Monday, October 29, 2012

Saving on Supper. And dessert.

Tonight's supper is another based on last 2 weeks of Jeff's Market deals.

And so is dessert.

And we all know which one of these recipes is more important here.

(incidentally, I stumbled upon dessert from a friend's blog....I think she found it on pinterest....something i have not dared to dabble in just yet)

(but am thankful for those who do)

(sort of like am ex-smoker appreciating second hand smoke)

(see how unhealthy i can be when it comes to these things?)


Supper Ingredients:

Chicken (left over from last week's sale
Biscuits (on sale this week with coupon!)
Cream of chicken
Plus add a soup can of milk.

Put the biscuits in a pan.  top it with the soup and milk.  Then chicken .. Then cheese.  Cook it.  The end.

Dessert Ingredients:

2 bags of frozen fruit on sale this week
Cake mix
lemon lime soda

Put the fruit in a 9 x 13 pan
Cover it with the dry cake mix
Pour the soda over it.

All goes in looking like this:

And out like this:

House smells great.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Quick Update on Nathan (and some things i learned through this whole thing)

First things first--he is in school for a few hours this afternoon.

If you only knew how important this was for the Wildcat.

He would have skipped right on into the school if I had let him.  But he isn't cleared by his hematology/oncology docs to do any skipping, galloping or running just yet.

But you can tell by the look on his face that he is skipping on the inside.

(gosh he is so dang cute)

So....for the update:

He had his blood drawn and worked up yesterday.  He will have to do this once a week until they tell us to stop.  The counts that they are looking for showed an improvement.

(Yeah! for blood transfusions!  It's working!  Go donate blood!)

His counts are not up to "normal," yet, but it appears as if the blood transfusion is doing what they want it to do.

We will keep reporting for the blood work-ups, go back to the University in a month, and then follow-up with another bone marrow biopsy in 3 to 6 months. It's still alot of medical follow-up that we have to to, but Nathan doesn't seem to care.....

.....because he is back in school today.

.....and he is imparting his political views on anyone who will listen....and especially those that won't listen.

(I feel the need to send him to school in a t-shirt saying This ad may not have been approved by Nathan's mother yet.) But I totally support him.  It's hard to argue with a 15-year old that I sing bedtime songs to...and yet he knows more about the political world than I do.


So, there are a couple of other things I have learned in this last week:

I am totally good in an emergency situation.

I can call 911, report facts, watch surgical procedures being done on my kid, and take care of business.

I can do all of this without breaking down..... the time it is occurring.

I've had a couple of emotional breakdowns this last week.

Both of these have occurred AFTER we were out of the dangerous woods called "waiting-for-a-cancer-test on-your-kid."

And both times I was (and still am) just physically and emotionally exhausted.

So here is what we know about Robin:  If she is tired and hasn't had a chance to cry about it yet....she may cry when she goes to the bank and talks to the bank teller while making a deposit.  It has nothing to do with money.....even tho there could be a case for crying about money at the bank.

LESSON #2 that I learned:  When I have to go to the hospital in an emergency situation for any of my kids that happens in the morning , there is one thing that I will step away for before the ambulance gets to the house:  a bra.

The other think I have learned revolves around everyone reading this:

You all have been great.

And supportive.

And caring.

And supportive.  And great.  And caring.

Thanks for the messages.

The truth is, I don't think that I should accept offers of help with meals and visits etc. because we are home and I have issues with pride and all of that business.
 But I do know that I need it.

So when you stop by with a meal
Or to visit and share a glass of wine while we tell stories that have been going on this week.....
....let me tell you, it is very therapeutic to all of us.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Silent Hero

Dear Marz,

So much has been going on this last week.  And on the outside, it seems like none of it revolves around you.

Except....guess what.

So much of it does.

Because you, my sweet girl, are a hero.

You are a silent hero.....

....a person who just does what they do because that is what they do.

And that, my sweet, strong you.

You don't expect any recognition.

Because, in your mind, you are just being you.

In my world,  YOU are..... amazing daughter
.....a first-class sister
.....a great and coach-able athlete
.....a wonderful student amazing friend
.....a gift to all who truly know you

a Hero.

Your brother is having a lot of medical issues right know.
And when it came to being an emergency,
were the one I called to come help me
were the one who sat next to Nathan when I needed to step away for a minute
were the one that Nathan remembers calming him down when he did not know what was going on while I had to step away
are the one who is there for him
in the way that I wish I was
when you all are at your dad's house.

And Nathan notices these things.

And so do I.

my sweet girl
are my hero
And your brother's hero
and my guess is, that you are there for those I don't even know

because that is who you are
That is what your spirit is

And I want you to know....that YOU are important.

are a

Even if and when it seems like you don't come out that way....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Nathan,

I've gotten to spend a couple of days bonding with you in the hospital.

Haven't done that since, well...since you were born.

Only this time you are one hooked up to monitors in the hospital bed and I am the giant baby on that little couch next to you.

Yesterday I woke you up for school.  You were in bed.  But you teared up and told me that you think you had walked in your sleep and you hurt yourself during the night.  We walked over to where you thought you had walked to in the night, and the evidence was there that you had been there and you had passed out.  You remembered hitting your head on the wall and waking up there, but not how you had gotten back to bed.  There are plenty more details to this part of the story....a story that you can tell if you want to.

Then we walked back to your room and you fainted in front of me.  I tried my best to catch you and cushion your fall.

You got to take your first ride in an ambulance to the hospital.  

We assumed your fainting had something to do with the concussions you had last month.

Fortunately, those brain tests appear to be normal.

Incidentally and unfortunately, during blood work ups, the doctors noticed you were quite anemic.

So we spent the night and had them monitor these blood levels.

This morning they were lower than yesterday.

Low enough to require a blood transfusion and more testing.

At a different hospital.

So we got you there.  Your second ride in an ambulance.

And tomorrow you will have more tests done.

And hopefully, we can be done with all this bonding-in-the-hospital-business.

Tomorrow you will have your bone marrow tested.

(I thought about keeping some of my thoughts on this private....but that isn't me.  And it isn't you, either.  If it was you...then you know I would have kept this journal entry to myself.  But we both live our stories out there.  And your story inspires people.  You inspire me.)

You have tons of friends.  Tons of people praying for you today.  I had to empty my text inbox twice today. And I had nearly 200 messages by email at home.

People believe in you and are believing for you.

You were strong when you were born.  10-and-a-half-pounds strong.

You are strong now.  Physically, spiritually and emotionally.

But just so you know....if you ever feel weak, in any of these areas....physically, spiritually or have tons of people who want to be strong for you.

And your mama will ALWAYS ALWAYS be there to help cushion any blow or fall.

I love you with every fiber of my existence.

Love, Mama

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Update that does not include snot or saving money

I'm finding it hard these last couple of weeks to post any sort of update that does not include something to do with saving money on food or the snot that will not politely exit my head. 

Let alone meet writing deadlines, work, and actually cooking the food I saved money on for my family.

I am, however, catching up on all of my Bravo TV and the Real Housewives of New Jersey, New York and Miami. 

Somehow, my life seems so much easier now. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

This Week's Jeff's Market Savings...

Just so you know...I'm down with a cold this week.  Not feeling like shopping for much more than chicken soup. 

But I didn't have to shop for it.  Because I had it in my cupboard from when it was on sale last week. 

So I'm not up for cooking much right now, but looks like a bunch of baking items are on sale this week at Jeff's.  So that's what I'm gonna buy. 

Cuz pretty soon, I will be baking a bunch for Christmas parties and cookie exchanges and all of that calorie-packing nonsense. 

Powdered Sugar
Assorted baking chips

If you go to magnifythesavings dot com you can find a coupon for flour and eggs I think.
You can also find one for the Our Family Bread Dough which is on sale this week. 

Clip some other coupons of stuff you normally use while you are there but save them for a few weeks to see if they will make it to the sale flier...which will save you more. 

I'm clipping the Paper Towel coupon and some soup coupons.  (As in Chicken Noodle Soup)

T-Bone Steak $5.99/lb.
Center Cut Rib Chops $1.99/lb
Chicken Breast $2.49/lb.


I'm not gonna bake, but here is what I would if I felt good enough:

Oh forget it....i will share this all purpose cookie dough one later.

I have to cook for the here is a marinade recipe that I have used for pork, beef and chicken.  Use it for any one of the meats on sale this week:

Please keep in mind that these measurements are approximate:

1 C. Oil
Almost-a-Cup Soy Sauce
Few T. Worcestershire sauce
Rounded spoon of mustard
1/4-ish C. vinegar
Some lemon juice (1 lemon or maybe like 3-4 T.)
Parsley (because it just looks green and pretty and should be added anyway)
Garlic Powder (this one is totally to taste as well. I like garlic)

Mix it and marinade for at least an hour.  More is better. 

Happy Feeding-Your-Family.....cuz food is sposed to be fun. 

I'm do you save money while shopping locally?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy 12th Birthday, Claire-Bear!

I want to sing Happy Birthday to you.
But a different song comes to mind.....

You are my Sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You'll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Today you are an even dozen.
I've said it like a million times...but it seems like only a blink ago that you arrived in this world.
And you turned the world as I knew it upside down.

But you were used to doing that even before you were born.

You were due to arrive on the 19th of October.
Thanks to the track record set by your older siblings being such big babies (term used in the literal sense), when they were born, we got to schedule your birth date for the 11th of October.

But YOU had other plans.

You decided you had enough of the life-in-utero and made it known on October 6th that you were coming...ready or not.

I got to the hospital and labored in the way that I had hoped to avoid thanks to drugs and and epidural that could stand up to a c-section.  

The doctors asked me if I  would like to let nature take it's course since you were so much earlier than expected.  

Besides the fact that this was not a part of my "birth plan" with you and I was not mentally prepared for nature to take it's course...something told me that you were a big girl.  To go ahead with the surgery.  Hand over the epidural, please.  

Within minutes of that decision....on October 7....all 9 pounds and 8 ounces of you came into my world.

And captured my heart.

Ever since you were born I would sing the Sunshine song to you before I laid you down to sleep.

And I love it that you still want me to do this.

As the 3rd child, sometimes I couldn't always rock you to had to learn how to fall asleep on your own.

And you did.

I've always felt a sort of mommy guilt over this.  But it was what it was and you were fine with it.

And you have sort of grown up to be this brave girl who isn't afraid to travel her own path, even if it is not the same as your older brother and sister.  

I can't hardly type out this birthday letter to you anymore without getting all emotional.....

But here it goes:

Happy Birthday 
My dear, sweet Claire
I'm sorry if sometimes 
Things don't feel fair.
But you are special
You were meant to find your way
It may be different from others
But God's best for you, I pray.
You have changed my world
Challenged things I thought to be true
Made me grow as a mama
And made me better too.
This world is better
Because you are in it
I know God has big plans for you
From way before you were knit.
And whatever path
He leads you down
I feel blessed and honored
That I get to be around.
From molding and guiding
and helping you out
To stepping back and watching
You find your way about.
My instincts were right
On who you were born to be
My big girl with a big heart
Not one who knows you could disagree.
As we venture in
To these next handful of years
And go through everything
From laughter to tears.
Please don't ever 
Ever forget
There are two things on which
You can place every bet.
You've got God on your side
Ready to help you decide the way
And your mama who believes in you
Here's to the girl 
who started me singing "You are My Sunshine"
I thank God in heaven
For letting me call you

Happy Birthday, Claire
Love, Mama

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oh Snot.

I have a cold.

A lot of snot.

I can't go more than a few steps without sneezing.

And I sort of have to squeeze when I sneeze.

Or change my pants if I don't.

(if you don't get it then you either have never had children or you did your kegal exercises after you had children and therefore i think you are an overachiever who probably wouldn't really get along with me very well.  excepting for the fact that I get along with most people so i forgive you for being so type A)


Usually when I get a cold it settles in my ear.

Which means I have a lot of snot and I can't hear myself (or you) talk.

Which means when I talk to myself I actually have to talk a little louder to myself which sort of sounds like I am shouting out an imaginary conversation.

Which doesn't really make me look very good or sane to the nice people who are walking by on such a nice day. 

I know me, so you know that I'm "okay." 

But imagine what it looks like while I am "talking" something in my head out while simultaneously trying to not pee my pants. 

oh snot.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hey Kids...before you do your homework, climb the tree so I can take some pictures before all the leaves fall out

Tips and a Recipe or 2 on saving some $ at Jeff's Market

I got tons of feedback based on my TOP 10 post for reasons I love to shop at Jeff's Market.

So much so, that I could probably make it a TOP 20.

Maybe another time I will make a new TOP 10.

One of the common themes behind some of the messages I got regarding this post was people asking me how I really did save money shopping here.

The answer is sort of simple:

1) I shop for and cook meals around the sale flier.

2)  I have ADD.

The two may seem unrelated.  But I assure you they are.

Let's start with #1....the sale flier:

I plan my shopping list around this.  This is not money-saving, late-breaking news to anyone who shops the sales.  But it may be something you didn't consider doing at your small-town grocery store.

But I do...and this is how:
The next time you pop in for a gallon of milk, pick up the sale flier.
Go home and circle the things that you or your family would eat or use.  This includes things like toilet paper and laundry soap.
Go back to the store and buy these things.

Take your savings up a notch:
Once you circle the things you eat/use, go to magnifythesavings dot com
Print off any coupons that coincide with the items in the sale flier that you circled.
Take them to the store with you and get an even better deal.
(not to mention impress the people that you are holding up in the line behind you.....i call this "extreme couponing--Jeff's Market-style. People that just came for a gallon of milk will ask you how you saved that much money.  Every. Time.)

Give Back:
So maybe you won't circle everything on the sale flier because not everybody in your house likes everything. But it is just too good of a deal.  (sale + magnify the savings coupon)
Get it anyway.
Give it to the food bank.
Or a food drive.
Or a college student you know who would love the gift of ravioli or mac-n-cheese.

#2:  I have ADD:
I have ADD.  True story.
Which is why the Jeff's Market sale flier works really well for my personality (disorder?).
Each week I get the flier.
It is a folded newspaper sized flier.  With no inserts.
I circle the things I like, get the coupons, and buy these items.
I may not use everything I buy each week I buy it....but it stores in my cupboard.
The sale fliers from super-stores in town have too many pages for my personality (disorder).
I spend too much because too much is on sale and I like lots of stuff so it is hard to stop.....

I admit it would be different if I only needed to shop once a month.
But I have kids.  This is not the case.
I need a sale every week that doesn't push me too close to the edge of a phone call from my bank.  (another fabulous thing about living in a small town!)

RECIPE based on LAST Week: 
Mini-Muffin Pizzas:

Please note that not all of these items were on sale last week.  But all items were made or purchased when they were on sale.

English muffins (last week)
Mozzarella (last week)
sausage/pepperoni (in my freezer from when they were on sale)
sauce (i made it and froze it because i like it)

There you go.

If you want to take another step to "magnify the savings" could

buy the english muffins that were on sale for $1 a package.
Fry some eggs that were in the coupons last week or the week before
pick up the kraft cheese slices on sale last week

and then:

fry some hard-cooked eggs
toast some english muffins.
put the fried egg on an english muffin and top with a slice of cheese
wrap it up in aluminum foil and store all of these in a freezer bag in the freezer.

When your kid needs a breakfast-to-go:

Take what you need out of the freezer and heat it up in the oven while your wildcat is getting ready for school.  
It will be ready as he walks out the door.  

So...I realize that you may need an idea for next week's sale flier since this one is about over.
Here you go:   French Dip Sandwhiches

Go get a rump or bottom round roast.  $3.29 a pound.
And a loaf of french bread located on the table or in the shelves right next to the regular loaves of bread.

on hand-
onion soup mix
beef bullion cube or can of beef broth
can of beer

cook in a crockpot-
roast  with a pack of onion soup mix, beef cube or can of broth and a can of beer.

meat sort of shredded up on the loaf of bread that is sliced to use as sandwhiches.  use the broth in the crockpot as a dipping sauce.