Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cheesy Baked Penne

This recipe is super quick to put together and have on the table in less than an hour.  It would also be a good recipe to take half and freeze for another night!

1 box of Penne noodles (16 oz)
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (10 oz)
1 container of Ricotta cheese (15 oz)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly cut parsley (you can sub dried parsley)
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Cook Penne according to package directions and drain.
2.  Combine Penne and Alfredo sauce.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine Ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and parsley.
4.  Spray a 9x13 dish with non-stick spray.
5.  Put half of the Penne in the dish then top with Ricotta mixture, put remaining Penne on top.
6.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
7.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Note - if you are going to freeze, before baking cover with foil and freeze.  To cook, thaw completely and then bake at 350F for 30 minutes.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Our Adventure With Pete the Cat

My 5 year old was so excited when he was the first one to be chosen in his kindergarten class to take home Pete the CatPete the Cat is from the popular children's book series by James Dean and so happens to be my son's kindergarten class pet.

Every weekend, one student gets to take home Pete the Cat and have an adventure with him.  We then have to take pictures and write a story about Pete the Cat's adventures in an album.  My son will also get to talk about Pete the Cat's adventures with our family in class.  Lucky for Pete the Cat, he just happened to go on an adventure to King's Island with our family!

Pete the Cat got to enjoy a ride on the bumper cars!

Pete the Cat also enjoyed some yummy pizza for lunch!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sew Many Wishes!

My daughter got to try out this new design from Sew Many Wishes!  This cupcake dress has 3 different fabrics.  The top is multi-colored polka dots followed by a pink cupcake fabric, a brown cupcake fabric, and finally purple with white polka dots.  The top ties in the back with a white ribbon.

As you can see my daughter loved wearing her new cupcake dress and having Mom snap a couple of photos.  The quality at Sew Many Wishes is top notch!  I can see this dress lasting a long time in our house!

Sew Many Wishes also made a custom designed dress for my daughter's 1st birthday in 2013.  It was absolutely gorgeous and made her Hello Kitty themed party perfect!
Visit Sew Many Wishes on Etsy and Facebook and tell her Spend Less 2 Save More sent you!

First Day Back to School

Is it just me or does summer break move at lightning speed?  I remember the last day of school and all the plans we had for our LONG summer break.  Then it is August 1st, you blink and its the first day of school.  Granted, my kids did go back a few days earlier this year than normal, but really?  And of course, its like 90 degrees now (where were these temps the rest of the summer)?

This year marked another milestone, I now have two kids in school all day!  My other son started kindergarten!  A week later, it still seems odd that I have to wake both of them up and hustle them to the bus stop.  The house is A LOT quieter, however my little girl has adjusted just fine to getting all of Mom's or Dad's attention while her big brothers are off at school!

Here are some first day of school pics, I hope yours went as smoothly as ours did!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



Kidecals personalized Waterproof Labels are great for the entire family. These personalized stickers are washing machine and dishwasher safe, making them great for clothes, water bottles and sports gear. Durable personalized labels for kids and adults of all ages. Great for school, daycare, camp, travel, and home. Better than the old iron on labels, these personalized stickers for kids are easy to apply and will stay stuck! With over 80 decal and label designs to meet trends and interests, there is a style of kids labels for everyone – even grownups!

Recently I was given the opportunity to try some Kidecals!  I ordered the Rainbow Dots with our name and address.  I chose the Mega Set which was $28 dollars and included 24 two inch labels and 48 one inch labels.  There is ALWAYS free shipping no matter how much you spend (can't beat that)! I received my order in less than a week, which was amazing customer service.  They came in a large heavy envelope so they were not folded or creased in any way!

Since it is back to school time and we all have to label everything, I used some of my labels on the kids backpacks and they stuck wonderfully.  The labels are really thick and I am fully anticipating them lasting the school year.  I will use some as return address labels and whatever else we need to label in our house.  When fall comes and I need to label coats, I will definitely be using my Kidecals because they are machine washable!

If you want to try Kidecals out, use discount code ilovelabels which will give you 15% off any Kidecals order!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grilled Tomato Mozzarella Basil Sandwiches

If you love the flavors of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, then you will love this twist on a grilled cheese sandwich!  I was able to use fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden and it was amazing!

3-4 slices of fresh tomato
4 leaves of fresh basil
4-6 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
2 slices Italian bread

1.  Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on a medium-high.
2,  Butter one side of each of the slices of bread.
3.  Put one slice of bread (butter down) on the heated skillet.  Top with 1/2 of mozzarella, basil leaves, tomato, and then other 1/2 of mozzarella.  Top with other slice of bread (butter side up).
4.  When golden brown, flip sandwich to brown other side.
5.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mom and Dad Need A Vacation Too!

I know you have heard it all too often, Mom and Dad need to take time for themselves and their relationship from time to time.  The truth is though, we all get so busy being “Mom and Dad” we sometimes forget how to be “Husband and Wife”.  I’m sure everyone has experienced that awkward silence when we have nothing else to talk about except the kids! 

Within the past five years my husband and I always made time for a monthly date night in our relationship.  Actually, we forced it!  We joined a bowling league with my sister-in-law and her husband so that we were guaranteed one night out a month.  This monthly night always includes dinner and then bowling; it is a perfect opportunity to get away.  We also now have about 3 different couples we like to go out with, so we normally try and go out with one of them also once a month.

At the beginning of this year, we were looking at goals and one that I had that kept getting pushed off was for my husband and I to take a mini vacation, just the two of us.  Beside an overnight for a wedding or the kids spending the night at their grandparents, we have not taken a vacation, just the two of us, for NINE years!  Yes NINE years, this happen to coincide with right before I became pregnant with our first son.  Well, our kids are now 8, 5, and 2, I was out of excuses, and it was time to just book that vacation!

We had always intended on taking a really nice trip on our 10th wedding anniversary, however that snuck up on us one month after our 3rd child was born!  So we decided, we were finally taking our 10th anniversary trip on our 12th anniversary.  She would be 2 by then and we had willing grandparents to watch our children.  Once again, no excuses!  It was decided, we booked a vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, and it would be our first vacation without kids since kids!

Thoughts of spending days on the beach and at the pool laying in the sun, eating fancy dinners with only adults, sleeping in until we wanted too, quiet alone time, was all so appealing to us.  We were so excited and could not wait until the day our plane took off to our sunny destination.  Then the week before hit us like a rock, my husband suddenly had a horrible ear infection and then my daughter had one!  Was this meant to be?  I was a nervous wreck (to say the least) the day before we left!

In the end, we got on that plane and had the best 4 days of our married life.  I am so glad we took that giant leap and the next time it will be easier.  The kids were just fine; they actually had a blast with all the activities their grandparents had planned for them.  They kept them a lot busier than we would ever had!  My husband and I spent days floating in tropical pools, had our toes in the sand, and enjoyed wonderful food just the two of us.  We are so glad we took this trip and we are going to make a yearly trip for just the two of us a priority.  It does not have to be as extravagant as this one, but definitely at least three days away a year to reconnect and just be us again!

If you are having doubts about taking a trip and are out of excuses, take my advice and book it now!  It only has to be a few nights, but it will be a wonderful rejuvenation to you and your marriage.  You need it, your spouse needs it, and your family needs it.  In the end it will make you a better parent to your kids.  The best part was definitely seeing the huge smiles and great big hugs we got from our kids when we walked back in the door at the end of our trip.  They were so glad to see us and could not wait to tell us about their adventures with Grandma and Grandpa!