Friday, May 28, 2010

Taco Soup Recipe

1 lb. ground beef
2 cans of pinto beans ( I use 1 can, and 1 can of black beans)
1 large onion
1pkg. hidden valley ranch dressing mix
1 pkg taco mix
1 can of corn
2 cans of stewed tomatoes ( I use 1 and 1 can of diced tomatoes, also chop up the stewed so they are not so chunky)

Brown meat and onions, drain. Add all other ingredients..

Serve with Fritos, Cheese and Sour Cream...

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I really like this recipe, so I thought I would share... It's easy to make. I've altered it a little to my liking...

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Kraft Light Done Right! Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing
4 oz (1/2 of 8-oz pkg.) Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 less fat than cream cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup fat free reduced soidum chicken broth
1 can (10oz) veg-all
2 refrigerated pie crust

Boil chicken for 20 min or so. Cool, shred. Put chicken back in skillet once shredded and add dressing. Mix then add cream cheese in cubes; cook and stir until melted. Add flour; mix well. Add broth and vegetables; simmer 5 min.

PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees.

POUR mixture into deep dish 10-inch pie plate. Cut 3-5 slits in the other pie crust. Turn 2nd pie crust upside down on top of pie crust with ingredients. Flute edges, and remove top pan.

BAKE 30 min or until crust is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Emily Makenna - 1 Week Old

What have you been up to these days?
You were 7lb 7oz on Monday at your doctor's appointment. I'm sure you are probably close to 8lb now. When you were born you weighed 7lb 8oz but lost down to 6lb 14oz when we left the hospital. It only took you over the weekend to catch back up on your weight!

You wear size newborn diapers. Mommy and Daddy love the Huggies Supremes over the Pampers Swaddlers since they have a cut out for your umbilical cord, and have the wet indicator strip on them.

You have already outgrown some of your newborn onesies. You can wear some of your 0-3mo clothes, but all brands are sized differently.

You are doing pretty good at getting your days and nights straighten out. You are most alert with your eyes open first thing in the morning. You like to sit and look at the sunlight close to the window. Most of the time you sleep, unless you are hungry or need your diaper changed. Mommy and Daddy are so thankful for your swing and bouncing chair. You absolutely love them.

We first tried to get you to breastfeed, but you didn't want to latch so we decided to switch you to formula. You are eating all the time. Usually you eat 2oz every three hours unless it is night time and then you sometimes want to eat in 2 hours. During the day, if you are really sleeping good you will wait 4 hours to eat.

If Mommy lays you on her chest, or gives you tummy time on your blanket you are working on picking your head up.

Your not sure about bathtime yet. Hopefully you will start liking it soon.

You get the hiccups and sneeze a lot. That's okay though. Your doctor said that the hiccups will ease up as you get older, and you sneeze to clear your nasal passages.

You sure are changing/growing so much each day. It's hard to believe you are already a week old!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Birthday of Emily Makenna...

It all started Monday night May 10th @ 8:00p.m. when I was admitted to the hospital to start the induction process. By 9:00p.m. I was given Cervidil for 10 hours. At this point I was not even dilated 1cm yet. Tuesday morning around 7:00a.m. the Cervidil was removed, and had not help me progress any. Next, I was given the pitocin around 7:45 a.m. My midwife (Leigh) came in a couple hours later and said she would probably break my water around lunch time. About 11:45 she returned, and indeed broke my water. Might I add is one of the "grossest" (if that is a word) feelings. Shew. We were hoping this would get the ball rolling. I am not sure at which times I continued to dilate... After my water was broke I asked for some pain medicine to be put in my IV. I didn't want to get my epidural until it was absolutely necessary. The pain medicine helped me to relax, but did not help with the contractions. The contractions started to be more intense. Within the hour I requested my epidural. This was probably only an hour or so after my water was broke. They told me the process took about 45 minutes to get the epidural in place. (waiting on them to get there, etc.) Once they arrived, I had about 3 contractions in the middle of them trying to give me the epidural. (Which by the way, I wasn't concerned about. Needles do not bother me.) Yes, I highly recommend this... Once I received the epidural, I could no longer feel any of my contractions. I continued to progress until about 11:45 p.m. This is when they started to get prepared for delivery. A few minutes after midnight the pushing began... Emily was born at 1:20a.m. on Wednesday May 12th. My midwife said the delivery was quick for a first time delivery. Over all I think everything went really well. I wasn't in too much pain before getting the epidural. The worst part was just waiting... She was born 29 hours after being admitted to the hospital. I guess this is what made me so exhausted. All of the nurses we had at the hopsital were awesome! We arrived Monday night @ 8:00p.m. and was not discharged from the hospital until Friday @ 10:00 a.m.

My how our lives have now changed. She is so precious. I'll leave you with a few pictures...

Proud Daddy

GrandMom and Emily

I've got my eyes open...

Proud Parents

First Bath...
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tips on How to Save / Budgeting

This week on Kelly's Korner:
 Show Us Your Life: Money Saving Tips

This is a topic I believe I could go on and on about. I do have a plan of action, but sometimes it falls between the cracks! Here's some things my husband and I have put into place that works really well.
  • Create a budget spreadsheet. Include all monthly bills that you have, how much you will spend on fuel, eating, groceries, shopping, everything. We have a budget for everything that we purchase. We put all of our spending on one credit card for the month and pay it off every month. We have one that we found we get Cash Back rewards on. For every $1000.00 we spend we receive a check for $50.00 back. We have to have fuel, groceries etc. So why not make money from it? Although, we don't try to spend extra money to just get rewarded. Once we get our Credit card statement. I itemize it, and compare each category spent against our budget and see how close we were to our budget and we were need to improve.
  • Do not have car payments if you can help it. Save until you have enough to purchase. Only buy what you can reasonably afford. This saves you so much money on interest. If you have a car payment, save as much as you can to pay it off early so that you do not have to pay interest. Regular car maintenance is so much cheaper than paying a huge car payment every month.  Even if you have some large maintenance's come up, they are usually only equal to one or two car payments.
  • Every few months check to make sure you are getting the best price on Cable/Phones/Internet. Sometimes plans expire, and you are still paying an old price, when there's a much lower one out there. Do not keep the same provider just because you feel obligated for having the same one for so long. If someone else is offering a better price, check into it! We currently pay $50.00 for our home cable, and high speed internet total. We do not have a house phone, as it never got used before. The bundle plans are around $90.00 and they do not make much sense for us.
  • COUPONS! - Subscribe to the weekend paper and cut coupons every week. As long as you save more than $1.50 each week you are paying for that paper. It's much easier to remember to cut coupons when the paper is dropped in your driveway Sunday morning. Make sure the coupons you use are actually a good deal. Sometimes the store brand is cheaper than the item that is on sale with a coupon. Most store brand items taste the same, but everyone has some foods that they just do not like in generic. I cut coupons every Sunday, and organize them by category. This way when I'm at the store I can quickly check to see if I have a coupon for something. I also weekly check to see if anything has expired. Before I go to the grocery store, I always check to see which store has the best sales for what groceries we need. I make a list and pull out the coupons I know I will be able to use. I want to improve on selecting weekly meals to purchase. I know lots of people try to plan their weekly meals by the sales ad. This helps to save the most money.
  • Shop on EBAY. Any purchase we look to buy, we first check Ebay to see what we can purchase it for on there. You can find just about everything on there. We buy the majority of our purchases on Ebay. A few examples: I have bought almost all of my maternity clothes on there for a fraction of the cost, since I'm only going to be wearing them for 9 months. If your like me and think you have to have a new cell phone frequently, try to find one on Ebay. This works best if you are currently under a contract, or if you do not want to be under a contract. For example if you have Verizon (we do), you just have to confirm that the ESN # is valid (It's not still on another Verizon account, and is free to add to yours). You usually can get a phone in excellent condition for way less than retail price, and it doesn't affect your contract. Also, any phone chargers, (wall/car) /cases, covers, you can buy them on ebay for a couple of dollars, literally, where they are about $20.00 each at the phone store. This is a huge savings if you like to have multiple ones like we do. I also like to buy shoes on Ebay. I usually can get them soo much cheaper, brand new in the box, than at the store.
  • Shop on CRAIGSLIST. This is great for local used purchases!
  • Pick a temperature to put your thermostat on, and leave it alone! If you constantly move it during the Winter and Summer your electric bill will shoot through the roof. Try to leave it as warm (in the summer) and as cold (in the winter) as you can comfortably stand it. If no one is at home during the day during the Summer/Winter, turn it up/down 2 degrees (to keep it from running) while everyone is away, and it will save your unit from having to run as hard, making your electric bill cheaper.
  • Invest in High Efficiency Washer/Dryers; DO NOT CUT THE DRYER BACK ON after your clothes are finished. First of all the dryer pulls so much power, and second you are taking the life out of your clothes, and shrinking them. Use a drying rack.
  • Only keep necessary items in your house plugged into the wall. You may not know this, but your toaster, coffee maker etc is pulling power while you are not using it! Anything that you do not use everyday, keep them unplugged until you get ready to use it! Do you have a T.V., Lamp, radio plugged up in that extra bedroom you never go in?
  • Replace all of your household light bulbs with (CFL's) Compact Fluorescent Lights... The spiral kind.. These last about 10x longer than regular bulbs and pull a whole lot less power.
  • When the weather is nice use a Grill to cook dinner vs. the Stove in the Kitchen. The stove pulls a lot of power, and Grill is so much healthier!
  • Cook at home! Set a limit on how much you want to spend on dining out a month. Do not buy drinks at restaurants. This can save you around $2.00 or more per person. When you do go eat out, try to pick somewhere that makes financial sense. Is it really worth going to a place that you may spend $50.00 vs. going somewhere that has a special where 2 people can eat for $25.00? If you chose the cheaper one you can dine out again for the same price!
  • If you buy groceries at Wal-mart you can take other store ads and they will match the price. This is great if there are several ads that have great sales. You just have to make sure that Walmart isn't cheaper. Usually the BOGO free items are still a better buy. Most of the time, if I only need groceries I try to just go to the grocery store to refrain from buying other things that I know I will see at Walmart that I DO NOT NEED.
  • Take your breakfast/ lunch to work. Try to cook extra at dinner to make a lunch plate. This can save you $25/30 per week depending on your daily lunch spending. If your use to eating out everyday, try taking your breakfast everyday, and lunch 3 days a week. Chose 2 days to purchase your lunch to mix it up.
  • Only keep the money that you need, with a little nest egg in your checking account. PUT YOUR MONEY TO WORK. Check with your local bank about savings accounts, cds or a money market account. Put any savings you have in one of these that offers you the best interest rate. This way you get PAID for them to hold your money! Even if it's just a little bit, it all adds up, and it's FREE MONEY.
Okay, these are my money saving ideas!

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