Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Deals - 12/30/10

**Updated Friday, 12/31!**

1. Take an extra 20% off at Kohl's with this coupon.  Expires Jan. 1, 2011

2. Buy one Kikkoman Soy Sauce, get one FREE with this coupon!

3. Free Junior Shake at Arby's with this coupon.  Expires Jan. 2, 2011

4. FREE sample of Emergen-C Blue here.  Support your immune system! :)

5. 10 more Pampers Gifts to Grow points with code CONGRATS2NEWMOM

6. Sign up for another FREE sample of Purina ONE dog or cat food here.  Scroll over to tab #3 and click the button!

7. FREE sample of Hearos Ear Plugs here - choose from three different ones. After signing up, you will need to click on a confirmation link that will be e-mailed to you.

8.  With tax season coming up, you can get the H&R Blocik software at Target for about $24.99 after gift cards and coupons.  This week, Target is offering a $10 gift card with the purchase of the software, and you can also get a $10 off coupon here {click on electronics tab!}.

9.  Through January 9th, get 99 prints for 99 cents at Snapfish with promo code 2011PENNY!

4 months

I can't believe Owen is already 4 months old! He learned how to stick out his tongue this month and loves doing that. He's showing all kind of interest in sitting up and no interest in rolling over. Oh, and his sleeping has gone considerably backward, so we're working on figuring that out. I sure miss sleeping all night long. He had us spoiled! Happy 4 months little guy!


**Update 1/5/11**
At his 4 month appt., he was 15 lb, 15 oz and 27 inches long!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Elfin

I like to do this every year, and it never ever gets old! Ever!






Here's Isaac's fave:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Icicled

We're slowly being icicled into our house.  We've actually broken them off a few times already, but at this point, I'm just curious to see how big they'll get.  We'll just use the side door for the time being.



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours,  
wishes for a very safe and merry holiday season!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Deals - 12/23/10

1. Haven't seen those Gifts to Grow points in awhile, but here you go Pampers fans {even if you don't have a kid in diapers, you should just sign up for an account, and build up FREE points to get great prizes.  I just cashed in a small portion of my points for this!}!  10 more points each with codes GTGWELCOME10PTS and NEWWIPESPACKAGE

2. FREE sample of Arm and Hammer Toothpaste, they'll send you a confirmation e-mail and you'll have to click the link inside the e-mail to verify it and get the sample.  Copy and paste: http://tryarmandhammer.com/

3. Sign up here to get a coupon in the mail for a FREE bottle of Excedrin {up to $5.99 value}.  Quantities are limited, so hurry.  I got mine! :)

4. Print this coupon for 30% off any one item at Old Navy through 12/24. 

5. Get your FREE cup of Yoplait yogurt here 

6.  Bath and Body works is offering a FREE lip item {up to $8 value} with any purchase using this coupon, or promo code ANYLIP.  I'm a fan of the Bigelow Menthe Lip Shine!

7.  Buy one, get one FREE movie tickets through Fandango.  You can only use it once per e-mail address, so if you have more than one, take advantage of it.  You can select movie dates beyond the expiration date of this offer {12/26}.  Use promo code SAMSUNGTAB.


8.  Ever wanted to try Green Nutrition?  Get a FREE sample of Green Magma bars here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bibs

I have a love-hate relationship with bibs.  I never had to worry about it with Isaac because he never wanted to wear them.  Owen, however, needs them.  He'll drench his outfit within an hour without one.

I like: that they keep him dry, that they're a built in burp cloth because I'm always forgetting to pack one, and that they come in different varieties.

I don't like: the fact that I feel they ruin the look of cute outfits {know where I can find some cute ones?}, and that - no matter what - Owen flips them up over his head, and then gets mad.  See what I mean? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sophie?

I think this is our dog.  I picked her up yesterday after her haircut, and she looked like this.  Yeeee, she looks ridiculous.  I think her last cut {from the same place!} was much better!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wok-ed

Isaac had a little run in with our wok as Blake pulled it out of the cupboard this evening.  After finally getting the bleeding to stop {and a little consultation with my Dr. friend, Abby!}, it was obvious he needed to go to the hospital.  Four stitches, some tears, screams {"Daddy, come get me!  I'll be a good boy!"}, and a bunch of cookies and candy later, he's fine for now.  But,  he's going to have quite the week:  stitches tonight, having the mole on his foot checked out on Wednesday {guessing they'll remove it...again.}, stitches out on Saturday.  It's a good thing it's Christmas.  All of the presents, cookies, and candy should keep him distracted!

Before
 After

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holidays and friends

You know, I really need to appreciate my friends more year-round.  Here are two recent reasons why:

1.  They make me laugh, all the time.  And then they send me Christmas cards like this. Hilarious.  Love it Jen! 


2.  They read my blog and bring over Peppermint Bark using the recipe I posted.  And, it was super delicious!   Thanks Amanda!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Clever gift wrap

I saw this clever way to wrap a small present and knew I wanted to try it ASAP.  I had one small gift in particular, that I just could not find the right sized box for.  This worked just perfectly.


Instructions:
1. Find a canned good with the pop top/pull tab opening feature
2. Open the bottom of the can with a can opener and empty the contents {eat what's in it!}.  Do not cut the bottom off entirely.
3. Wash and dry the inside of the can; remove label
4. Measure and cut wrapping paper the size of the can.  Wrap around and secure with tape or glue.
5. Nestle your small gift inside - you can also add filler like confetti or candies
6.  Close the bottom and seal by using a hot glue gun around the open edge
7.  Decorate
8.  Watch your recipient open!  How fun! :)

Some small gift ideas:  gift cards, certificates, gloves, nail polish, socks, mini lotions, money, jewelry

Friday, December 17, 2010

Granola bites

I suck at making granola.  For real.  My older sister gave me a great recipe, but I always end up burning it because I get distracted with the kiddos and forget to stir it at just the right moment.  Or, my timer is beeping at me, but I'm changing a diaper, and that extra minute is just too much for the finicky granola!

Then, I found this recipe.  Super easy, and I love that it packs an extra nutritional punch with the flax seed and wheat germ.  You'd never know it was in there watching Isaac gobble these goodies up!  Mine turned out a little more brown {though not burned!} than it probably should have, so I'll just knock a couple minutes off the bake time next time.  I'm guessing it's because I used a mini muffin pan instead of the silicone cups.  You can also make granola bars using the same recipe, but it just seemed like a little too much extra for me at the time.  I might give them a go eventually.

Granola Bites

Ingredients:
2 1/2 C. quick oats
1/2 C. crisp rice cereal
1/2 C. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips {I used reg. chips because I didn't have the mini!}
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. canola oil
1/4 C. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
* optional: ground flax seed and/or wheat germ {I use 3 heaping Tbs. or so of each}.

Directions:
Mix all ingredients {except for the chocolate chips} really, really, really well. Start with a spoon, finish with your hands. Make sure everything is really blended. If your mixture seems dry after mixing then you may need to add a little more oil and/or honey - a teaspoon at a time - until it starts to clump up a little.  Then, stir in chocolate chips.

Holding the mini muffin cups, scoop the granola mixture in and form the mound compactly. I use a rounded tablespoon to help form them, a small cookie scoop would work too. You need to use both hands to press the granola and support the muffin cup at the same time. Line them up on a baking sheet to place in the oven.  Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden.

**If you use a mini muffin pan, make sure you grease/spray the pan before adding the granola.  I used the spoon idea to help compact the granola into them.  I'd say cook them for 8-10 minutes in the mini muffin pan.  Once they cool, they pop out really easily with a butter knife.

Thursday Deals - 12/16/10

Sorry for the late post. I was working on my Christmas cards last night, so didn't get around to finishing these. :)

1. Don't forget to pick up your FREE sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion here.  I swear by the clinical therapy stuff - especially in the winter!

2. Dec. 17 -19, print this coupon and take it to Bath and Body Works for your FREE 2 oz Island Escape Lotion.  No purchase required.

3. FREE Cini-sopapilla bites at Taco John's with the purchase of Nachos Navidad.  Print your coupon here.  Expires 12/28.

4.  FREE Turnover with any combo purchase at Arby's with this coupon. Expires 12/20.

5. 25% off your entire purchase at T.G.I.Fridays with this coupon.  Expires 12/27.

6. Wal-Mart is having an in-store event starting tonight, 12/17 at 9 p.m.  You can get a Nintendo Wii for $199 with a $75 gift card.  If you're in the market for one, this is a steal!

7. Dang!  Isaac would love this Schwinn Roadster Tricycle for only $34.99 + FREE Shipping at Amazon.  It's marked down from $89.99.  I don't know how long this will last, so snatch it up!

8. Save $5 on any two dinner entrees at the Olive Garden.  Get your coupon here.  Epires 1/23/11.

9.  Don't forget, today is also FREE SHIPPING FRIDAY!   Details here.  Thanks Jen!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cutie

I think Owen has had enough of this paparazzi mama.  Really mom?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas cheer

Every year, I take my choir caroling at one of the assisted living centers around here.  The folks there really appreciate the live holiday music and it always puts me in a good mood.  This year, one of my choir members has a spouse who has been ill and hospitalized for 80+ days.  At her request, we also stopped at the hospital to sing a few carols in her husbands room.  His face lit up with joy, and as we finished she said to him, "Merry Christmas Honey."  That was my favorite part of the whole evening. 

Peppermint Bark

What's all the hoopla around peppermint bark?  I've never had the stuff, but they sure charge a pretty penny for it at Williams-Sonoma {that's their bark below, and FREE shipping!}.  I'd like to try it, so I went and found a recipe on the internet, and I do really like the festiveness of it.  One of my favorite parts about the Christmas Season is all the goodies involved, but I'm quickly running out of time to make it all.  Can someone please make this and send it to me? :)  Pretty please?


Peppermint Bark

12 oz chocolate chips
1 pound white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup peppermint candy, crushed

Preheat oven to 250. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting it hang over the sides. Spray foil. Pour the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until almost melted. Remove from oven, smooth with an offset spatula or knife. Place in refrigerator until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.

Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bottom of bowl touch water), until chocolate is almost melted. You can use your microwave for this if you’re brave! Remove bowl from water and stir until completely melted, stirring in extract. Let cool a little bit so it doesn’t melt the chocolate layer when you pour it on top. Pour this over chocolate layer, and, working quickly, spread to cover. Sprinkle with crushed candy.

Chill until both layers are firm. Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy. Trim edges. Cut into 2” wide strips. Peel bark from foil and cut each strip as desired. Chill in covered container. Makes about 2 pounds.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two things

It's amazing the little things you can learn from children.  Here are a couple recent ones for me.

1.  Eat slower.  Enjoy the little things.  Isaac made this donut hole last forever, savoring every last bite.



2.  Rest.  Be at peace. Slow down.   I could watch either of my boys sleep forever.  So peaceful.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sopie is such a freak

Meet Sophie. She's not new to the family {you've probably seen her traipsing around in the background in many of my pictures}. She's been around for 7.5 years, but I feel the need to dedicate a post to her because, while she can sometimes get on my nerves, she really has adapted to life with the two boys in the house very well, and over the course of her life, she has become less of a child to us and more of just your regular old dog.  She really is a very good dog.  God bless her.


She loves: Staring, having her belly or ears scratched, sleeping {on her back, in her bed, on the couch {tsk, tsk}, on piles of laundry, or wherever else she generally feels comfortable}, eating, treats, chewing on rawhides {preferably ones that have already been chewed by some other dog}, barking whenever she thinks someone is outside of our house, panting like crazy when we get home {to the point that it is annoying!}, following Isaac around in the hopes that he'll drop some food for her, running toward Owen whenever she hears a burp because she thinks that spit-up will follow {it's totally gross, but she did it with Isaac too...I can't make her stop!}, performing her tricks, walks, being overly friendly to dogs she doesn't know {or dogs she does know for that matter.  Really, she kind of acts like an idiot sometimes!}, playing hide and seek games {go see mama, go see daddy}, and a nice car ride.

She hates: being groomed, having her nails clipped, watching us leave the house, and having us tell her she has to wait an additional 30 minutes to eat because, "Sophie, it's too early!" or that she can't lick up all that food Isaac is spilling/throwing at the dinner table.

Here she is, staring longingly at something Isaac dropped on the floor.

P.S.  Jen, this post was practically made for you!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rub a dub dub, snowman in the bathtub

What do you do when your two year old wants to play in the snow, but you're busy with a baby, and the wind is nasty?  Bring it indoors!  We packed up some snow in a little ice cream bucket, and let Isaac play with it in the tub.  Next time though, I'll remember to put on his mittens {his hands were FREEZING when he was done}, and slip some shoes on his feet so his socks don't get soaked.  Clearly, I was just so excited about my brilliant solution to his begging to play in the snow that I just discarded all practical thoughts about what it actually takes to play in it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Piano

I love the look of pure joy on Isaac's face.  He's just soooo excited about our piano.  Too bad I know it's not going to stick around when he's actually taking piano lessons down the road and I'm making him practice! :)

Rare Friday deals

In the spirit of the Christmas Season, I found some great deals I really want to share, just in case you see something you can snag!  How are you doing on your Christmas shopping?

1. Walmart is offering an awesome deal on Legos right now.  Buy a Lego Duplo Bricks and More Bricks box for $29, and you'll get a bonus $20 eGift Card!  Plus, Site to Store shipping is always FREE.  I wish I wasn't already done shopping for Isaac.  He loves his Legos!

2. Remember yesterday's deal from SeeHere of 60 photo cards for $4.80 + tax using code 50cards?  Well, now they're offering FREE overnight shipping! Expires Dec. 12.   I totally took advantage of that card offer, but missed out on the overnight shipping deal. Bummer. 

3. Snapfish is offering 50 FREE 4x6 prints + FREE shipping for EXISTING customers.  Just make sure you have at least 50 prints in your cart, and enter coupon code HPINK50.

4. Send your little ones or someone you know a personalized phone call from Santa!  Get started here.  Hilarious!

5.  Getting something at Staples?  Take along this coupon to get 15% off your purchase!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Deals 12/9/10

1. Score a FREE travel version of Hungry Hippos at Target or the Pictureka card game at Walmart {$4.99} with this printable $5 off one Hasbro game coupon!

2. FREE sample of Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff shampoo here.

3. Have you gotten your Christmas cards yet? If you're in the market for photo cards, you can get 60 of them for only $4.90 SHIPPED from SeeHere. Use promo code 50cards! Offer expires Dec. 12.

4. Get your FREE sample of Dream Water at Wal-mart by signing up here. Interesting....not sure if I really trust this. What do you think? Has anyone tried it?

5. Get $10 off a $10+ purchase at Bath and Body Works with promo code F102785. You'll still have to pay shipping though.

6. Sign up for another FREE sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue lotion here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't mess with the 2 year old

Kix cereal recently changed the size of their little corn puffed balls. They are smaller. I think supposed to be a little more toddler friendly. As an adult, I honestly didn't really notice the difference because they still taste the same. Isaac, on the other hand, now wants NOTHING to do with Kix. He'll put them in his mouth and spit them out. He'll say, "Isaac wants big Kix." Much to our chagrin, the old style Kix were no longer available. I called General Mills to give them Isaac's feedback. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like the old Kix are going to come back {but maybe in a few months, Isaac will have forgotten about that original sized Kix anyway}, but they sent me a nice letter and a couple of awesome coupons. FREE box of cereal {up to a $6.00 value!}, and $1 off any General Mills product. Two thumbs up for GM customer service!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baked Spaghetti

I don't know what it is about spaghetti, but whenever I make just a regular old spaghetti, I taste it all day and all night. I do enjoy it, but I'd like to limit the enjoyment to just the span of time that I'm actually eating it.

Enter this baked spaghetti recipe {in the local school's cookbook}. I think perhaps the cream of mushroom soup and the cheddar cheese help neutralize the acidity of the tomato based sauce. That's just my hypothesis. Either way, it's delicious, and I love the way it just melts in my mouth.

Since it makes such a large amount, I usually end up freezing 2 extra family meals worth, and then just defrosting and popping in the oven for about 25 minutes for a quick meal when we need it.

Baked Spaghetti

1 lb. hamburger {I've used ground turkey as well!}
12 oz. spaghetti
1 (26 1/2 oz.) can spaghetti sauce {or make your own!}
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

Brown hamburger, drain. Combine with spaghetti sauce. Cook and drain spaghetti. Place 1/2 of spaghetti in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Top with 1/2 spaghetti sauce mixture. Sprinkle with 1 c. cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. Mix soup and water until smooth and pour over casserole. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

*Sorry I forgot to grab a picture!*

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Admiring

My parents bought a new camera. Over Thanksgiving, my sister, Jen, went crazy photographing things, and took this picture. I like it. I want to go back to Taiwan.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snow!

I miss being a kid. Snow was so much fun then. I'm tainted as an adult. Having to drive in and shovel the snow has basically ruined it for me. I do love to watch Isaac play in it though, and having him around has forced me to get back out and remember how much fun snow can be. That being said, I always think the first real snowfall of any year is just so beautiful. This year's first snowfall was 6 inches! Check out my bundled up boys:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Deals 12/2/10

Happy December {Can't believe it!}!

1. Print this coupon for $5 off a $5 or more purchase at Hallmark Stores. I think you can print it twice for use in two separate transactions, but you'll need to a Gold Crown Member to use it. Not a member? Never fear, sign up here for free! Great deal!

2. Want to try Wendy's new natural cut fries with sea salt? Print this coupon for some FREE fries. No purchase necessary!

3. For the 25 days leading up to Christmas, Amazon is offering a FREE DOWNLOAD each day of holiday songs. Check them out here.

4. Need a new printer? Walmart has the HP Deskjet 1050 on sale for $27 + FREE shipping to home. Check it out here. Sweet deal for me because I actually do need a new printer.

5. Gifts to Grow points! Get 10 more with code DEC2010FACEBOOK

6. Download the Veggie Tales Incredible Singing Christmas Album for FREE from Amazon.

7. Old Navy is offering their swanky tanks for just $5 in store only this Saturday, 12/4. Take in this 30% off one item coupon, and you get one for just $3.50!

8. Get one FREE individually wrapped Greenies Dental Chew for your dog, here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

3 Months

Our little Donut is three months old today! He's growing well, sleeping even better {generally 8:30 p.m. - 5:00 a.m.}, and is just an all-around good baby. He's been spending a lot of time sticking out his tongue and attempting to roll over, but so far he's only managed to master the belly rock.

Happy Three Months Owen! We love you!

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Still scowling!
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Do you ever feel like your life is in fast forward and you can't stop it? I sure do!

Undercover Mama Winner!

Danielle! Congrats! I have sent you an e-mail with details on how to claim your prize. I know you're going to love it!

Thanks to random.org for choosing the winner.


Stay tuned for future giveaways! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Lists

My Christmas list this year seems pretty typical, even if it does get a little ridiculous near the end:

Knife set
Cutting boards
Paring knives
Fashion scarves
DSLR Camera
Table Saw
Not the traditional, fancy wood shop kind. This one. Now there's a conversation starter and a reason to bake a ton of cakes! Want!





Sunday, November 28, 2010

Photo booth

If I could re-do my wedding festivities, I would totally have a photo booth. I'd seen them around the blogosphere for special events but never anticipated seeing one at any event I would go to {apparently, I think my parties aren't as cool as those other parties!}. Well, what do you know - our friends had one at their wedding this weekend. What was especially sweet was that it printed two sets of our photos. One for us to keep, and the other went straight into a scrap book for us to personalize for the newlyweds. How sweet!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hug me pillow

Ok. This is seriously a Black Friday Deal at Overstock {I found it purely by accident!}. It has a rating of 4.7/5 from 100 reviews! I read some of the reviews, and I guess it really is a great pillow, but don't you think it looks a little creepy? Tell me in the poll to the right: Creepy, cool, or both?


Did you get any good Black Friday deals?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday Deals - 11/25/10

Happy Thanksgiving! Are you going shopping on Black Friday? What about Cyber Monday? I'm staying away from the stores tomorrow, but hoping to scope out a deal or two on Monday!

1. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a FREE Undercover Mama here. What's a better deal than a possible FREE shirt?

2. Get a FREE sample of Starbucks Natural Fusions coffee here.

3. FREE sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion here.

4. FREE item with any $10 purchase at Bath and Body Works {up to $13 value} with this coupon or online with coupon code FREE4U. Expires 12/24/10.

5. Gifts to Grow points! Get 10 more with code GIVETHANKS10PTS and 5 more with code NOVEMBERTHANKS5.

6. FREE Purina One SmartBlend dog or cat food sample here - this one's from Target. The last one I posted was from Wal-mart. Sophie is LOOOVING all of the free dog foods and treats that keep arriving at our door! :)

7. I already own Beauty and the Beast from the first time it was released on DVD, but if you don't own it, and you're going to go out and buy it, make sure you take these coupons with buy it for around $10: $10 off one DVD combo or blue-ray Beauty and the Beast; $5 off Target movie coupon - find it under the electronics tab!} If you're feeling really ambitious, you could use this $5 off Beauty and the Beast rebate when you purchase 3 Campbell's products combined with this $5 off Beauty and the Beast Western Bagel rebate to make your movie FREE or nearly FREE after rebates.

8. If you live by a CVS Minute Clinic - print this coupon and go get your FREE pack of sanitizing wipes!

Happy Thanksgiving

Our littlest member sending you the warmest Thanksgiving wishes:



Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{CLOSED} Giveaway - Undercover Mama!

The ladies over at Undercover Mama have so graciously offered to give one of my readers a FREE Undercover Mama! For those of you that missed my "must needs" for a new mommy post, I'm a huge fan of these shirts. They hook right onto your bra to turn all of your shirts into nursing shirts. Talk about a great way to save yourself some $$! Especially since your average nursing shirt is around $30-40. They are available in four different colors and are a perfect gift for new mamas, mamas to be {I think this would even work nicely as a maternity cami because there's enough length to it!}, been-there-done-that mamas, or even your regular girl wanting a simple, no hassle camisole. Christmas is coming up! So, treat yourself or someone you know!


I cannot say enough about my Undercover Mamas. I've been wearing them pretty much every day since I purchased them. They are beautiful. They give me confidence when I have to nurse in public because I don't feel like all of my skin is hanging out. I don't feel like I need to wear a cardigan or something to help cover that skin, and my Undercover Mamas keep me warm as the temperature drops. I wish I had discovered these as a first-time mom with Isaac. Developing a nursing relationship is hard enough as it is. It would have saved me a lot of time to have one of these rather than trying to learn to keep a blanket over the baby's head and around my torso. I would have been a lot warmer through the winter too! I love mine so much, I'll probably wear them with my regular bras even when I'm finished nursing Owen.

Here's a shot of my Undercover Mama in {posed} action {Jennifer, I know, Sophie is such a freak!}.


Now that I've told you just how great they are, here's the nitty gritty details: This giveaway will close on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. CST. I {ahem...random.org} will randomly select a winner, who will be announced here on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. I'll also send the winner an e-mail with details on how to claim your prize, so make sure you include an e-mail address in at least one entry so that I can reach you. There are four ways for you to enter {you can do all four for FOUR chances to win!} but you must leave a separate comment for each:

1. Leave a comment telling me why you want an Undercover Mama, or who you want to win one for.

2. Like Undercover Mama on Facebook {here} and leave a compliment on their wall!

3. Follow Undercover Mama on Twitter {here} and tweet them. :)

4. Follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know that you are a follower!

Super excited about this! Good luck readers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Layered Pumpkin Loaf

This was a yummy little snack {pretty decent nutritionally too!}. It reminded me of a less-sweet version of the traditional pumpkin bars. The only thing I'd do differently next time is to make sure that I bake it a little longer. The center of the loaf {you can see in the pic} was clearly not baked. Then again, when the timer beeped, I let Blake check it since I was feeding our littlest member his dinner. He's sort of an amateur baker. The loaf came out a bit too soon. But, at least he tried!

The husband rating: No grade. Instead he said, "I'd rather have a real pumpkin bar." Nice.

My mom, however, thought it was very delicious and even asked for the recipe.


Layered Pumpkin Loaf


1 cup canned pumpkin {I actually used a whole can for more pumpkin flavor}
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 egg whites, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel Cheese, softened

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX pumpkin, 1 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 3 egg whites, milk and oil in large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, spice and salt; stir just until moistened. Beat Neufchatel cheese, remaining granulated sugar and remaining egg white with whisk until well blended.

SPOON half of pumpkin batter into greased 9x5-inch nonstick loaf pan; cover with layers of Neufchatel mixture and remaining pumpkin batter.

BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen bread from sides of pan; cool in pan 10 min. Remove bread from pan to wire rack; cool completely.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Small kitchen

I'm still adjusting to a smaller kitchen. I always feel like my counters are completely cluttered {worse than in my other kitchen: mail, recycling, dirty non-dishwasherable dishes, clean dishes set out to dry, wire microwave oven rack that I don't use.....blah!} and I hate that I have to crawl into the back of my cabinets. Oh, and that corner cabinet between the stove and dishwasher? It doesn't even open all the way because of the way the kitchen is organized, which makes storing things in the back of that one a complete pain! I really need something to organize it all, or some sort of system that would help me keep it decluttered with two little kids around. I still want this grass drying rack, so at least then I'd have a place for the clean drying dishes {that are hiding on that towel behind the milk jugs!}.

Here's a picture of the mess, and a paring knife at the edge of the counter that Isaac could reach {gasp!}, and a cute baby in a Bumbo chair on the counter {gasp!}, and a toddler attempting to pull that baby off of the counter {gasp!}. Any other hazards you see?


P.S. Totally unrelated to this post, but all signs are pointing to my very first blog giveaway soon! Still ironing out the details, but I'm sooooo excited about it! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Question of the day

Isaac just asked me the best question!

"Mommy, what is echolocation mean?"

It was so cute. Say it in his robot voice. Ha!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Deals 11/18/10

1. FREE sample of Aleve caplets here.

2. Print this $1/1 Scott's toilet paper or paper towels, then go buy a 4-pack of tp or a single roll of paper towels, use the coupon, and score them FREE or super cheap! :)

3. Get a FREE 4x5 Flipbook from Snapfish with ANY purchase {that means, you could get this by simply ordering one print for $0.09} using code MERRY1116. You'll have to pay shipping. This offer expires 11/19, so hurry!

4. Head on over to your local Starbucks Nov. 18-21 for buy one, get one Holiday drinks from 2 - 5 p.m.

5. Try a free sample of a new all-purpose cleaner, Mist-8 here.

6. FREE sample of o.b. tampons here.

7. Bath and Body works has a coupon for a FREE signature collection item with any purchase. Print yours here.

8. FREE download from People mag and iTunes of Christmas Music by various country artists, including the likes of Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, and Joe Nichols.

9. Want to get a bunch of FREE Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough at Target? Print this $1/1 coupon. Head to Target, purchase one Nestle cookie dough {$1.96}, pay $0.96 for the first one, a coupon will print at the register for $1 off Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough. Repeat with the printable, and use your Target printable from your previous purchase. Bam! Free cookie dough! :) Repeat, repeat, repeat!

10. FREE Dingo Jerky Chews for your dog, here. Take a picture, submit it, tell your story, and get your free sample!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cool or creepy?

I got this prompt in my gmail today after attempting to send a message {which was supposed to have an attachment}.


My first thought was, "Uh....what? Oh, that's kind of cool for it to remind me to attach my attachments." And then I thought, "That's kind of creepy that it knew my message should have an attachment."

What do you think? Have you seen that prompt before? Vote in the poll to your right!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Adventures

Starting December 1, I will be mostly a stay-at-home-mom to my two little hooligans. I'm excited about it, but it's really bittersweet. I really didn't want to leave my job. But, after a bunch of failed efforts to find a decent middle ground with my new boss, I submitted my resignation because I honestly felt, as long as I was having kids and they weren't in school, that there was absolutely no way I could meet his new expectations for my position. I'll be helping them out a little bit until they can find a replacement for me, I still have my part-time job elsewhere, and I'll be spending a day at Blake's office to help with some PR/Marketing stuff, so at least I'll have a day or two out of the house. :)

After much struggling and spending most of my maternity leave fairly distraught, I've really made peace with my decision. Five years from now, I know I won't regret being able to be with my boys.

Besides, who wouldn't want to hang out with these two cuties {sitting in my Paternal Grandfather's old chair. *Tear*}?


Don't we look like we're having so much fun watching Sesame Street videos on YouTube? :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weeee!!

I read this article on the new world's fastest roller coaster, and then I took a "ride." It was nice to get a little of an amusement park fix - I haven't been on a roller coaster since 2006!

It reaches its top speed of 150 mph in 4 seconds, and if you ever go to Abu Dhabi to ride it, you'll have to wear safety goggles. Isaac enjoyed the "ride" too. Hop on - I recommend full screen!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cardigan Update

Dear Naysayers,

Blake is so thankful to you. The votes were close, but the orange cardigan with wings is on its way back to where it came from. I'm not making any more deals with my husband!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Deals - 11/11/10

1. Download 14 FREE Christmas Karaoke songs here.

2. FREE sample of Parent's Choice Infant Formula here.

3. Nov. 11-14, get 30% off your purchase at Gap brand stores with this coupon. 5% of your purchase will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. {Thanks Jen!}

4. Get a FREE holiday shipping kit from the United States Postal Service here. It includes one of each size box, address labels and more. Sweet!

5. The Children's Place is having their $10 sale. Plus, get 15% off when you use code G4C2010. {Expires 11/15}

6. FREE Avery Shipping labels here!

7. Earn 10 FREE Gifts to Grow points by playing the EcoNursery game. They'll give you a code at the end.

8. Ladies: Free sample of Stayfree Thermo Control here.

9. FREE sample of Dove Ultimate Clear deoderant here. {You are taken to the page via Google Translate since the offer is from Univision, it was in Spanish.}

10. FREE 2011 Calendar from Oriental Trading Company here.

11. I have a one-time use code to Overstock that someone can use if they want. It's $15 off a $100 purchase {Expires 3/30/2011} using promo code 149418.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls

One morning, I asked Isaac what he wanted for lunch. He responded, "Pizza roll-ups!" He had never had pizza roll-ups before, and I had never really talked about them, but since he requested it, I started thinking of ways to make a pizza roll-up. Then, I remembered the Old Chicago {the restaurant!} classic, Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls! I found a knock-off recipe and got to work. They were SO good, that we had them twice in one week.

The husband rating? A+ {That's waaaay better than the D he gave my butternut squash pasta bowl, AND he thought my rolls tasted better than the ones at the restaurant! Say what?!}.


I diced the pepperoni, and mixed all of the insides together first. I figured it would be a more even mix then. I didn't measure out the amounts of cheese, just sort of eyeballed it. Also, I'm going to make them with turkey pepperoni next time so that they're a bit healthier!


Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls


- Pizza dough - enough for 1 pizza {I used the Betty Crocker kind where you add 1/2 c. hot water. The only one the original poster doesn't recommend is the Pillsbury kind that comes in a tube.}

- 1 package pepperoni

- 1 cup shredded mozz cheese

- 1 cup (or a few slices) Pepper Jack cheese

- 6 green onions, sliced

- Caesar or Ranch salad dressing, the supposed "magic" ingredient {I used Ranch!}

- Your favorite marinera sauce for dipping

Mix the dough according to the directions, roll it out into a thin rectangle and slice it into 6-8" long strips. Top each strip with pepperoni, cheese, green onions, and a fairly generous amount of Caesar or Ranch dressing {I didn't use a "generous amount" just spread a thin layer on each strip}. Roll the strips from end to end like a cinnamon roll - whichever side ends up flatter will be used as the "bottom". Place a pepperoni on the bottom and put the roll on a greased cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake for 18-20 min at 425 (or until dough is golden brown).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wee

I had another post planned, but then Isaac peed, for the first time, in his little toilet tonight, so now I'm distracted! I can't believe how excited, and proud, I am about it!

Ah, potty-training. Not sure if he's 100% ready because he'll only sit on the pot at night, but we're definitely going to keep encouraging him throughout the day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Middle C

Since Isaac was a baby, I've been sitting down with him at the piano. I'm so proud. He just turned 2, and he can find middle C on the piano. Maybe in a year, he'll be playing scales. Here's proof of his piano smarts:


Sunday, November 7, 2010

The most useful things

I can't believe we're almost 10 weeks into being a family of four {and a dog!}. So, in honor of 10 weeks together, a list of the top 10 things that have really helped me out {outside of the usual baby swing, bouncy seat stuff}- perfect for new mommies, moms-to-be, and been-there-done-that moms:

1. My parents and Blake. Really, having the necessary support system is the absolute best, which is the reason for being #1. Blake tries to let me catch a few z's whenever possible, and my parents are always happy to step in last minute to watch the boys if I have to run out to play a funeral, have a meeting, whatever.

2. PBS Kids. Namely, their great morning shows - Curious George, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Super Why, Sesame Street, Word World. Their morning lineup keeps Isaac pretty entertained, no matter what time we tune in. We almost never catch all of those shows in one morning, but they can distract him for 20-30 minutes while I try to get a few other things done.

3. A good nursing cover. Perfect for nursing in public, nursing at home, and keeping the girls {and the eating baby} hidden. I have an Udder Cover {actually, I have 2!}. You can score a free one {just pay shipping} by using code NEWBABY.

4. My Ergo carrier. I'll pop Owen in it and run around/play with Isaac, make lunch/dinner, all while he contently looks around or sleeps. One day, I even weeded my gardens with him in it, while Isaac dug in the dirt. Sweet! I also have a Peanut Shell sling that worked nicely for the first few weeks, but Owen isn't a huge fan of the "cuddly" style. So I prefer the Ergo with him!

5. Our double stroller! I never thought I wanted one. I honestly thought I would always just use the Ergo or Sling and just push Isaac in the stroller we already owned when necessary. Isaac loves to walk/run, but when we actually take walks or on long shopping trips, he eventually tires and wants to be carried. So, I took the plunge {our only baby purchase this time around!}, and I couldn't be happier. So easy to walk both boys on my own, take them shopping on my own. Talk about feeling like I just conquered the world! Thank you stroller!

6. My breast pump. Thank you Medela!

7. Colic Calm. We discovered this gripe water when Isaac was around 3 months old, and we were at our wits end listening to him cry and watching him writhe in pain while he tried to pass gas. I eventually also cut dairy out of my diet with him, but this helped him soooo much. Plus, it's homeopathic, so you know it's gentle on their tummies. We've used it with Owen this time around {though he is no where near as bad as Isaac used to be!}, and within a matter minutes, he's calm and farting up a storm. Total lifesaver!

8. Nursing moms, please do yourself a HUGE favor and invest in an Undercover Mama or two or three. They are amazing. It allows you to turn every one of your shirts into a nursing shirt. You don't have to spend any money on the special-made nursing shirts, or pull up a regular shirt and have your tummy, side, and back showing. I didn't have these with Isaac, but wish I would have. I spent so much time FREEZING while I was nursing. Not anymore!

9. Speaking of nursing, I say splurge and buy yourself one nursing dress {I found mine here}. This is another thing I didn't have when Isaac was a baby, and I missed wearing dresses for a year! I bought one with Owen, and it's my go-to for things like his Baptism, weddings, special events. If I don't feel like wearing the dress, there is always the nursing friendly pants/skirt/shirt option.

10. Frozen meals/snacks! Before Owen was born, I started freezing any leftovers we had that I knew would re-heat {Lasagna, tater tot casserole, breads, cookies, soups, beef/pork sandwiches}. Again, this is something I didn't do too much of before Isaac was born. For some reason, I thought I could handle cooking with just one kid. I was worried though, with two, that Isaac wouldn't end up with lunch some days! HUGE lifesaver. Actually, when we were discharged from the hospital, they sent us home with a boxed lasagna, some garlic bread, and an apple pie. Nice, right? Since we've been home, I've continued the freezing of our leftovers. I figure it saves on waste, and it's a quick{er} meal for when we need something fast. Highly recommend!

PS. Happy 25 months to Isaac today! Happy 10 weeks to Owen tomorrow!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pasta + Something Green

We had this recipe {Thanks Janelle!} for lunch yesterday. It was a big hit {bigger than some of the other pasta dishes we've had lately!}. From start to finish, including a trip to my computer to pull up the recipe, it took me about 20 minutes. I think it would have more punch with the crushed red pepper, but we used paprika instead for a milder flavor {since Owen likes to get gassier with punchier flavored foods, I keep it pretty plain these days}. Yummy and delicious!

Isaac liked the block of Parmesan cheese too.
Sometimes, I don't know why we bother to give him silverware

1. Set water to boil and when it does, add your chosen pasta -- for this I like penne or rigatoni.

2. Then, chop up one or two slices of good bacon into 1/4 inch slices (crosswise across the bacon, so you have lean and fat in every piece) and brown in a large skillet -- it's going to hold all the pasta in a few minutes -- giving it a stir as necessary. (I used 2!)

3. Then add a whole clove of garlic thinly sliced to the bacon (and rendered fat) and let it turn golden and start to crisp up.

4. Then into the same pan add something green (often baby arugula or spinach, which is easy to lay hands on in those plastic tubs, already cleaned) and saute it until the water evaporates. (I used spinach.)

5. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the greens, let it warm up and top with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese (not from the green can!) or thin slivers of cheese -- a nice textural change. (Ditto on the real parmesan cheese!)

6. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and crunchy coarse salt. (I used Paprika - for milder flavor - and Sea Salt).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garfield and Friends

Do you remember Garfield the cat and his dog friend, Odie, and owner, Jon? What about that gray cat, Nermal? You know, the one he was always trying to mail to Abu Dhabi? I remember them, mostly because my sister, Lola, had a huge love for all things Garfield. I think she had a stuffed animal or two, owned some of the comic books when she was younger, and probably had a lot of other things I can't picture at the moment . We used to read the weekend comics in the newspaper and I remember Garfield being one of my favorites. I don't know the last time I saw that funny cat. He was so 1993.

Until....today, when he showed up on Owen's band-aids after his 2-month check-up. Talk about a flash back!


And, in case you're wondering how our big boy is growing, here are his stats:

13 lb. 1.5 oz. {75%}
25 inches {97&}
Healthy and happy!

Thursday Deals - 11/4/10

1. Ten Gifts to Grow Points with code 4HAPPYHALLOWEEN

2. Ladies, choose your FREE Kotex sample pack here.

3. FREE coffee at Burger King every Friday in November. Stop in for your FREE 12 oz. Seattle's Best during breakfast hours only. No purchase necessary. One cup per customer per visit.

4. If you're looking to get into the Christmas mood, download a FREE Holiday Music sampler at Amazon.

5. FREE small coffee at 7-Eleven with this coupon. Seriously? I think the last time I was in a 7-Eleven, I was in Taiwan!

6. If you're in the mood for eating at Ruby Tuesday's, head over there this Sunday and Monday {11/7 - 11/8} and use this printable coupon for 25% off your entire check!

7. Shopping at Express? Make sure you print this coupon for $15 off a $30 purchase, or use coupon code 7799 if you're shopping online.

8. FREE sample of Purina One Dog Food here. Wait for the screen to scroll over to the second button.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poor Thanksgiving

It's overlooked by a lot of people, and that's especially true in retail America. After Halloween, we fast forward to Christmas. It's kind of sick.

I complain about it every year.

And guess what I did today? I started my Christmas list, shopped online for potential Christmas gifts, and I listened to a few of my fave Christmas songs. I'm sick too. On the plus side, I found a gift for Isaac that I know he's going to ADORE! I'm almost giddy just thinking about it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

212 Degrees

Currently, pondering this. Is it Divine providence that this was e-mailed to me today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lasagna Cupcakes

I discovered this recipe quite by accident {via, via, via}, but oh my word, it's delicious! Bonus: It helps with portion control and freezes well for an easy, reheat-able lunch!

Things I changed from the recipe below: I used cottage cheese instead of the ricotta, and 36 wonton wrappers, to make 12 little lasagnas.


Lasagna Cupcakes
  • One cup of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 18 wonton wrappers
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese , grated
  • 3 ounces parmesan cheese , grated
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray 6 serving muffin tin with Pam
  2. Cook hamburger meat, season to taste, drain.
  3. Reserve 8 tablespoons of Parmesan and 8 tablespoons of mozzarella—this will be the topping. The remaining cheese will be used in the lasagnas (note you can vary the amount of cheese to taste keeping in mind that the parmesan is salty, the mozzarella is sweet as well as salty and helps to hold the lasagnas together, and the ricotta is sweet and creamy).
  4. Start assembling the lasagnas. Line each cupcake mold with a round wonton wrapper. Put a little Parmesan, a little mozzarella, and a little ricotta into each mold. Top with a little meat and a spoonful of sauce. Repeat layers of wonton wrappers, cheeses, meat and sauce, creating 3 layers in all, and ending with sauce. Sprinkle each lasagna with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella.
  5. Bake until the lasagnas are nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove from pan.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Wishing you a super Halloween from our two little guys!

Photobucket
Isaac Halloween
Owen is supposed to be a dog, but he looks more like a rabbit with a bone. Remember when Isaac wore this?
Photobucket

Isaac spent a lot of time practicing that famous phrase so that it would be perfect for tonight:


He kept saying "It won't be silly" but he really meant that it won't be scary. We figured that out after I took the video because we had been explaining to him all week that everything was make believe, and other people would be dressed up, sometimes as scary things, but it's not scary because it's pretend. He did really well. :)