one more code for Lane Bryant! Use code 000303545 to save 30% off your entire purchase at LaneBryant.com
This code expires on July 22, 2011.

Don't forget as you shop online, always checkout through Ebates.com in order to receive additional cash back.  At Lane Bryant, you will receive 3.0% cash back.  Every little bit helps and adds up in the end!

Save $10 at HauteLook

Use code SUMMER2011 to save $10 off any order of $50 or more at HauteLook.  This code expires on July 31, 2011.  They often run great specials and last year I bought a couple Christmas presents from this site.

Today Only! Extra 15% off regular, sale, & clearance prices at JCPenney

Save an extra 15% off any regular, sale and clearance prices when you use coupon code VIPMODE.  This code is only valid for today and only for online orders.  JCPenney.com has lots of clearance items at great prices and this 15% off will make the deal even better.  Their website seemed very slow to me this morning but it might of just been my computer having the Monday blues.  Let me know if you find any amazing deals!

Free Huggies Diaper Sample from Target

With two babies in diapers, I'm all about a free sample of Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers available from Target.  Click here to request a sample to be sent to you.

Paula Deen's Peach Cobbler Recipe

My sweet neighbor, Margaret, gave me a huge bag of peaches last week.  It's been so great to have friends and neighbors give us fresh veggies and fruit the last several weeks!  I made Paula Deen's peach cobbler recipe with some of the peaches and it was pretty good.  My husband loved it since it had more of a cake texture rather than a crispy crust like I prefer.  Overall, I would definitely make it again especially since it was very simple to make.

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Save $10 on all Carter's diaper bags from Babies R Us

Use code 945162 to receive $10 off any Carter's diaper bag from Babiesrus.com
I came across this cute diaper bag for a girl for only $23.99 after coupon.  This offer expires on July 21, 2011.

The secret to light and fluffy scrambled eggs

Ok, so maybe you already do this when you make your scrambled eggs but we recently discovered that when you whip the eggs in a blender before cooking them, they turn out super light and fluffy.  We just use our baby food blender for whipping them but this would also work with any blender.  Whip the eggs for about one minute before pouring them into the skillet.  You will never want to go back to hand scrambling your eggs again!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clothing Sale at Kohl's - Women's Shirts Shipped for only $4.19!

There are some great sales at Kohl's right now.  You can purchase this shirt originally $14.00 for only $4.19 including shipping. 

Use coupon code FREEMVC for free shipping and code SAVENSUMMER for 30% off your purchase. These codes expire on July 20th.  Let me know if you are able to find any other great deals!

Free Portrait Package & 40% off at Olan Mills

 Click here to print a coupon for a free portrait package and 40% off at your local Olan Mills Studio.  The portrait package includes 1 8x10, 2 5x7's and 8 wallets.  The 40% applies to purchases $69.99 or more.  I don't think we will be buying that many pictures but I'm definitely going to schedule an appointment for the free package.  Ty needs his one year old pictures so this comes at the perfect timing!

Homemade Croutons Recipe

So I might just never buy store bought croutons again.  I made my own croutons yesterday and they were incredible.   They were surprisingly simple to make and so delicious!  

Old Bread, any type - I actually used Hot Dog buns that were leftover from Ty's birthday party.
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut bread into cubes.
In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with enough olive oil to lightly coat.  I used approximately 1/4 cup for 6 hot dog buns.
Add Kosher salt and black pepper and toss until cubes are coated.
Put bread on baking pan that is lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
Bake bread in oven for 20-30 minutes until bread is golden brown and crunchy.

Homemade croutons can last up to two weeks stored in a plastic container or bag, unrefrigerated.

You can also add your own spices to add a variety of flavor to these croutons.  I'm going to try basil and Parmesan cheese on my next batch!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Cutest Shoes for Ty and Bradley

My friend Serah from Honeysuckle and Cupcakes emailed me a picture the other day of these adorable shoes for our boys.  Both of us have husbands who are HUGE Red Sox fans and we have been converted into fans ourselves.  Parents magazine also advertised these in this months issue along with a 15% off code.  To receive 15% off at Skidders.com use code SKID15.  I'm thinking these would make great Christmas gifts for the boys......