Friday, December 30, 2011

Took the wrong exit, time to double back

So when we started this blog I was so pumped up. I had a plan, was going to revamp my life things were going to happen. Now several months later not so much. I have made some changes that have been positive. For the most part my downstairs living area and both bathrooms are usually in pretty good shape but that is all I keep up with household wise. Well laundry too of course. Financially, I am slightly better but haven't made the changes I need to make.
Changing your habits and lifestyle is hard, and since I haven't set out and did what I wanted to do I think I need to come up with a new plan/system/routine or something. I am going to give myself until the third to write a list of what I think my biggest problems are, what they are stopping me from doing and what I can do to change things or stay motivated depending on the situation.
I have found in the past few months something that motivates me to keep the house clean, company! Every Sunday we have lunch and invite anywhere from 2 to 20 people. I will put in the extra effort during the week to keep the house up and then I know Sunday morning I have to straighten everything up. I then enjoy a nice lunch with my company and clean up as I go. So Sunday afternoon or night when everyone is gone the house is still in good shape and I can relax. It really works for me, and I get to spend time with people I enjoy instead of the old we should get together (but never do.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chayote Squash

I actually had never heard of Chayote Squash.  While grocery shopping recently, I really took my time and browsed all of the produce.  Touching, smelling, looking like a weirdo, haha!  I came across the Chayote Squash.  They looked sort of like pears and peeked my interest.  And at 2/$1.00 I couldn't resist.  I grabbed two of them having no idea what they taste like or how to cook them.  When I got home I googled "Chayote Squash" and came across this recipe on that sounded tasty and it had good reviews.   I followed the recipe except I doubled it and used lime juice in place of the vinegar as many reviewers suggested.  I also used a packet of Truvia in place of the sugar.  And I didn't add the red pepper flakes because I wanted my little guy to eat them. (I guess I altered the recipe alot, ha!)  I was going to add the red pepper flakes to my plate after cooking...but I forgot when I took my first bite.  It was so good I just continued to gobble up every tasty Chayote morsel on my plate.  (so good, I forgot to take a pic before we ate it all.)  It was sort of apple-y tasting, but not as sweet.  Not summer or winter squash like at all.  So two of these suckers cost me a total of $1.00 and fed all four of us as a side dish with dinner and I had a (very) small amount left over to have with my lunch the next day.  Can't beat that!  Without question, we will be enjoying Chayote on a regular basis.  Suits our taste buds and wallet :p

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mama needs a new routine!

Sometimes I feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day for me.  Well, there are too many in my work day...but once I get home I feel like it is just time to go to bed and start my work day all over again.  I hate feeling like all I do is go to work. I work about 45 minutes from home.  I try to leave the house by 7:00am to make sure I arrive to work on time without rushing. My family is all still sleeping when I leave.  I tip toe around trying not to wake them.  I call home a couple times a day to talk to the hunny and my little man.  But it kills me to be so far away from home.

I get out of work at 5pm and the commute home drives me a little insane.  It's not so much that there is an abundance of traffic since I travel the opposite direction of the heavy traffic.  It's not so much the distance, although I have experienced working in the same city I live and I miss it tremendously.  My problem is a two-parter... All of the idiots on the road and my road rage.  A good part of my commute is on a one lane (each direction) highway.  This is TORTURE for me.  All it takes is one frigging moron to clog up the flow of traffic.  There is NO getting in the next lane and passing them...not that I haven't broken the law and passed "granny pants" when I see an opening in traffic on the opposite side.  I don't want to be in a rush...I just always am, even when I have no place to be by a specific time.  Something about driving and not being able to just step on the gas and go because of someone's stupidity really agitates me.  I do not wish harm on anyone, but there have been countless times when I have said to myself, "there had BETTER be a damn accident up there".  How shitty is that?!

I ride ass, honk my horn, flip the bird, scream (sometimes so hard that my throat hurts), call people (mostly elderly and women drivers) the most horrible names that I challenge the foulest mouth truck driver to possibly be more filthy.  I have issues when in my car - alone.  When someone else is in the car, the rage is still there but the situations are laughable.  When my son is in the car,  it is still there but I pretend it is not.  I don't flip out, yell obscenities or make any of my numerous hand gestures. If it is just me and my daughter in the car, she now sees some of my "driving alone" behavior.  It is still toned down quite a bit though.  She truly believes me (and laughs uncontrollably) when we are driving through our neighborhood and I threaten these little punks that I will "smash your asses off" when they walk right off the sidewalk and in front of my car... while it is moving.  I have to slam on the brakes to not hit them and then they cross the street taking their sweet time, skinny jeans hanging off their asses.  I know they can't walk (or waddle) any faster because their pants would fall down.

I got a little side tracked just thinking about tomorrow's commute.  Anyway, the point I was trying to make was simply, that my commute is stressful.  By the time I get home it is just about 6pm.  That is provided I don't have to stop at the store for anything or have any appointments.  I get home and have to immediately start cooking dinner so we can eat by 6:45-7:00.  Wolf down my food, wash the dishes, clean up any mess, try and get some play time in with my son.  But lately I feel like all I do is yell at him after work.  I am tired from working and cranky from driving home.  Since the time change, I often have a headache when I get home from the oncoming headlights and in my rear view.  Some nights they are migraines which leave me completely useless.  All I can do is crawl into bed and hope to just fall asleep.

My hubby is home with the boy all day long and he does a great job with playing with him, teaching him new things and expanding his creativity.  My man has the patience of Mother Theresa...and I simply do not.  I envy it and I feel like the bitchy mom when I get home.  My hubby does clean (more than he used to) but he does not cook.  Not that he won't.  He simply has little to no experience in the kitchen.  He makes a slamming grilled cheese, and can grill the bajeezus out of some hot dogs...but as far as cooking a meal goes, it is all me.  We have been utilizing the slow cooker more often and that is awesome.  I either prepare everything the night before to just be tossed in or if it is simple, I have him do it all.  There is nothing better than walking in the door after work and smelling dinner all cooked.  Knowing all I have to do is hang up my coat and grab a bowl and I will be chowing down :p...  <---- that's drool, ha!  But on the days when we don't slow cook, I am in the kitchen as soon as I get home from work.  My son is almost three and quite the handful.  Getting into everything, running into walls (on purpose), coloring on doors and window sills, (Whoever invented washable crayons and markers should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize).  You want the boy to be quiet...but typically if he is quiet he is getting into something he shouldn't be.  As much as I can't stand the screeching and jumping off the couch pretending he is Spiderman or Ironman at least I know exactly what is going on in the other room.  I try to confine him to the kitchen table with crayons or some other project that will occupy him quietly for the next 1/2 hour but he usually wiggles away after about 5 minutes and is creeping around the stove.  Then I have to lock him in the living room behind the gate.  I feel rushed and stressed and crabby... and mean.  I know that Daddy needs a break so I don't complain when he takes off to his studio moments after I get home.  Even on the days when he hangs around for my sake, I tell him to go take a break, "I got this".  I mean it...but I don't.  It's kind of the equivalent of a woman saying, "Don't get me anything for Christmas"... You know that you better be opening SOMETHING on xmas.  I know how it is to spend a whole day with a toddler who seems to have an unlimited supply of energy and the loudest superhero sound effects EVAH!  I know how it is to just not be able to wait for someone to come home and rescue me from the non stop chatter and hearing myself constantly repeating the words, "no", "stop", "get out of there", "get off the dogs",  "eat your food", "stop playing with your food", "I'm not going to tell you again", "this is the last time I am going to say it", "Oh my god, am I telling you the same thing AGAIN".  I know this all too well and I only deal with my son, one on one, one or two days a week from like 10am-5pm.  The hubby does this five days a week from 7am-6pm.  More than wanting Daddy to stay and entertain the boy while I get dinner ready, I wish I could juggle my afterwork routine better.  Keep the boy entertained, get dinner ready, clean up, relax.  I know plenty of other woman do this.  BUT HOW?  I need some suggestions, stat!

I feel like there is no winding down.  I go from talking to annoying customers and sometimes even more annoying co-workers, to my road rage filled drive home, knowing the whole drive home I have to get dinner ready and dishes washed.  Sometimes hoping the little guy is sleeping so I can just get everything done without interruption.  Please don't get me wrong, I love my life and my family.  I love when I am walking up the stairs and I can hear him through the door - he hears me coming and he says to Daddy, "Here she comes!", all excited.  It always puts a huge smile on my face.  I love opening up the door and he runs over to me and hugs my legs.  I know he missed me just as much as I missed him.  I just wish I had some time in between getting home and getting dinner started to devote to unwinding and talking and playing with my son, no interruptions.  Just chill time with my boy, nothing else on my mind, but what he is telling me.   Maybe then, both of us would be calmer.  He probably can't sit still and quiet down because this is the first time he has seen me all day long.  He has a lot to tell me.  So many things to show me.  He needs to show me how he perfected his Spiderman jumps off the couch and his new and improved webs.  And I truly want to see, hear and experience all of  it, I just wish I had a way to brush off my stankadank attitude beforehand.   How the hell do mom's with more than one young child do it?  I might explode if that was my case, haha!

I'm not the only full time working mom, with road rage and a toddler, am I?

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I took a little break from blogging for a few weeks.  But I'm back!!!!!!  In the past few weeks I have:
  • Discovered Clean Eating and it makes perfect sense!
  • Purchased, tasted, and fell in love with the Larabar
  • Learned how to make my own Larabars, which is awesome because I can't afford to love store bought ones!
  • Made the most delish chocolate cake and brownies out of BEANS!!!  DO NOT KNOCK IT!
  • Donated a trash bag full of toys and clothes to Salvation Army
  • Enjoyed Thanksgiving and did not make a pig of myself - at all
  • Started a new Christmas tradition with my son with the Elf on the Shelf.
  • Completed the third and final memory quilt for my boss.
  • Realized that I need to change my payment policy for quilts :(
  • Received 4 new orders for quilts, one of which is a Memory Quilt!
  • Completed all Christmas gift shopping, (except for finishing touches for stockings and my Salvation Army Angel)
  • Learned to like water - unsweetened and with out artificial flavorings.  WHAT WHAT?!?!?!
  • Decided to try at least one new food every week.
  • Joined the Green Monster Movement
  • I have lost 3 more pounds
  • Received my 5 finger sneakers but they didn't fit on my Frankenfoot, so I had to return :(
  • Ohhhhhhhhhhh and my daughter has started GED prep classes!!!!!!  (Very proud :)
I am feeling very healthy in every aspect of my life.  Family, health, finances, everything except my house cleaning, I've been slacking a little.  I need to nip that in the bud and get back on track.  I have been on a Clean Eating and couponing rampage, so the house is a mess, trying to find room for everything.  Part of this weekend's goals were to get the front hall and kitchen back under control.  I heard the hubby in the front hall looking for paper towels a few days ago and I thought he was going to turn into the Hulk and start tossing everything in a rage.  Haha!  There is A LOT of stuff out there -  Part of which I think I will be donating because I scored majorly coupon-wise on canned soups, cream of whatever soups, canned broth, and those fruit snacks that my son adores.... But that was all one to two weeks before I discovered Clean Eating (by mistake) and now I don't want to eat any of those foods or feed them to my family.  I stumbled upon Clean Eating when I came across an email from Circle of Moms that read "HowArtificial Ingredients Can Lead to Artificial Kids".  You can read the article here.  I read the article and immediately thought of my son.  He is instantly affected by certain foods.  He will be sitting still one minute and then give him some processed snack or food and he is zooming within a couple bites.  It makes my hubby's day very trying to say the least.  And I was feeling it on the weekends when I mainly "deal" with the results of his eating a diet (unknowingly) packed with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and exorbitant amounts of sugar masked behind scientific names.  From that article in Circle of Friends, I found my way to the author's website,  I became a bit obsessed with reading all of her posts and recipes, and printed out her 6-week challenge and went to town on cleaning up our acts.  I started making changes immediately.  I have noticed a difference in my little man's behavior.  He is still a VERY active almost three year old, nothing is going to change that (nor do I want to), but he seems to have a bit more control over himself now that he is eating almost nothing processed.  We are continuing to make healthy changes so I will update my findings on how Clean Eating is working for my family.

As for myself, I have never felt better.  I am still significantly overweight, but I am not stressing it.  I am eating healthy and Clean.  I am exercising (not as much as I should, but adding more movement every day).  I have more energy.  I do not feel exhausted like I did before when I wasn't Eating Clean.  I am eating delicious whole foods (food with little to no refining or processing and containing no artificial additives or preservatives; natural or organic food.)  I know that by continuing to eat clean the pounds will come off effortlessly and I will never feel deprived of scrumptious foods.

Since starting to eat clean I have lost a little over 3 lbs in about a week.  I am not counting calories anymore, I am just eating when I am hungry and only eating whole (unprocessed) foods.  I am never hungry.  I am never stuffed.  I am always satisfied.  I eat every 2-3 hours and drink a shit ton of water.  No juice, no soda.  I have discovered some new (to me) delicious healthy foods and I know that I will never go back to eating processed SHIT food again.  Just reading all of the crap that is listed on most packaged food in the grocery store infuriates me.  I just don't understand the manufacturer's "need" to add all of this crap and chemicals to the foods we eat and feed our growing children.  Many of these ingredients are proven to cause obesity, brain damage, behavioral problems, cancer, and many other ailments/diseases.  I will no longer allow any processed food in my house and since I am the primary food shopper and cook, it will be easy to control.   No one seems to miss the old processed stuff.  Well that is not entirely true... my son constantly asks for his Captain America snacks and chocolate milk and whenever we are out he asks for McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts and I deny him every time.  My hubby asked for and received Burger King last weekend.  The hardest to break will be my teenage daughter, the junk food-a-holic.  But she will have to get herself a job if she wants to eat shit because she won't find it in the house.  Funny story:  My daughter was out one afternoon and all of the sudden she came running in the house and running for the bathroom.  She comes out a few minutes later and said, OMG, I had to poop so bad.  I asked her if her stomach was upset.  She said no, it was a normal poop but she wasn't ready because she already went yesterday and she usually only goes once every 3 or 4 days.  UM WHAT?!!!  I said what, you only go every 3-4 days?  She said yeah, but since I've been eating home more I have to go more.  I said, yeah...When you eat can't shit.  She started cracking up and said, yeah I guess so.  I proceeded to overload her with all of the "fun facts" I discovered by reading about Clean Eating and all of the side effects from eating a diet full of highly processed foods.  She was amazed but she is addicted to sugar and all of her convenient foods.  She is 17 and isn't too interested in her health at this time.  One day she will come around.  But, in the meantime, she will have a hard time finding anything processed and junky at home.

Everyone in the family better get used to it because this is not a diet, it's our new way of life.

Golden Beets


The first new food I tried this month was golden beets.  I have just recently learned to like red beets over the summer.  I HATED them my whole life.  I guess I just never had them prepared in a way that appealed to me, because once I made them, my way, I became addicted to them.  So I figured I would give golden beets a whirl.  I am SO glad I did!!!!!  Instead of steaming the beets in a foil packet like I normally do, I roasted them.  I peeled and chunked the beets along with two sweet potatoes and an onion.  I tossed with a little bit of EVOO, sea salt and pepper and roasted on a large cookie sheet lined with foil (for easy clean up) at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes.  

I stirred them around once about 20 minutes through.  O-M-G!!!  They were SO damn good!  All of the veggies had a yummy caramelization going on which added some sweetness.  Golden beets don't taste as "beety" or earthy to me.  They are milder and they don't stain your hands or anything else they come in contact with.  I will definitely be making these again, no question!

SO GOOD!  Hubby and I ate the whole entire pan of veggies!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Face "Steak" and cheese sandwiches

I thought I'd share a last minute dinner idea that has become one of my family's favorites.  It is super simple and I typically have all of the ingredients on hand.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 large thick slices of bread or 2 large sub rolls, halved
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
5 slices American cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400.

2.  Heat large skillet and brown ground turkey.

3.  Add veggies and cook until lightly softened.

4.  In the meantime, place bread (tops up) on a cookie sheet and brush with EVOO.  Place in oven and lightly toast bread.  It really doesn't matter if the bread browns, you are mainly making the bread a little hard so that it will hold your toppings.

5.  Once the veggies are softened, drain and then add mixture back to skillet.

6.  Add slices of cheese and seasonings and stir until cheese melts.

7.  Top bread with equal parts of the "steak" and cheese mixture and place back in oven for about 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 188 g

Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat 

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 

Saturated Fat 



Total Carbohydrates 

Dietary Fiber 



Vitamin A 12%Vitamin C 33%
Calcium 16%Iron 18%

Nutrition Grade C

* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

This quick and yummy dinner was lightly revised from a recipe on the back of my container of Philadelphia Santa Fe Cooking Creme.  

Serves 8

1 small onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded chicken breast
1 cup pinto beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Philadelphia Santa Fe cooking creme
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 flour tortillas, 8 inch

Heat oven to 350.

Cook and stir onions and peppers in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Stir in chicken, beans, tomatoes, 1/4 cup cooking creme and shredded cheese.

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up.  Place in 13x9 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray**; top with remaining cooking creme.  Cover with foil.
** for even quicker clean up, line baking dish with foil instead of spraying with cooking spray.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Serve with rice.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 
1 serving (220.1 g)
Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 19%Vitamin C 44%
Calcium 13%Iron 14%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Curry Pot Pie

This was a recipe I kind of whipped up on the fly tonight with leftover turkey from Sunday's dinner.  I am glad I did, because it was DELICIOUS!

Serves 8

2 1/2 cups shredded or cubed turkey meat
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup 2% milk (or any milk, this is just what I had on hand)
1/2 cup fat free half and half (or you could do a whole cup of milk, I'm sure)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Bell's poultry seasoning
1 16oz bag frozen veggies of your choice.  I used a California mix with green beans, celery, onion, peppers, water chestnuts and broccoli
1 cup frozen peas or veggie of your choice (Teri ;)

2 cups Bisquick Heart Smart
1 cup 2% milk (give or take)

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients for the filling except the veggies.  Heat over medium high heat until heated through and lightly bubbling, stirring occasionally.

Add frozen veggies and stir to combine.  Heat veggies through.

In a medium bowl combine Bisquick and milk.  I wish I did, but I didn't measure the milk, I am guesstimating it was approximately 1 cup of milk.  So just go easy on the milk, adding more if needed.  You want the Bisquick mixture to be pretty thick, like you are making dropping biscuits, maybe a little thinner would be fine too.

Pour the filling into the baking dish and top with Bisquick mixture.  I dotted spoonfuls of the Bisquick mixture on top and spread, that way I was able to cover pretty much the whole surface.

Bake in oven for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Just until crust is golden brown.

This came out great!  I think in the future I will enhance the flavor of the filling more by using a can of reduced fat coconut milk in place of the milk.  But there were absolutely no complaints as it was served tonight.  It is a little high in sodium, but overall pretty healthy.  Also, more turkey can definitely be used, we just didn't have any more to add.

I hope you try it and enjoy!  :)


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 227 g

Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat

% Daily Value*

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Trans Fat



Total Carbohydrates

Dietary Fiber



Vitamin A 51%Vitamin C 37%
Calcium 18%Iron 16%

Nutrition Grade A-

* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Over the past 4-6 months I have been trying to be a more avid coupon user.  I still am far from a pro when it comes to couponing, but I am impressed with my savings so far.  I have watched Extreme Couponing in total amazement.  Although, I think that most of the people that they feature are totally overboard and greedy.  I just want to buy what we NEED... for damn near nothing.  I don't need to wipe out shelves because I have the coupons to do so.  I would not get items I have no use for just because I can get them free.  I also don't need a whole basement stockpiled with a hundred of every item that we use either. 

This past Monday I went into Stop & Shop after work, with my 2 year old in cart, list in hand, my coupon "organizer" and a separate envelope marked "This Trip".  I have to snicker when I type "coupon organizer" because my organizer is anything but organized.  I tried very hard to keep it straight, but the 13 tabbed sections just are not enough for me.  I had to put two categories on each tab to sort "my way".  I find myself fumbling for my coups in every aisle, clogging up the flow of traffic...basically being that customer I loathe.  I am on the hunt for a bigger better organizer.  In the meantime, I have sorted my coupons into 30 separate envelopes.  I labeled them the way I know it will be easiest and quickest to locate what I am looking for.  I stuffed all of the envelopes into the lame organizer I have now, just to hold them, but it is so jam packed I can't close it anymore, haha!  I must dedicate some time this weekend to finding the best organizer for my couponing needs.  Anyway, I got off track... I was going to brag about how much money I saved, haha!  My order total came up to $298.68, my total savings by using my Stop & Shop card was $92.53, I used 28 manufacturer's coupons totaling $41.46, 9 of which were doubled for another $4.50 off, then a $5.00 "Personal Thanks" credit for purchasing 10 boxes of cake mix that were on sale for $1.00 (that I also had coupons for).  After all deductions and tax added, my final order total came up to $158.63.  Maybe not "Extreme" but quite a bit less than I typically spend at the grocery store.  I also scored gas points!  Not sure if gas points are all over the US, but Stop & Shop gives you 1 gas point for every dollar that you spend.  For every 100 gas points you earn, you get .10 off each gallon of gas at their gas station.  Every week Stop & Shop will have a list of particular items selected for earning gas points, if you buy "x" amount of any of "these" items you get 200 gas points, sometimes 300 points.  I got 200 points for buying 7 cans of  tomatoes for $1.00/each!  I go through canned tomatoes like nobody's business, so this was an extra sweet deal for me.  This past week they also gave 200 points if you bought any turkey.   And as a super surprise, the turkey that I chose had a deal as well, it was $1.49/lb, but if you spent $25.00 you got it for .58/lb!  So my 12.72 lb turkey was originally $18.95 and I got it for $7.38!!   SA-WEET!  Then they gave 300 points if you spent $50.00.  So I racked up 700 points, plus the 159 for the dollars that I spent.  859 gas points earned so I saved .80/gallon on gas when I filled up my tank this week.  Regular price for gas was $3.26/gallon, I got it for $2.46/gallon!!  That is a significant savings!  And I did this just by purchasing items I would have purchased anyway.  Well, I typically would not have bought 10 boxes of cake mix, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up I'm sure I will have no problem using them up as gifts and as take alongs to people's houses for the holidays and our work Potluck.

Not bad, eh?!

I wanted to share some of my favorite coupon sites with everyone. is great!  I love this site because not only can you print out coupons here but my favorite feature is the tab for "Grocery Deals by State".  You click on this, find your state and then click on one of the stores that are listed and it does a little coupon match up for you!  It lists everything that is on sale at the store that week, and it tells you what coupons to use to get even more money off (even what week the coupon came out!) and then gives you a total price after coupon!  I dare you to tell me that is not pure awesome-ness! is a money saver in itself for me.  I subscribed for free and they send me 2-3 emails during the week with a preview of what coupons will be in Sunday's paper.  I do not have the paper delivered simply because it is a waste of money for us.  We read the news online and sometimes catch up on the morning or nightly news.  I only buy the Sunday paper for the coupons (and my little guy like the "funnies" and sales papers).  But there have been many times I have spent $3.50 for the paper and there was not one single coupon that I would use.  That is $3.50 that could have been saved.  So knowing ahead of time what coups will be in there lets me know if it is worth buying that week.  If I will not be saving at least as much as I paid for the paper, no sense in me buying it. is another super site.  Coupon matchups by store.  Links to lots of printable coupon databases. is where you can print Catalina coupons.

These three are printable coupon databases:

And also, many stores have coupons on their websites.  Some stores will have a mixture of printable Manufacturer's coupons and store specific coupons that you can double up with Manufacturer's coupons.  Check out the following:

walgreens coupons

BJ's Wholesale

Oh, and many products will give you a coupon just for liking them on Facebook.  :)

As you may remember, as part of my savings strategy I have been depositing any change I have in my wallet, pockets, couch cushions, (random change I find when cleaning) in to my change jar.  I also deposit whatever money I saved by using coupons into the jar. After 30 days I deposit all of it into my account at the bank.  Me and the little man took a ride to the bank yesterday to do just that.  I ran all my change through the CoinStar machine and took the receipt and the dollar bills that I had saved over to a teller.  Yesterday's total deposit was $126.33.  This is so exciting for me...the non saver!  And it did not hurt to save any of the money either.  I did not miss this money.  Today, I transferred this money to my ING account and I will not touch it.  This is going toward my Emergency Fund.  We came home and I put my jar on the counter and noticed two pennies sitting there so I put them in the jar.  I am on my way to saving more money for next month's deposit.

Hope to get EVERYONE on the couponing kick.  Save some money, people!!  It is a little time consuming, but well worth it.

Thanks for reading :)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Journal - Friday November 11, 2011

cup of coffee
1 pkt Truvia
1 Tbl Peppermint Mocha CoffeeMate


LUNCH - Weird lunch, my daughter ate most of my packed lunch overnight.  GRRRRRR!
1 Al Fresco Chicken Meatball (Teriyaki Ginger)
1/4 cup pineapple
3/4 cup brown rice
1 tea Extra virgin coconut oil
1 Bagel
1 tbl Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread

AFTERNOON SNACK - Surprise, on the HEALTHIER side bday cake at work :)
1 /8 Fat Free Angel Food cake
1/4 cup Fat Free Cool Whip
1/2 cup fresh berries

1 serving slow cooker Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Homemade guacamole
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 celery stalks
1 serving Stacy's Multigrain Pita Chips



If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not you'll find an excuse.

This statement is true for all aspects of life.  I am really trying my hardest to not make excuses for anything anymore.

If it is important to me to lose weight and be healthier, there should be no excuse, I should just be making the changes needed to be healthier.  I have already made significant changes but I know in order to reach my goals I will need to kick it up a notch.

I seem to have already hit a plateau in my weight lose although I have only lost 10 pounds.  I was consuming 1700 calories a day, but I have decided to cut out 200-300 of those calories and bring my total daily intake down to 1400-1500 a day.

I also RAN on the treadmill at work last week.  This was SUPER exciting for me.  I have never ever been a runner, but with my injury it just seemed so out of the question.  Granted it was only a 2 minute sprint, but it felt great and not only did I challenge my body, I challenged my mind.  I KNOW that a big part of my limited exercise is mental fear of hurting myself.  But I showed myself that I can do alot more than I give myself credit for.  As a birthday present to myself, I ordered a pair of FiveFingers sneakers.  I've heard great things about these funky little sneaks.  Hopefully I will be able to wear them comfortably on my bum foot and really focus on incorporating at least 10-15 minutes a day running on the work treadmill.  If not, I will return them, get my money back and just wear my old sneakers and do the same.

If it is important to me to be financially stable and also prepare for my retirement and my son's continued education, then there should be no excuse.  I have went from zero savings, no retirement fund, and no college fund to a little over $200 saved over a couple accounts, enrolling in the 401k plan at work and also enrolling in a 529 college fund for my son.  I have cut back on spending, made a plan to tackle and pay off all of my debt, and made my first significant payment towards eliminating debt.  All of this in less than 4 weeks.

I plan to continue in this manner, cutting back even more.  I am anxiously awaiting January, when my contract with Verizon wireless will be up and I can drop them and go with Virgin Mobile as a provider.  I currently pay approximately $60/month with VW, I will only pay $27/month with Virgin Mobile.  HALF!  The money I save I will put toward paying down my debt.

I have been coupon crazy over the past month and have saved over $100, just by clipping coupons and being semi-organized.  I also saved .80/gallon on gas during my last fill up just by carefully planning my grocery shopping at Stop & Shop.  That was very exciting :)  $2.46/gallon!!  I have also been depositing the amount that I save with coupons in to my savings jar.  I will go to the bank this weekend and deposit all that I have saved into my savings account and I WILL NOT TOUCH IT!

If it is important to me to have a clean, presentable and inviting home than I will do what it takes to make it that way.  I will stick to my cleaning schedule and take care of my small daily tasks.  By spending a few minutes everyday I alleviate myself from being stressed out and confined to my house to clean for the entire weekend.  It is important to me to not be overwhelmed by what is on my plate.  If I am overwhelmed and stressed then something needs to change.  I know that if I do not prioritize my time efficiently I do not get anything done and I end up running around like a mad woman and usually have a crappy attitude that I unfortunately subject my family to.  When I take a few minutes to evaluate my surroundings and what needs to be done, everything just falls into place.  I know that I can not do everything in one day, so I prioritize what is most important and take care of that first.

Small changes bring major results!  No more excuses, just get 'er done!

What have you been making excuses for?  How will you overcome and make the changes necessary?  Please share :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Food Journal - Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yoplait Apple Turnover light yogurt

1/4 cup Emerald's Sweet & Salty Mixed Nuts - Dark Choc/PB

Slow cooker Maple Chicken with Sweet potatoes

1/4 cup Emerald's Sweet & Salty Mixed Nuts - Dark Choc/PB

4 Al Fresco chicken meatballs
1/2 Johnsonville Chicken sausage (apple)
3/4 cup brown rice
1 tea extra virgin coconut oil

slice of devils food cake with cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup chocolate chip ice cream


Food Journal - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yoplait Raspberry Cheescake light yogurt

1 slice Coconut loaf (Devil snacks from work GRRRRRRRR)

3 oz Rotisserie chicken, breast meat only (store bought)
1 apple

1 pink grapefruit
1/2 pkt Truvia
Luna Bar - Caramel Nut Brownie

1 serving Slow Cooker Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

cup of coffee
1 tbl pumpkin spice coffeemate
1 pkt truvia
6 small Maple French Toast French Twist cookies


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Food Journal - Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yoplait Cherry Vanilla Yogurt (light)


1 english muffin, toasted
2 tbl Smart Balance Peanut Butter
1 small banana, sliced
4 small pretzel rods

1/4 cup Emerald's Sweet & Salty mixed nuts (Dark Choc/Peanut Butter)

1 ham steak
pineapple brown sugar glaze
1 serving Stove Top Stuffing
1 cup green beans (sauteed in EVOO with garlic)

1 cup Caramel corn


Food Journal - Monday, November 7, 2011

Banana Whey Protein Shake


Leftover Chicken Burrito
1/4 cup avocado
1/4 cup homemade salsa

Luna bar - Nutz over Chocolate
Grape Gatorade Lite (40 cal for whole bottle)

2 BLT's on Whole Wheat with very light Miracle whip lite
3/4 cup homemade mac and cheese



Food Journal - Sunday November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa
cup of coffee
pkt Truvia
1 tbl CoffeeMate Pumpkin Spice creamer


Mediterranean Quinoa


Oven baked Maduros (Sweet plantains)
1/2 cup pinto beans
Shredded chicken burrito
  - 1 whole wheat tortilla
  - Pressure Cooker shredded chicken
  - 1/4 cup homemade salsa
  - 1/4 cup avocado

1 ginger apple
1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Food Journal - Saturday November 5, 2011

Sweet Zucchini Pancakes
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 orange
banana whey protein shake


LUNCH - Busy afternoon, had to eat on the go.
Luna Bar - Blueberry Bliss
Small Mango Pineapple Smoothie from McDonald's

Caprese Salad

1 cup Fiber One Honey Clusters
1/2 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup Friendly's lite vanilla ice cream
1 tbl Hershey's chocolate syrup


Food Journal - Friday November 4, 2011

My day started out on the right track.  I knew I was going to my niece's birthday party and had planned to eat my pre-measured dinner at home prior to going to the party, but I instead ate and snacked at the party.  No booze though, so I wasn't too bad, ha!

Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa


Mushroom Asparagus Quinoa

Luna Bar - Caramel Nut Brownie

1 cup white rice
1/2 cup beans
1 stewed chicken drumstick
4 chicken wings
16 oz Fresca

approx 20 Doritos
1 slice birthday cake (Happy 4th Birthday, Amiyah!)
1/2 cup ice cream


Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Holidays

The Holidays are a weird time for me.  I realize that after I write this people will probably think I am a Scrooge McDuck...but I ams what I am.   This time of year makes me think alot about my father who died a week before Thanksgiving when I was a child.  I think about all the years we missed out on together.  I think about how he has never met his grandchildren or my hubby, or seen me grow into a woman.  How he has never tasted one of my home cooked meals.  What I would give him for a Christmas gift if he were here.  Just so many things.  To be totally honest I do not remember one Christmas with Dad.  I do remember birthdays, but for some strange reason I cannot remember a Xmas with him.

I am not a religious person so the religious significance of Christmas means nothing to me.  Growing up we were not religious either.  Christmas meant "GIMME"!...which I am ashamed to admit.  Like most children, I would jot down all the things I wanted for Christmas and hand the list to my mom, totally expecting everything I wrote.  Just ridiculous.  My mother always cooked a large meal which I always loved and miss very much now that we live so far apart.  Our family is not very tight knit, and would pretty much only come together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, weddings and funerals.  This was  normal to me, since I knew nothing else.  But it's pretty sad when I realized that most families are not this way.  I do wish that my family was closer.  My mom's whole family lived pretty close but we never really got together to do much of anything.  I was younger than all of my cousins so I didn't have too much of a relationship with them.  My dad's family all lived down south.  I visited for a few weeks in summer some years, but have no idea what kind of tradition they had for Christmas.  Just typing that really made me think.  There must've been some great traditions!!  My father was the oldest of FOURTEEN children.  And my grandmother loved to have all of her kids and all the grandbabies over her house any day of the week.  She would cook up a storm just on a random Tuesday.  So I know the holidays must've been really special.  I'll have to inquire with one of my aunts that I am in contact with and find out what the holidays were like when Grandma was alive.  It would be awesome to incorporate some of my Grandmother's old school traditions into our family's.

Back to the gifts.  We were allowed to open one gift on Xmas eve.  I would scan the bottom of our tree every day to see which one I would choose to open on Eve night.  Before we went to bed, we would put cookies on a plate for Santa and carrots for his reindeer.  Then on Xmas morning we would open all of our gifts.  We sometimes would get in the car and drive around to more affluent neighborhoods to see their beautiful decorations and lights on their huge homes.  Which as a child was nice, but now that I am the broke parent, I am all set with seeing how "rich" everyone else is, while I am living pay check to pay check.  But that's just me.  But I suppose it's not really for me, it's for the kids.  By the way, when I say "we", I mean me, haha  it was just me and mom.  She always hung stockings but I don't recall there ever being anything in them.  Just decoration.  (She's going to kill me when she reads this, Hi Mama, I love you!!)  This was all normal to me until I was about 10 or 11 and was over a friends house on Xmas eve.  My friends family was large and they had a tradition that they could open one gift on xmas eve as well, but the parents chose the gift and the gift was always new pajamas.  The kids all wore their new pj's on xmas eve, and the annual Polaroid was taken.  The kids all made cookies with their mom and decorated them with icing and sprinkles to leave out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.  When the kids woke up in the morning their stockings, which were all hung down the staircase, were all stuffed with candy, new underwear and socks and small toys.  They all sat in front of the tree and opened all of their gifts and played with their new toys for hours with each other while their mom cooked some side dishes and desserts to bring to their grandparent's house for the big dinner where the rest of their family would all gather.  They would spend the entire afternoon and night together.  Laughing, talking, playing games, eating, sharing stories.  Just enjoying the company of their family members and the delicious food that everyone contributed.  They always had mistletoe hung in the doorway to the living room.  I remember the phone was on the wall right there and if anyone was caught under the mistletoe they got a peck.  

After that holiday I spent with them I told myself that when I had my own children that we would have some sort of tradition for the kids to look forward to every year.  Well, sadly I have failed.  We have less tradition then my mom and I had!!  I have vowed this year to make a change.  I had my daughter when I was young and I was so hell bent on never depending on anyone for anything and not being that teen mom.  I worked my arse off and didn't have a lot of time left over to do alot of things I now wish I had.  I mean, we had fun, but I just wish that I spent more time building tradition and lasting memories with my daughter.  I was more focused on earning more money so I could buy her more.  She no doubt knows that I love her with all my heart.  But if I had to do all over again, she would have received less material items and received  more of my quality time and built traditions that she looked forward to every year.  I guarantee you she can not remember one xmas gift she has ever received; which is sad because that is what I chose to give her instead of putting more time and effort into creating memories through time we have spent and building family tradition.  My daughter is now 17 years old.  I know that in just a few years she will be moving out on her own but we are starting to do more as a family NOW!  It's never too late.  I want her to WANT to come home for the holidays after she is living on her own.  

We now have an almost 3 year old son.  He has brought a lot of joy and laughter into our home.  I am 17 years older than I was when I had my daughter.  I have matured tremendously (not just in age) and I was more prepared to be a mom than I was at 17.  We have a more comfortable home and more luxuries than we did back then.  And most importantly, the most amazing man is his Daddy!  I still work full time, but I no longer live to work.  I know now that I have nothing to prove to anyone.  I know that I am a great mother and if anyone disagrees...screw ya.  How do ya like those apples??!!  Haha!  I love watching my son and how amazed he is by everything.  I love to hear him say, "WOWWWWW!!"  He loves lights, the taste of new foods, the smallest cheapest thing is a source of hours of entertainment. He makes me want to love the holidays.  See, I really don't hate Christmas.  It took my toddler's total amazement to all things shiny, tasty and free to make me take a much needed breath and realize I don't hate the holidays.  I hate all of the insane hustle bustle, I hate the "GIMMIES", I hate the stress and the holiday traffic.  This year, I resolve to be less stressed.

I want to teach my kids to be appreciative of their family and friends and for everything that they have.  I want to teach them charity.  It may be too late for my daughter in these areas.  She truly is a very selfish and unappreciative person.  Which infuriates me because we are not this way and we have not raised her to be.  But maybe when she sees that her brother as small and young as he is, can give away toys that he no longer plays with to children with less than he, she will see how easy and rewarding it can be to be charitable.  

I want my children to WANT to spend the holidays with their family, not do it because it is expected and if they don't mom will be sad.
    Last year I made homemade Advent calendars for both of my kids and the hubby.  My daughter's and the hubstah's were handmade envelopes I made from Christmas book pages (from Dollar Tree).  I stuffed each envelope with a little card that was either a reason why I love them, or an activity for the day, or a card to cash in later for Breakfast in bed or Girls Only Breakfast or something along those lines.  I hung a line I made with ribbon and used clothespins to hang the cards from it.  For the little guy, I painted toilet paper rolls and hot glued some white feathery material to the rims and hung them all from a line of ribbon with clothespins as well.  His I stuffed with Hot Wheels, little Toy Story toys I found at Dollar Tree, mini dinosaur figures, the occasional lollipop and hershey kiss.  I was VERY proud of my Martha Stewartness and my attempt at making a new holiday tradition.  Well.... No one gave a crap except the 2 year old.  Days would go by before the girl or Hubby would even open the next envelope.  It obviously wasn't that exciting if I have to remind you about it.  My son was reminding me, haha!  He loved it.  So needless to say, I will only be doing the boys Advent calendar this year.  

    I have been searching online and have come across lots and lots of great ideas for holiday tradition that people have shared.  Some of the ones I am going to start with my family are:
    • sending the kids to bed.  Preparing hot chocolate and popcorn and then waking them up and pack everyone in the car with the goodies and drive around to look at the lights.
    • PJ's for Xmas eve gift opening.
    • hanging mistletoe in the doorways.
    • making cookies together for Santa.
    • We will continue our stocking stuffing as we do every year.
    • Christmas brunch.  All family members will make something.
    • Playing boardgames after opening gifts.
    Please share any traditions you have. I would love to hear them and maybe add them to my Holiday Family Tradition!!

    Thanks for reading :)

    Pressure Cooker "Spanish" Chicken

    • Serves 6

      • Ingredients
      • 1 bell pepper, minced
      • 1 onion, minced
        • 4 garlic cloves, minced
        • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
      • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
      • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
      • envelopes sazon seasoning (1 1/2 tablespoons)
      • tablespoon adobo seasoning
      • 1/4 cup sofrito sauce
      • 1 tablespoon chicken base

      1.  In a food processor add green pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro. Pour in oil and mix well. 

      2.  Add all ingredients to pressure cooker pot.  Add 4 cups of water.

      3.  Cover pot with lid, make sure the lid is locked and valve is set and bring to boil over high heat.  

      4.  Once pressure has been achieved, lower heat to medium and continue cooking for 25 minutes.

      5.  Remove pot from stove and place under cold running water in sink to bring the pressure down quickly.  

      6.  Once pressure is released, unlock lid and remove.

      7.  Shred chicken and serve over rice.  Spoon sauce from the chicken over rice.  Serve with diced avocado and wedge of lime.