Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

 Today has been busy so I apologize for taking so long to get this posted, here's our menu for the week:

Tomato, Pesto Pasta

Chili Dogs

Dinner at church

Pepperoni Pizza

Turkey Cutlets
Baked Potatoes
Mixed Veggies

Dinner Out

Corn and Red Potato Chowder

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

 One of the biggest advantages of planning a weekly menu is changing things if needed.  We had some unplanned outings this weekend which made our weekend menu almost obsolete.  Saturday we drove to my parents house in the morning and my parents watched Brooklynne for the day while Matt and I spent the day at Waterworld (a water park in the Bay Area).  It was so much fun having time for just the two of was like we were dating again!  Anyway, we ended up eating dinner at my parents house on Saturday night, and then Sunday we went to Ikea and ended up getting In n' Out on the way home (yumm).  Because of that, I now have two things to go onto this weeks menu, and I don't have to buy very much this week.  We are also starting a Bible study at our church on Wednesday nights where dinner will be provided, which means I won't have to plan a meal for also means that pizza will be on Thursdays until December!  Anyways, here's our menu for the week:  

Summer Vegetable Gratin
Buttered Pasta

Chicken Fajitas
Brown Rice

Dinner at church

Hawaiian Pizza

Black Bean Burgers
French Fries

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
Mashed Potatoes

Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes

What's on your menu for the week?   Have you started Menu Planning yet? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Show and Tell Monday: Remembering High School

I'm linking up with Becky again today for her weekly Show and Tell Link Up!  Have you been linking up with her at all?  Alright, I'm going to warn you right now, there are some pretty horrendous photos of me in this post.

1. Tell us what kind of student you were in high school {popular, nerd, sport obsessed, choir, etc}

 I was definitely not popular, high school was a very difficult time for me socially (basically high school sucked)(and people were just mean).  I was home-schooled K-8th (I am not homeschooling), so going in to high school I only knew two people, my friend Rony and my sister, Krista.  He was automatically popular and she was a senior.  I remained mostly friend-less until my younger sister started high school my junior year.  She let me hang out with her and her friends, but as for my own friends, I didn't start making any really until after I got married.  I tried to get people to like me by making cookies for all the cool people, that didn't really work...they loved the cookies though. 
2. Share with us some high school pictures. We know you have them somewhere.

Freshmen Year...yeah, bad hair, Anna!
It didn't help that most of my class thought I was a boy the first week of school...I was chubby, flat chested and I had that hair, of course they would think I was a boy (a few of them told me that senior year).

Senior Year...again with the hair, center parts and me=bad news! 
Also, it's a great thing we get better looking as we age, because that Annalisa ^...not so great.

my sister and I.

3. Tell us about your school. Private? Public? How many in your graduating class? Mascots? School colors?

I went to a private Christian high school with about 100 in my graduating class and around 400 attending the school.  It's mascot is the eagle and colors are blue and gold.  It's a pretty rich school in a richer town, so that made it hard to fit in from the beginning, seeing as all our clothes were hand-me-downs.  

4. Tell us about some of your favorite memories of high school. Or what stands out the most? Any teachers? Specific classes?

I was in drama for most of high school and it was a lot of fun, we had a really great teacher for drama and home economics and she did a great job! I think home ec and drama were also my favorite classes, with Mrs. Jung being one of my favorite teachers.  But the teacher that made the biggest impact on my education was Mrs. Johnson, out of all the teachers that I had in all four years, I learned the most from her.  I almost didn't pass her class, but I learned so much!

One of my biggest memories from high school (definitely a favorite) was my first suspension (I only got suspended twice in all four years, the second time being because I was sick...and they suspended me...dumb).  It was in Spanish 1, we had to write a three paragraph paper and translate it into Spanish.  Well, I had heard of this website that would translate stuff in to whatever language you wanted (oh man, the internet was so exciting back then). So, I wrote my paper and copy and pasted it onto the website, chose Spanish and pressed the translate button.  I printed off my paper and brought it to class the next day.  I was a bit nervous handing it in, but figured it would be fine.  When my teacher asked me to come up to her desk, I did, and she asked me if I had cheated on it, I said "no."  And she said " are you sure, because it's in French."  Idiot me had neglected to proof read it before hand and I guess it was God getting me caught up in my stupidity, so I got suspended for a day.   

5. Tell us a piece of advice you would pass on to your children or any child entering high school.

Apply yourself, you may think you're not very bright, but really, you are!  
Don't cut your hair into a really bad boy cut a few weeks before the first day.  
No matter what, people are going to be mean, but that doesn't give you reason to be mean to them.
Go out for sports, even if you don't make it.
Be nice to the kids who don't have friends.
(I think not homeschooling will also give my kids a step ahead of me in that they will know people going in to high school).

Did you link up today with Becky?  Let me know if you did so I can read your post!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

House Cleaning and a Free Printable

House Cleaning, two words that don't come naturally to me.  I am not a natural house keeper and house cleaning is not something I am good at.  It has been a constant struggle for me my entire life, and I'm pretty sure it will always be a struggle.  I never had a clean room growing up, even when I moved out of my parents house I still didn't keep a clean room.  I'm the type of person that loves a clean home, but can live in a messy home.  I wouldn't say my house was dirty, just messy and cluttered, I hold on to things too long.  I am married to the opposite of myself, Matt loves a clean home.  He is great at getting rid of things and living basically clutter free, so this has been a point of contention in our five years of marriage.  
So, I have decided to make a change, and I've been at it for a month and I hope I can keep it up, because I LOVE IT!  I have made myself a schedule of things that I need to get done every day in order to have a clean house.  These are things I was doing before, but not regularly.  My house is now to the point that I am great with someone showing up unexpectedly, and I don't feel like I can't invite them in because I'm embarrassed about the state of my home.  We had guests over last Friday for dinner and the only thing I had to do was vacuum before they came rushing around trying to clean everything, because it was already clean!  I am still trying to figure out the timing of cleaning on my work days.  I need to nap since I work nights, but the only time I have to clean the house is while she's sleeping which is also the only time I have to sleep.  It's a big juggle and many days I sleep from 6-8 am and then I'm up until work that's exhausting.  So, some days I don't get all my chores done, but I will get them done the next day. 
I know there are many people out there that have the same problem as me, and I am sorry, I know how frustrating it is, but if I can change, so can you!!  Here's my printable that I made, and it's helping me a ton!

I keep it on my refrigerator so I can easily see it in the middle of the day.  

Here's the printable: printable

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 and my parents anniversary

Today we honor those that have given their lives on this day 11 years ago.  We honor those families that have lost a part of them because of this day 11 years ago.  We honor them and we pray for them.  I could not imagine what the families of those lost are going through today, what they go through every day, but especially today.  I posted last year about what I remembered from that day, but I hope I never forget those things.  I want to remember that day when my children ask what I was doing.  

Happy 36th Anniversary to my parents, what an inspiration they are to SO many people.  They are a blessing to not only me and my family, but to everyone they come in to contact with!  Their marriage is their biggest testimony of the love and constant watch-care that the Lord has provided for them, and they live every day as that testimony.  Thank you so much mom and dad!  Thank you for the love that you have for all of your children and grandchildren, but more importantly, the love you have for each other and the example that you gave to each of us every day!!  We love you so much!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Man, as much as I LOVE having my menu planned, sometimes planning it is so frustrating!  I like to have variety in our diets, but sometimes I feel so uncreative, and I can't think of anything.  It's also hard being on such a small budget ($40 a week) to plan anything that's fun and different, because usually the ingredients aren't things I have on hand or things I can afford.  Anyways, Matt enjoys what I cook and I try to mix it up for the most part.  We're having salad every night this week because my in-laws gave us some lettuce that HAS to be used right away.   Here's our menu for the week:


Taco Salad

Hawaiian Pizza

Roasted Tomato Pasta

Tomato Bruschetta

French Fries

Buttered Pasta

What's on your menu this week?  Anything that doesn't require expensive ingredients?  

Come back on Wednesday, I'm going to be talking about my struggles with house cleaning and I will be posting my first printable!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Show & Tell Monday: All About Babies

Linking Up with Becky at From Mrs. To Mama for her weekly link up, Show and Tell.  This week is All About Babies!

1. Tell us your favorite baby names? Aside from your own babies, if you have some :)

Coen, August, Coen August, August Matthew
so far, no other girl was Brooklynne before we got married! 

2. Show me your "dream" nursery {can be your baby's nursery or one that you love}

3. How many children would you like to have? How far apart?

I would like to have 4 children, ideally.  I had originally wanted to have them 2 years apart, but we have decided against that.  I have done research on child spacing and the benefits of giving your children more time.  I definitely don't want Brooklynne to be an only child, but I also want to be able to spend as much time with her without other children.  We are thinking about getting pregnant next fall.  I work nights right now and I don't think it would be wise or healthy for me and the baby to be not sleeping three days out of the week.  So we have to be to a point financially in order for me not to be working.  I am only 27, and in now rush to have children.  We absolutely LOVE having only one child and I want her to be an only child for a soon as we add another child, I can't focus on only her anymore.  I had a pretty good pregnancy, with only a few standard complaints, but I literally have no desire to be pregnant right now.  I am excited for more children, I am stoked to see Brooklynne as an older sister, but not yet...she needs more time, and we need more time with just her!!

4. Tell us what you think the importance of parenting is?

That's a very big question and I don't think it has one or a simple answer and I'm not even sure how to answer it.  I know for both my husband and I, we were raised in Christian families that were very family oriented.  Both of our parents are still married (my parents-36 years, his parents-30 years...amazing!)  and definitely put their families first, after the Lord.  The importance of parenting is training up children, my child is going to be an adult some day, and I hope and pray that our parenting has been good enough to train her in to a Godly woman who also puts her family first and makes a difference in our world!!
I tell my daughter EVERY DAY that I love her.  My mom did and does the same thing with me, I know that she loves me, she doesn't have to tell me that she loves me, but she does anyways.  I want my children to ALWAYS know that we love them, that they are important, wanted, and beautiful!!

5. Show us your favorite newborn photo {can be your children or random}

a few hours all-time favorite shot!!

right before going home
her newborn photoshoot

Photo Credit: Studio Six Photography

6.  Tell us some things you promise to never do as a parent {and if you are a parent, did you stick to it}

1.  I promised to never put my child's pacifier in my mouth to "clean" it: I have stuck to it...that is THE most disgusting thing EVER.  Mouths are one the dirtiest places on the body, if not the dirtiest, and putting their paci in your mouth can cause cavities and other nasty mouth problems (I've done research on it, it's not just me thinking it's gross).

2.  I promised to only give my children milk and water until the age of at least 2: I've stuck to it so far (she has had a sip tea, coffee and juice from other people, or because she went behind my back, but not her own).  

3.  I promised to not let my kid watch tv until the age of 3: I've stuck to this almost...there have been a few times that she's watched tv, the first being when she was sick, but she wasn't interested.  She's never really interested for more than a few minutes.  But after lots of research on this, as well, I feel that it's best to wait for her to watch tv.  

I can't remember if I had any other ones.   

Did you link up with Becky this week?  If you did, let me know so I can read your post!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Recipe: Southwest Chicken Salad

Alright everyone, this is our go-to dinner salad.  It has enough in it to serve as a whole meal and it is delicious.  I'm going to share a few things in this on how I save a bit of money on our grocery bill.  Here's the recipe:


Here's the instructions

 Dice up one chicken breast

sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, dried onion, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper 

Heat olive oil in a pan until shimmering, add the chicken and allow to cook for for two and a half minutes, and turn, cooking another two and a half minutes.  You want it to be quite golden brown on the outside.  Once fully cooked, remove to a plate and allow to cool slightly.

Money Saving Tip #1:  My favorite lettuce is romaine. I like it because it has good flavor, has nice crunch and it's usually decently priced.  I never buy pre-bagged lettuce or salads, they don't last as long and they are so overpriced.  Instead I buy whole heads of romaine, chop it up, and wash it using my salad spinner.  If you don' have a salad spinner, go get one, they are the best thing ever!  I cut up enough lettuce for us to use in two or three days, which for us is about 2 heads of lettuce (if just eating salad with dinner.  After I wash it and dry it, I put it in a gallon size zip-top bag with a dry paper towel and keep it in the fridge.  

Put the ranch dressing in to a bowl, add the salsa and hot sauce, if using.

Put the lettuce in to a large bowl

Add the black beans, corn and cheese

Money Saving Tip #2: I buy frozen corn instead of canned, saves space and money...frozen corn is much cheaper and doesn't have all the added sugar from the liquid.  
Money Saving Tip #3: I cook dry beans instead of using canned beans, this saves me a ton.  I cook up a big batch every couple of weeks (actually about once a month, or so) and package it in to zip top freezer bags at 14 oz, which is equivalent to a can of beans (there's usually about 2 oz of juice in the can), and I put it in the freezer.  It only takes a few minutes to defrost in the microwave or under hot water.  This again saves me a lot of money because we eat a lot of beans, but like the corn, there's so much added sugar to the cans of beans that it keeps it healthier too.  I don't do this with all beans, just black because we eat the most of those.  If I'm going to be using another type of bean in a recipe, I will just buy a can of them...I wouldn't go through a batch of beans fast enough to make it worthwhile to cook up a whole batch.  I am almost out of beans right now, so I will write up a recipe for them once I cook some up!!

Pour half the dressing mixture on top and toss, add more dressing if desired.  
Place on a plate and top with the chicken.

I served the salad with my delicious corn bread and honey butter...amazing!  Make this soon, it's delicious!!

Southwest Chicken Salad
serves 2

1 chicken breast, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried onion
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and dried
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 cup shredded cheese
 1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 Tbsp salsa
hot sauce, if desired 

1.   Dice up one chicken breast, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, dried onion, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.   Heat olive oil in a pan until shimmering, add the chicken and allow to cook for for two and a half minutes, and turn, cooking another two and a half minutes.  You want it to be quite golden brown on the outside.  Once fully cooked, remove to a plate and allow to cool slightly.

2.  Put the ranch dressing in to a bowl, add the salsa and hot sauce, if using.  Put the lettuce in to a large bowl and add the black beans, corn and cheese.  Pour half the dressing mixture on top and toss, add more dressing if desired.   Place on a plate and top with the chicken.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Furniture Revamp

Before we were married, Matt rented a room from a guy in Southern California.  Well, you can't really say it was a room, it was a part off the living room that had an eighth wall to it...not a half wall, but an eighth, to "define" the space.  It was definitely not a room, there was no door, or anything.  My husband lived on a cot for 4 months.  Anyway, that lasted from September through December when Matt came home to marry me (yay), and his roommate moved back to Oklahoma.  His roommate was only making one trip in a small 4 door car, and whatever he couldn't fit in, stayed.  Our first coffee table was from him and my nightstand was from him.  We have since replaced that coffee table (it was pretty amazing though), but we never replaced the nightstand...which was dumb, because it was hideous:

Case in point...hideous.  I had decided I was going to put it in our garage sale and just drill a shelf in to the wall for a night stand.  But the problem is, all my underwear and socks go in there because we only have one 4 drawer dresser for the two of us, and it's always full.  So I decided to try my hand at re-doing it.  Here's what I did:

I took off the hardware, and lost a screw in the grass...why I was doing this part in the grass is beyond me.

Then I removed all the drawers and cleaned them all with Lysol kitchen cleaner...probably not the best thing, but I don't know anything about doing this.

I used Rustoleum Spray paint in Aqua and started spraying.  It took fine to the woody part on the top and fronts of the stand, but not so much to the nasty painted bamboo or whatever it is.  Luckily I hadn't sprayed very much, so I took some sand paper and sanded it down, then sprayed it again.  It took a few coats, and then once it was dry, I sprayed it with polyurethane to seal it.  

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and I think it adds a wonderful pop of color to our bedroom!!

Here's the before and after:

What do you think?  I really wanted to get new handles, but that's not in the budget right now, and they're not as bad as I thought.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here's this weeks menu, I'm running late and having a really rough day...time for work.

Egg and Sausage Sandwiches

Ham Sandwiches
French Fries

Pepperoni Pizza

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread

Pork Tacos

Southwest Chicken Salad

Chicken Taco Salad

I have the recipe for my Southwest Chicken Salad all ready, it will post on Wednesday!!

Show & Tell Monday: Fall is in the Air

I'm linking up with Becky at From Mrs. to Mama again this week to do her weekly "Show and Tell" Link up!  These are a lot of fun, and if you haven't done it yet, you should join in!!

1. Tell us what you are looking forward to this fall?

Oh fall, my favorite time of year!  I am looking forward to so much, the cooler weather for one. I like fall weather the most because it's the perfect temperature, cold enough to need a jacket and light scarf, but not super freezing cold!  I'm looking forward to the leaves changing (I love walking down the street and seeing them change a bit more every day), wearing scarves (LOVE scarves), and hot coffee drinks.  

2. Show us your fall style.

How about I show you what I WISH was my fall style, but it won't be because shopping is not in the all.

photo credit: Pinterest

3. Tell us your favorite things to do in the fall. If you have children, activities to do with the kids?

I'm excited to go up to Apple Hill and get apples and cider and fritters and have family time.  I love going to the pumpkin patch, and last year with Brooklynne was so much fun, but this year she'll be able to participate in so much more.  We love to go trick or treating and go to the fall festival at our church.  Anything that has family involved...we're there!

4. Show us your favorite fall beverage.

photo credit: Starbucks

Pumpkin Spice Lattes...I know they're probably a favorite of almost everyone at this time of year, but they sure are delicious!!

5. Tell us, how you will be participating in halloween this year. Plans? Costume ideas? 

We will be participating in Halloween, it's one of our favorites!!  I'm a Christian and I think it's rude and mean for people to judge other people on what they do for Halloween.  I'm not saying that I condone a lot of the things that happen on Halloween, but for "Christians" to go around and share what they think should or shouldn't be done on Halloween is just plain old rude.  If you don't find it right for my family to go trick or treating, that's fine...but DO NOT tell me that you don't think it's right, you keep that to yourself and do what's right for you and your family...NOT MINE.  

Anyway, I know we will go trick or treating and go to our church's fall festival, but we haven't decided what we are going to be this year!  We would like to go as a family (Star Wars, Flintstones, Mary Poppins...), we just haven't decided what yet.  We do need to decide soon though because it'll be here before we know it!!   

Last years Halloween: Baby cow, housewife, The Gorton's Fisherman

pregnant Halloween: bun in the oven

Did you link up this week?  Let me know if you did so I can check it out!!