Sunday, February 28, 2010

FEBRUARY WRAP-UP

Well a worn out welcome to the last day of the month to you! How are you doing today? Me… well I’m tired really… very sore and tired but let me tell you I had one of the best times yesterday! I always have a good time when I am with my parents. I gotta say my mom is my best girl friend (above only my daughter!)… as long as we don’t live together LOL! I finally told my daughter why I haven’t been feeling real well and then I broke down and cried in her hug. I feel like I let her down. She says not but I did scare her… understandable. I promised her I wouldn’t ever do that again. And for this family… the “P” word is a BIG deal… you do NOT say it unless you will keep it!

Ok, so I told you yesterday that my parents and I were going to the BIG Farmer’s Market in Houston right? Granted my parents have been to that one, but I never have so it was very exciting! (Oh and BTW Thank you Hazel for the sweet comment. I try to make all my outings fun… not just shopping. But we did have a blast and its something I wish all my followers and friends could do! I would love to meet some of you guys and gals one day! That would be awesome!) It was definitely an adventure let me tell you… I floated all day! I know… you are thinking that I am a super weirdo for being made happy by fresh produce, but when you love cooking like I do, well what can I say LOL!



Here I am outside the front entrance to the biggest Farmer’s Market I have ever been to! OMG it was huge… my mom made joked about the size of my eyeballs when we first walked in and she was right LOL! I was in heaven! Oh the things I could do with all that produce!



Here I am again LOL (Everyone is lucky… I normally HATE pics of myself taken, but I wanted you all to see my adventures LOL). This time you see me picking out this HUGE 10-15 yellow onion! It was at least 1 pound by itself I swear… bigger than a softball if you can imagine it! I mean look at it in my hand! I have HUGE hands LMAO!



This is my Dad… everyone say HI Dad! LOL… I took this picture right before we had the coolest experience! Ok, so I was talking to Dad and explaining about the yummy Chili Rellenos with the HUGE poblano peppers (while I am grabbing them LOL). Ok so this older lady is standing next to me and I thought I was in her way… so did my dad LOL. We went to move and I apologized for being in her way and she was like “Oh no dear I’m listening to you!” I was like OH Ok lol and kept with my “cooking lesson” LOL. Before I know it I had a group of people standing around listening! I got 15 minutes of fame. I was important and people were truly interested in what I was saying! Oh it was the coolest feeling! I wore a huge grin and swore I was floating on air the rest of the day LOL. My parents just laughed!



This is my mom… the mastermind behind MY mastermind (cooking, sewing, you name it! This lovely wonderful lady taught me everything I know!). In this picture, she was browsing some of the wonderful produce from the individual sellers booths. We found some HUGE and very yummy produce from the individuals for great prices. Softball size avocados, 18 in. tall pineapples, you name it. I even found a plant (I can’t remember what it was called) but it was like Spanish Broccoli. It was interesting and if I could remember what it was called, I could research it and maybe try it the next time I go! But look at all the beautiful food around my mom!



Here is my Dad and I outside the Spice Market. OMG this place is like the super duper spice house! Outside you can find ceramics and such. It’s on the corner of the road- across from the farmers produce area and next door to the fresh bakery! I think my map says that you can find this building at the intersection of OMG and WOW!LOL!



And here I am (acting goofy LOL) in spice heaven! OMG there was nothing but walls and walls of spices! Anything you can possibly imagine! Things you can find everywhere and things you can’t hardly find at all… like my SMOKED paprika! OMG and my chili fruit powder! YUMMYYYY!! So I got a scoop of each! Trust me I could have got more, but I was practicing restraint! LOL… This could easily be a C-note shop… oh yea baby! So many new meals could come out of this little corner of heaven!



This is the pretty load I ended up with. The potatoes were bigger than my hand, huge onions, tall pineapples, the monster head of cabbage I got for around $1.30 (it was a 4 pd. Cabbage!), the huge zucchinis, you name it! Oh my brain was going 90 to nothing walking around this gold mine of greenery! As I walked through the aisles, I was getting new ideas of things to try!

After our day at the city blocks full of food, we set off on the adventure to find 2 of these salvage grocery stores. Well we found the first one in a very unattractive area of town, so we decided to go to the other one on our side of town. OK… found it, so let’s look. Inside was a migraine producing mess of mainly expired stuff! They had a few things of soon to expire, but for the most part I was so not impressed. I bought a few things, but not many… and we left. I won’t be recommending or visiting those 2 locations anymore! My mother-in-law tells my husband that the one up by her is an absolute awesome place… but I am not going all that way for a few groceries that I can find locally.

After the Salvage Grocer, we headed back towards our area of town. We stopped for lunch at Red Lobster and had a lot more laughs and fun. We also had a great meal as well. I thought my Dad was going to pass tea and clam chowder through his nose at one point LOL. I had him laughing about I couldn’t take home food because it was evidence LMAO. He said the “smell of shrimp and crab might give me away” LOL So I said no it won’t… watch this! I squeezed the lemon over my hands and began rubbing them together LOL! Then he started giggling so I said LOOK perfume! And I rubbed the lemon slice behind my ears and on my wrists LMAO! Both my parents were laughing so I was happy. They laughed a lot yesterday and that was the best part. They deserve that… to have fun and be happy!

Alright ladies and gents, its time for The Bucket List! As you know, the last few days I have been working on my list of “life goals” ever since my mom showed me the March issue of Texas Monthly. I told ya’ll that I would make a list of 100 things (cause I would like to think I still have quite a while to fill it LOL!) I want to do before I kick the bucket. At first, the ideas came easy… I thought I would finish it in no time flat right? NOPE… Six hours after I had started it, I was only on #50 and it stayed there until Saturday! WOW… it also made me realize what a boring person I have been… and so much of a hermit! LOL Then I looked at the list I had made so far and said… OMG I like some weird stuff! LOL. But the weird and unusual normally makes for extraordinary memories! And that’s what I want ya know? When I was diagnosed with Cancer and the doctor I had at the time said some rather “harsh” things to me, I remember going out for a walk just to clear my head. At that moment I actually noticed that the world had color! I mean how blue the sky was, green of the grass, and even the rainbow of colors in the trash on the side of the road! Somehow, since being in remission, I have lost those colors again and perhaps this bucket list is what I needed to help bring them back! As, Phil Keoghan, the host of the television show, “The Amazing Race,” said, ditch the excuses...seize the opportunity... to live life now! With no more shoulda, coulda, or woulda… so that’s what I am gonna do… TRY to live each day like it’s my last… or at minimum, like the day of my diagnosis. But I think I’m gonna stick with 50 right now and when I cross something off, I will add another… If you have ideas, by all means let me know. I know some will say “What about skydiving or swimming with dolphins, etc.) but ya know this evaluation of myself has made me realize I’m not really into those kinds of things. But I WILL listen to all your ideas! So without further ado… here is Renee’s Bucket List (Not necessarily done in this order! LOL)!

1. Sip a Dublin Dr. Pepper at the factory in Dublin.
2. Take in the River Walk at Christmas in San Antonio.
3. See the Marfa Lights.
4. See the King of Rock and Roll in Los Fresnos.
5. Spray Paint a Car at Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo.
6. Eat a Chicken Fried Steak at Mary’s Café in Strawn, TX.
7. Visit the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.
8. Enter a Chili Cookoff.
9. Visit Graceland in Memphis, TN.
10. Visit the World’s Largest Wooden Nickel in San Antonio.
11. Visit the World’s Largest Cowboy Boots in San Antonio.
12. Visit the Milk Bottle Building in Corpus Christi.
13. Visit the Tee Pee Courts in Wharton, TX.
14. Visit sites in San Antonio- the Alamo, Seaworld, Ripley’s, etc.
15. Visit the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant in Beaumont.
16. Take the kids to Disneyland or Disney World.
17. Visit Ground Zero to properly pay my respects.
18. Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in Mescalero, NM.
19. Shop a Farmer’s market in France.
20. Visit at least 1 city/town in each one of the 50 States.
21. Write and publish a book.
22. Own stocks in a Fortune 500 company to leave to my children.
23. Own or build a restaurant.
24. Visit the World’s Largest Oatmeal box in Oatmeal, TX.
25. Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA
26. Meet Paula Deen and Emeril Lagasse.
27. Help build a Habitat for Humanity Home.
28. Live a 75% Green life (If not more)!
29. Visit the Titanic Wreckage aboard a submarine.
30. Buy at least 1 thing on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
31. Go on a wildlife photography safari.
32. Attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
33. Visit the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
34. Visit the World’s Largest Saxophone in Houston, TX.
35. Ghost Hunt on the U.S.S. Lexington in Corpus Christi.
36. Go to a Broadway stage show in New York.
37. Visit the Beer Can House in Houston, TX.
38. Spend a weekend on Bourbon Street/French Quarter in LA.
39. Design/Build and live on a farm/ranch- complete with animals.
40. Visit the Little Eiffel Tower in Paris, TX.
41. Visit the 7 Wonders of the World.
42. Take a picture in front of the Big Strawberry in Poteet, TX.
43. Eat and attend a show at Medieval Times.
44. Go to see “Old Sparky” at the Texas Prison Museum.
45. Visit the World’s Largest Rattlesnake in Freer, TX.
46. Shop a Farmer’s market in Italy.
47. Plant a Pecan Tree.
48. Visit Las Vegas at night.
49. Conquer my fear of heights.
50. Break a World Record.

Okie dokie… now how cool is that! I have a bucket list LMAO! Ok, now for some delicious food… I was chuckling quietly on how my mother was so loving her meal she bought and dad was loving the flavor too. Red Lobster recently added Wood-Fire Grills to all restaurants nationwide. In addition, Red Lobster added several new menu items - including Peach Bourbon BBQ Shrimp & Bacon Wrapped Scallops. And that is what my mom had for lunch. The meal consists of skewered, wood-grilled jumbo shrimp and bacon-wrapped sea scallops with a sweet peach-bourbon BBQ sauce, over crispy onion rings. So guess what… Just for you mom! I found the recipe for my mother’s lunch INCLUDING the sauce! I know my mother enjoyed and I hope you do to! (This recipe was provided by Michael LaDuke who is the Senior Executive Chef at Red Lobster and is responsible for leading the culinary team in the creation of fresh, delicious seafood for their menu.)



Peach Bourbon BBQ Shrimp & Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Ingredients

24 each 26-30 count peeled shrimp
24 each scallops
4 each Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 10 - 15 minutes) for shrimp
4 each two-prong metal skewer for scallops
Olive Oil
24 each Bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce

2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
¼ cup ripe fresh or frozen peaches (peeled, seeded and chopped), or substitute peach preserves
2 ½ Tbsp Bourbon

Preparation:

1. Place shrimp next to each other on a bamboo skewer, leaving room on either end. Make sure to cover the end of the skewer with foil so it doesn't burn.

2. Wrap one piece of bacon around each scallop and place scallops on a two-pronged skewer so they don't turn.

3. Brush both sides of the shrimp and scallops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper

4. Place the shrimp and scallops on a medium hot grill. Keep an eye on them because they will cook quickly and you don't want to burn them.

5. Grill shrimp and scallops for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Take them off the grill when they are about 80 percent done.

6. Add the Peach Bourbon BBQ sauce during the last moments of cooking or when the cooking is complete for added flavor.

Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan.
2. Bring to a simmer while stirring for 8-10 minutes, allowing the alcohol to cook down.
3. Cool and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Well, we’re to that part again where I tell you how I’m gonna get off here and go do something LOL but ya know… I’m not planning to do anything today LMAO! I’m am gonna be lazy and MAYBE piddle if I want to LMAO. If I get absolutely nothing accomplished, its not gonna bother me one bit LOL! I’ve been through and done a lot the last few days and this last day of the month I am gonna rest… just rest! If I want to nap at 3pm, then by golly I am gonna nap at 3pm! LMAO… So best wishes in whatever you set out to do today and I will see you again tomorrow! HUGS!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

SATURDAY MORNING MARKETING

Good morning to all my friends! How are you doing this wonderful last weekend day? I’m alright I suppose. Up early again due to cramping, a massive migraine, and no sleep, but it’s to be expected. I want to thank everyone for their support concerning my issue I revealed yesterday. It means a lot to me. And I even thank my mother for the online scolding as well LOL! Why is it, no matter if its in person, texting my phone, and even email, when I get scolded I feel about 5? LOL… I know I know- Cause she’s my mom, that’s why! LMAO… Then I have my Jeanie scolding me... thanks LOL! Oh and welcome Mrs. Melissa! I thought you ran off and had your baby on me and I was worried... nice to see you around again LOL!

Anyway, I drank more water yesterday than runs in the Nile river, more cranberry juice than Ocean Spray can bottle in a year, walked IN THE RAIN no doubt, and even sweat lodged it in my bathroom! I spent all the day and part of the night detoxing myself! I’m feeling alright now… not 100% but as with any “withdrawls” or “Detox” (which yes I have done before)… it takes a bit of time. I have faith I will get back to my old spunky self soon though! As for today? Well, my parents and I are off to the BIG Farmer’s Market in Houston and then to the Salvage & Discount Grocers! I’ll be sure to take plenty of pictures…. And mom’s bringing the Gnome LOL… TOO funny! I asked her if she is gonna make him his own shopping bag LOL!

OK, some of you may have noticed that there are now a set of “my favorite links” over on the sidebar of my blog. It started as a request from my mother. She asked if I could put a link to the rescue site and ask my readers to click each day to help feed the baby animals. The click is free and when you are there you can also go to the other tabbed pages and support those causes too by clicking. The tabs are: Animal Rescue, Hunger, Breast cancer, literacy, rainforest, and Child Health. Please do me and the animals a favor by taking no more than 2 minutes of your day to donate food to the poor outcasted animals... Thanks everybody! Ok, then there is The Coupon Clippers … a great site to order multiples of newspaper coupons to help save you money. Their fees are fairly low and their service/speed of delivery is above awesome! Lastly, we have Free Online Sewing Patterns- now I’ve connected you with this site before. This is a site for hundreds of free sewing patterns you can print out on your computer. Be on the lookout for more, as I figure out which sites I deem worthy enough to link here LOL!



OK so yesterday remember I said I went out. I had to pay some bills and then I remembered I had 2 coupons to JC Penny for that $10 of a $10 or more purchase that were fixing to expire. Never ever waste free money and that’s basically what it was LOL! OK so anyway, most of you know (and my family gripes at me for it ALL the time) that I don’t like getting things for myself. BUT I have needed a new bra for quite some time now, so I figured I’d look. Boy let me tell you about the sales I found! In the first coupon section (the back part of the store with men’s, tees, etc… and its own cashier LMAO) I found this purple flannel Arizona shirt on the clearance rack for 80% off (it was $4.97) and they had silk screen Tees on sale for $5.99 and $9.99 which was 50% off. There was one I just HAD to have! It was WOODSTOCK 69 and let me tell you as soon as I saw it, I freaked! They didn’t have my size but it was ok cause it will become a pillow anyway! It was $9.99 but it was ok cause I HAD to have it LOL! That made my total $5.36 for the 2 items. Not too bad considering the total retail price before clearance was $20 for the shirt and $44 for the flannel! OK so it’s off to the ladies section to look at bras. I make a stop in the plus size women’s department (clearance rack of course) and find a pair of basic black slacks with an elastic waist. Originally $46 and clearanced to $4.97 I decided they are coming home with me and will be deemed the new “Buffet Pants” LMAO! (You don’t know what buffet pants are? LOL Well when I go out to eat, especially with my parents, I joke that I have to wear my stretchy- or buffet- pants so I can eat all I can at the buffet LOL! They laugh at me every time. But you’ve seen it and probably been there… you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and you eat so much you make yourself ill and have to undo the top button of your pants? YEP… invest in some strtchies- or buffet pants- and you won’t ever do that again! LMAO! Ok, next stop… ladies lingerie! OMG I about fell on the floor! Some of their bras cost more than my water bill! LOL j/k but they were pretty! Pretty PRICEY! Ok, so forget looking on the regular racks… this chick hits the clearance racks! Oh yea baby more my price! Now this really shocked me. I needed a new white bra… ok got it. Price tag says $14.99 clearance from the original $30… ok I can do that. Now put the pants back and pay just another $5 and change or splurge and get the $5 pants too? What the hay… I get both! I go up to the register and guess what!? The bra rings up at $5.99! WOOHOO!!! So, with that and the bra, my total was $10 and some change… minus the $10 coupons makes me pay a whopping $1.02!!!! For $76 worth of clothes? Shoot yea!! Is that not the most spiffy checkout? Now note to self LOL… $4.97 and $5.99 gives me almost free there! See the employees freak if you get it totally free there, so I always try to go just over a bit!

There’s not going to be really a craft today, since I will be occupied at market… so you’re on your own today kids! LOL… But food… that’s iffy too. Our dinner is going to depend on what I find on my journey today LOL. I might find a beautiful squash or something that I want to turn into a dinner item. We will see. But for now I am going to share this interesting recipe for using ramen noodles in the event you used/don’t have the flavor packet anymore! (I know I use the seasoning packets on other meals a lot, so I am stuck with packs of plain noodles.) So here is a way to make sure they used and devoured LOL!



Peanut Ramen Noodle Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 packages (3 oz each) ramen noodles (any flavor)
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup each water, vinegar and teriyaki sauce
½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded and sliced
2 carrots, shredded
2 scallions, sliced

PREPARATION

1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add ramen noodles (save seasoning packets for another use or discard). Boil 3 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain again.

2. Whisk peanut butter, water, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, garlic and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Add noodles, cucumber, carrots and scallions. Toss to mix and coat.

Ok gang, I am gonna get off here and go take another hot shower to sweat out some more toxic yuckies and then get ready to go in my new spiffy $6 clothes LOL! Thank you all again for the support and I love you all! See ya tomorrow… HUGS!

Friday, February 26, 2010

NEW UPCOMING CONTEST

Well a big HI THERE and hello this precursory weekend morning! How are you doing today? If you’re well… glad to hear! If you’re not so good, I hope you feel better soon! I have something I am going to share with you today. Its really embarrassing, but I don’t want anyone else to suffer, if I can help it!

I am not doing real well the last few days and I think I know why. I (for the first time) purchased a “diet supplement” to aid in my weight loss. I have gained a substantial amount of weight due to an injury last summer and I want to get it off. At this point I will do just about anything to lose it. The excess weight is making my AVN worse, I have chest pains, no energy, etc. So I am always seeing this commercial (when I DO have the TV on) for a pill aimed at women specifically… called Slim Quick. Ok, so I take a chance and buy it… BIG… No GINORMOUS mistake! I should have researched it better. I am having extreme hot and cold flashes and muscle “cramps”. You ever get a Charlie horse? Ya know, when the muscle in your calf gets rock hard, painful, cold, and it’s just absolutely unbearable to the point of tears? Yea… not only am I having them in my calves, but in my back, my stomach, and even my face! I’ve been continuously nauseous for the past 2 days. I got the jitters and shakes real bad like I just drank 10 pots of coffee. I have chest pains when I breathe. I am not sleeping at night (partly due to the spasms/cramps). Headaches, and a bunch of the other “side effects” too! So I look the product up online and its seemingly common… a lot of people are having these symptoms. I really don’t know what I was thinking honestly. I stopped taking those stupid things and you better believe I am contacting them and getting my money back! So today I am gonna try to flush my system all day- water, cranberry juice, sweat, etc. I’m very embarrassed that I let my insecurities get the better of me and now I am paying dearly for it. So if you feel like I do, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consult your doctor, read up on the supplements, and reconsider your course of action. I’m going to go back to the natural way (now that I can move somewhat again) and walk it off, get more active, etc. My garden I think will help me start to be more active along with summer coming up and the kids being home, etc… I don’t know why I lost sight of that! I know everyone is different, but I think these things can be potentially dangerous to the wrong person(s). Be SUPER careful ladies. Losing weight is not worth your life.

Alright, being this is the last WEEKDAY of the month already (I know the time is flying by huh?), and I already gave you a sneak notice about the upcoming contest, let me fill you in on the details!

March Gardening Madness Contest

OK kids, I am hosting another contest. In order to promote the upcoming spring and gardens and growing your own foods and such… I am giving away a great prize. In this gift package, you will receive seed packets, hand tools for gardening, a pair of gloves, a book about gardening, a seed starting tray, and a $25 gift card to either Home Depot or Lowe’s so you can buy soils, plant foods, containers, etc.

Now here are the rules… The contest runs from March 1, 2010 until March 31, 2010- one full month. The morning of April 1st I will have my kids pick a winner based on who meets ALL requirements. You must #1- be a registered follower, #2- you must comment on the days I announce a “GARDEN COMMENT”, and #3- you must email me your full name and address so that I can mail your prize if you win. In your comments, you can discuss something you plan to do in your garden this upcoming spring. Share what you plan on planting/growing OR a craft to use in your garden, etc. You can also ask garden related questions. There MUST be something in your comment regarding gardening.

That’s it… when you think about it, this is an awesome prize really. You can grow your own food, which saves money on your grocery bill, and enjoy a hobby. This prize package could potentially be worth hundreds if not more if your garden flourishes well! I know I would be super stoked about it! Okie dokie, well good luck and I wish you all the best!

Now someone recently asked me why I am so “into” gardening. Well here’s a little insight to me LOL. Firstly, I’m not as into it as others… say my mom for instance. She had an AWESOME garden going and beautiful plants all over the place before the stupid Hurricane Ike. (But never fear mom, we WILL start getting it back together and beautiful again! I will help you!) I do however get very excited with what I can do in my situation. My landlord won’t let me plant in the ground, so all my gardening and plants are container gardening. I started years ago when I was undergoing chemotherapy with just a few plants. I found it very therapeutic and it gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I was saving money by growing my own foods and helping the earth by having plants that were recycling Oxygen and CO2, etc. It made things look pretty as well! It was exciting to watch these things grow. I knew it was not treated with any potentially harmful chemicals… it was organic if you will. It’s also a good teaching tool. Our children need to know the value of hard work and responsibility. What better way than to grow your own food? It also becomes a science lesson for them. They learn about water cycles, photosynthesis, germination, etc. Gardening and attending to my plants also keeps me moving… I don’t become sedentary and make my health issues worse. It forces me to move because I know that no one is going to attend to my garden if I don’t and all my hard work, time, and even money will be wasted! Gardens- be it food or flower- also attract wildlife. Nature comes a bit closer to your life for you to enjoy! Butterflies, birds, bees, hummingbirds, etc. as well as some not-so-wanted critters as well. But with proper precautions you can keep nature and the fruits of your labor at a happy medium. Just if you see some big ugly worms that you just wanna smash… check to make sure those aren’t gonna become butterflies! LMAO! Right mom? LMAO!! Anyway, these are just a few reasons why I am so thrilled about gardening and I hope that I can inspire you and get you just as excited too! OK so the stinkbugs ate a handful of your cherry tomatoes and the cats think the flowerbed is a gigantic litter box… SO WHAT?! It’s still a very positive experience (in my book anyway) LOL!

Ok, so in the mind frame of being green, I saw a cute craft on Thrifty fun that I want to share with you today. It’s for a recycled wrapping paper organizer made from large pet food or bird seed bags… check these out!



Craft Idea of the Day: Recycled Wrapping Paper Organizer Shoe Bag

I made another project from some recycled bags. These came from empty bird seed bags that a friend gave me. They are colorful and the pretty birds made them nice and bright. In fact, I had so much paper, that I had to make two. Helped free up some space in my closet.

On the one side, I put lots of spots for rolled paper, and on the other side, I put exclusively pockets for gift bags and boxes. I did not have to worry about putting any cardboard or supporting materials in the inside or the pockets, as the weight of the boxes and paper kept it very supported.

So the only materials I needed were two bags for each project, some thread and a hanger for each. I plan for my next projects to be a much longer organizer for a door and more bags.

By hoptownracer1 from USA

And now… The bucket list. Remember we talked about it yesterday? Well I started mine and OMG I can’t believe how many things I already came up with. 6 hours and I got 50 things! It made me think how little I have actually lived and gave me an insight to how boring I think I am LMAO! Be on the lookout, probably Sunday, for mine. I would love to hear your life goals too! I’m also making a list of things I have ALREADY done. It’s actually an amazing insight to your personality. I can’t recommend it enough. Life is very precious and you should value every moment of it… maybe this is the way for some of us to do that? And what I thought really funny was when I laid down last night to TRY to go to bed, I turned on a rerun of Criminal Minds and one of the main characters- Gideon- was injured and talking about HIS list (he only had 25 things though LOL). Uncanny timing huh?!

Ok, I’m sitting here wondering if the sick feeling I am having this morning will go away if I eat something. One thing I do have to admit, that stupid pill did suppress my appetite quite a bit. I think I have eaten about 1/5 of what I normally do in the last couple of days! But as I sit here, I am actually very hungry! I want food! And I’m not talking about a rice cake and a carrot… I mean real food! Fattening, stick to your ribs, down home yumminess!!!! Fried fish… yea that sounds good… check this recipe for catfish out (which I think HEB has on sale with a combo loco this week!).



Parmesan Pecan Fried Catfish

Ingredients

2 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup ground pecans
2/3 cup plain yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon paprika
2 large eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil

Preparation

1. Place catfish and buttermilk in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Seal and chill 1 hour. Remove catfish from buttermilk, discarding buttermilk.

2. Combine pecans and next 4 ingredients in a shallow bowl. Dip fish in eggs; dredge in pecan mixture, shaking off excess. Arrange on a baking sheet. Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a cast-iron Dutch oven or 12-inch (2 1/4-inch-deep) cast-iron skillet; heat to 350°. Fry fish, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and fish flakes with a fork. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.

** Parmesan-Pecan Fried Chicken: Substitute 2 lb. chicken breast tenders for catfish. Fry 3 minutes or until done.

OK gang, I am gonna get off of here and go try to get some things around here done. I am also gonna go float myself silly… which means me and the potty will be good friends today LMAO! Ya’ll take care and be safe. You are all very precious to me! HUGS!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

THE BUCKET LIST

Good morning my fantastic frugalers! How are you doing this bright and sunny day? I am doing well… didn’t get much sleep, but I am surprisingly well. I wanna thank my readers for the comments… and Jean you get well soon! I got lots of things accomplished yesterday so I was real proud! I got some errands run, decoupaged a milk jug bird feeder, repotted some of my plants, got some seeds started in some peat pots, and I found my hummingbird feeder, so I hung that up on the front porch. I made some breakfast burritos for the kids for mornings this week, dinner cooked, and a bunch of other things and STILL managed to watch my show LOL! It wasn’t a new episode though, so I was a little bummed, but next week looks good and it IS new!

OK, so yesterday I mentioned the article in the march issue of Texas Monthly called “The Bucket List”. I went out and got a copy so we could discuss it… mom’s got hers, so who of my Texas readers got yours? LOL… In a nutshell, this article says there are at least 63 things in Texas that people should do (Texans) before they die. Some of these things my mom and I (or individually or our whole family) have done and there are some my mom would love to do! Let’s run through the list and if I need to explain about one… well I will LOL!

1. Take the Ultimate Road Trip- it says to drive from the Panhandle to Brownsville. Now I have taken a trip from Houston to about 10-15 minutes away from Brownsville (I think) into South Padre Island and let me tell you… that is an 8 hour trip. So if you are gonna take ANY lengthy road trip, do it with someone you enjoy being around LOL! I was lucky… I was with my mom!

2. Eat BBQ at Snow’s in Lexington

3. See Willie at Floore’s in Helotes (Willie as in Nelson)

4. Play Chicken Shit Bingo (Sorry for the language Mom! You know I don’t cuss in front of you LOL)- My mother has done this at Chili & BBQ cookoffs… I personally have not.

5. See the World in San Antonio



6. Visit the State Fair of Texas in Dallas- I have done this and let me just tell you… you better have some good walking shoes, a lot of time, and even more cash! LOL… oh and a really big appetite!

7. Explore Palo Duro Canyon

8. Buy a pair of custom boots- Been there, done that… too expensive to do again LOL!

9. Float a River



10. Sip a Dublin Dr. Pepper at the factory in Dublin

11. Attend a Party at the McDonald Observatory, near Fort Davis

12. Marvel at the Painted Churches in Little Bohemia

13. Visit the Dead in Fort Worth- I’ve done this too… super creepy- especially at night!

14. Order a Ribeye at Perini Ranch Steakhouse, in Buffalo Gap

15. Take in the River Walk at Christmas in San Antonio- Mom ALMOST got to do this one!

16. Climb Mount Cristo Rey near El Paso

17. Dive in at Dolan Falls along the Devil’s River

18. Drive the River Road near Lajitas

19. Drink a free beer at the K. Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner

20. Fish with your kids at Caddo Lake

21. Learn to ride a horse- Got this one covered too!

22. Eat Calf Fries at Riscky’s Steakhouse in Fort Worth- NO THANKS!

23. Witness the annual corral spawning in the Gulf of Mexico

24. Nap beneath the Ancient Oak in Austin

25. Learn the Two-Step- I SOOOOO have this one covered!

26. Visit Donald Judd’s 100 Mill Aluminum Boxes in Marfa

27. Discover Santa Rita No. 1 in Texon



28. Order a Brown Derby at your favorite Dairy Queen- OMG my mom used to take us to get these all the time! DELISH!!!

29. Watch the Swiftettes in Nazareth

30. See the Marfa lights

31. Have a drink at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas

32. Swing your partner at the Conjunto Festival in San Antonio

33. Rev your Engine at the Art Car Parade in Houston

34. Read Horseman, Pass by Larry McMurtry

35. Memorize the Texas Pledge of Allegiance

36. Get your Mexican Food Fix at H&H Car Wash & Coffee shop in El Paso

37. Ride the Ferry between Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula- OMG done this so many times its not even funny!

38. Lose yourself in history in Amarillo

39. Attend a day party at SXSW in Austin

40. Pour whiskey on John Wesley Hardin’s Grave in El Paso

41. See the King of Rock and Roll in Los Fresnos- ok we drove right through this when we were going to South Padre to see my grandma… and I SOOOOO wanted to see it! Mom, I know you are reading this and when we go see Grandma next time… WE ARE STOPPING! LOL!!!



42. Spray Paint a Car at Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo (Also known as Carhenge!)

43. Sit in Silence in the Rothko Chapel in Houston

44. Relax at the Live Oaks Friends Meetinghouse in Houston

45. Celebrate the Day of the Dead in San Antonio

46. Watch 2 Texas classic Films: Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show (I know you were thinking Texas Chainsaw Massacre weren’t you?! LOL)



47. Eat a Chicken Fried Steak at Mary’s Café in Strawn, Tx.- personally I love my CFS or my mom’s but reading this article about my favorite meal kinda makes me wanna try it now LMAO!

48. Visit Buddy Holly’s Grave in Lubbock



49. Drive the freeway at Night in Houston- I could do this in my SLEEP I have done it so many times LOL! It’s actually very pretty, but I must say (and yes I know that I will sound like a traitor to my town) but actually downtown Fort Worth and Dallas is MUCH prettier… they got Reunion Tower- BEAUTIFUL!



50. Attend a classic High School football game- Do that each season… DS 18 plays and DD15 is in the band! LOL I GOTTA be there LOL!

51. Visit the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin- mom we’re going!

52. Roll down Miller Hill in Houston- LOL this is a HUGE hill in front of an Outdoor Ampetheater behind the zoo. We used to roll down it when we picniced after a day at the zoo all the time when we were little! Shoot I did it the last time I took MY kids! LOL

53. Attend Mass at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio

54. Collect a Lightning Whelk on Matagorda Bay

55. Enter a Chili Cookoff- I have attended many but never entered… wanted to though!

56. See the Dogwoods Bloom in Palestine

57. Buy a first edition in Archer City

58. Stop for Kolaches at Czech Stop in West, TX- Did you know that what we now call a kolache (those with meats, etc inside them were not “real” kolaches? Real kolaches were stuffed with fruits. Nowadays, there is the sweet kolache (fruit) and the savory (meat).

59. Read the first chapter of Los de Abajo at the Pablo Baray Apartments in El Paso

60. Snag a Picnic Table at Railroad Blues in Alpine

61. Attend the Futurity in Fort Worth

62. See Stephen F. Austin in Austin

63. Appear on the cover of Texas Monthly (they are having a contest which you can read about HERE)

OK so now that you see the list, you can see as a native Texan I have done a lot of it already at my young tender age of 33 LMAO! There are some that both my mom and I want to do and some that we think are kinda lame LOL. So I am going to challenge myself a bit. I am going to make up a Bucket List. Since I am younger I am going to put 100 things on there and see how many I can actually get accomplished. It will be an adventure for sure… kinda fun I think. SO, why not challenge yourself to make a Bucket List? Get out there and enjoy life to the fullest so when it is your time, you will have no regrets or no “I wish”es! I think I am gonna write mine up this weekend and then I will share it with you when I got it done… It can be specific to your state or nationwide… it’s your list LOL! I can think of at least 10 things for mine right now LOL!

OK, so like I said, reading the clip about the CFS at Mary’s made me really hungry! Good thing I have breakfast burritos already made LOL! But for dinner… not quite sure yet. But here is another one of those recipes I got from my mom’s book she is cutting/pasting… Again, note it has NOT been pre-tested for YUM factor!



Creamy Shrimp Alfredo

Ingredients

1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 lb. uncooked deveined peeled medium shrimp
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. (3/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
3/4 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

COOK pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add shrimp; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until shrimp turn pink, adding garlic for the last minute. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon; set aside.

ADD cream cheese and broth to skillet; cook until cream cheese is completely melted, stirring frequently. Stir in shrimp and 3 Tbsp. Parmesan.

DRAIN pasta. Add to skillet; toss to coat. Transfer to platter; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and parsley.

Ok, as for me, I gotta get off here and tend to a few things. I got a ton of hungry kitties hollerin’ for me LOL and then I need to tend to more plants today, as well as some cleaning, gotta get these bird feeders hung up, burritos made, etc. etc. etc.! My workload never lightens LMAO! Until tomorrow… HUGS!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BOUNTIFUL BARGAINS

Howdy Doodie my little band of bloggies LOL! How are you doing this frostbitten morning!? I’m absolutely icy. Boy do I have some interesting reads for you today. First off, I gotta ask… who cashed in on the free food deals yesterday and if you did, what kind of an experience did you have? I started my day with hitting the Jack in the Box free grilled sandwich wyb a large drink. I tried the Turkey Bacon Cheddar and let me tell you- I was expecting not to like the taste, but it was pretty dang good!! LOL… I hit it again to try the other sandwich, the deli trio, on the way from leaving my mom’s to get my kids from school. I didn’t like that one as much.

As you know, I went to hang with my mom yesterday and we had a great time! I always have a blast when I’m with my mom. We chatted, washed laundry, reviewed recipes, and lots of other things. Thanks mom! I always feel so much better after hanging out with you!



Ok, so one of the things we did was to sort coupons. My grandma mails her a bunch of coupons and she cuts them and we share them. So she gave me a HUGE pile of coupons for all kinds of things. After I picked up the kids from school, I headed over to the store with those little beautiful pieces of paper and had a ball! Here are some of the great deals I got with the coupons she gave me:

White Cloud Toilet Tissue- $1 4pk.
Breathe Right Nasal Strips 12ct- $2.82
Febreze Air Effects- $1.50
Lactaid 12ct.- 97c
Cottonelle wipes- 47c
Blistex 2pk- 47c
Johnson’s Baby travel pack- $1.77
Angelsoft Toilet tissue- 50c 4pk.
Whiskas Dry cat food- $2.97 bag
Friskies Dry cat food- $2.97 bag
Friskies canned indoor cat food- 3 FREE cans
Gain Laundry soap- $5 for the 100oz. bottles
Fancy Feast dry cat food $1.12 bag
Fresh Step cat litter- FREE 20 lb. Box
Bandaid Brand fabric bandages- 88c each

Those were just some of the great deals I found… I bought other things too (generic) and I had coupons for some things that weren’t “impressive” (just like 50c off, etc) but all in all I saved $32.30 in coupons. Not too shabby! OK so THEN I went over to Lowe’s because I needed another bag of dirt. Well… the last time I was there, the cashier in the Garden center and I got to talking and she asked me for some “advice” on her plants and such. So I told her about my dirts, foods, and some good container plants, etc. Well I found some plants I decided I wanted to bring home with me… check these out!



So anyway, I get to the counter and she asked me if I was Renee and was the one who told her about the tomatoes and such last time I was there. After being spooked out that she actually remembered me, LOL… we started talking again and she said she wanted to thank me for all the “good advice”. She said she invested in some plants and has them indoors right now, but they have exploded! Well, one of the plants I got was a clearanced house plant (which didn’t look sick at all BTW), so when she rang it up she said “Oh you know this is on clearance right?” I said yes and she proceeded to ring up the rest of my order. Here I am expecting to pay about $60 for all the plants and the 2- 40lb. Bags of soil. NOPE! She said my total was $21.43 and I raised an eyebrow. I was like “Are they on sale or something?” and she was like “They are all clearanced”… She had discounted everything for me as a “thank you” for the gardening help I gave her I guess. I was excited and shocked! I walked out with 2- 40 pound bags of soil, 2 Husky Cherry tomato, 1 House greenery, 2 Italian parsley, 2 cilantro, 1 strawberry, 1 large and 1 small rosemary, and a 9pk of broccoli plants. Is that awesome or what? I was super stoked! Another step closer to a grand-e-ous green garden!

OK, so I went to Walgreens to pick up a couple of things as well. I found Midol Menstral on sale for $2.50 a bottle… well guess who had $2 off 1 coupons? YEP! So I had another great find! It was just a day of bountiful bargains!



Another thing my mom showed me was the March issue of Texas Monthly. The cover story is called “The Bucket List”. The story says 63 things Texans should do before they pass… so my mom and I sat and she read it to me. We have actually done a few things on there already and there are some more things we would like to do. Tomorrow I’ll go into further detail about what was on the bucket list…. It’s rather interesting!

And then we went over recipes. She is making a book of recipes from all the magazines, newspapers, etc. When she finds something she would like to try, she clips the recipe and pastes it on colored paper and puts it in a notebook. Pretty smart if you ask me! I just go look it up online LOL. So she had 5 that really struck my fancy and I would like to try. I’m gonna share a couple with you today. Keep in mind I have NOT tried these yet, so I am not sure on YUM-ability yet! But the picture looked yummy and that is part of the appeal…



Spanish Skillet Chicken

INGREDIENTS

5 each chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 4 1/4 lb), skin removed from thighs
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 box (8 oz) yellow rice mix
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup frozen peas

PREPARATION

1. Sprinkle chicken with paprika and pepper. Cook chicken in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat, about 5 minutes per side, until browned. Remove chicken to plate.

2. Remove all but 1 Tbsp drippings from skillet. Add onions and garlic; sauté 4 minutes until golden. Stir in yellow rice mix, tomatoes and water.

3. Place chicken pieces on rice. Bring liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

4. Stir in peas, cover and simmer 3 minutes until rice is tender.



Tennessee Whiskey Cake

You can substitute 3 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for the whiskey.

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup 2% reduced-fat milk
½ cup sorghum or molasses
¼ cup Tennessee whiskey, such as Jack Daniel’s or George Dickel

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat butter using a mixer at medium speed; gradually add sugars and beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Add to egg mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stop mixer and add sorghum. Restart mixer and slowly add whiskey. Mix until smooth, about 30 seconds. (Batter will be thin.)
4. Pour into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with Sorghum Frozen Yogurt. Serves 8.

Ok, so doesn’t that sound totally scrum-diddly-umptious?! OMG LMAO! MOM- LOOK! That cake calls for SORGHUM! OMG I just noticed that LMAO! (Inside joke peeps…) Anyway, I gotta get to the store to pick up some of the ingredients, so tonight for us, its taco salad! YAY! LOL… not only is it what we have, but I need quick and easy because my show comes on tonight… the new episode of Criminal Minds YAY! LOL… so I’m gonna hop off of here and get some things done, run a couple of errands, and get prepped for dinner so that once its done I can watch my show in peace LOL! Ya’ll take care and I will see you tomorrow… HUGS! (And to my mom… SORGHUM!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FANTASTIC FREEBIES!!

Buenos Dias! How ya feeling this festively frigid morning? I’m going nuts really… Our weatherman is predicting possible SNOW! I’m thinking someone really peturbed Mother Nature LOL Thanks for the comments ladies… its always wonderful to hear from you all. To Hazel- I hope that the pictures refreshed and gave you hope that spring will indeed come LOL! Be patient with your babies and nurture them while they are inside. Start seedlings now inside that way they are ready for transplant by the time spring arrives! To my Jeanie in a bottle LOL… I am sorry you are feeling so bad. I know how that goes. Hang in there and you will get to feeling better! Lurk all you want, but occasionally stop in for a chat and say hi so I know you are alright! I love all my readers and I really do care how you all are doing!

Ok, I just want to warn you that I have ANOTHER contest planned for the month of March, so be watching cause in a few days, you will get full disclosure about it. I think its gonna be fun really! But due to the weather, today is a day of staying inside and finding a bunch of freebies! Actually I am gonna go to my madre’s house later and hang loose with her all day LOL! However, I have time to give you some leads on some great stuff cause for some crazy reason I am up fairly early! Anyway, I have a motto I live by (yes I made it up LOL)… If it’s free, it’s good enough for me! LMAO! So check out these great free deals and offers I found and am sharing with you today…



TODAY- Tuesday, February 23rd is National Pancake Day and IHOP is celebrating by offering FREE pancakes to its customers from 7am to 10pm. They will give you one free short stack (3 pancakes) of their famous buttermilk pancakes. All they ask is that you consider making a donation to support our local childrens hospital through Childrens Miracle Network or other local charities. Check it out HERE.



Also TODAY at participating Jack-In-The-Box locations, you can get a free grilled Sandwich with the purchase of a large drink. Choose from the Turkey, Bacon and Cheddar or the Deli Trio. Check it out HERE for regulations...



Mark your calendars!! On Tuesday, March 23, 2010 from 12 – 8 p.m., Ben & Jerry’s will be celebrating their annual FREE CONE DAY by giving away free ice cream at participating locations in the US. Co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield first scooped up free ice cream all day back in 1979 as a way to thank the community for supporting them in their first year. Now it’s an annual tradition at many of their scoop shops around the world. It’s your chance to try any of their flavors for free!



Free Crispy Breaded Fish at Long John Silver’s- Be one of the first 1 million to sign up for the Long John Silver’s New Spin on a Classic Sweepstakes and receive a coupon good towards one free piece of Crispy Breaded Fish. The lucky $20,000 winner will be announced on 4/12. Here’s how to get your free fish:
1. Go to LJS’s New Spin contest page
2. Click the “Enter here” button
3. Enter all required fields and click “Register”
4. Be prepared to print your coupon!
If you have time, play their Spin & Win Fish Fry online game. It’s fun! But, it’s not required to get your freebie.



Taco Bell – FREE Taco Fresco- Yummy! This is a good freebie to start Monday morning off with. Whether you like Taco Bell or not, print a coupon for a Free Taco bell Taco Fresco. Give it to a friend or to a person in need. They are giving away 1,000,000 free tacos with just 7 grams of fat and 150 calories.










Wienerschnitzel- Just fill out the form and look for your FREE Original Chili Dog welcome message in a few days.

Did you know that many of our favorite restaurants nowadays offer promotions like “Kids Eat Free” in order to lure our business in? And did you further know that there is a directory of tons of places where you can see if Kids eat free in your area! Go to Kids Eat Free and click on your state to find a place near you! There is another directory called Kids Eat 4 Free that you can enter your information and it will pull up some offers near you. And then you have Kids Meal Deal which again, you can pull up by entering your information! You can find deals in National chains as well as smaller establishments! Here’s a few national offers… **NOTE- NOT all location may participate in any offer, so check first by calling or asking when you go… just to be safe!



Applebees- At Applebees kids eat for free on Mondays. There is 1 free kids’ meal for each adult entree purchase. Additional kids are $1.00. The kids’ menu at Applebees includes chicken fingers, cheeseburger, grilled cheese sandwich and macaroni & cheese. Not all locations offer this deal so be sure to call ahead to see if your location does!



Bennigan’s – Kids under 12, 4-10pm Tuesdays. 1 free item off the kids menu when you dine in.






Black Eyed Pea- After 5pm on Tuesdays, kids 12 and under receive a free kids’ meal with every adult entree purchased at Black-eyed Pea (TN, TX). The kids’ meals at Black-eyed Pea include an entree (macaroni and cheese, corn dogs, grilled cheese, cheese sticks, pot roast, chicken breast, chicken fingers, meat loaf, turkey, cheeseburger and cheese pizza), side, drink and dessert.



Chick-fil-A- At participating locations, kids can eat a free kids’ meal at Chil-fil-A on Tuesdays for Family Fun Night from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. There is a limit of 1 free kid’s meal per adult combo meal purchased.



CiCi’s Pizza- Kids 3 and under eat free from the Cici’s Pizza buffet everyday! Specific Cici’s Pizza locations frequently have where older kids can eat for free on certain nights – check with your nearest location



Denny’s – For kids 10 yrs old or younger. Kids also eat free at Denny’s on Tuesday nights from 4-10 pm, and at some locations they can eat free on Saturday nights too.



Fuddruckers (OMG YUM! Wishing I was a kid LOL)- Kids 12 and under can eat for .99 from the kids’ menu from 4pm to 9pm on Mondays (and Tuesdays) at Fuddruckers. A drink is included! The Fuddruckers kids’ menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, macaroni & cheese, chicken bites, cheeseburger and mozzarella sticks. Not all locations offer this deal so be sure to call ahead to see if your location does!



Golden Corral- Children 10 and under eat free from 5pm to 9pm on Monday’s at Golden Corral. This is limited to 2 kids per 1 adult. Not all locations offer this deal so be sure to call ahead to see if your location does! Kids 3 and under eat free every day!



Hooters- Kids eat free at Hooters all day long on Sundays.

IHOP – Kids under 12, 4-10pm all week. Get 1 free kids menu item with each adult entree purchase.



Jason’s Deli- Kids eat free at Jason’s Deli all day on Sundays at some locations and on Mondays at others. Call your local Jason’s Deli before you go! The kids’ menu at Jason’s Deli includes sandwiches, wraps, hot dogs, salads, baked potatoes, pasta, pizza and macaroni and cheese.



Red Robin Restaurants – Kids under 10, 5-9pm Mon & Tuesdays.



TGI Fridays – Kids under 12, all day Mon and Tuesdays. Buy a dinner entree and your kid gets a free item off the kids menu, drink and side included.

Today’s Free Food Tip: Mexican Restaurants are a great bargain for families. Mexican places will usually bring you a big free bowl of hot corn chips and salsa before your food arrives. Most kids will fill up on these chips even before the food arrives. Order a side of flour tortillas (about 50 cents) and then fill them with the re-fried beans that come with most adult meals. Whola. . . You now have bean burittos for all the kids. Some restaurants will give you tortillas for free, which then turns this into a "Kids Eat Free" deal. Also consider ordering a side of melted cheese, and you can turn those free chips into several orders of Nachos.

Yummmmmm…… NACHOS! Oh sorry just zoning and daydreaming here LOL… ok so I’m sure there are lots of places around you with free meal promotions that are not listed. And never be afraid to ASK… I mean the worst a place can say is NO right? Right! LOL So now that I made you fully hungry with all the free food offers, LOL, let’s touch base on a few freebies that are NOT food that you might be interested in!

World’s Best Cat Litter is giving away a free bag of litter after mail-in rebate (MIR). And they’re giving away $10 in coupons! To get your free bag via MIR:

1. Purchase a 7 or 8 lb. bag of World’s Best Cat Litter between 2/1/10 and 12/31/10 (find a retailer by clicking “where to buy” on WBCL’s homepage)
2. Click this link to open the mail-in rebate () form (in PDF), and print it
Fill out MIR form
3. Mail form along with your receipt (item circled) and UPC from bag of litter
4. Must be mailed before 12/31/10, and received before 1/31/11

No PO boxes. Void where prohibited. Limit one per address. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of rebate check.
COUPONS:
Additionally, they’re offering $10 in printable coupons! Follow this coupons link and click “print your coupons now.” You will get three coupons: one $4 off one 7 or 8 lb bag, and two $3 off any size bag. They expire in 1, 2 and 3 months, respectively. You can either use a coupon now to spend less upfront, then send in the MIR to get your money back. Or, an even better idea: since the MIR is up to $12.99 back, you can pay full price initially, and get all your money back via rebate (assuming it’s less than $12.99). THEN use the coupons to save on future purchases! The choice is yours!

$25 Visa Card for Test Drive- Test drive the new 2011 Kia Sorento and they’ll give you a $25 prepaid Visa card. Here’s how to get your Kia Kash!
1. Fill out the Kia Sorento testdrive online form and print your certificate
2. Go to a Kia dealership and test drive a 2011 Sorento before 3/15/10
3. Have dealer fill out their part of form
4. You fill out your part of form
5. Mail completed form in before 4/15/10
6. Profit! Your gift card will be mailed to you in 6 to 8 weeks
No purchase necessary. • Test-drive offer is valid from 2/8/10 to 3/15/10 • To be eligible, test-driver must be 18 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license • This offer is non-negotiable and non-transferable (test driver only can redeem for gift card) • One $25 prepaid card per household • Test-drive and dealer validation required • Your envelope with the original, completed e-certificate inside must be postmarked by 4/15/10 • Void where prohibited • Offer valid while supplies last. See site for details. US only.

Parent’s Choice formula for infants- have you seen this formula at Wal-Mart? Click HERE to get a free sample of Parent’s Choice Formula. There are 2 different types you can choose from… premium or gentle formula.

Breathe Right Nasal Strips- if you have trouble breathing, especially at night, then you have to try these out. Breathe Right is offering a free sample of 2 strips.

FREE Box of Excedrin- Excedrin is giving away a free box of pain reliever to those who do not currently use their product. Here’s how to get rid of your headache, free: Visit Excedrin.com Answer one question: Which of these pain relievers have you used in the last 12 months? (select all that apply) **Note: if you check Excedrin, you will not receive a free box – you’ll be given the choice of several $1 coupons instead. The free box offer is only for those who have not used Excedrin in the last 12 months. Fill out form and submit Your coupon for any Excedrin product (valued up to $5.99) will be mailed to you in 3-5 days.

Kotex Sample Pack– Visit Kotex and select your choice between three sample packs of tampons and liners (limit one per request, total of two per household, US only, 13 or older, 10 weeks for delivery)

Victoria’s Secret Pink Nation is almost a year old! To celebrate they’re offering free gifts to the first million who sign up! They’re nearly 90% there at the time of this writing, so hurry and sign up to receive your FREE Fragrance Deluxe Sampler! And, you’ll get membership benefits: ongoing offers & freebies, a sneak peek at the latest PINK goods, A-list access to PINK events, and never-before-seen pics & flicks.
Here’s how to get your FREE Fragrance Deluxe Sampler: Visit Victoria’s Secret Pink Nation, Sign in, or (if you’re not already a member) click the blue JOIN button, Click the “Free Deluxe Fragrance Sampler” banner to request your freebie! Freebie coupon for fragrance sampler also includes a coupon for $10 off $35 VS Pink purchase (valid in-store only, not for sale or clearance items). US only, excludes Maine. Coupon for free fragrance deluxe sampler is printable and redeemable in stores; valid for just over 2 weeks from time of issuance. Valid photo ID required to redeem in store. Limit one per person, while supplies last.

Wal-Mart “In Stores Now” is giving away free samples of Crest “3D White” Whitestrips. To get yours: Go to Wal-Mart’s free sample site, After ad finishes playing (or you can click “skip” at the bottom), click the “Sample Whitestrips” tab, click “Request Samples” button, fill in form & submit.

Purex- Try the new Purex 3in1 fabric sheets. Request your sample HERE! Fill in your information and they will send you a free 2 pack sample of Purex® Complete 3–in–1® Laundry Sheets.

Harbor Freight Tools is offering a free flashlight with this printable coupon which is valid until March 17, 2010. Just print it out and take it to your local store for redemption.

Gas-X free thin strips- To receive your free sample of Gas-X Thin StripsTM and a coupon off your next purchase, complete the form.

Ok, so I hope you are enjoying all these freebies I shared. There are tons of great offers out there, you just gotta search a little bit. I could sit here and list sites for days where you can find tons of freebies! But I do have to share my absolutely FAVORITE freebie site… It’s called Freaky Freddie’s and that site always has some awesome finds! Make sure to bookmark it and visit often! As for dinner… tonight is simple… SPAGHETTI! I don’t feel like making something extravagant and labor intensive today. A huge pot of this will fill my gang and all their buddies for cheap! And since I mass stocked up during the 10 for $10 at Kroger… I have tons in the pantry LOL! So I think I’m gonna skidaddle for today and get the kids ready for school. Ya’ll take care, get well, be safe, and see you tomorrow! HUGS!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

MONDAY MORNING MADNESS

Well a big hi there and hello to all my friends. Thanks for stopping in this bright and crazy day! I hope this blog finds you well… happy and healthy. Its been an early start here today as the DD had band sectionals at 6am before school, then coming back and prepping the boys for school, etc. Not sure yet what today is gonna hold in store for me. Yesterday, I have to say, was rather interesting!



I got my strawberry plants put in my custom made hanging basket LOL. That little bucket took a lot more dirt to fill than I thought it would! But I got both my plants in there and its hung up on the rail of the front porch. Isn’t it so cute?!



And what makes it cuter? I have a baby berry on it too! Actually I have a few berries already on it, but this one is the biggest! I got very excited planting yesterday… and for a little while when I was messing with all my plants, I didn’t have a care in the world!



Then I put my Christmas Tree outside too. Yes I have a live baby Christmas tree LOL! It needed some sun and water, etc. Of course I might have to bring all the plants BACK in tonight as we are expecting another stupid freeze! I am getting so sick of this weather, it’s not even funny!



I also brought my rosemary and my Agave plants to the front porch as well. Here you see my rosemary plant. Sadly, I have lost half of the pot, but the other side is going great, surviving the cold VERY well surprisingly! I’m gonna get some more plants and fill the pot back up. Excuse the shoes LOL as I forgot they were on the porch LOL!



Then here is my Agave… or as I joke with my mom… my Tequilla plant LOL! She’s growing great guns, considering she was small when I got her. And now she has at least 4 baby plants as well that I need to separate and repot. The cold seems to have had no effect on that one either. I have some stout plants, let me tell ya! It just makes me more excited to get my gardening underway!

Ok, so as I think about kitties and gardens, and listening to the birds chirping... I’m thinking to nature and as the kids are emptying the milk jugs by eating bowls of cereal, I washed them out. And I’m gonna use them… know how? You can look to Feb. 11th post for a paper milk carton bird feeder, but this time I am using a big plastic gallon jug. Check this out.



Craft Idea of the Day: Milk Jug Bird Feeder

Take a milk jug and cut holes on two sides. Poke holes in bottom for rain drainage, one below each large hole and one on each side of top. Put wire through top holes for hanger and a skewer through side holes for perches. I have painted these and also decoupaged them with fabric. They do very well outside with a finish coat of clear spray paint from Walmart (about a $1 a can.)

Yesterday also was full of kitties! Remember how yesterday, as I sat here writing this blog, I kept hearing the weird noises outside and it turned out to be more baby kitties? Ok so after I was done, we (yes the whole gang LOL) watched kitties all day. Then it hit me! I need a “CAT”-alog of all my outside kitties… and my inside ones too! LOL… so the crazy MEOM I am, I went around taking pictures of all the cats. I made a list of them all, if they have names, etc. I have about 6 more (out of 21… lol not bad) that I need pictures of. I keep records of estimated birthdates, etc… just in case anything happens. Then the coolest thing happened about dusk. I was on the front porch tending to my plants and one of the cats we named R2 came up to me and actually let me pet and play with her! This was ground breaking for the outsiders LOL! She played for about 30 minutes or so… she is a little love hound LOL! When I get all my pictures, I’ll introduce you. Shoot, we still need names for a few of them!

Ok, so its time to munch… but what sounds good? The kids want spaghetti, dad wants steak, and me? Well I think that some Asian Orange Chicken sounds yummy… if my teeth are up for the challenge LOL!



Orange Sauce Chicken

Ingredients

12 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a small bowl beat together eggs and milk. Add 2 cups flour, salt and pepper. Beat all together until smooth. In a shallow dish or plate mix together the breadcrumbs and almonds. Dip chicken in egg batter, then in breadcrumb mixture.

In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter/margarine and saute coated chicken in skillet 8 to 10 minutes. Place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

To Make Sauce: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan mix together the sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon flour. Then stir in the orange juice, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water. Mix all together and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Let boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter/margarine, the orange rind and the lemon rind to the orange sauce and stir together. Remove chicken from oven and pour orange sauce over warm chicken or put in a gravy boat for people to pour themselves. Enjoy!

Okie dokie gang… I am gonna go ahead and get off here and see what kind of craziness I can come up with today! Ya’ll be safe and happy out there and I will meet you back here tomorrow! HUGS!