Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I DID IT!!!!!

Ok, let me preface this blog by saying, I don’t cook. My Mom is convinced that I CAN cook, but most of what I try, Ryan doesn’t like. But, he is a tough critic. He was chef in a couple different restaurants before he started his current career. He has a gift. He is one of those people who can dig through the pantry and throw 6 random ingredients together and make it delicious. I, however, do not posses that gift. I must have a recipe. [I kind of wonder if it’s on OCD thing?] He does 99% of the cooking at home. Every woman on my Mom’s side [and my Gram on my Dad’s too] can/could cook. And they do/did it well. My Mom says it’s cause I haven’t had much practice. Let’s just say, my confidence is lacking. Well, until last night that is…

As you may know from a prior blog, I dove into the world of coupons and with it, have come across lots of recipes. I had printed a few out, but hadn’t had the confidence to try them on my foodie husband yet. Well, last week I saw one of the recipes I’d printed out on my friend Christina's blog so I decided, what the heck. I’m doing it.

Last night, I made Ranchero Beef Taco Casserole from the Campbell’s website. YUM!!!! It was so good!!! Usually, if I cook, Ryan takes a few bites and I can quickly tell by his face that it’s lacking. Well, last night, I timidly watched him take a few bites…and then a few more. After a moment I asked “Well…?” And he broke into a smile! I DID IT!!!!! I made something my husband likes!!!! Now I know I can do it…I just need to try more. And I think he rather liked being able to sit on the couch watching TV and unwinding while I made dinner.

Here is the recipe: [I plan to tweak it a little…next time I will use Fritos or Tortilla chips instead of regular tortillas to add some crunch.]

1 pound ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
3 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup Pace® Chunky Salsa
3/4 cup water
8 corn tortillas (6-inch) OR 6 flour tortilla (8-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned, stirring frequently to break up meat. Pour off any fat.

Stir the soup, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic powder, salsa, water, tortillas and half the cheese into the beef. Spoon into a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Cover.

Bake at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

YAY!! :) I felt very domestic - and I loved it!!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Good News is GREAT on a Monday!!

As many of you know [and some may not] my Dad was diagnosed with Throat Cancer in 2007. It happened so fast it still makes my head spin. He never felt bad, just one day he had a little bump, which rapidly grew into a softball size lump, growing under his skin on his neck. It was one of 3 tumors he had removed in an emergency neck dissection only a few days later. He then had to undergo both chemo and radiation. It was very rough. And terrifying.

OK - on to the GOOD NEWS!!!! He goes in for follow ups every 6 months now, and he met with his oncologist and radiologist today and they both concluded that he is still CANCER-FREE!!! Every time he has a good check up, they push back the next appointment, so he doesn't have to go back for 8 months! I'm not sure exactly when they will get to call is "remission" but I am just soooo happy to hear my Dad say the words "cancer-free"!!!!

Praise God!! HE is Good!!!!! :)

My Dad with me, Ryan & brother Frankie at our wedding!

I love this picture. My Dad seeing me for the first time on my wedding day...it brings tears to my eyes everytime...he so easily could have not been there...but by the Grace of God - HE WAS!!! I love you Daddy!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prayers for Stellan

Prayers for Stellan


My prayers and thoughts are with you, Mck family.


I love "gifts for no reason"!!

I really do love them. You know, when you get a gift out of the blue just because. They make me all warm and fuzzy inside. Well, I got one last night.

Ryan had gotten XM radio in his car and I was growing increasingly jealous. ;) I mean, there are SO many stations to chose from and they are 99% commercial free!! Well, he had told me about this fancy new one that has a color screen [no other model has had this prior] and the ability to save songs and artists to a "play list". I was drooling.

Skip to last night. He ordered me one!! It got here yesterday and he installed it for me!! It.is.awesome. I'm in love. He is excited that I finally share a tiny little part of his obsession with electronics. ;) Anyway, here are a couple of very blurry camera phone pictures of my new XM radio!! YAY!!

Thanks Hubbs!!! :D

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Exciting!!

What, you ask, is so exciting?! Well, Ryan & I met with DeVry University [yes, it is an accredited Univ.] last night and Ryan is ready to start school!!! I've been encouraging him for years and he finally feels like it's the right time. We did tons of research before meeting with them, comparing all our options for him to complete a degree. We chose DeVry for lots of reasons. Mainly, Ryan is NOT a "sit in a lecture, tons of pre-reqs" kind of guy. He wants as few of the "pre-reqs" as possible and he wants hands-on. That is exactly what DeVry is. He will have to take about 5 pre-reqs like Comp 101, Public Speaking and College Algebra but he can test out of any of those he wants. After that, it is purely Engineering classes.

He knows it will be hard. The advisor must have said it 20 times during the 2.5 hours we were there. But, Ryan is smart, especially in this field. [By the way, "this field" is Electronics Engineering Technology.] Essentially, he will be getting a 4 yr Bachelors in a 3 yr accelerated program.

I simply could not be more proud of him. Hopefully all the other pieces will fall into place and he'll be able to start in April!!!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Case of the Mondays

Yup. I've got a bad case of the Mondays.

I don't feel 100% . Pretty sure it's just allergies. It really makes me hate Spring.

I don't like to start the week with negative emails from the boss first thing. Starts my week on a sour note.

And the biggest one...Today marks the 6 year "anniversary" of one of my best friend's death. Emett Bolin was killed in a motorcycle accident 3/16/03...exactly one month and two days before his 20th birthday. I hate calling it an "anniversary" but, that is what it is. I am trying really hard not to be sad but I've been fighting back the tears on and off today. I am trying to celebrate the 19 years he did get. But, maybe it's because it was sudden and he was so young...I can't help but still feel sad. He was an only child, and his Mom passed away from cancer one year ago January...so really, the sadness I feel is probably thinking about his amazing dad, Tom.
This is my favorite picture of Emett & I. Probably shouldn't have posted this...might cry now. [Deep breaths, right Mom?] But, I never want to forget his face. I am blessed that Ryan knew him too, in fact Ryan was the only guy Emett ever thought was good enough for me, because he [kind of] understands what a special friend he was. Like my big brother...that kind of friend. RIP Emett..."I know you're smiling. I know you're singing. and I know that you're in a better place where angel's wings caress you but, I still miss you." 4/18/1983-3/16/2003

After work, I plan to hit the couch and not move until I hit the bed. The day is 1/2 over. I just need the strength to make it through the other 1/2.

Sorry for being such a Negative Nancy. It's just one of those days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another "Seinfeld" post

In other words, it's about nothing. [Get it?! Seinfeld?! Yikes...that was lame. Ryan is rubbing off on me!!]

Anyway, I have a case of the Monday's. I am tired [here's your nickel Mandy...] although I don't hold Daylight Savings totally responsible...it certainly contributed. So did my allergies. I had a very sleepless night. Being tired on a Monday doesn't work very well for me. And Ryan had to get up at 5:15am for work and I swear I had just fallen into a deep sleep when that stupid alarm went off. He got up and I rolled over to sleep until 6:30am but I didn't really fall back asleep. Mostly I lay there with my eyes closed. Needless to say, I am trying [and possibly failing] to fight the urge to chug a Dr. Pepper.

Also - TODAY IS MY MOMMY'S BIRTHDAY!!! Happy, Happy Birthday Mom!!! I hope your boss let's ya go early!! I love you!!

Oh! House is on tonight! I just got excited! Ryan & I love House! I love a lot of TV, but it's rare that Ryan likes something that isn't building cars, houses or motorcycles...or taking them apart...or cooking something. Really, there are a lot of shows he watches just cause I am...and knows he can complain till he's blue in the face, but I'm still gonna watch it. :) Good little husband.

Chloe was getting a lot better and not licking her "hot spot" at all!! The hair was even growing back...but last night Ryan & I noticed a patch was thinning out again. So, we ordered her a soft e-collar that she will wear during the day while we are gone. [Thanks for the rec Grammie!!] We can't afford to take her to the vet every 10 days for more shots so, we will see if this helps first and then, if not, we will take her back. Since it's psychogenic and not some illness that could kill her, we find this an acceptable alternative for now.

Well, that's probably more than any of you wanted to know, but there it is. I told you this post was about nothing!!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I am going to a Coupon Queen!

I've officially jumped on the money-saving band wagon. Since we are diligently saving for a house, especially after April, I have recently started researching lots of different ways to save money. I'd been toying with the "coupon" idea for a while but this morning a lighting bolt was sent from the Heaven's in the form on a news spot! I watch NBC local news [& the Today Show] every morning and this morning they had this lady on: http://mommyswishlist.blogspot.com/
She got the ball [in my head] really rolling. One thing that Ryan & I really didn't want to give up was eating out...well this Mommy has links to about 20 restaurants that give away free or 1/2 price food on bdays, anniversaries and for signing up! I'm all over that one. Plus, by eating out I feel like I'm helping the economy, right?! [Just smile and nod people!!] Not to mention other coupons and money saving tips.

Next, I went to coupons.com and the P&G ESavers websites and signed up there. The cool thing about P&G is that is will link coupons to your Kroger Plus card [which is where we shop] so if you forget the actual coupon at home, there will be some linked to your card! Also - did you know that in Texas, Kroger will let you double and triple coupons? They will double coupons up to .50 and triple up to .39 - For example if I have 3 (three) .30 coupon for 3 Dial Hand soaps that are on sale in the store for 1.00 then the system will take off .90, .90, .90 making them .10 each!!

The Mommy's Wish List blogger recommends you make a binder to keep all the coupons in, and I am going to do this. She recommends keeping it in your car at all times, except when you reload it. I will do this too. I am so bad about walking out the door without stuff.

From there I hit several other sites, all about "coupon-ing". One is a local group http://www.sistersofsavings.com/index.php who offers a seminar for $45 [10% of that goes to a local charity!] to teach you "the ways". On one of their news spots, one of the sisters got $252 worth of groceries for $32!!!

I also came across sites for a similar practice with clothing, cosmetics, pretty much everything you can think of! The only thing I'm still looking for are tips to saving on gas...

Anyway, I am ALL IN! I'm sure this new obsession will drive Ryan nuts...until he sees how much we are saving!! :)