Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tasty Tuesday . . . Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Here is my version of Chicken Alfredo Pizza. Once again, I am so bad about measuring things so here is my best guestimate.

For the crust I used this recipe. I will copy it here for you. If you don't have a bread machine you can buy one at the Goodwill (like I did for $7.00 or buy another one at a garage sale for $4.00 - it was my brother's garage sale). If you do NOT want to use a bread machine then use the this recipe.

Pizza Hut Style Pizza Dough

1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornmeal
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine, according to manufacturer’s settings, and run dough setting. After the machine beeps, roll out the dough. You can roll the dough into two 9×13″ pizzas (great for kid’s lunches!) or into two medium pizzas or a large pizza and an order of breadsticks (as instructed above). Parbake the crust with a drizzle of olive oil on it at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Remove the crust and add sauce and toppings. If making breadsticks, add your breadsticks at this time. Place into the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes or until golden and bubbly. Enjoy!

The Alfredo sauce is the same one I always make. It is a family favorite. My husband has acid reflux so I cannot do a lot of things with red sauce. This is why we make Alfredo. You can find it here, but I will re-post if for you below:

This is a homemade Alfredo sauce that is easy and delicious. I make it a lot. It's almost as easy as opening a can of store-bought Alfredo sauce. It says not to use Parmesan from a can, but I do. I also use whatever milk I have on hand 1%, skim or 2%. I have used real garlic and garlic salt and it turns out well with both.

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not from a can)
1/2 cup of milk
1 stick of real butter
1 8-oz. package of cream cheese
garlic salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until smooth. I like to melt the butter first then add the cream cheese and milk right after that. It may seem a little clumpy at first, but just use your whisk to stir and it will get smooth. You can also start by sauteing actual garlic in the butter, but I don't always have garlic on hand so I often use garlic salt.

I bake the crust in the oven for about 5 minutes, then I pour the sauce over the crust. I add about 1 to 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken. Then I sprinkle about a cup to 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese and crust are slightly browned.

You may think this sounds like a lot of work - it is not. The sauce and chicken only takes minutes to cook (less than 10) and the crust is being done in a bread machine.

Heidi's note: This pizza is AWESOME!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Money Monday - Living on Beans and Rice for a Week!

Our pastor recently challenged our congregation by saying, "Would you be satisfied if all you had to eat was beans and rice?" The next weekend, I was having a conversation with a woman from our church who mentioned that she would like to take him up on the challenge and only eat beans and rice for a week. Then, coincidentally, Crystal @ MoneySavingMom recently did a post on that very thing. This got me thinking and I did some research on beans and rice menus. If you're interested in trying this out (or if you don't have an option), check out these links:

These first two are actually different, even though they have the same name!

How to Live on Beans and Rice for a Week, Almost (from But First, We Have Coffee)

How to Live on Beans and Rice for a Week -- Well, Almost (from Biblical Womanhood)

Beans and Rice Recipes (from About.com)

I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to take up the challenge simply because I don't like beans...at all. So this would be a big adjustment for me. But I would like to start cooking with beans so I can be a little bit more normal...and perhaps lower our grocery budget even more! Let me know if you plan to take up the challenge!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Worship - We Are Witnessing a Miracle!

Yesterday morning was the funeral for (and celebration of) little Caden Joelle's life. The visitation was somewhat somber (as to be expected), but once the service began, amazingly much of the sadness turned to joy. Our pastor's spoke, of course, but the amazing thing was that Cari and Andy were also able to speak. They shared with those in attendance about Caden's life. They talked about the things she loved, the things she didn't love, and the plans they had made for her. And, as Cari so eloquently put it, we are indeed witnessing a miracle.

It's a miracle that they would be strong enough in the Lord to stand up at their own daughter's funeral and speak about her with happiness in their voices. It was a miracle to see them smiling, laughing, and sharing fond memories of her - their only child who had passed away so suddenly at only 8 months of age. And this morning, I personally witnessed what I thought to be the most amazing miracle of all.

Cari and Andy were in the row next to and in front of us this morning in church. I could not help but continue to glance over at Cari as she poured her heart out in song to her Savior. She was so happy. So content. So peaceful. The joy I see in her and Andy is a miracle that only the Lord can accomplish.

Yesterday during the visitation, as my eyes welled with tears, Cari asked me how I was doing. I whimpered back, "I'm supposed to be asking you that." She responded with, "I'm doing fine. Everyone's praying for me. Who's praying for you?"

At dinner last night, a friend of mine relayed to me Cari's words to her as she went through the visitation line: "It's not fair, Amanda. She's in heaven already."

Every time I have spoken with Cari this weekend, she has thanked me repeatedly for all I have done for them. I'm not even sure that I've done anything, but I am so amazed that she is carrying on an attitude of thankfulness during this time.

I cannot describe to you the faith that has been given to Andy and Cari during this time, but I praise the Lord for fulfilling His promise to never leave us or forsake us. He has comforted them in ways I would never have thought possible. They are so at peace knowing that God wanted little Caden to come home to Him and that His timing is perfect.

Things tend to get harder when all the commotion settles down and the prayers stop flowing incessantly, so please continue to pray for Andy, Cari, and their families. Again, if you wish to leave your condolences, please visit their family blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Today is the Funeral

Today is the funeral for little Caden. Please be in prayer for Andy and Cari, their families, and those coming to the visitation and funeral. Oftentimes when a person dies (and especially when it's an unexpected death), there is a great opportunity for people to come to Christ through witnessesing from the family and friends of the deceased. Pray that God would be glorified through Caden's life and death (as we know He will) and that He would draw the lost to Himself during this time.

If any of you are interested in expressing your sympathies with a card, please email me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

If you have a moment....

I mentioned earlier this week that our friends Andy and Cari suddenly lost their 8-month old baby girl this week. They have a family blog and have requested that people leave comments, prayers, etc. for them. Many of us know the power of prayer and how comforting it is to know that there are multitudes praying for us when we are in need, so if you have just a moment please visit their blog and leave them a comment. I know they would appreciate it! Just mention that you read Heidi and Gretchen's blog.

Thank you.

Foto Friday!

It's here, once again! My favorite blog day of the week! (And very possibly my favorite real day of the week too!) I had my very best photo shoot ever on Sunday and I cannot wait for you to see it. I could not have dreamed of better models!

Angel and AJ go to our church and are the cutest couple on the planet. They are expecting their first baby in less than a month and I was so privileged to be able to do their maternity photos! While maternity photos are *technically* about the mother, we all know how babies happen so I love to include the father too if he wants to participate. The images really took on a romantic feel that was oh-so-cute and I loved every last one of them. There is no possible way that I could choose a favorite, so I will just pick one and plead with you to go look at the rest of them on my photography blog.

These two are STUNNING!


Can you believe that girl is 8 months along?! I know!! Okay, now go look at the rest!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free Ice Cream!!

Tonight, from 5-8pm, Cold Stone Creameries nationwide are offering 1 free 3-oz. serving of ice cream! You can choose from one of two creations:

1. Jack's Creation - Marshmallow ice cream with OREO® Cookies, Chocolate Chips and Fudge

2. Emily's Creation - Nutter Butter® ice cream with White Chocolate Chips, Kit Kat® and Yellow Cake

Donations will be accepted for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. More details here.

And if you love Cold Stone as much as I do, you'll also want to sign up for their birthday club here so you can receive free ice cream on your birthday!

Thankful Thursday

In light of the tragedy that happened this week, we have many, many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for a church family that helps one another in definite times of need. I am also thankful for good friends who you can talk with about many things. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for fellow Christians that pray for people that they don't even know!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tasty Tuesday . . . Chicken and Dumplings


2 lbs. chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in 1” cubes

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, thinly sliced

¼ cup all purpose flour

10 cups prepared chicken broth

2 cups carrots, sliced

1 tsp dried thyme leaves OR ½ tsp ground thyme

For dumplings:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

¾ cup buttermilk

In large soup pot, sauté chicken and onion over medium heat until chicken is browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add celery and sauté. Add ¼ cup flour, then slowly add chicken broth, carrots and thyme, stirring well. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat, simmering for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir occasionally.

While simmering, prepare dumplings by mixing together flour and baking powder. Slowly add buttermilk, stirring well to combine. Can add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Once it is finished simmering, drop dough by the tablespoon-full into chicken stew mixture. Cover again and finish cooking over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until dumplings are fully cooked.

CROCK POT INSTRUCTIONS: In large skillet, sauté chicken and onion over medium heat until chicken is browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add celery and sauté. Add ¼ cup flour and then about a cup of chicken broth, stir well. Allow it to cook for a few minutes and then transfer it to the crock pot along with the rest of the broth and then stir in the carrots and thyme. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Start making the dumplings about 30 minutes before you serve the meal. Prepare dumplings as stated above and drop by spoonfuls into crock pot and allow to cook for about 30 minutes or until dumplings are fully cooked.

Cool then freeze in containers.

On dinner day: Defrost and reheat on the stove over low heat.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Craziness and Prayer Request

I had great aspirations this morning to do about a zillion things, one of which was to put up my Money Monday post. Well....20 lbs of apples, two dinners, three kids, and 50 processed photos later....here I am. Needless to say, life has been a bit crazy around here lately. (You may have noticed the lack of posts.) I am hoping to get back into the routine here soon, but for now I just want to mention a prayer request.

I know many of you are Christians and I want to ask that you would please pray for our friends Andy and Cari. Their 8 month old daughter died suddenly today after a bout with roseolla and some sort of cold or infection. Please pray for them to have peace and comfort during this time and for us, as believers, to encourage them, uphold them, and bathe them in prayer.

I don't have many details but this is especially disconcerting to me since our little Reagan currently has roseolla. She has not run a fever in a few days but I am still keeping a close eye on her.

Thank you all for your patience as I attempt to get my life together this week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Plan Ahead....Or Don't!

Before you get your toga all up in a bunch, let me first say that I do NOT recommend adopting the "planning ahead...or not" lethargic attitude for every aspect of your life. But when it comes to gift-giving, this is pretty much a template for my life!

First of all, are gifts important? Yes and no. Yes, gifts are important in that they show love for another person and a desire to give them something that will please them. God gives us many gifts each day and the greatest gift of all was His Son, so God is clearly the beginning of all gift-giving. On the other hand, no, gifts are not all that necessary. While it is nice to be able to give tangible gifts, sometimes people are just unable to do so due to finances or other circumstances and that's okay too. It's all a matter of the heart.

That being said, let me share with you how I *try* to plan for birthdays and Christmas....

I have four nieces and nephews under the age of four (well, now four and under), three of whom all have birthdays in September. I also have a daugther with a birthday in September. So last weekend, my sister-in-law threw a cake party for all four of the September-birthday kids. Here is what I did for gifts:

I shopped the Old Navy winter clearance sale last January. Lol. Seriously. That's the beauty of having a fall birthday - winter clearance clothes from the previous year! Come on, you know styles don't change THAT much in 9 months!

Nephew #1: An adorable red sweater as well as a hat/mitten set. Total cost: $7.

Nephew #2: A green zip-up sweater (also adorable). Total cost: $5

Neice: The cutest pair of pink pants I've ever seen and a black turtleneck shirt. Total cost: $9.

We didn't actually give our daughter her presents yet since her birthday is on Sunday, but I'll tell you what she's getting. My friend Gretchen (yeah, co-author Gretchen) threw a Fisher Price toys party (like a Pampered Chef party but without all the buying pressure) a few weeks ago. We brought home three toys in gift bags suitable for a baby. Yay for free baby toys and free birthday gifts! She will be opening a little toy train, one of those stackable rings sets, and some other conjoining blocks for her birthday. And what did I fork over for all that? About $5 in gas and a great morning of fun! :)

While I am pretty good at planning ahead for the actual gift, I am NOT so good at planning ahead for what the gift will be given in. Gift bags are so overrated in my opinion. They take up space in my garage and besides, I like wrapping presents! But of course, in today's society, wrapping presents just takes WAYYYYY too much time. (I'll try to refrain from a "today's society" rant.)

The party was on Sunday at 4pm, so at 1pm I went into the garage and found 4 small boxes perfectly suitable for each of the gifts I needed to give. I then pulled a roll of gold paper from my wrapping paper box under our bed. (Yes yes, it is Christmas paper, but hey, birthday paper never goes on sale!!) I grabbed some ribbons from my craft box, a pair of scissors, and some tape and got to work. After about 45 minutes, here is what I came up with:

I was originally going to give a play-by-play for how to wrap shoe boxes (you know, so they can be opened without tearing the paper), but since this post seems to be getting pretty long already, I think I'll save that for next week. :)

So let's sum up....

Gifts for three children (purchased on clearance last year): $21
Wrapping paper (purchased on clearance after Christmas): 50 cents/roll
Boxes to wrap gifts: FREE
TOTAL: Under $21.50

So about $7/child. Not bad, if you ask me! Now let's see what I *could* have spent if I had bought those same things when they were NOT on sale....

Gifts for three children: $54
Three gift bags w/ tissue paper: $6
TOTAL: $60

So $20/child. See what planning ahead (or not!) can do for you?? :)

With Christmas coming (and with birthdays always being "just around the corner"), I want to encourage you to plan ahead and save (either with the gift or the wrapping - or both)!

For more WFMW ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Hobo Dinner

Yesterday we were gone all day apple-picking. (That post will come soon!) When we got home, my husband was pulling in the driveway too. I apologized for not having dinner ready and he said he would just grab a bowl of cereal and we could eat later. That was fine with me since the kids and I had just been to Chick-Fil-A for some free food.

As the kids ran wild, I plopped Reagan in the walker so I could figure out what to make for dinner with the ground beef I had thawed in the refrigerator. I went to AllRecipes to search by ingredients. (I think that is THE BEST way to search EVER! If you haven't ever done it, go try it now! Seriously, stop reading this and go try it.)

I typed in ground beef, potatoes, and carrots (thinking we had no onion). One of the first things on the list was "Hobo Dinner". That sounded pretty intriguing so I clicked on it and found this recipe. Once I opened the fridge, I modified it a bit, so here's what our "Hobo Dinner" recipe looked like:

Hobo Dinner

1 lb ground beef
2 kale leaves
2 pieces of day-old bread
1/4 onion, cut into pieces
1 lb baby carrots, sliced lengthwise into 4 pieces each
4 potatoes, sliced into french fries
seasonings (Mrs. Dash, salt, pepper, and garlic salt)

Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Chop kale in food processor. Chop bread in food processor. Mix with ground beef and seasonings. Shape into patties and put on aluminum foil. Top with cut potato, cut carrots, and cut onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour.

BUT WAIT!!! Our meat did not get done!!! So I ended up throwing it in a frying pan for a few minutes and then topping it with cheese (essentially making a bunless cheeseburger.) Does anyone have any suggestions for varying cooking times/temps to get the meat cooked all the way? The veggies were perfectly done, but the meat....not so much. Suggestions?

Once we got everything cooked, it was a good dinner! (And exceptionally cheap, I might add.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Money Monday . . . Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Today I have invited my cousin, who makes her own cleaning supplies, to do a guest post for today's Money Monday. She is a wife and stay-at-home mom to two adorable girls.

She also has her own blog called
KlutzyMama. You can find it here. Check it out!

Thank you, Gretchen, for inviting me as a guest on your blog. I want to say first that I am not an expert in any way on the subject of homemade cleaners, but this is just what I do and it works very well for our family.

I've been making my own cleaning supplies for a few years and just recently added laundry detergent to the list. I used Gretchen's formula for the laundry detergent and have been very satisfied with it.

I started making my own cleaning supplies kind of reluctantly. I didn't really want to do it, but kind of had to. We were on a VERY tight budget and I had to cut some expenses somewhere, so I decided to give homemade cleaners a try.

I enjoy doing it now and I will never go back to buying expensive cleaners from the stores. There is just no need for it. Our house is clean and it costs very little to make these cleaners and is very easy to do. So if any of you are thinking you might like to try this, but think it wil be complicated, let me assure you that it is very simple.

I don't do complicated. I am not fond of things that require lots of time consuming steps. I buy baking soda and vinegar in bulk at Sam's Club, but I have heard that you can get baking soda cheaply from a grain elevator. I haven't tried that yet, but I will be making a call to our local grain elevator before I buy my next bag of baking soda.

These are the formulas I use, however, you can find many different "recipes" online for cleaning supplies.

All-Purpose Cleaner
4 T. vinegar
2 T. Borax
3 or 4 drops of dish detergent
In 32 oz. spray bottle, pour in vinegar and borax and fill bottle half way with hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved then add dish detergent and fill rest of bottle with water.

In a 32 oz. spray bottle - 1 T. Vinegar, 3 T. ammonia, fill rest with water

Tub Cleaner
I keep a spray bottle filled with straight vinegar. I spray the tub down thoroughly with this. Then I sprinkle baking soda on it. (I keep the baking soda in one of those parmesan cheese bottles with the holes in the top - great for sprinkling!) Then I just scrub it down with my sponge and rinse. This is great at removing those tough tub rings. Yes, the vinegar does stink, but it dissipates in a few minutes after rinsing.

Toilet Cleaner - I use the Flylady (http://www.flylady.com) system to clean my house. This calls for swishing out your toilet bowl every day, so I just keep some of the All-Purpose cleaner listed above in the toilet brush holder. My toilet stays clean (as I am swishing it every morning) and I just replace the cleaner about once a week.

Furniture Polish
I'm not real fond of this concoction, but I haven't taken the time to find a new one yet. It does work. I just don't like the oily residue from the olive oil.
3 parts vinegar and 1 part olive oil in spray bottle. You can add a few drops of lemon oil to help knock out the vinegar smell.

Fabric Softener
1/2 Cup of vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser. Your clothes are softened and they do not smell like vinegar at all, just fresh and clean.

To remove sweat stains from Whites: (This works best if you pre-treat the area as soon as you notice it and before washing) I keep this in a spray bottle with my other laundry supplies - 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle.

I do still use a Swiffer to mop my floors. I haven't tried any kind of homemade floor cleaner...YET.
I take a permanent marker and write the formula for the cleaner on the outside of the bottle. That way when I run out, I can see exactly what I need to do to make a new batch and do it right away instead of putting it off until I can find time to look up the formula.

That's about it. I don't have a million different types of cleaners. You know, like "kitchen cleaner" and "bath cleaner", etc. I pretty much use the all-purpose cleaner for everything - cleaning sinks, counters, the dining room table, etc. I keep a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of the all-purpose cleaner under the sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Making my own cleaners has worked out very well for me and has saved me a bundle. I hope it will be helpful to you as well!

Deals of the week, September 14

Below are links to those who have put together deals and deal scenarios for your shopping pleasure this week. Check them out!

Meijer (coming soon)
Target (coming soon)

Grocery Gathering Weekly deals for this week.

Meijer Mealbox coupons
Kroger online coupons
Target coupons

This isn't a deal (well, it might be if you shop there), but Aldi has a meal planning site. Check it out here if you are interested or if you happen to shop there.

Friday, September 12, 2008

***NEW!!! You can now subscribe!!!***

After months of people asking how to subscribe to this blog and me having no idea how to do put up a feed, Blogger has finally made things so much easier for me by adding a "Subscribe" gadget. So I'm happy to announce that, for those of you who knew not how to add this blog to your reading list before, there is now an easy solution! Just click on "Posts" or "All Comments" on the top right hand size of your screen under "Subscribe to this Blog!".

Yay for simplicity!

Foto Friday!

This week has been insanely busy, which is why you haven't really heard from me. My "to do" list yesterday literally had dozens of things on it. I think I accomplished about 3/4 of it, which I'm pretty happy about but I still have lots left to do.

Anyway, here's my favorite photo from this week...


I know I'm biased because she's my daughter, but good grief, this girl is beautiful! To see more images from the past week, you can visit my photography blog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tasty Tuesday . . . Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes (that's a mouth full!)

1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup of buttermilk*
1 T. sugar*
2 T. vegetable oil*
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries (or berries of your choice)

1. In a medium bowl, beat egg with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. Heat pan to medium-high heat for first few pancakes, then turn down to medium once you have done a few. Grease pan (or griddle) with oil.

For each pancake, use slightly less than 1/4 cup of batter. I made mini pancakes so I used about an 1/8th of a cup for each pancake. Cook pancakes until it bubbles on top, puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook other side until golden brown.

Regular pancakes: Substitute 3/4 cup milk for the 1 cup buttermilk. Increase baking powder to 3 teaspoon. Omit baking soda.

*For healthier options, use Rapadura instead of sugar and use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

I tripled this recipe and froze most of the pancakes for later in the month. I layed them on a cookies sheet (2 actually) and flash froze and then put them in a Ziplock bag after they were frozen.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Money Monday - An Easy, Fun Way to Make Some Extra Cash!

A friend of mine introduced me to an up-and-coming site called ChaCha. You may have heard of them. They are a texting service that answers any question you may have. The company has been around for a few years, but it made it's debut at the Sundance Festival in January and has really picked up speed since then!

So how does the making money part work? Well, here's the deal...

You can sign up to be a ChaCha guide (someone who answers the questions asked) and you get paid per question (10-20 cents). Sounds easy, right? Well, it IS easy! And fun! I can't believe how much I've learned already!

There is a somewhat lengthy "interview" process (about 2 hours total over a few days), but from all I can tell they don't really turn anyone down unless they are a complete dud. I mean, you can take the test as many times as you want until you succeed. Sounds like a no-fail plan to me!


If you want to give this a try, PLEASE put down my email address (fluud7@yahoo.com) on the sign-up page under your referral. I will earn 10% of everything you make! Well, I mean....you will make the regular amount but I'll make an additional 10%. And everyone you refer will earn you an additional 10%! Good deal, right? I know!

My friend who referred me said that she does this for 1-2 hours each evening. Last month, she made $500! I am excited to see how quickly my earnings add up!

Now, I don't want to sound like some gimmick TV show here. There is work involved. You must have a working knowledge of internet search engines. You must answer each question in less than 10 minutes. But if it's time you're going to spend at the computer anyway, why not give it a try?

If you're interested, click here to fill out an application to become a guide. And remember....I would really appreciate it if you put down my email address (fluud7@yahoo.com) under your referral. :)

Deals for the Week of September 7th

We're not here to reinvent the wheel, so below are links to those who have put together deals and deal scenarios for your shopping pleasure this week. Check them out!

Grocery Gathering Weekly deals for this week.

Meijer Mealbox coupons
Kroger online coupons
Target coupons

This isn't a deal (well, it might be if you shop there), but Aldi has a meal planning site. Check it out here if you are interested or if you happen to shop there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Foto Friday!

Sometimes I have struggles. Today my struggle revolves around which image to put up for Foto Friday. (I know, my life is SOOO tough.) I shot two weddings last weekend and both produced some amazing pictures! I've decided that, since there were two weddings, I should be allowed two photos this week, right? Right. I'm glad you agree.

Alright, so here is one from Friday's wedding:


And here is one from Saturday's wedding:


But like I said, I loved so many of them so please go check out the rest on my photography blog! Both of these weddings were just beautiful!

A small FYI: Although it wasn't one of my favorites, Gretchen really wants you to check out the butterfly picture. How's that, Gretchen? :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Review: FindSavings.com

I have always wanted to do an online review for my readers and now the time has finally come! Last week, I was asked to do a review for the website FindSavings.com. I jumped at the opportunity! However, when I realized it was an online coupon code site my heart sunk a bit. I don't do a lot of online shopping. Actually, that's probably an understatement. With the exception of my occasional E-bay purchase, it's VERY rare that I purchase anything online. But I delved in anyway, and here's what I found:

This website is extremely well put-together. I have been to other coupon code sites in the past and have gotten frustrated with the lack of organization. However, FindSavings.com is VERY organized - by far the most organized site I've visited for coupon codes.

As I began skimming through the pages and pages of codes, I was very impressed with the wide variety of stores listed. Oftentimes I have visited a coupon code site only to find that they have codes for only a few select stores in a certain category (only apparel, for example). But FindSavings.com is not like the others. They have 21 categories of stores including baby and family, computer software, jewelry, office supplies, travel and leisure, and more!

If you don't want to try to decipher which category a specific store is in, you have the option of searching for a store by using the search bar or by visiting the store directory. Even I, a self-proclaimed non-online shopper, was interested to find that stores such as Old Navy, Family Christian Stores, and GoDaddy.com (all stores I currently use) were listed.

In addition to sifting through the thousands of codes categorically by store or specifically by store, you can also choose to search other categories of codes such as expiring coupons, popular coupons, new coupons or by those that offer rebates or free shipping. Mixed in with the coupon codes for online purchases are direct links to store sales, blowouts, clearances, bargains, and hot products! (And you can search for these sales individually as well!)

If you plan to visit FindSavings.com regularly, there is also a blog which is updated daily with the latest codes and reminders about codes which are about to expire. Basically, this website scours the deals online every day so you don't have to!

If you do any sort of online shopping, I highly recommend you check out FindSavings.com before making your next purchase. Who knows how much money you could save?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday . . . Hiding Veggies in Food

Hiding veggies in everyday food, how do you do it? I have the book The Sneaky Chef. I have experimented and tried different things, but it doesn't seem to completely work. I hid some butternut squash in our mac n cheese and my husband was not thrilled (to say the least). So my dilemma is, how to you hide your veggies in your food so that your kids cannot tell?

For more problem solving Works-for-me-Wednesdays, please visit Rocks in My Dryer.


Tasty Tuesday . . . Really Easy Breakfast Casserole

This recipe can be frozen and it can also be made the night before. I usually make it the night before when I have company that spend the night. We can get up in the morning and just bake it. It is really easy and really good.

6-8 slices of bread
1 lb. of sausage, cooked and drained (you can substitue bacon or veggies)
1 dozen eggs
8 - 12 oz. grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Spray casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Layer bread in the bottom of pan. Sprinkle the bread with sausage or bacon or veggies. Pour beaten eggs over sausage. Sprinkle cheese over eggs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This recipe is from the Mt. Comfort Bible Church (Springfield, MO) cookbook. Recipe submitted by Joyce Highfill.