Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wok's For Dinner: Spirit Night at Chick-fil-A

I had Pepper New York Strip Steak on the menu for tonight, but I have come down ill and even left work early today. It just so happened that tonight was Spirit Night at Chick-fil-A for my son's preschool. It was on the calendar, but I overlooked it when planning the menu for this week. But since I was feeling so badly, it made sense to forego preparing any food, and letting my husband and son pick up some dinner at Chick-fil-A. After all, we were supporting a good cause since a percentage of sales goes to the school. So we'll have the Pepper New York Strip Steak another night.

When Kids Grow Up

My son turned 5 years old earlier this month. Certainly quite a milestone in a young child's life. After all, that's half a decade! Alas, I am sad to report that he has grown up in many other ways, other than just turning 5. Gone is a good night kiss, replaced with a kiss blown in my general direction. *sigh*sigh*

He thinks that he is "too big" to give his mommy a kiss. I knew this day would eventually come. I just didn't think it'd happen now. He is my oldest child and my only son, so in many ways he is still my baby.

Here are some tips to help you cope when your baby becomes too big for affection:
  1. Your child may feel too "old" for public displays of affection, even if it's a quick kiss good night. My son went through a phase when he was about 3 years old and decided that he could not give his grandpa or uncle a kiss anymore "because they were boys and he was not a baby anymore", so we compromised and taught him to give them a handshake.
  2. Recognize that your child is not rejecting you. Your child still loves you. The first time my son blew me a kiss, I was flabbergasted. It really left me speechless. I thought, "Why won't he give me a kiss?" And I wondered where in the world he got the idea to just blow me a kiss. After a few nights of this occurring, and still feeling flabbergasted, I changed my perspective. I tried to look at the situation from his view. He still loves me, I know he does. He demonstrates his love lots of hugs; he asks me to play games with him; he wants to sit next to me at dinner; he asks me to cover him up with his blanket. So I really can't complain that he doesn't give me a kiss goodnight, because technically he is, it's just in the form a blown kiss towards me.
  3. Be patient with your child and give her/him their space. Don't force your child to give you a hug or kiss. As much as our daughter loves her daddy, she will not give him a kiss good night if Mommy is in the same room...well, actually, the same house. She has been this way she she was about a year old. At first, Joshua felt really rejected and couldn't understand what was wrong. It was a real downer for him. So we had to change perspective. I now hold our daughter and say, "Don't you give your daddy a kiss!" and she laughs and giggles, ducks her head, and Joshua gives her a peck on her forehead or back of her head, whatever he can reach. As long as we get giggles, we know she is happy and it makes my husband happy as well. If she fights it, then we drop the issue and understand that she's just not in the mood.
  4. Don't pull away from your child just because he/she pulled away from you first. Simply put, don't do it.
  5. Make time to tell your child that you love them--not just once, but consistently throughout the day. As mothers, we are nurturers by nature. Give your child the space he/she needs, but don't let them go completely. I always give my children a hug and a kiss and tell them I love them when they wake up in the morning, when I leave to go to work, when I come home, when they go to bed, and I reaffirm my love to them all throughout the day. I have a rule in my house that no one leaves without being told that they are loved. It warms my heart when my children walk up to me and tell me they love me. I know that, if I feel good hearing them pronounce their love for me and give me a big squeeze, then I know it makes them feel good as well to have the same come from me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Balance Your Life: A Spiritual Perspective

I receive a daily e-newsletter from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Each newsletter has an uplifting message that is applied to a scripture verse or two from the Bible. I thought I'd share today's message with you since it is definitely applicable to the theme of this blog--learning to find balance.

29 Apr 2009

"God called the light day and the darkness he called night. And there was evening and there was morning." Genesis 1:5 (NIV)

I was reading my Bible one day and noticed a huge mistake in Scripture. Everyone knows that morning comes first, and then evening follows. Right? But there it was in black and white. Genesis 1:5 reads, "and there was evening, and there was morning."

Of course, it was no mistake. Somehow, God started with evening – a time of rest – and a day's productivity came out of that.

We live in a culture where rest is often viewed in a negative light. When we work, we work hard. When we play, we play hard. We know how to fill our time with e-mail, activities, carpooling, cleaning, aerobics, and our to-do list. Our focus is work all da, and then eventually rest.

Seventeen years ago, at the ripe age of 32, I found out I had cancer. I mentioned to the doctor that I didn't have time for cancer, but cancer didn't consult my schedule. My life changed as I put aside a lot of things I once thought were absolutely vital while going through chemo, surgery, and radiation. Funny, but one thing that came out of that difficult time was a new list of priorities. The first? To balance my life.

I learned how to climb between the sheets and put aside my worries. To rest my body and my mind. To slow down when life becomes crazy and weigh what is important, and what is not. I began to see evening as the first part of my day. From rest, sprang morning.

It's a concept that changed my life. Not just physically, but also spiritually. Recently I had two speaking events sandwiched together. As the date approached, my time with my Heavenly Father became "evening." Of course I prepared, but spiritual time came first all week. Once I arrived in the city where I was to speak, I closed the door of my hotel room and listened to the heart of my Father instead of going over my notes. And out of that rest, sprang fruitful ministry. I was refreshed and filled by His presence, instead of my efforts.

How often do we run out of steam because we are out of balance? I wish that I could say that I became forever balanced. But I'm not. There are times that I have to slow it down and reconsider my priorities all over again. And if physical rest or spiritual rest has been pushed to last place, I have to put it all on the table and let God help me sort through it so I can put "evening" back where it belongs.

Dear Jesus, when I push You to last place, I miss out on hearing Your voice. When I keep going until I drop, I get all tangled up in my to-do list. I know that life is busy, but help me to discern between what is important, and what is not. Reorganize my life, and reveal true rest that only comes from You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

For more in-depth articles, check out our monthly P31 Woman Magazine

Visit Suzie's blog where she shares tips from author, Kerri Wyatt Kent on creating a Sabbath rest for your family

Application Steps:
Write down all the to-do's that consume your time. Are there any that aren't absolutely necessary?

Pray for direction. Do you need to say "no" to one or two so that you can say "yes" to a more restful family and a more rested you?

As women, we often take care of the needs of our children, our community, our church, our spouses, our jobs, our homes, and we leave ourselves out of the nurturing process. What is one thing you can do today to nurture yourself physically or spiritually?

Power Verses:
Mark 6:30-31, "The followers of Jesus came back to Him. They told Jesus all they ha d done and taught. He said to them, 'Come away from the people. Be by yourselves and rest.' There were many people coming and going. They had had no time even to eat." (NLB)

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Matthews, NC 28105
877-P31-HOME (877-731-4663)

Wok's For Dinner: Baked Fish Au Gratin

A recipe that I've had for who-knows-how-long and I got from who-knows-where. Just something that I had added to my homemade cookbook of recipes I pulled from here and there. The original recipe calls for flounder, but I did not have flounder. I did, however, have whiting filets that I got from my April Angel Food Ministries order. So I used that instead.

Baked Fish Au Gratin

1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 pound fish fillets
1/4 up mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs and cheese. Brush all sides of fillets with mayonnaise; coat with breadcrumb mixture. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and fish flakes easily. If freezing: place into food saver and vacuum seal. Thaw 24 hours before heating & serving.

The fish tasted great. I'm not certain that this recipe makes a great freezer meal 'cause the breading was a little mushy. I probably could have baked the fish, but I was just ready to eat it, so I heated it in the microwave instead. Either way, it still tasted good. We had homemade cole slaw and cantaloupe to go with the fish.

I will say this about the cole slaw--never making that again! At least, never making the cole slaw dressing again. It's not even worth posting the recipe. If anyone has cole slaw dressing recipes that are dy-no-mite and guaranteed to work, let me know! I've got a lot of cole slaw leftover, and I'm just not sure if we're going to eat it (and I hate to throw away food!).

So again, please share your never-fail cole slaw recipes! I'm dying for something better!

Make Your Own Bug Juice

I know what you're thinking, "Why would I want to drink bug juice?" It's not what you're thinking, I promise! Spring is here, Summer is soon on its way. If you live in the South like me or anywhere that has bugs (BTW, I've heard that Idaho doesn't have bugs...? Maybe that's where I need to live) then you know that mosquitoes and ticks can wreck havoc on any picnic or outdoor funciton.
But using harsh chemicals, including those that contain DEET, aren't always safe, especially for children and infatns. However, there is hope! I'm not talking about Avon Skin So Soft. I'm talking about making your own mosquito repellent--bug juice! Instead, try a catnip/rice vinegar mixture to keep away those pesky critters.

Here's the recipe for zero bug success. It will take you 4 weeks to get the mixture "just right," so now's the time to start before Summer's bugs start buggin' you. :)

Catnip Mosquito Spritz--makes about 3 cups

2 cups catnip, stemmed
3-4 cups mild rice vinegar

Rinse herbs, roll lightly with a rolling pin, then place them in a clean quart jar and cover with vinegar. Seal jar and store in a dark cupboard for two weeks. Shake jar lightly every day or so for two weeks. Strain into a clean jar, seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months unused. To use, spritz on exposed skin and around outdoor dining area.

What, catnip? Why catnip? Well, research suggests that catnip makes an excellent mosquito repellent. Click here to read more about this research at Budget101, where I found the recipe for "bug juice."

The Goody Bag

There are lots of "goodies" (freebies & couopns) available right now. Here's some that I came across:

  • FREE sample of seeded, plantable paper that grows. With plantable, seeded, growing papers that are made by hand you can gaurantee people will pay attention. when planted they will grow a variety of plants ranging from wildflowers and vegetables to trees. we use 100% recycled and organic fibers. If you need just a few sheets or bulk quantities give us a call. with the capability to custom match colors and produce many different sizes and weights, your paper options are endless. we can also print, emboss, deboss and die cut this amazing seeded, plantable, growing paper.

  • FREE sample Ringtonic dental floss. Limit one item per household or address. Submitted information is strictly confidential and is not made available to sources outside Ringtonica. Delivery may take up to 6-8 weeks.
  • FREE Smuckers Peanut Butter Recipe Booklet. Receive a free Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter Recipes Booklet where you'll find scrumptious recipes for Decadent Peanut Butter Pie, Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Peanut Butter Frosty and more... each with a full-color photograph!To receive your free booklet, just send a postcard to:The J.M. Smucker Company, Attention: Peanut Butter Recipe Collection, Consumer Relations Department, P.O. Box 280, Orrville, Ohio 44667

  • FREE California Olives Recipe Book. Deliciously nutritious recipes created in the kitchens of Eating Well magazine. You can also sign up for the newsletter for more recipes and nutritional news when you request your free recipe book.

  • Download your FREE Hidden Valley Ranch Original Bites recipe book. It's loaded with recipes from dips to main dishes.


  • B1G1 free 20 oz Coke product (Bricks coupon, mailed). Click here.

  • $1/1 Formula 409 Natural Stone Cleaner, for granite & marble countertops. Click here. Click on Offers and Promotions (right hand corner tab) to download the $1 coupon.

  • $1.50 off any Carefree Product 34 ct and up Print/Mail. Click here to print and here to have it mailed to you. If you print the coupon, remember to hit the "back" button on your browser a few times so the coupon will print a 2nd time! :)

  • $1/1 Juicy Juice Brain Development or Immunity Fruit Juice. Click here. You will have to register in order to print your coupon. Once printed, hit the "back" button 3 or 4 times to print it again!

  • Gorton's calendar w/ 3 UPCs exp 12/31/09. $15 in coupons in the calendar!! Click here. Offer valid until 12/31/09.

  • Several Birds Eye coupons available for print. Click here, here, here and here. They're all Bricks coupons, so hit your "back" button 3 or 4 times to print a 2nd copy!

  • 50¢ off Any Pepper Sauce Flavor from TABASCO® brand. Click here.

  • $1.75 off reynolds parchment paper. Click here.

  • Burleson Honey 24 oz. or larger, $1 off. Click here. I don't know if I've EVER seen a coupon for honey before!

  • 50 cent off Pepsi Natural™ 4 pack coupon. Click here.

  • Try Me FREE Hillshire Farms Deli lunchmeat 6/30. (You can request one for each kind of lunch meat but you would need separate receipts for each one as you have to submit them separately)This rebate is for the ones in the tub not the packets). Purchase a package of Hillshire Farms Deli Select ****** Lunchmeat and receive a refund for the purchase price by submitting: 1) 3" x 5" index card containing your name, address, city, state, zip code and e-mail address; 2) 1 UPC symbol from the package of Hillshire Farms Deli Select ***xx Lunchmeat, 3) The original cash register receipt with the Hillshire Farm Deli Select ***xx Lunchmeat purchase circled. Receive: By mail a refund check for the purchase price (max value $4.99) Limit one refund per household or mailing address. Mail to: Hillshire Farm Try Me Free Offer PO Box 6154, Dept (insert proper department number) Douglas, AZ 85655-6154. Here are the different department numbers: Dept A = Hillshire Farm Deli Select Ultra Thin Hickory Smoked Chicken Breast Lunchmeat Dept B = Hillshire Farm Deli Select Ultra Thin Cracked Black Pepper Turkey Breast Lunchmeat Dept C = Hillshire Farm Deli Select Hearty Slices Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Lunchmeat Dept D = Hillshire Farm Deli Select Hearty Slices Hardwood Smoked Turkey Breast Lunchmeat Product must be purchased by 6/30/09 and requests must be postmarked by 7/31/09. Limit one refund per household or mailing address. Duplicate requests will not be honored or acknowledged. A maximum of one package per receipt will be eligible for the refund. Where product is purchased as a "2 for one price" or similar promotion, the refund will be the actual cost of the package. Refund good on Hillshire Farm Deli Select ***xx Lunchmeat only. Group or organization requests are not eligible and will not be acknowledged. Copies or reproductions of the cash register receipt of UPC symbol will not be accepted. Reproduction, sale, trade or purchase of the proofs of purchase is prohibited. Proof of purchase must be obtained from the product purchased. Fraudulent submissions could result in prosecution under Federal mail fraud statutes. One request per envelope. Void where taxed, prohibited or restricted by law. Requests from P.O. Boxes will not be honored. Offer good in USA only. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing. Hillshire Farm is not responsible for lost, late, stolen, incomplete, postage due or undeliverable mail. To check the status of your rebate submission go to or e-mail:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardening Club

You've heard of Book Club. You've heard of Cooking Club. Ever heard of Gardening Club?

My church started a Gardening Club last year to help families interested in gardening (newbies, greenhorns, and seasoned veterans are all invited). My husband and I jumped at the chance to get advice from people who know and to fellowship with friends in the same boat as us (newbies).

This year we have started a full-fledged vegetable garden. It's so exciting for us, but very scary and worrisome at the same time. What if we fail? What if nothing grows? What if our garden is ravaged by weeds?

Fortunately, a good friend of ours is a gardener by trade and is always willing to lend a helping hand, answer questions, and provide moral support. And tonight was Gardening Club night. The theme was Q&A. Us greenhorns asked a question, and the resident expert provided the answers.

This is our resident expert, Steve Moore. He's a no-nonsense kind of guy, or WYSIWYG--what you see is what you get. A true farmer, he's more comfortable working the soil, shucking beans, and putting up corn than he is behind a desk and computer. He's got a great sense of humor, which really helps make gardening fun. In fact, he told us a story that one of the members f our congregation mistook him for a homeless man tonight! He was leaning against the church building, his shirt slightly rumpled, shorts faded, carrying a backpack. I guess it could happen to anyone. :)

So what did I learn at Gardening Club? I learned that, if you don't have space for a tranditional compost pile, you can do a smaller version in a plastic tote that you can keep in your house or wherever is more convenient for you. It's a good idea to add some red worms to the materials in the tote--they'll help break down your scraps really quickly.

I learned that you should never, ever put cheese or meat scraps into your compost pile. Doing so can attract rats. Thankfully, I've not done that, although I did see a large black rat scurry across our dirt road just yesterday (we live out in the country). We had a rabbit run under our truck just a few days ago, so the little critters out there must be aware of our garden. That can only mean two things--1) make sure to never, ever put cheese or meat scraps on our compost and 2) it's time to put up some chicken wire around our garden's fence!

I also learned that manure is really good for gardens, too, if you're not able to compost. If it's "fresh" manure, you should reserve it for vegetables that grow above ground, such as tomatoes and peppers, instead of in-ground or on-ground like onions and lettuce. But if the manure comes in a bag like you would buy at Lowe's, then it's probably sterilized manure and safe to use in any spot of your garden. Go figure!

My daughter went with me to Gardening Club, and she played the "I have to go, I don't" game all throughout the meeting (she is potty-training), so I missed out on most of the meeting. But I did get a free potted lily plant that one of the club members brought! And I learned a few useful tips.

So maybe you're ready to garden. Or maybe you just want to do some research to help you get started for the Fall planting season or next Spring. Grab a few friends, create your own Gardening Club and share tips and success stories with each other. It's a great opportunity for you to get out of the house and, hopefully, learn something that will help you and your family be self-reliant.

Next month: We meet on May 12 at Steve Moore's house for a tour of his 100% organic garden! Steve and his wife Carol make the most awesome kale smoothies--yes, made with kale and absolutely delicious! Everyone is supposed to be 12 servings of dessert (i.e. cookies, etc). I might bring 12 Ants on a Log, definitely a healthier alternative to cookies or cupcakes. :)

What are your gardening success stories or lessons learned? Please share them! Post a comment here. I'd love to hear what your gardening experience has been like!

Wok's For Dinner: Cheesy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Maybe it was the Rudy's BBQ Sauce, maybe it was the slice of Borden American cheese, either way, this meal was really tasty!

We had another freezer meal tonight--Cheesey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Mt. Olive pickles (grown and canned locally and available for purchase at Walmart) and diced bosc pears with a dash of cinnamon sugar.

For the original recipe at Kraft Foods, click here. I made some variations to accommodate my family's taste and to make a really good freezer meal.

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1/4 cup barbecue sauce (my Marine cousin left a HUGE bottle of Rudy's BBQ Sauce, and told us to go ahead and use it since he was shipped to Iraq, so we did)

cheese slices

hamburger buns


Heat oil in skillet to medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 2 minutes. Mix in cooked, shredded chicken and BBQ sauce until heated through. Serve on hamburger buns with a slice of cheese. If freezing: Place chicken mixture into a food saver bag and vacuum seal (or gallon-size zipper bag, press out air, and seal). Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours; heat in microwave and serve.

My daughter ignored the pickle and pears, but she really liked her chicken sandwich and ate every bite. Quite a difference considering she wouldn't touch anything on her plate yesterday! Since this was a freezer meal, it was so convenient to just heat and serve. And tonight was the perfect time to do it because we were all pulled in different directions--my son had baseball practice and my husband has now officially become an assistant coach, and my daughter and I went to a Gardening Club meeting. So it worked out great, and we had a fabulous home-cooked meal without having to "cave in" and resort to fast food!

Monday, April 27, 2009

And the $210+ Coupon Giveaway Winner Is...

There were a total of 37 comments. Using, the winner is comment #25!

Anonymous said...
I am a follower of the blog. Thanks! Melissamrwagner [full address removed]

I will be contacting the winner shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. If you didn't win this time, never fear! I will have more giveaways in the future. Be on the lookout!

Giveaway Round-Up

A couple giveaways out on the blogosphere to share with you:

  1. My friend Melissa over at Melissa's Bargain Blog is having a giveaway for a $10 Target gift card. I don't know about you, but I would LOVE to have a gift card that I could use at our local Target. What, oh what, could I buy?! Melissa shares with her viewers coupons, freebies, and savings to help you save your family money. She has a weekly grocery budget of $40 -- $40! -- for her family of four and shares with you how she manages to do it. She also provides great scenarios for maximizing your dollar at stores such as CVS and Randall's. To find out more about her giveaway and how to enter, click here. Good luck!
  2. Erin at $5 Dinners is having a giveaway for a Dole Gift Basket valued at $50. If there was a fan club for fruit, my family would be members! This giveaway will end at 5pm EDT on Wednesday, 4/29/09, so hurry for your chance to win! You can click here to find out more information.

Wok's For Dinner: Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

Another great recipe from Taste of Home, Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves, had my family drooling for more. I apologize that the pictue is a little dark, but I promise you the meat loaves taste better than they look! Click here for the original recipe. I healthified it up and turned it into a freezer meal for my April once a month cooking. Here's my version:

Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

1 med. egg
3/4 cup 1% milk
3/4 cup shredded cheese (I think I used a fiesta cheese blend...just grabbed something from the frig)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb ground turkey
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard


In a large bowl, whisk egg and milk. Stir in the cheese, oats, onion and salt. Crumble ground turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into eight loaves (I was able to make 9 loaves); place in a baking dish (I did not grease the pan). In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard; spoon over loaves. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until no pink remains. If freezing: Let cool completely after baking. Place loaves into a food saver and vacuum-seal. Thaw 24 hours before heating on a plate in the microwave and serving.

My husband and I both enjoyed the mini meat loaves, and our son ate it really well. I think he thought it was a large meatball. Our daughter ate only one but, but she didn't eat anything else on her plate very well. And I found out after dinner that she didn't eat hardly anything today, so she may not be feeling well. Regardless, I will definitely make this again. And freezing/heating worked out great. The mini meat loaves were juicy, flavorful, and it was so convenient to just slip them out of the food saver packaging and pop them in the microwave.

Menu Plan Monday: 4/27-5/3/09

We've got some crazy weeks with no end in sight now that my son's Little League practices are in full swing, games will be starting this week, and everything else that is going on (you know, the "busyness" of life!). So I have taken inspiration from other's foresight, and have started planning my meals for the week. It has SO helped having freezer meals on-hand.

So here's what we have going on this week:
  • Monday--Li'l Cheddar Meatloaves (healthified), Celery Sticks w/Ranch dressing, Sliced Apples. Typically, we have what we call "Family Home Evening," or FHE for short, on Mondays. This is our special night once a week that we do an activity together. It usually involves singing song, reading scriptures, having a spiritual lesson, an activity, and a dessert (I limit desserts to just two days a week, Mondays & Fridays). Hubs and I want to dedicate as much time as possible to our FHE, so meals are typically very simple. Having freezer meals on-hand has really saved us a lot of time.
  • Tuesday--Cheesy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, French Fries, Pickles, Cinnamon Pears. My son has baseball practice this night, and I will be at the Gardening Club meeting, so we'll eat an early dinner. Hubs and son will eat after getting home from baseball practice, while daughter and I will be at the Gardening Club.
  • Wednesday--Baked Fish Au Gratin, Cole Slaw, Cantaloupe. Nothing going on as of yet, although my car needs some repairs done, and we may have to leave after dinner to take it to a friend who has offered to repair it. Long story about the repairs, but suffice it to say he'll have to keep it overnight, work on it the next day, let it sit for 12 hours to allow a gasket to seal really well, then somehow get the car back into my possession. We haven't finalized all the details, so we may stay home this evening after all.
  • Thursday--Pepper New York Strip Steak, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans. Hubs has a meeting this night, but thankfully that is late in the evening, so we'll all be able to eat together before he needs to leave.
  • Friday--Pizza, Cantaloupe. I bought several DiGiorno frozen pizzas that were on sale at Food Lion for $3.99 each a few weeks ago. My son has baseball practice on Friday nights, and I usually try to attend on these nights to support him, so we'll need an "eat and run" meal.
  • Saturday--Pasta Crab Casserole, Cole Slaw, Pineapple. Nothing on the calendar--yet.
  • Sunday--Creamed Chicken & Biscuits, Carrot & Raisin Salad (there's corn in the main course, so I will forego another side dish). The Sabbath is our day of "rest", so as far as I'm aware, we'll just be enjoying a quiet evening at home. However, my brother-in-law's birthday is next week, and since he's in college, it wouldn't surprise me if my mother-in-law decides to have a birthday party for him this evening, which means we'll probably be over there for cake and ice cream after dinner. I should probably call her and see if she's going to do that so it can get added to the calendar before something else pops up.

I know you're just itching to find out how to make these scrumptuous meals :D -- never worry, I'll post the recipes and a picture each day as the meals are made.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

About Me

About Balancing Act Basics:

I am a full-time everything--a wife, a mother, a professional, a cook, a maid, a chauffer, a gardener, a scrapbooker, etc. (but not always in that order!). After my youngest child was born in 2006, I began experiencing experiencing stress, guilt, self-condemnation, and was generally unhappy. I had been trying too hard to "do it all" to the point that I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and unhappy. And in 2008, I broke down in front of my husband, bemoaning my fate and difficulty in trying to find balance.

I don't know exactly when things changed for me. But one day in early 2009, I took a look at my family's schedule and noticed that, not only were we extremely busy, I was also happy! It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. I was content with our situation and had realized that somewhere, at some point, the stress of life had ceased. I had found peace. I had learned that I cannot do it all, but that if I put certain things first--namely my family and my Heavenly Father--then everything else would fall into place.

Sometimes our schedules are so full that we don’t have time for life. Perfection is a myth, yet as women we strive to achieve it and then wonder why we feel so stressed. My goal is to provide practical tips to help you find balance in your busy but wonderful life.

A little about me:

Hubs and I met back in Summer of 1990 when we were very young (he was 13 and I was 14). (I'm now singing "Summer Lovin' " from Grease in my head). Fast forward 11 years to when we were married in 2001. Since then, we have been blessed with two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. Hubs is self-employed, while I work in Human Resources at a manufacturing facility. If I had my way, I'd be a stay-at-home-mom, but finances are not there yet. So I continue to work full-time while trying to focus on my family, drawer nearer to God, maintain my home, and find time for my projects without going stir-crazy (not an easy feat, I must add!). :D

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments. I'd love to hear from you!

DeAna Boren
balancingactbasics (at) gmail (dot) com

Wok's For Dinner: Frosted Cauliflower

Tonight we had Lemon Parsley Chicken, one of my freezer meals. I posted the recipe previously, which you can view here (I added a picture of the whole meal). I went scrapbooking Friday night, and we just weren't hungry Saturday night, including the kids, so I had a couple nights' off from cooking. (Yeah me!)
I got this recipe from my friend and roommate from college, Jenna. She always had some really interesting and tasty recipes, and this is no exception. My husband really loves this side dish and the kids gobble it up as well.
Frosted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cheese, shredded
Cut the core out of the head of the cauliflower, keeping just enough of the core in to keep the florets intac. Using a knife, stab up into the remaining core to allow heat to circulate. Cook semi-covered in the microwave 6 minutes per pound. Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and salt. When califlower is cooked, frost the head with the mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, and replace lid until cheese is melted. Slice into wedges and serve.
The caulifower I used tonight was small, so I cut the "sauce" mixture in half and used only 1/2 cup of cheese. If you like cauliflower and you like cheese, you're sure to like this recipe, too!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Frugal Family Fun at the Air Show

I'm a sucker for air shows. I grew up an Air Force brat since my dad was in the military. My parents divorced when I was young, but one of my favorite memories is my parents taking me to the air shows when we lived at Colorado Springs and at Eglin A.F.B. in Florida.

Here's some throwback pics of me--a little tike in Colorado Springs, discussing "important business", and with my little brother Jon and my Aunt Dawn at the air show at Eglin.
After my parents' divorced, things just weren't the same. The air shows were fewer and farther between. But then I got married, and hubs and I moved to a military town. He, too, was an Air Force brat.
And since the kids were born, I have been able to convince him to take us to the air show. There's nothing like the noise of a jet with its after burners on, streaking past you with lightning speed. I should know, the F-15's fly over my house nearly every day!
As soon as I found out the date for this year's air show, I decided that I was definitely going and taking the kids with me. I knew they would enjoy seeing some "big jets" and I wanted them to experiene the same awe and excitement that I remember having, and still have even now. My husband is in the process of remodeling our dining room, and eager to get some work done, so he chose to stay behind. But that just meant more one-on-two time for me with the children.
Here are the kids behind a C-5, a very, very large plane designed for transport. These planes like to fly over our house at 2 am! In fact, there was one night that they flew overhead and I mistook the sound for a tornado instead--it was very windy and rainy outside, and I am absolutely TERRIFIED of the mere thought of a tornado, so it was a justifiable mistake.

My son was thrilled to sing on the wing of this plane. He insisted that he wanted to sit on the "other" wing (a.k.a. the tail), but I managed to restrain him. :)

The Navy's Blue Angels flew today. Last time they were here, my daughter slept through the entire show, quite a feat considering she was only 6 months old and we were right on the edge of the runway! She had earplugs, but it was still really loud. Well, she did it again this time. Fell asleep sitting in her stroller, with earplugs on, only difference is she is now 2 1/2 years old. Oh well, she's a good sleeper, I guess! I should have taken a picture.

The Blue Angels.
Going to an air show can be an inexpensive way to spend time with your family and do something that you don't get to do every day. Keep in mind some basic tips to keep the activity cheap:
  1. Although you can't take a cooler onto the flight line, you can take some drinks and snacks. We packed a few bottles of water and some granola bars. I bought hot dogs for lunch and another bottle of water, but that's where I drew the line.
  2. Souvenirs are nice but can quickly become expensive. We foregoed the souvenirs--we didn't even stop and look--and took lots of pictures instead.
  3. Remember sunscreen. It was over 90 degrees today, but it had to have been 100 on the flight line. There wasn't a cloud in site. But even on a cloudy or cool day, the sun's rays will still do their damage. Take a bottle of sunscreen with you and apply to face, arms, and legs every hour. If you do get sunburned, apply liberal amounts of aloe vera to the affected area.
  4. Take a blanket, umbrella, and lawn chairs. We took two small toddler blankets, and that worked out great for break times. We ate our lunch on the blankets on one of the lawns, and we sat on the blankets under a tree when it was time to watch the Blue Angels. But one thing I almost grabbed, but didn't, and regret, is a couple of umbrellas and lawn chairs. I knew my kids weren't going to hold those, but after seeing what other families had done, I could have easily hung the umbrella straps on the stroller handles, and the lawn chairs as well. Well, you live/you learn.
  5. Comfortable shoes. You will do a lot of walking. A lot of walking.
  6. Ear plugs are an absolute MUST. Once the jets start flying, watch out! Those after burners are a killer on the ears. I was able to get a few disposable pairs of plugs from work, and I explained to the kids in advance of leaving the house that we were going to wear ear plus once the big jets started flying. They were completely happy and content wearing the earplugs. I selected plugs that were made of foam, so they were easy to insert in their ears and comfortable to wear. Plus, they reduced the noise by 33 decibels.
Lessons Learned:
Even adults require sunscreen! I look like a lobster with a farmer's tan. Bring on the aloe vera, which, I might add, is my very best friend right now. Like I said, you live/you learn. :)

How about you? What's your favorite frugal family fun?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Expired Grocery Coupons--Worth Saving!

I always feel a little upset at myself whenever I let a coupon go to waste. At least, that's what it feels like when I hang onto a coupon, hoping to one day use it, and then it expires before I get a chance to redeem it for some cents-off savings. I'm sure we've all felt that way a time or two.

The good news is that we don't have to let our expired coupons go to waste! For the cost of one envelope and a stamp, you can send your expired coupons to military families living overseas who can use the expired coupons at their base's commissary (or grocery store).

There are a few rules, however:
  1. Overseas military families can only use the coupons up to 6 months after the expiration date, so please don't send out anything that has been expired for that long.

  2. It could take a few weeks for your coupon package to reach its destination, so again be mindful of that 6-month postexpiration date.

  3. They can only use real manufacturer coupons, such as those clipped from newspaper inserts or off the product packaging. Unfortunately, they cannot use printed Internet coupons or store coupons such as Walgreens or Target.

Now that you know the rules, you can start sending out the coupons! Grocery Saving Tips has a list of overseas military mailing addresses. You can access the list by clicking here.

Get on Board A Coupon Train

I see a lot of coupons on a near-daily basis (you might have guessed this after reading about my giveaway for over $210 in coupons! :). I don't subscribe to a Sunday paper, so I receive most of my coupons from the Internet. I also take closer looks at the packaging the products I buy comes in; often, there might be a coupon or two inside.

Even still, I often feel like I'm missing out on some great deals simply because my coupon resources are limited. But there is a way around that!

Ever heard of a coupon train? This is where you share coupons with friends and/or family via snail mail. This can be an incredible opportunity , or it could turn into a total train wreck. It all depends on the coupon train participants.

My mother-in-law and I have recently started sharing our coupons with each other. She receives the coupon inserts in the Sunday newspaper; I print off Internet coupons. It's a win-win situation for both of us. My husband's grandmother in Minnesota will also mail coupons to all of us out here in North Carolina, and we each take turns sifting through the coupons to find something we need.

Now this isn't quite a coupon train, but it's a good place to start, and it has certainly helped me in my search for coupons. If you are interested in starting a real coupon train, here are some pointers to help you get started:
  1. Find a few friends or family members that you can trust. It would probably help if they are spread out across the country, that way you know you're likely to receive a larger variety of coupons. Additionally, try to include "train passengers" with different needs--they may be old/young, married/single, with/without children, or have children of varying stages such as infant/toddler/youth/adolescent.

  2. After you have "found" your friends and family members, give them a call and invite them to get on board your coupon train! They'll probably want to know what a coupon train is, so be ready to answer their questions. ;)
    Once everyone has accepted, and hopefully not rejected, your coupon train offer, create a "train route". This is a list of everyone's name and mailing address and should show who starts the coupon train (i.e. this should be you!) and who they will mail it to, then where that person will mail it to, etc., until it is rerouted back to the first person and the coupon train starts all over again. Make sure you share this train route with everyone on the list.

  3. When it's time for the coupon train's "departure", place a stack of coupons that you don't want or know you will not be able to use into your envelope and send it off to the next person next on the train route. Remember not to discard any unexpired coupons that you think aren't any good--these just may be what the next person on the list is looking for!

  4. The person who receives the coupon train sifts through the coupons, takes out what she/he wants, places the unused portion into a new envelope, adds her/his own unwanted coupons, and mails it to the next person on the list within 2-3 days to keep it moving.

  5. As the coupon train moves down the line, anyone who sees expired coupons pulls them out and sets them aside. (Click here for what to do with your expired manufacturer coupons!)

  6. Once the coupon train reaches the "train conductor" (yeah, that's you!), the process starts all over.

As long as everyone participates by placing unused coupons into the envelope and passing it along within a reasonablye time like 2-3 days, your coupon train will stay on the tracks and not derail.

If you're not able to find any interested family or friends to participate, there are coupon trains out there on the Internet. Try visiting Startsampling Forums. Under Products & Services, there is a forum set aside for coupon trains (which you can also access here). In order to participate in a coupon train, you will need to register for Startsampling Forums, and you will first need to post at least 100 comments. This may take anywhere from a couple days to a month or two, depending on how much you like to talk! :D There are specific instructions for joining one of the coupon trains; the main thing is they don't want someone to sign up and then "derail" the coupon train by not fulfilling the agreement to participate.

And while you're waiting to join a coupon train, the Startsampling forums have excellent information on freebies, coupons, and great websites!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wok's For Dinner: Honey Garlic Shrimp

My first time to make this dish, Honey Garlic Shrimp. Also on the Once a Month Mom menu for me using food I purchased through Angel Food Ministries (click here for my April menu). Unfortunately, I don't know where I originally found this recipe. It's in my cookbook I made several years ago combining recipes from several cookbooks I had and family recipes I had gathered. I know it's not a family recipe because it doesn't have a name from a family submitter, so it must have come out of one of my many cookbooks I had.

Anyhoo, here's how to make it :)

Honey Garlic Shrimp

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp peanut or vegetable oil (used olive oil)
2 cups julienned carrots
2 cups julienned zucchini (omitted; the zucchini was AWFUL at the grocery store, as well as the summer squash, so I gave up trying to buy any)
1 pound shelled, deveined uncooked large shrimp
2 cups cooked cabbage (not in original recipe, but I had some leftover from a quick kielbasa/cabbage meal I made a few days ago)

In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, honey and garlic. In wok (get it..."wok's" for dinner? heehee) or large skillet, heat oil over high heat until hot. Add carrots and zucchini. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until vegetables are slightly tender; remove from wok. Add shrimp. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until shrimp just begin to turn pink. Return vegetables to wok; stir in soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and liquid has thickened slightly. If freezing: Place shrimp mixture into gallon-size freezer bag. Squeeze out air and seal. Thaw 24 hours in refrigerator. Heat in saucepan on stove. Serve over rice with your choice of side dishes.

We had this with some fresh pineapple I had cut up yesterday. My husband and I were really impressed with the flavor; sweet & juicy but not overpowering in the least. I really enjoyed it and adding the cabbage helped was a nice touch too, it seemed to fit right in. I have a little bit of rice and Honey Garlic Shrimp leftover, just enough to take to work for lunch tomorrow. Also nice about this meal is the kids really liked it. My son, at first, refused to eat it, but I told him he needed to at least taste it, which he did. When I asked him if he liked it, he said, "A little," then proceeded to inhale the rest! (He doesn't like to admit that he really likes something after first insisting that he didn't like it!)

The Open Toed Shoe Pledge

A friend gave this to me. I thought it was worth sharing and smiling about to keep us in good spirits when things might get stressful.

Alright ladies, it's that time of year once again!!! I think we need to be reminded of a few things. So my sisters, PLEASE, raise your big toes and repeat after me below...

The Open Toed Shoe Pledge
As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when wearing sandals and other open-toe shoes:

I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.

I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.

I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.

I will shave or pluck the hairs off my big toe.

I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother, sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.

If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.

I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.

I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. (No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.)

I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.

I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good.

I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.

I will promise to go to my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $20 or $25 and worth EVERY penny).

I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear... nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals.

B.A.B. $210.00+ Coupon Giveaway!!

Time for another giveaway!! This is my second giveaway since starting this blog a few weeks ago, and I am super excited that I can provide you the opportunity of lots of great coupons. I have a stack of coupons valued at over $210 for products ranging from pharmacy, health & beauty, baby products, cleaning & paper products, pantry and refrigerated items.

There are five ways that you can enter to win this giveaway. Leave a separate comment below for each entry and include your email address. You can put your email address in this format email(at)address(dot)com.
  1. Subscribe to my blog by email;

  2. Subscribe to my blog by RSS feeder;

  3. Become a follower of this blog;

  4. Join my Balancing Act Basics group on Facebook;

  5. Write about this giveaway on your own blog and provide a link back to your post.

This giveaway will end on Monday, April 27 at 11:00pm Easter Daylight Time. I will post the winner by the next day. Good luck!!

Here is a complete list of the coupons for your reference:

  • 2 coupons--$2 off any non-drowsy Claritin, 10ct or larger, exp 5/17/09
  • 2 coupons--$4 off any non-drowsy Claritin-D, 15ct or larger, exp 5/17/09 and 5/20/09
  • 2 coupons--$3 off any non-drowsy Children's Claritin, 4oz syrup or 10 count or larger, exp 6/30/09
  • $1 off any Old Spice body wash product, 12 oz or larger, exp 7/31/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any one Always Infinity product, exp 6/30/09
  • $10 off any one Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal, exp 9/1/10
  • $1 off any one Cold-EEZE product, exp 5/10/09
  • 2 coupons--$2 off Benadryl Allergy, 48ct or larger, exp 8/31/09
  • $1 off any Pamprin product, exp 12/31/09
  • $1 off 12ct Canker Melts, exp 6/30/09
  • 2 coupons--$1.50 off any one size Tampax Compak Pearl, exp 6/30/102 coupons--$1.50 off any two pkgs of Kotex Lightdays Liners, exp 6/1/09 and 6/16/09$0.75 off any Finish Jet-Dry Dishwasher Cleaner, exp 7/31/09
  • $1 on Sani-Hands for Kids or Sani-Hands Hand Wipes (except 6ct), exp 12/31/09$1 off any one full size Pert Plus Shampoo Plus Conditioner product, exp 5/21/09$1.50 off any Aveeno facial care product, excludes cleansing bars and trial size, exp 6/30/09
  • $1 off one Nature's Source Natural Cleaning Product, exp 5/9/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any one V8 100% Vegetable Juice, 46 oz, 64 oz, 11.5 oz 6-pk or 5.5 oz 6-pk, exp 5/17/09
  • $2 off any one 24ct box of Healthy To Go Antioxidant Drink Mixes, exp 5/31/09
  • 2 coupons--$0.50 off two any flavor Betty Crocker Warm Delights Bowls or Mini Bowls, exp 5/24/09
  • $1 off any two Dole Parfaits, exp 5/22/09
  • $1 off any one McCormick Extract or Food Color
  • 2 coupons--$0.30 on any one Musselman's Totally Fruit or Healthy Picks Apple Sauce, 4 pk 4 oz, exp 5/18/09
  • $0.25 off any one Musselman's Apple Butter, 28 oz, exp 5/18/09
  • $1 off any Fiber One Toaster Pastries, exp 5/25/00
  • $1 off any one Quaker True Delights Chewy Granola Bars, exp 9/30/09
  • $0.55 off 1 lb or more of any Kretschmar Deli Product, exp 6/30/09
  • $1 off any one Off The Bone Homestyle Carved Lunch Meat Product, exp 8/1/09
  • 2 coupons--$0.40 off any one Skippy Peanut Butter Product, 15 oz or larger, exp 7/5/09
  • 2 coupons--$0.75 off any two Knorr Rice and Pasta Side Dishes, exp 7/5/09
  • $1.50 off any two Orville Redenbacher's Natural Gourmet Popping Corn, exp 5/3/09
  • FREE (up to $1.50) one 2-liter of Diet Dr. Pepper, exp 6/30/09
  • $1 off any Fiji Water Multi-Pack, 6pk or larger, exp 6/30/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any Country Choice Organic Product, exp 6/30/09
  • $1 off any one Cream of Wheat Hot Cereal, exp 9/30/09
  • $0.75 off any Whole Grain Total, Total Raisin Bran, Total Honey Clusters, Total Cranberry Crunch or Total Cinnamon Crunch, exp 1/11/10
  • $0.50 off any one Neosporin product, exp 5/22/09
  • $2 coupons--1 off any one Caress, 12 oz body wash or larger, 6-bar pack or larger, excluding Tahitian Renewal Body Wash or Cashmere Luxury Body Wash, exp 7/5/09
  • 2 coupons--$2 off any Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair or Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner, exp 5/30/09
  • 2 coupons $1 off any Simple Green Product, exp 6/16/09 and 6/19/09
  • $1 off LiceMD Lice & Egg Treatment, exp 6/16/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any one Marzetti Produce Dressing, exp 6/30/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any Softsoap Brand Ensemble Pump (with base) or Disposable Base, exp 6/1/09
  • 2 coupons--$3.75 off any one Dove Skin Vitalizer, exp 5/17/09 and 5/20/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any One A Day Adult or Teen Multivitamin Product, 12 ct or larger, exp 5/17/09 and 5/20/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any two Litehouse Products, exp 6/16/09 and 6/19/09
  • $1.50 off any one package of any Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Sandwich
  • $1 off any Desitin diaper rash product, 2 oz or larger, exp 6/1/09
  • 5 Target coupons--$1 off Dove Go Fresh, 2.6 oz deodorant or 3oz body mist or body wash or bar soap, excludes trial size, exp 5/30/09
  • 2 coupons--$1.50 off any Huggies Natural Fit Diapers, excluding Jumbo Pack, exp 5/17/09
  • $0.5 off any package of Huggies Baby Wipes, 64ct or larger, exp 5/14/09
  • $1.50 off any package of Huggies Little Swimmers Swim Pants, exp 5/14/09
  • 2 coupons--$3.00 off any two packages of Huggies Diapers, exp 5/14/09 and 7/5/09
  • $1 off any Beech-Nut Let's Grow! 7 Grain Nibbles, exp 6/12/09
  • $1 off one Kraft 2% Milk Shredded Cheese AND one Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon, exp 5/30/09
  • $1 on Kernel Season's Popcorn Popping & Topping Oil, exp 5/13/09
  • 2 Target coupons--$2 off Schick Quattro for Women, exp 6/6/09
  • 2 coupons--$1.50 off any two packages of Kotex Security Tampons, exp 6/6/09 and 6/7/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any one Oxy Deep Oxygen Activated Stain Remover, exp 5/16/09
  • 2 coupons--$3 off one Rug Stick Kit, exp 5/16/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any one package of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Cooking and Baking Sticks, exp 6/16/09
  • $2 off any one bottle of Snuggle Creme liquid fabric softener, any size, exp 5/15/09
  • 2 coupons--$0.55 off any 48oz SunnyD Smoothie product, exp 6/15/09
  • $1 off any one Scott Naturals Bath Tissue, 4pk or larger, exp 5/20/09
  • 2 coupons--$1off any one Ziploc Branch Flexible Tote or Big Bag, exp 5/22/09
  • $1 off any Arm & Hammer Clumping Cat Litter, exp 5/19/09
  • 2 coupons--$1.50 off any flavor of Kashi Golean Waffles, exp 5/22/09
  • 2 coupons--$0.75 off any Arm & Hammer Scrub Free Bathroom Cleaner, exp 5/19/09
  • $0.50 off two 2lb or 4lb Arm & Hammer Baking Soda or Fridge Fresh Refrigerator Air Filter, exp 5/19/09
  • $3 off Arm & Hammer Clear Balance Pool Maintenance Tablets, exp 5/19/09
  • $1 off any Arm & Hammer Esssentials Cleaners Starter Kit, exp 5/19/09
  • $1 off any Arm & Hammer Toothpaste, 4oz or larger, exp 5/19/09
  • $0.50 off any Arm & Hammer Carpet & Fabric Odor Eliminator Powder, exp 5/19/09
  • 2 coupons--$2.00 off any full size got2b styling product, exp 6/30/09
  • $1 off any one 12pk Cherry 7UP Antioxidant or any flavor 7UP, reg or diet, exp 5/20/09
  • $0.55 off any two-one gallon bottles, one 2.5 gallon bottle or one multi-pack of Nursery Purified Water with added Fluoride, exp 1/31/10
  • 2 coupons--$0.50 off any Green Works product, exp 7/31/09
  • $0.45 off any one Shedd's Spread Country Crock Spreads, exp 7/5/09
  • $1 off any one Colgate MaxWhite toothbrush, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off any one Colgate MaxFresh toothbrush, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off Colgate Visible White toothpaste, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off one Colgate Total Advanced Whitening toothpaste, Advanced Fresh toothpate or Advanced Clean toothpaste, 4 oz or larger, exp 5/20/09
  • 6 coupons--$3 off any Afrin PureSea Hydrating Nasal Rinse, exp 6/30/09
  • $0.55 off any pkg of Bridgford Frozen Rolls or Bread Dough or Monkey Bread, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off Bridgford Parkerhouse Style Rolls, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off any one Newman's Own Thin & Crispy Pizza, exp 5/20/09
  • $2 off any one Dry Idea Roll-On Antiperspirant, exp 11/30/09
  • $1.50 off any two boxes of Kashi cereal, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off any one box of Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal, exp 5/20/09
  • $1.50 off any two boxes of Kashi TLC Snack Bars, exp 5/20/09
  • $2 off one bag of Purina Yesterday's News brand cat litter, any variety, 13.2 lbs or larger, exp 7/19/09
  • $2.50 off Pedigree Dentastix Treat for dogs, exp 5/20/09
  • $0.55 off one tub any flavor/variety Betty Crocker frosting, exp 5/20/09
  • $0.75 off two boxes any flavor Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups or Fruit Roll-Ups Fruit Stickerz Fruit Flavored Snacks, exp 5/20/09
  • $1 off any one Shedd's Country Crock Side Dishes, exp 7/5/09
  • 2 coupons--$1 off any L'Oreal Paris product, exp 5/20/09
  • $2 off any Breathe right product, excluding 10 or 12 ct nasal strips, exp 6/19/09
  • $0.75 off any variety of Hostess 100 Calorie Packs, exp 5/15/09
  • FREE trial mail-in rebate for 7-10.2 lb Feline Pine or 4.1 lb (or less) Feline Pine Scoop
  • 3 coupons--$3 off any product from The Frgrance Collection by Glade, exp 6/27/09

Wok's For Dinner: Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos

This meal is, hands-down, fantastic! The recipe came in one of my Taste of Home Slow Cooker & Casserole newsletters and sounded absolutely delicious, so I added it to my menu for my April Once a Month Mom (OAMM) freezer meal cooking day using some boneless pork chops that I had in my freezer from a previous Angel Food Ministries order. I made a few changes to suit our family's tastes and what we had in the pantry. Click here for the original version at Taste of Home.
Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos
4 boneless pork chops
1/2 cup salsa (used homemade salsa given to us by some friends)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced (you could use 1-2 Tbsp garlic powder instead)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 ground black pepper
dash Texas Pete hot pepper sauce
flour tortillas
shredded fiesta-style cheese blend
In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine all ingredients, excluding tortillas and cheese. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until meat is very tender. If freezing: Allow mixture to cool after cooking. Place into a gallon-size freezer bag. Squeeze out the air and freeze. Thaw at least 24 hours, then heat in saucepan. Place about 1/2 cup pork mixture down center of each tortilla, along with cheese and whatever topping you prefer (sour cream, avacado, sliced olives, etc.)
The kids loved these tacos! I also got a lot of compliments from my husband.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest Post on Once a Month Mom!!

In celebration of Earth Day, Tricia and Cortney at Once a Month Mom invited me to share a guest post about composting. I was so excited about her incredible offer! Me, guest posting on Once a Month Mom?! "Wow!" does not begin to describe how tickled I really am.

Please click here to visit Once a Month Mom to read my guest post. While you're at it, check out the Once a Month Mom website. You'll find recipes, menu plan ideas, and much more!

Previous Posts