Friday, January 30, 2009

$25.00 Restaurant Gift Card Winner!

Congratulations so Tamara B. for winning the $25.00 gift card giveaway! There were a whopping 386 entries, so I owe a HUGE thank you to all of you who entered! Make sure to tune in for more great giveaways coming soon!

Tamara B. stated in her entry that her favorite restaurant to eat out at is Olive Garden but they never get to because of their financial funds. I think that's a problem a lot of us our facing now, which is why I was so excited to give this card away, and I know it's going to a good home; to someone who could really use and deserve it. I read every single comment and the common theme seemed to be that everyone loves eating out, but not many people are doing it right now due to jobs, economy, budgets, etc. I hope and pray every day that each of our world's get better and we can start doing more of the things we love, like eating out with our families or significant others and getting a much needed evening away. I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day and this blog finds you with job security and financial peace. Thanks to everyone who reads!

Thanks so much for entering, the winner has until Monday, Feb. 2nd at 3pm to contact me or the next winner will be chosen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just in time for a romantic Valentine's Day!

Ooh, Ooh, Ooh...I am so excited. I love Victoria's Secret but never really get to shop there anymore because they are SO expensive and SO out of my budget. All of their things are extremely beautiful and of great quality. So, I was so happy to stumble across this giveaway:
Win a $50.00 gift card to Victoria's Secret at
Thanks so much for the chance!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Giveaway In Honor of Foodie Friday and Valentine's Day

Hey Everyone!

I am excited to announce another giveaway. This giveaway is to celebrate Foodie Friday and Valentine's Day. What is it, well, it has to do with food and going out to eat.....

I am giving away a $25.00 gift card that is good at four different restaurants. It's one card that can be redeemed at Romano's Macaroni Grill Italian Restaurant, On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, Maggiano's Little Italy Italian Restaurant, or Chili's Grill and Bar!!!

Just in time for Valentine's Day or a much needed night out away from the kids!

How to enter:

1. Gain one entry by commenting on this blog and telling me where you like to eat out.

2. Gain one entry by tweeting this giveaway.

3. Gain two entries by following this blog.

4. Gain two entries by subscribing to this blog.

5. Gain three entries by posting about this giveaway on your blog.

6. Gain an extra bonus entry by doing all of the above.

Make sure to leave comments telling me how you entered and remember to leave contact info. The winner will be chosen my and posted on this blog, as well as e-mailed.

This giveaway will end on Friday, January 30th at noon. That way, I have plenty of time to get the gift card to anyone in the United States by Valentine's Day.
If you got here from there is your link to easily get back!

Good Luck!

Foodie Fridays

Product Reviews:

I have tried a few new things this week that I wanted to share with everyone.

I love goint to Trader Joe's but haven't had too much extra grocery budget money so I have to wait until next month, BUT my mom is temporarily living with us so she has been going to Trader Joe's and buying me things!!!! She's from Kansas City and they don't have Trader Joe's there and there is one on her way home from her new job so she stops there a lot, THANKFULLY!

Anyway, she bought me this Cashew Macadamia Delight Trek Mix. It has Cashews, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Dried Pineapple in it. OH MY GOSH, IT's SO DELICIOUS. I'm sure some people will think I'm crazy when I say this, but I had never had a Macadamia Nut before. They are so good. I'm actually snacking on some while I blog about it! It make a great, healthy snack and you are full for quite some time after you eat it. Great way to curve your mid-morning or afternoon hunger strike!

I've gotten quite a few coupons for the new Orville Redenbacher Natural and Gourmet popcorn. I have tried the Butter variety and it is SO good, it really does taste and smell like movie popcorn, which is funny because I think movie popcorn is the furthest thing from natural. I have one more coupon for $1.50 off one box (great deal) so I plan on trying the lime and salt variety next time. Anyone tried that kind yet?

A product that I can't wait to try is the new Quaker Chewy Granola Bar flavor Chocolate Covered Cherry. I love chocolate and cherry together. I saw the ad in my Cosmo magazine (for which I am receiving 5 free issues) and can't wait to try it. However, it will be awhile because we just recently stocked up on granola bars. Anyone tried those yet?

Please feel free to share any great food products you have tried lately! I'd love to hear about them.

I'm mad at Target, for the first time ever....

Okay, for anyone that knows me or can catch the drift from my business, I love parties, themes, holiday decorations and anything and everything that is associated with the above. It's one thing that I choose to spend my money on and budget for. It's a hobby and a passion.

Valentine's Day is one of my favorites and Target always has the best Valentine candy, decorations, supplies, treats, fun stuff and fun stuff for couples.

Now everyone knows that all stores put up their holiday decorations about three months before the actual holiday, but Target has really been lacking lately. I noticed it when Halloween rolled around and then Christmas and now Valentine's is the worst. I know not everyone thinks Valentine's Day is great, but I do and Target always dedicates a large section of their store to it.

Anyway, I go to Target about once a week and have been waiting and waiting for their stuff to come out.

On Tuesday I arrived thinking it would surely be up, and it wasn't. They had all the shelves empty and lined with pink paper and empty pink and red bins everywhere, the prices were up but no products. I was disappointed but thought, "No big deal, I'll come back Thursday (I'm off work Tuesdays and Thursdays) and it should definitely be up by then."

So, I took my daughter and was so excited, I turned the corner and could see they had hung all the X's, O's, Lips, Hearts, etc. from the ceiling over the section so I thought for sure it would all be up. Well, I got the the section and AGAIN, everything was empty. What a load! I couldn't believe it! All those employees and it's still not up. Valentine's Day is only a few weeks away, what are they thinking?!

I asked an employee and she said things should be finished by Sunday. Why would you taunt us with empty shelves for six days?!

So, I have planned some "ME" time for Sunday to go out there and get some fun stuff. I sure hope it's there!


Wow! I started searching all the mommy blogs today and found a boat load of giveaways. It's all so exciting!

I'm posting some links to some great giveaways here and then will be posting about my next giveaway later today, tune in because it would be great for Valentine's Day!

Mommy giveaways around the town:

You can enter to win a $10.00 Target gift card here

How about a $25.00 Walgreens gift card?! Okay, then check it out here

You can win some great Target products here

You have your choice of a $30.00 Wal-Mart or Old Navy gift card here

And one more chance for a $10.00 Wal-Mart gift card here

Good Luck and let me know if you see any other great giveaways somewhere!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Disappointment all around

Man, was I disappointed this morning.
I was rushing to get my almost one year old daughter ready (who, by the way, is teething and very crabby), feeding all four animals that are currently boarding at our house, drop my daughter off at her grandparents and get to work on time (yeah right!).
So, I got all of that done and then called my husband on the way to work. He gets to work a lot earlier than I do so I always call him to talk as I am driving to work. He had a dentist appointment this morning so I thought I would call to see how his teeth were doing.
Anyway, as we were talking (Oh, and I failed to mention that it is -2 degrees outside without the wind chill) I saw a McDonald's in the distance. I excitedly shouted into the phone, "Oh my gosh, it's Free Latte Friday!" What a perfect time for a free latte: I've already woken up and dealt with a very crabby, teething almost one year old, took care of way too many animals, stopped by the grandparents and braved the freezing cold. What sounds better than a FREE latte?! So, I whipped my car into the parking lot, excited that there was no one else in the drive thru, pulled up, said "I would like a free caramel latte, please!" MMMmmm, we're almost there, free, delicious, peace. This was the response that I got, "I'm sorry, but our lines are frozen so we can't make the lattes, we apologize." WHAT???!!! You've got to be kidding me. Fiddles (that's one of my new words since I am now raising a child that is taking in everything that I am saying).
So, I drive off, knowing that there are no more McDonalds on my way to work. Quite sad, isn't it?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Foodie Fridays!

It's time for another look into the foodie world!

I'm sure a lot of New Year's Resolutions have to do with either getting in shape, losing weight or eating healthier, right?!

Well, I firmly believe that you should never completely give up any type of food that you love. Just know when to indulge and when to cut back. So, first up for Foodie Friday today is a link to a bunch of dessert recipes that have under 300 calories per serving, and taste great!

Now you can have your dessert and eat it too!

Next up?!

My daughter's first birthday is February fourth and the theme is princess, of course, right?!
Well, I found these AMAZING princess themed cookie cutters at Williams Sonoma and wanted to share, just in case someone else is looking. I'm making cookies, as well as finger sandwiches and am going to cut the sandwiches with the cookie cutters!

And now, for the main event!

Baked Macaroni and of my favorite things to make! I just loved the baked, crunch topping, it really makes the dish!

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


Winner of the $15.00 iTunes gift card!

Hey Everyone!

I absolutely loved hosting my very first giveaway and plan to have another one very soon so make sure you keep following, subscribing and tuning in!

Now let's get down to business....CONGRATULATIONS to Terra Jones, winner of the $15.00 iTunes giftcard.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

Monday, January 5, 2009

"Meat-less" Mondays

Oh, Oh, I almost don't know where to start.

I guess we'll go with greeting cards. (The guy pictured above is my version of a Hallmark Executive!) What a market, huh? Someone is enjoying the fruits of our hard labor. I went to Target yesterday and ended up spending $20.00 on greeting cards. That's terrible, especially when I'm trying to save as much money as possible. I was mad when I left the store and actually sat in my card for about ten minutes trying to decide if I should take them all back and make a New Year's Resolution to not buy any cards and that would be another way to save money, and apparently a lot of it.

Well, I went through all of them several times and decided there weren't any that I could part with. Pathetic? Maybe. But I do admit that I love giving and getting cards, I always have. So, what am I complaining about then, right? Well, it just seems crazy that something so small could be so expensive.

Scenario...I am looking at presents to buy my niece/nephew and see a gift that is $20.00 Right now, for our budget, that's a little much for a present. So, I go with the present that is about $16.00 or $17.00 BUT WAIT, then I go and get a card, anywhere between $0.99 and $4.99 Now, I typically wouldn't buy a card that was $4.99 but you never know. So, when it comes down to it I have gotten to or gone over the $20.00 that I thought was too expensive. I could have bought the more expensive present and no card and would be at the same amount. Does a little kid really care if they get a card? Probably not, but don't you feel bad when you don't have one?

List of cards that sucked up my money this weekend:

1. 1st Birthday for my daughter

2. Bridal shower for my best friend

3. Christmas present for Mother-in-Law, money was present, had to have a card to put it in.

4. Birthday for Father-in-Law

4a. Birthday for "Grandpa", from my daughter

5. Birthday for Sister-in-Law

I figured all those occassions needed cards, so I ended up keeping all of them.

Any thoughts?

I know we could make cards and as soon as my daughter is old enought to make her own I plan on having her make cards for everyone. A lot of the time we just don't have the time to make cards. Eleven month olds can keep you really busy and you just have time to grab a card while you're at the store grabbing diapers.

So, how about some "Meat-Less" ideas for greeting cards?!

Now, on to the more positive note, here is a great vegetarian recipe:


So simple, so delicious.

Yes, if you are a vegetarian, or just don't have ground meat in your freezer, you can still enjoy tacos!

1 can kidney beans, drained/rinsed

1 can black beans, drained/rinsed

1 can garbanzo beans, drained/rinsed

1 pkg. taco seasoning (I prefer spicy)

Just follow the directions of the back of the package of taco seasoning, just like the beans were meat!

It works great and is really healthy!

Add taco garnished of your choice!

See, wasn't that so simple?!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Foodie Fridays!

Hey all!

I was in Kansas City for Christmas this year and my Aunt made this salad that was one of the best salads I have ever had. If you love crunchy and vinegary you will love it!

Mandarin Orange Almond Salad

1/2 Head iceberg lettuce

1/2 Head romaine lettuce

2 (8oz) cans mandarin oranges, drained

2 cups sliced celery

2 Tbsp. minched parsley

4 green onions, sliced; including some tops

1 cup slivered almonds


1 t salt

1/4 cup sugar

dash tobasco

dash lemon pepper

1/4 c cider vinegar

1/2 c wesson oil

Wash and prep lettuce. Combine oranges, celery, parsley and green onions: chill. Put sugar in heavy skillet: add the almonds and stir constantly over low heat until caramelized. Turn out on foil: cool and break into small pieces. Combine dressing ingredients: toss and serve.

Enjoy! I can't wait to make it!

ps- some dried cranberries look and taste nice