Friday, December 31, 2010

Some Small Goals for 2011

As we move into 2011, I have some "small" goals I would like to accomplish.  These are things I sometimes overlook but yet should be really easy to avoid!
  1. No more llibrary fines - OK the purpose is the library is free and yet I still forget to return things and then when I try to renew them, someone has a hold on it!
  2. Have an adult only dinner out at least one time per month!
  3. Do one special event with the kids once a month!
  4. Read one book a month!
  5. Count backwards from 10 to avoid becoming frustrated!
  6. Try one new "home" project per month!
  7. Don't be afraid to turn the TV OFF despite crying children!
  8. Be in bed by 10 pm Sunday - Thursday!
  9. No late fee or express payment fees because I forgot about a bill!
  10. Thank the Lord everyday for all that I He has given me!

Easy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

So I had read about using cake mix to make cookies and I wanted to try it out!  This was so simple and easy and if you like soft cookies, you will love this recipe!

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2 packs of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (4 cups total) crushed

Mix together cake mix, eggs, and oil.  Fold in crushed peanut butter cups.  Drop by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet.  Cook at 375 for 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What We Did on Our Christmas Vacation

This was a great week!  We were able to do some sled riding, thanks to the fresh coating of snow Mother Nature provided for us!

We also got to enjoy a day of ice skating with my aunt and cousins!  Mom was a little sore after we ice skated for over 3 hours!  But hey, we had a great time!

We also got to enjoy some classic games that Santa Claus brought to our house on Christmas morning, like Trouble, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Sorry!

Finally we got to enjoy some new movies, Toy Story 3 and The Search for Santa Paws

Even Mom and Dad got to enjoy some movies after the kids were fast asleep like Date Night, Grown Ups, The Bounty Hunter, and The Back-Up Plan!

All in all it was a great Christmas Vacation and one of the best parts was that everyone slept past 8:30 everyday!  It is going to be rough getting up for work and school next week!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Vacation!

Disney on Ice - Cleveland, OH Discount Tickets

Disney On Ice Toy Story 3 is coming to Quicken Loans Arena January 7 - 17, 2011.  Use code FAMFUN and save $5 on all performances.  Not valid on Front Row or VIP tickets.  Limit 4 tickets per transaction.  Go to the Quicken Loans Arena Office, call 1-888-894-9424 or online to purchase your tickets. 

My kids are huge fans of Toy Story 3, so we'll be there!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Creamy Turkey Rice Soup

1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
8 Tbsp flour
7 Tbsp butter
5 cups turkey broth
2 cups milk
3 cups diced cooked turkey
1 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Saute onion, carrots, and celery in 1 Tbsp butter until tender.  In a large pot melt remaining butter on medium-high heat and then whisk in flour.  Whisk in about 1/4 of the broth until it thickens.  Add remaining broth and then milk.  Bring to a boil.  Add vegetables, turkey, rice and seasonings and simmer on low for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why This Christmas Was Less Stressful

This Christmas season was a lot less stressful for myself and my family members then ones in the past.  We had a lot of changes this year and so we handled this season a little differently.  The reasons why I thought it was a lot less stressful were:
  1. We came up with a Christmas budget per person and stuck to it!
  2. We saved money in advance using a Smarty Pig account!
  3. I shopped in advance mostly before Thanksgiving!
  4. For gifts I still needed I shopped online especially with Amazon which gave free shipping on everything due to my Amazon Mom account!
  5. I used Amazon gift cards earned through EBATES and Coinstar!
  6. I completed all of my grocery shopping earlier in the Christmas week so I would not have to deal with the crowds!
  7. I pre-planned our Christmas meal and used items from our stockpile, like the cheap turkey I scored right before Thanksgiving!
  8. We made a point to schedule Christmas dinner with family after 4 pm at our house to allow for nap time.
  9. We used December 26th as a "down" day for us so the kids could enjoy their toys and we just relaxed!
  10. We were together as a family and celebrated our Lord's birth, because that is what the season is all about!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Free Shipping from JCPenney

Free shipping on orders of $49 or more online or from the JCPenney Catalog through Wednesday, January 19th!  Use promo code JCP2011 at checkout or you can call at 1-800-222-6161!

Shop through EBATES first and earn an extra 3% back and a $5 bonus for your first time with EBATES!

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 27th

Wow - Christmas has come and gone and now we are left with a lot of mess and chaos at our house. 
These are 2 things I do not deal well with a all!  I like organization and I like a "normal" schedule.  I am off work all week, so there are a lot of little tasks I want to tackle in the house which include organizing some cabinets, cleaning up some old toys, and some deep cleaning.  With that being said, I think our menu plan is a "flexible" one this week.  So this is the "Subject to Change at any Moment Menu Plan" 

Monday - Salisbury Steak
Tuesday - Eat Out
Wednesday - Chicken Wraps
Thursday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Friday - New Years Eve and I haven't got a clue
Saturday - Eat Out
Sunday - Roast and Mashed Potatoes

...and then back to reality!

This post is linked at MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Redbox DVD Rental

So maybe I'm a little behind, but I just completed my first Redbox rental!  Tonight we are watching Date Night after the kids are fast asleep (which shouldn't be an issue since they have been up late the past two nights)!

I used the Redbox at my local Giant Eagle.  Rentals are normally $1 per night, however I used promo code DVDONME and got a free night's rental.  If I return the DVD by 9 PM tomorrow, I will pay nothing additional.  Sounds like a cheap, frugal Date Night to me!

I am use to FREE movie rentals, because I usually request titles and wait awhile until they are available from our local library.  Popular movies usually have a long wait line, but hey it is worth it when it is free!

2011 Grocery Budget

One area in which we need to improve on is to stick with our grocery budget.  We have set a FIRM $300 per month grocery budget for 2011.   I am setting up a new tracker to hold myself accountable in my sidebar.  I will be updating this regularly so you can all see how I am doing on our budget for the month! 

Out $300 grocery budget feeds a family of four.  We have two boys who are 5 and 2 and boy can my 5 year old eat!  It seeems like as soon as we finish a trip to the grocery store, we are out of something he likes!  It takes a lot to keep our grocery spending in check, but I am on a mission to try in 2011.

Do you know what your grocery budget is?  This is one sure way to cut costs in your household if you begin to track and regulate your grocery budget!  I know if it often difficult to pass on an item, but hey there is always next month!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. 
I hope your holiday is full of family, friends, and lots of fun!
My wish is that everyone takes the time to appreciate the true meaning of CHRISTmas.
I know the hustle and bustle of buying gifts often makes me lose focus,
so I plan on taking some time in the next 2 days to focus on the true meaning.
Our Savior was born on Christmas day!

May God bless you and your families.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Christmas Day Menu

So this year my parents are hosting Christmas Eve.  We are going to be hosting Christmas Day at our house for my husband's side of the family.  Since they were away on Thanksgiving, we are making a Thanksgiving meal for everyone on Christmas.  So our menu on Christmas will be:

Turkey & Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Pumpkin Pie

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Going From Two Incomes to One (Part 4 – Final Post)

You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here but I left as:

Our minds were made up; we could live on one income. We would have to watch our spending and track every penny of it to make it work, but we can make it work. It was decided and my husband turned in his two week notice at his employer.

It now has been almost 3 months since my husband has left his job. Things have been going wonderfully. The kids seem happier. I know I am happier since now I can go into work early and leave earlier. My husband seems happier. He was having some issues with his old job and I can tell he is enjoying being home with the boys. Some days are trying for him, but he handles them and moves on with the day. He definitely has a lot more patience then I do!

We still have some issues to work out on the home maintenance. I need to let go of certain things and let him do it. He needs to step up and just do things without me asking. I have always done the shopping due to my mapped out coupon trips. However now I give him a list and he does our mid week Aldi’s run for milk and other staples.

We still track our monthly spending down to the penny. This actually helps us make better decisions on when we can afford to buy things. We now think twice if we really need to buy something. I often feel guilty about recording foolish purchases on our spreadsheet like I wasted our money.

We changed our thinking about paying for things later rather than now. We still use credit cards and pay the full balance every month because we do not believe in a cash system. We practice self control and having to record every purchase in a spreadsheet keeps us in check. We have now set up accounts to save for future events. We have been contributing to our Christmas Fund through a Smarty Pig account since August so that we will have funds available to us. We have also started a Vacation Fund for our Disney Trip in May. Vacations are non-negotiable to us. We believe in making memories with our children that include family vacations. It is fitting into our budget, so we will have the funds set aside when we make our trip.

Life is about what you are willing to sacrifice to be able to attain other things you truly want. For us, our kids’ happiness and sense of “normal” was top on our list. It took a few sacrifices on our part to achieve this, but really our life is so much more content and fulfilling these days. I truly do not miss eating out as much as we use to, my husband is becoming a good cook experimenting with new recipes. Plus I love arriving home to dinner on the table and everyone seated in their chairs yelling “Hi Mom”!

I hope you enjoyed this series, if you have any additional questions, on how we went from two incomes to one, please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 20th!

Yeah - I'm late!  I cannot believe it is less than a week before Christmas!  I was able to use up a vacation day from work last Friday and sneak in some last minute shopping and then attend my son's Christmas party at school!  My parents are hosting Christmas Eve this year and I am hosting Christmas Day at my house with my husband's family.  Should be a fun week for the kids as we count down the days until Jesus's Birthday!

Monday - Breaded Pork Chops
Tuesday - City Chicken
Wednesday - Eat Out
Thursday - Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
Friday - Christmas Eve at my Parents' house
Saturday - Christmas Day and we are seving Turkey!
Sunday - Turkey Rice Soup

This post is linked at MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Sausage Cheese Balls

This is a favorite appetizer for the holidays in our family.  They are super easy to make and taste delicious!

1# bulk sausage roll (I use Bob Evans)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup baking mix (I use pancake mix)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and shape into balls.  Place balls on a cookie cookie lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray (makes clean-up A LOT easier)!  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ruby Tuesday Gift Card BONUS!

I LOVE Ruby Tuesday!  Their salad bar is amazing and it the one place everyone can find something to eat!  Right now if you buy a $25 gift card online you receive a $5 bonus via e-mail, but if you buy a $50 card online you receive a $15 BONUS!  This is an amazing deal and it helps stretch our eating out dollars a little farther!

Go here to get in on this great deal!

Plus I found a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree coupon here up to $10 off!  When I printed mine the expiration date was 1-11-11!

Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics

Lowe's has these amazing free building clinics geared for children in grades 1 - 5.  However my son is 4 and is very capable of doing the clinics!  They are held on Saturdays from 10 am - 11 am.  My husband and son attended one today in which they built a train engine.  My son had a blast!  They give your child and apron and goggles.  At the end of the clinic your child receives a patch to put on their apron! 

You need to pre-register for these clinics and I suggest do it well it advance.  They are free and fill up quickly.  Each store is limited to 50 kids.  It is a great time for parent and child to bond and build something together!

Upcoming clinics include:

January 8 - Game Box
January 22 - Ball Toss

Go here to register now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Going From Two Incomes to One (Part 3)

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here, but I left as:

With all of this being done, a month and a half before the scheduled “quit” date, we ran a test month on one income. All of my husband’s income went directly into a savings account.

So for our test month, we were not allowed to use any of my husband’s income. All of his income would go directly into our savings account. We deemed our test month as “Super Family Holdback”. We only bought what was necessary. Using some of the principles from Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, I made a spreadsheet to incorporate all funds coming in and out for the month. For the first time, I told our money where to go for the month.

For our test month, I recorded every penny we spent for that month on my spreadsheet. What a surprise to both of us, that it was possible to live on one income, you can read about our test month here. We were even able to still put money into our kids’ 529 accounts, retirement, and put money in our emergency savings account. So back to my “signs” I was waiting for, well this was a sign, a sign that we could do it. We were actually kicking ourselves on not doing this earlier! We were actually able to save more money than normal since we had reduced our spending so much.

My other “sign” came when I found out from my work that I would be charged a $125 monthly spousal surcharge if I carried my husband on my health insurance when he had access to health insurance from his employer. Well he did have access from his employer at a rate of $199 dollars a month for a single person! So when I totaled my new surcharge that came out to a whopping $1500 a year! This would in actuality further reduce his salary by an additional $1500. We just did not see the benefits of him continuing to work.

Our minds were made up; we could live on one income. We would have to watch our spending and track every penny of it to make it work, but we could make it work. It was decided and my husband turned in his two weeks notice at his employer.

To be continued in Part 4 (Final Post)...

Bacon Prices

So apparently it is not me, bacon prices are on the rise! I thought we had not eaten bacon for awhile and now I understand why, the prices have been sky rocketing! I use to get fairly cheap bacon with sales and a double coupon, but that was awhile ago. I finally broke down and bought some turkey bacon with a coupon because we needed it for a recipe! Bacon is not a staple in our house. We normally only get to enjoy it when there is a really good sale!

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index, bacon prices have been climbing for seven straight months as of October (the last month for which there is data.) As of right now, bacon prices are up an average of 33% over last year at this time.

There's a combination of factors at work here. Remember the H1N1 Swine Flu scare last year? That caused an overall reduction in hog herds. Higher feed prices and overall recessionary conditions also helped make raising hogs a money-losing proposition for a lot of farmers. And because pork bellies (the pigmeat from which we get bacon) is a traded commodity, market pressure from speculators has helped keep bacon prices higher than other pork cuts.

So I guess when we “bring home the bacon” there really won’t be any bacon at all!

However I did find a coupon for $1 off 2 packages of Oscar Mayer Bacon!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Going From Two Incomes to One (Part 2)

You can read Part 1 here, but I left as:

We always had in the back of our minds that if our parents could no longer watch the kids, that my husband would quit his job. However it never happened that way. I was left torn for months, waiting for a “sign” that he should stay home with the kids. I never got that big “sign” I was looking for, but I did get some small inclinations that it was time to make a change in our lives.

My husband and I seriously started considering him staying home with our kids about 9 months earlier. Some of our compelling thoughts included:
  • When the kids get sick, the stay-at-home parent would be able to care for them and not waste vacation days.
  • We wanted our almost kindergartener to be able to get on the bus and come home on the bus and not to have to worry about before and after care. This was a compelling argument for us, since we both had stay-at-home Moms growing up ourselves.
  • Are we being selfish with wanting to make more money when our kids really just need our time? We were at a point in our lives where we were settled in our home, had two decent cars, and had completed most major home repairs.
  • Do we really need two incomes?
  • Who is going to help the kids with their homework? That is our responsibility not their grandparents.
  • Our parents are getting older and how long will they be able to care for our kids?
  • Even though they wanted to watch our kids, we felt as if we were taking advantage of our parents and asking so much of them. They didn’t have to do all that they do for us.
  • I was beginning to dread having to wake up two sleeping children to get them dressed and off to Grandma and Papa’s. I felt guilty. Plus the fact it was making me late for work.
With all of these compelling reasons, my husband and I decided to put a plan in place to prepare for him to leave his job. It was never a question on who would stay home with the kids. We made a pure financial decision. The other aspect was that I adore my job, have been with my company for over 10 years, and carry the health insurance. My company gives me outstanding benefits plus continues to promote me within the company. My husband had been stuck in the same position for five years and saw no promotion in his future.

About 4 months before my husband was to officially leave his job, we put a plan in place to reduce our spending and see if this one income set-up could actually work for our family. By then I had already been heavy in couponing and the drug store game and had seen our grocery bill get cut in half. This gave me encouragement. Other steps we took to financially prepare included:

  • Continued to use coupons and play the Drug Store game to see how low we could get our grocery budget.
  • Cut our eating out down to one time per week.
  • Aggressively paid off our last car loan.
  • Completed our bathroom renovation and paid cash (our last major house renovation).
  • Watched spending on our credit cards
  • Read Dave Ramsey’s Book The Total Money Makeover
With all of this being done, a month and a half before the scheduled “quit” date, we ran a test month on one income. All of my husband’s income went directly into a savings account.

To be continued in Part 3...

Bob Evan's Sausage Coupon

Here is a rare printable coupon, $0.50 off Bob Evans sausage!  This is the only sausage we eat in our house!

Here is a recipe for Bob Evans Sausage cups, these sound amazing and simple!  I may have to try these for our next party!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday – Week of 12/13/10

So we have a big snow storm moving our way.  The winter storm warning went into effect tonight at 7 pm and lasts through Wednesday at 7 am .   I got a quick grocery store trip in this morning because it looks like we may be not going anywhere for a few days!

Monday – Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday – Beef Tips & Noodles

Wednesday – Chicken Breast Divine

Thursday – Work Christmas Dinner

Friday – Pizza Takeout Night

Saturday – Eat Out

Sunday – Pot Roast

This post is linked at MPM on I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk, honey, and vanilla.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt gradually and mix well.

In a separate bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon (or I simply used my Pampered Chef Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle).  Shape a heaping tablespoonful of dough into a 6" log and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.  Loosely coil the log and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 250 for 8 - 10 minutes.  Remove to wire racks to cool.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going From Two Incomes to One (Part 1)

I have dropped some subtle hints in my blog, so if you have not caught them, we are now officially a one income family! If you think I am a stay-at-home Mom, nope think again. My husband is now a stay-at-home Dad (or parent as he refers to it as)! I am now the responsible party for bring home the bacon to my husband and boys. I am going to be doing a series on how we made this all possible.

Years have gone by with us wondering if we could make this work. Months of intense preparation took place before the “2 week notice was turned in at work”. In the end, this was by far the hardest, yet easiest decision my husband (of 8 years) and I have ever had to make as a married couple. When we married 8 years ago, I was working full-time and my husband was working part-time and attending school full-time. As time evolved (after a brief hiatus on unemployment) we have been a two income family for six years. We definitely enjoyed the perks of two incomes and at times somewhat abused them. We moved three times and bought three different houses in a span of 5 years (WOW!).

We were now at a stage in our lives where we have two children and we were both going about 100 miles per hour in different directions every day. We enjoyed the perks of free childcare since we both have willing and able parents wanting to care for their grandchildren. However kindergarten is on the horizon for our oldest. Granted we were blessed with free childcare, I still had to wake the kids up get them dressed and over to Grandma and Papa’s. My husband’s job was to pick the kids up in the evenings, sometimes at two different houses. Our lifestyle “worked” for us, however we were becoming tiresome, worn down, and in need of a change.

There were times when the kids were sick (or the grandparents) and we had to make a quick morning decision on who would call off of work. I printed a monthly calendar of where the kids would be everyday and what time they were to be dropped off and picked up at the designated house. We always had in the back of our minds that if our parents could no longer watch the kids, that my husband would quit his job. However it never happened that way. I was left torn for months, waiting for a “sign” that he should stay home with the kids. I never got that big “sign” I was looking for, but I did get some small inclinations that it was time to make a change in our lives.

To be continued in Part 2

All You - January, 2011 Issue

If you got your January issue of All You, check out Page 9, "What You Love This Month".  I got my quote published!

"We can finally go back to the slow-
cooked, homemade recipes that make
my house feel so inviting when the
snow is falling outside.  I can already
smell the beef stew, the chili, and the
pot roast in the oven!"

All You is one of my favorite magazines!  It is jammed packed with recipes, money saving tips and a load of coupons!

Check out the list of high-value coupons you'll find in the current issue of All You (including many exclusive to All You!). This month's total: $43.38!

AcneFree™ Clear Skin System or Severe to Clear Skin System $3.00 off any 1 2/28/10

AcneFree™ Clear 8 oz. Purifying Cleanser or Terminator 10 $1.00 off any 1 2/28/10

All You Cookbook $1.00 4/05/10

All You February 2010 Issue $0.50 2/01/10

All You Health and Fitness Issue $0.50 1/08/10

Colgate MaxFresh® and MaxWhite® toothpaste $1.00 3/24/10

Colgate Total® Advanced toothpaste $1.00 2/28/10

Cream of Wheat ® $1.00 3/31/10

DOLE® Pineapple $0.55 3/28/10

Endust Free $1.50 4/23/10

Ester-C® 500mg or 1,000mg $2.00 2/15/10

Fast Classics® Frozen Chicken $1.25 5/31/10

Flexamin Triple Strength® (10% bonus size) or Flexamin Triple Strength with Bone Shield® (20% bonus size) $3.00 2/15/10

Healthometer $10 off any Healthometer scale $19.88 and above 3/31/10

Hormel® Refrigerated Entrees $1.00 2/28/10

JELL-O Mousse, Pudding & Gelatin Snacks $0.50 3/31/10

Marvel Heroes©, Princess© or Cars© 60 ct. Children's Vitamins $1.00 2/15/10

Minute® Brown Rice $0.50 3/28/10

Nature Made $1.00 2/28/10

Arrowhead, Poland Spring, Deer Park, Zepherhills, Ozarka, Ice Mountain $1.00 off any 2 3/15/10

Osteo Bi-Flex Triple Strength®, Osteo Bi-Flex Triple Strength with Vitamin D® or Osteo Bi-Flex Plus MSM® $3.00 2/15/10

Slim-Fast!® $1.25 1/22/10

Smart Ones® $1.50 off 7 4/30/10

Splenda $1.00 2/28/10

Tostitos Scoops® $1.00 2/07/10

Underwood Meat Spreads $1.00 3/31/10

Weight Watchers® Cheese $0.75 off any Weight Watchers Cheese 3/31/10

Weight Watchers® Yogurt Buy 2 Weight Watchers 6 oz. Yogurt Cups, Get One FREE ($0.58 value) 3/31/10


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ham Bone Soup

So after a 3 hour commute home due to blizzard conditions, I was so glad that I had this cooking in my crock pot. Unfortunately, everyone else already ate and I grabbed a bowl and forgot to take a picture. But this soup was easy and delicious. I used a ham bone from the Honey Baked Ham I had for my son’s birthday!

1 ham bone with meat on it
6 cups of water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced carrots

Put everything in the crock pot and let simmer on low for 8 – 10 hours. Make sure to stir occasionally and move the ham bone around. Do not add any salt because the ham makes it salty enough!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Free Purina One Samples

If you have a dog or cat, Target has free samples of Purina One Smart Blend pet food for dogs or cats. Go here to request your samples!

I would bookmark and check back at this site often because new freebies are often posted!

Research Study for Males/Females 18-64 diagnosed with Diabetes, Hepatitis C, Herpes or Lupus

If you would like to participate in a study at our office in South Park Center Mall, please read below and give us a call to join. Please note that we cannot accept more than one person per household in each study.

o Dates: 12/13/2010 – 1/15/2011
o Time Needed: 30 minutes
o Location: Opinions Ltd. in South Park Center Mall (Strongsville, OH)
o Target Audience: Males/Females 18-64 diagnosed with Diabetes, Hepatitis C, Herpes or Lupus
o Reward: $80
o Topic: Medical

If you are interested, please call 440-878-1889 and mention the Medical study. We will only take a few minutes of your time to see if you qualify. When you do, we will set up an appointment at our office.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Skillet Lasagna

So I took two photos because the one in the pan was not able to show the complete dish. This is almost as good as homemade lasagna but takes a lot less time. I served this with my favorite Five Cheese Garlic French Bread from Schawn’s.

24-26 oz of spaghetti sauce
3 cups of water
8 regular lasagna noodles (do not use the no boil noodles)
1# of lean ground beef
1 clove garlic
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp parsley
1 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella


1. Combine sauce and water in a large skillet. Cover and bring to a boil.

2. Break each lasagna noodle in quarters. It is easiest to do one noodle at a time. Stir noodles into sauce. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 18 minutes.

3. In another skillet, brown the ground beef. Once it is almost browned add garlic and onion and sauté an additional 5 minutes. Stir meat into sauce and let simmer 5 minutes.

4. Combine cheeses and parsley in another bowl. Scoop the cheese mixture over the noodles. Cover and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Dr. Oz’s 4 Foods to Buy Organic

If you watched Dr. Oz today (12-7-10) Dr. Oz revealed his four foods that he believes you should buy organic. I am often confused on the benefits of organic foods. Perhaps this is a good area to start buying organic

Peanut butter – pesticides are often used around peanut planets
Cereal – often not more expensive than regular brands
Ketchup – Twice the antioxidants in organic ketchups
Frozen Meals – Healthier than traditional

My Green Bean Casserole

There are a couple versions of this recipe out there, but here is how I make my Green Bean Casserole.  I often double the recipe for big crowds!

2 cans of green beans
1 can of cream of mushroom coup
3/4 cup of milk
1/8 tsp pepper
1 small can of french fried onions

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine beans, soup, milk, pepper, and 1/3 of the can of onions and mix.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Top with remaining onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Cheesy Potatoes

We call them Cheesy Potatoes and here is my recipe for a party favorite in my household!

1 package of cubed frozen hashbrowns (Approx 32 oz)
1 can of cream of chicken
1 pint of sour cream
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup diced onion
10 oz of shredded sharp cheddar

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Put hasbrowns in a 9 x 13 pan.  I use the disposal aluminum pans for easy clean-up!  In a separate bowl mix together remaining ingredients.  Spread over top of the hashbrowns.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I let mine cook for about 20 minutes then give them a good stir. then they are good to go for the remaining time!  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday – Week of 12/6/10

December is officially here! There is less than 3 weeks until Christmas. My boys are so excited this year and I am getting so many questions about Santa Claus. My oldest son keeps reminding my husband that he has to clean out that chimney so Santa can come down it Christmas Eve! He better get busy!

Monday – Skillet Lasagna
Tuesday – Ham Bone Soup
Wednesday – Tacos
Thursday – French Toast & Bacon
Friday – Pizza Night!
Saturday – Eat Out
Sunday – Turkey Roast and mashed potatoes

This post is linked to MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

All Aboard...For a Birthday Celebration!

Today is my baby's 2nd birthday, so I guess that makes him officially a toddler!  He and his brother are obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, so today we are having a Thomas themed party. 

I made my own cake this year with this delicious recipe for butter cream icing,  This is quickly becoming a family favorite and who knew it was so easy!  You'll need:

2 sticks of unsalted butter softened
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 tbsp milk

Beat the butter until creamy.  Add other ingredients and beat until a nice consistency is formed.  Simple and easy and tastes amazing!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Toys R Us - December 4th!

  • Saturday, December 4th from 12 pm - 3 pm
  • Santa & Geoffreywill pose for pictures, so bring your camera!
  • Enjoy storytime and decorate your own gingerbread cookie!
  • Receive FREE giveaways!
  • Find a store here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gift Cards for the Holidays

Now is the time to begin to buy gift cards for the Holidays. Restaurants are always offering a **BONUS** when you buy a certain dollar amount. I am going to start a list of these deals that are being offered. I cannot guarantee these offers will be honored everywhere, you may want to call first to verify!

Arby’s – FREE COMBO wyb $20 in Arby’s Gift Cards at participating locations
Bob Evans - Buy $50 ger $10 bonus card
Brueggers - Buy $25 get $5 in Bakery Bucks
Carrabba’s - Buy $100 get $20 bonus card
Macaroni Grill - Buy $25 get $5
Outback Steakhouse – Buy $100 get $20 bonus card
Red Robin - Buy $25 get $5 in Bonus Bucks
Ruby Tuesday - Buy $25 get $5