Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Down to the wire

As I look forward into the next couple of months I realize how down to the wire we are.  I start seeing my doctor every 2 weeks now.  On top of that I am getting dental work done in the month of May so I will be seeing the inside of a doctors office more often that I would like to admit now, lol!  And then after I get all of that done we will be in June.  June means CRUNCH TIME!

At this point I have between 8 and 11 weeks before I deliver.  The 11 week mark is my actual due date but the 8 week mark is about when I had the girls and Bubby was right in between.  I can't believe that the end is this close!  It also makes me realize how much I have left to do before baby D is born.

~I need to get our bedroom ready, as it will be her bedroom too for a while.
~I need to figure out if we are going to try nursing again or if I am going to go straight to formula with her.  ~I need to get meals prepped and frozen for us.
~I need to find childcare for our kids so when I go into labor that my kids have somewhere to go before my parents or Hubby's family can get down here.
~I need to find baby clothes for her, we have lots in the bigger sizes (say 3 months plus) but my kids stayed in premie/newborn sizes forever and I have very few things in those sizes.

There is so much to do right now but I know that with my Hubby's help that we can get it done.

This weekend we are getting dirt from Hubby's dad for our 4 raised bed gardens.  Oh that reminds me, we are also planting 4 raised bed gardens this  I have my seedlings started in the basement and it is about time to transplant them into their peet pots...perhaps I will do that this week.  :)  I feel another blog post coming on!  :)

Maybe today I will chop up some ham and make some more potato soup (since the dog helped herself to our leftovers last night) and whip up some taco meat to freeze as well.  That would be a pretty easy thing for me to do today.  And since my niece is visiting she can help me with the kids so that I can get a few more things done.

Hope you are all having a fabulous week!
<3 Alison

Monday, April 25, 2011

Holiday Leftovers!

This is one of my favorite topics after a holiday.  The Leftovers!  I will often buy a ham or turkey that is much to large for our family (even with extended family over) to eat in a meal.  But I do it on purpose.  I like to have lots of leftover ham and turkey.  I can make things like turkey tettrazini or turkey pot pie or ham and potato soup or ham and bean soup!  I can even freeze chopped up pieces so that I can use it in omelets!

This year I am going to be making some ham and bean soup with some navy beans and the ham bone left over from Saturday's dinner.  I will then take some of the leftover ham and make up some ham and potato soup.  I will be able to get one night's dinner out of it as well as one to freeze so I will have 2 more meals in my freezer stash for when Baby D is born.  :)  YAY!

Here are the recipes that I am going to be using for my soups today.  :)

Ham & Bean Soup
1 1/4 c small dried white beans (I did an overnight soak with mine, check the package for other instructions)
7 c cold water (I am using 5 c chicken broth and 2 c water)
1 ham bone
1/2 c diced ham (optional)
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large potato, peeled & diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t dried thyme (I would have preferred fresh but mine had gone bad.)
salt & pepper
Place the beans, water & ham bone into a large soup pot & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer until the beans are tender about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the ham bone. Cut any meat remaining on it off & dice it. Return the meat to the pot.
Add the diced ham, onion, celery, potato, & thyme to the pot. Salt & pepper to taste.
Simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
Use a potato masher to gentle mash the soup until it is a little creamy.
Serve with crusty bread.

Creamy Potato and Ham Soup


    * Nonstick cooking spray * 1 small onion, chopped * 1 clove garlic, cut in half * 3.5 cups chicken broth * 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
    * 1 cup ham, chopped* 1 cup skim milk * 1/2 tsp salt * 1/4 cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese


* Coat a large pot with cooking spray and set it over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add the onion and the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not brown, 5-6 minutes. (Be careful not to burn the garlic!)
* Add the broth, ham, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.
* Carefully use a potatoe masher to get soup to desired consistency.  You can also use a blender.  Add milk and salt; mash/puree until smooth. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
*We will also serve with croutons for an extra crunch.  It also stretches the soup a bit.  This is a very filling soup.  :)

Number of Servings: 8

Hope you enjoy these recipes!
<3 Alison

Friday, April 22, 2011

Egg Shaped Chalk

Sorry for the double post today, don't get used to it!  lol!

I am making these fabulous "treasures" for my kids' Easter baskets.  Here is the recipe and directions.

Egg Shaped Sidewalk Chalk
These were so easy to make.  You will need:
  1. Plaster of Paris
  2. Tempera Paint
  3. Petroleum Jelly
  4. plastic Easter eggs
  5. disposable cups
  6. disposable spoons or wooden craft sticks
  7. egg carton
Take petroleum jelly and liberally coat the insides of the eggs and then place in the egg carton.  Mix 1/2 cup Plaster of Paris with 1/4 cup water and stir well.  Mix in enough liquid tempera paint to get your desired color.  We added about a teaspoon or so.  You can also use powdered tempera paint (start with about 1 tablespoon and go from there). We mixed up a blue batch, poured it into the eggs then immediatley mixed up a pink batch.
Pour mixture into egg halves.  This amount makes about 1 1/2 eggs.  We used the 1/2 to make  two colored eggs. DO NOT pour extra plaster down your sink drain --I tell you this is a no no. Throw it in the trash!
Allow this mixture to set about 5 minutes---just until thick enough to put the egg halves together.  Once together, hold tightly and carefully  give egg a good shake and a firm tap on a hard surface  to allow plaster to form to the egg and the halves to come together.
Allow eggs to harden overnight.  We couldn't wait (patience issues) and rushed ours  allowing only about 3 hours (this is overnight in child time isn't it?) to dry.  To remove them from the plastic an adult must use a knife to work the halves apart.

This is a VERY messy project.  I do not recommend having the kids help unless you want plaster of paris  :)  Remember, DO NOT WASH THIS DOWN THE SINK!  Use disposable things you can throw away after you are done with this project. 

Have fun!
<3 Alison

Bunny Cake and Good Friday

I got my Bunny Cake done!  YAY!  Well, it is mostly done.  We are still looking for the string style licorice.  Not sure where else to look for it.  We looked at the local grocery and the Dollar General store.  Perhaps I should just head to the gas stations and take a look.  They sometimes have the obscure things that you can't find anywhere

It was super easy to do and I really don't think anyone could mess this one up.  I totally recommend making this cake.  Here is the finished product of what I made (minus the whiskers and mouth: aka: string style licorice).

I left the extra coconut around the bunny to give him a softer look.  The girls thought he "looks BEAUTIFUL!"  I used green Dots for the eyes, a pink M&M for the nose, twizzlers for the outline of the bowtie and jelly belly's for the decoration on the bowtie.  :)

The only thing to remember when making this cake is that it is frosted with whipped cream.  If you make it a day a head of time you will HAVE to refrigerate it.  I found out that this is the BIGGEST thing I can put in my fridge.  Anything wider or longer would NOT fit, lol!  Live and learn right?

Now to finish getting things ready for my sister to get here.  YAY!  I am so excited that she is coming to stay with us.  :)  She hasn't seen my new house yet and I haven't seen her since Christmas.  Yippeeeeee! :D

Yes, I made a cute bunny cake and I am making lots of other cute stuff for Easter but let's try and remember for a moment what happened today.  Tonight we will be attending our church's Good Friday service.  

Today is Good Friday.  Today is the day that Christ was crucified.  He was hung on a cross and died.  He died for your sins and mine.  Without this selfless deed I would not be worthy to enter Heaven to live with him.  Because of Christ I am able to be forgiven of my sins.  I am able to talk to my Heavenly Father daily and repent of my sins.  I know that I am not a perfect person.  I know that I mess up.  But I also know that if I truly am sorry for what I have done and I repent of those sins that God will wash away those sins and give me another try, even though I don't deserve it.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT TO ME, TO ALL OF US, JESUS!

<3 Alison

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Today is Egg Day in our house!  :)

I hard boiled 18 eggs yesterday and set them in the refrigerator until I could get to them.  Today sounds like a good day to do it so we dyed eggs today.  :)  YAY!
Here are a couple pics of that.  :)

I ventured out to make Hidden Surprise Easter Eggs but they didn't turn out that way.  I ended up with Egg Shaped Treats instead.  I think I should have used a BIGGER egg than what I had on hand.  You live and learn right?  They are still cute and still quite tasty.  The girls like the little chocolate surprise of an M&M on the outside.  :)  Do note that you MUST work quickly or the rice krispie mixture will harden on you!
Here is the link to the recipe.

After all that is done I will be making a Bunny Cake.  I baked the cake while the kids watched some PBS and then after they go to bed I will decorate it.  I can't wait to get started on that project!  I will be chilling the cake tonight so tomorrow I will be able to frost and decorate the cake for our Easter lunch/dinner on Saturday.  :)  Yipee!
I am using my Classic White Cake Recipe from  This is where you can find the recipe.  I have used this white cake recipe for almost all the other white cakes I have posted here on the blog.  :)

I have lots of family coming in starting tomorrow so I am not sure if I will be posting the Bunny Cake tomorrow or if I will post it on Monday.  It all depends on how fast they get here.  :)  Here's to hoping their drive is short and eventless.  :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My coupon binder!

Who knew that one day I would write an entire post on my coupon!  But since I have been asked on more than one occasion in the last week about my coupon binder I thought I would do a post on it and let you peek into my binder.  :)

First things first...I did not come up with these nifty dividers on my  Someone sent me over to and I found the pages there and printed them all off.  There are some 40 pages to print but totally worth it when you get to organizing your coupons.  Here is a quick link for you all to follow to find the fabulous dividers that I did.  :)  PLEASE go and read her entries on beginning couponing and watch any clips she has taken.  I found her site to be SO helpful!

Another great site that I have found is  They match up coupons with the sales that are out there at MANY stores.  They even have stores from MY neck of the woods (aka; NOWHERESVILLE)!  So now when I am planning a trip to town I check out all the match-ups to see what I have.

It is VERY important that you learn the "lingo" that they couponing sites use.  Both of the above sites have a glossary/lingo part of their page so that you can easily learn what they are talking about. At first it looks like gibberish but soon it will become second hand and when you are writing your list out you will find yourself using it as well!

OK, without further adieu, here are the pictures of my binder with some short explanations.  Most of them are self explanatory though.  :)

My stack of coupons this week!

 Baseball card holders, how I organize my coupons.
The Binder!

Even has a place for pens!
The Table of Contents

Divider #1

Baseball card holder in action!

I used tabs on each divder so I can quickly find what section I am looking for.

There is even a little file folder part so I can keep extra baseball card holders, a notebook, in store ads, coupons I haven't clipped yet, and store policies very handy!

I hope that seeing my coupon binder is helpful!  Let me know if you have any more questions about it and I will be glad to answer!
<3 Alison

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Preparations and Baby D recipe!

I am so excited!  I am finally have the ability to HOST a family holiday!  YAY!  I am so excited I can't even tell you.  So this week will be filled with preparations.  I need to make food, clean and organize things in the house.  My mom and dad, sister and niece, and grandmother are all coming for an Easter dinner on Saturday!  YAY!   My parents and my grandma are all staying at a local hotel so we can all go to church together at our church on Sunday!  WOOOHOOOO!

Our menu for our Easter dinner is as follows:

Brown Sugar Ham
Lettuce Salad
Dinner Rolls
Strawberry Fluff
Corn Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Dessert (to be determined what

I am going to be making some Rice Krispie Treat eggs with M&M's in them and already have those Bird's Nests made.  I found on another blog that I follow an idea for a Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt and we will be doing that.  When I get around to prepping for that I will link up with the other site and share that with you as well.  :)

Along with getting things ready for Easter I am going to be preparing some meals for Baby D's arrival.  Today I am going to be making an egg dish, Gabriel's Eggs.  It is definitely a family favorite.  Here is that recipe.

Gabriel's Eggs

1 loaf sourdough bread
1lb bulk sausage (we like Jimmy Dean's sage flavored the best)
8oz shredded cheese (we like cheddar but any flavor works)
4 eggs
2 1/4 c milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Brown sausage, drain and set aside.  While sausage is browning tear the loaf of bread into bite size pieces and place in a GREASED 9x13 pan.  In a bowl, mix milk and eggs together.

Top the bread with the browned sausage.  Then add the shredded cheese.  Pour the egg/milk mixture over top.  Add the cream of mushroom soup on top (I use a bit more milk to make the soup a bit thinner so it spreads easier).

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  The edges will be bubbly when it is finished.
From Frozen: Thaw first then bake as directed above.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

<3 Alison

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Normally, I don't post too much on Sundays, especially on Sunday mornings as we are in church.  Well today is different.  Butterfly woke up around 2 throwing up.  So no one got much sleep and we can't go to church with a sick kiddo so we are home.

In light of that I thought I would try and remember a bit about Palm Sunday on my own and share it with you as I will be sharing with my kiddos since we can't be in church today.

Palm Sunday is the Sunday that starts the Holy Week.  Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey.  The crowds praised him!  Saying Hosanna!  Hosanna!  They lay palm branches on the ground in front of Jesus and his donkey to walk on.  They knew he was the Messiah.  What a joyous event that must have been!

A few short days later we remember that Jesus was taken into custody, beaten, and hung on a cross.  And then the event that happened next is the most miraculous!  Three days after he was hung on a cross and died, he ROSE AGAIN!

Thank you Father for sending your Son to go through that experience for us, so that we don't have to.  We praise you for your awesomeness.  Your Son has laid the ground work for us to be able to be with you for eternity.  Thank you!  Amen.

Happy Palm Sunday everyone!

<3 Alison

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My first couponing trip!

Last night Hubby helped me prepare for my very first couponing trip.  I was just going to go and stop at a store or two and be done.  But when I found how many coupons I had that matched up with sales on things that we needed in the house, I couldn't resist making this a 5 store shopping trip.  

Our first stop was at Wal-Mart.  They had Silk Coconut and Almond milk for the cheapest price and I had a coupon for $1 off.  So I got 2 Coconut milks and 2 Almond milks.  So Bubby and I have milk for a while.  The best part about those kinds of milks is that as long as you don't open it they stay good for a long time.  Once you open it you have 7-10 days to drink it or it will spoil.  These bottles don't expire until the end of May!  So I am pretty pumped.  :)

We then popped over to Fareway, a local grocery chain.  They had Fuze on sale for 88 cents.  I had a coupon for $1 off/2 drinks.  So that made each bottle of Fuze around $0.38!  YAY!  I also picked up some Rhodes dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls.  After my coupon they were around 1.99 each.

Our third stop was to Hy-Vee, another local grocery chain.  I ended up getting 12 boxes of cereal, 2 gallons of milk and 4 Keebler pie crusts for only $27.52!  YEAH!  I am still shocked to see that I got that much cereal!

The fourth and final stop was at Walgreen's.  I purchased 24 Snickers eggs and 8 boxes of Hefty One Zip baggies (4 quart size and 4 gallon size) for...wait for it...only $11.60!!!!  

I figured out that I could have spent $120.20 on my purchases today...but I only spent $66.04!  YAY!!!!!

I am so excited that I finally started couponing.  I can't wait to really get this figured out so that I can keep saving this way.  I had NO idea that I could do this and be THIS successful.  I was hoping for maybe 25% savings.  But being this close to 50% savings gives me hope that if I am diligent with my coupons and matching up with the sales that I can be a successful couponer.  :)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not much to post...

So sorry this week has been such a slow week.  I really  have meant to post but I just haven't felt like it.  On Monday I went into the Dr to get my head checked (ok my sinuses...not my mental and it turns out I have a sinus infection AND and ear infection.  So I have been feeling pretty run down.  I am on an antibiotic since it had been so long battling it.  But I am just exhausted still.  So the things I plan to do just haven't been happening.

Last night I made a turkey for dinner and ended up getting 10 cups of chopped turkey off of it after we ate dinner.  I will be able to make some turkey tetrazzinis and turkey pot pies with that to stick in my freezer stash.  My Father in Law also brought over some ground beef for me that I can use to make some taco meat, sloppy joe meat and some p'sghetti and meatballs for my stash as well.

As I get my recipes in line I will start posting them so that you all can see what I have done and use the recipes if you would like.  I will try and include a standard instruction as well as how to freeze and then re-heat.

Well that is about it for now, off to go get my family some dinner and then off to church.  And hopefully an early bedtime for me.

<3 Alison

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter Baskets

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my kids' Easter baskets this year.  I am tired of buying candy that they want to eat but I don't want them to.  I am tired of that fight completely.  So I am not going to do much candy at all this year.  Maybe a small chocolate bunny or a Cadbury egg and a few eggs full of jelly beans but that is it.  The rest of the basket is going to be useful things...and things I can make at home to boot!  :)

This year our kids are getting chalk, bubbles, play dough, jelly bean filled eggs (3 or 4), one piece of chocolate, and a toy/bracelet.

I am also very tired of buying Easter baskets year after year only to find in a week the kids have destroyed them.  So this year I am going to do one of two things.  Either using a toy that the kids have already as a "basket" or I am going to make one out of a paper bag.  Since I am a scrapbooker it wouldn't be hard to look in my stash of supplies to decorate a few Easter "bags".  Time will tell what I will probably depend on how much I

I am going to be making some treats for our Easter dinner as well.  :)  I made the bird's nest cookies last week (or so?) and froze them.  I am also going to be making some egg shaped rice krispie treats with M&M's in them as an added surprise.  I am super excited about them and will post about them when I am finished.

So what are your Easter plans for Easter baskets?  Are you tired of the candy?  What are your thoughts?

Have a good Monday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inventory Day!

I have deemed today inventory day.  I am going to look at all my recipes and take an inventory of what I need for all of the meals that I am planning to make, then multiply it by 3.  That way I can start stocking up on what I need.

This is what I am looking at for the amounts that I need to purchase.

ground beef ~ 5lbs
kidney beans ~ 2
canned corn ~ 1
petite diced tomatoes ~ 14
black beans ~ 1
jumbo pasta shells ~ 1
salsa ~ 1
chicken broth ~ 8c
lentils ~ 2c
dry Italian dressing ~ 1
chicken ~ 4lbs
cream of chicken ~ 1
cream cheese ~ 1
egg noodles
pizza sauce
mini bagels
beef stew meat
pie crusts
fro veg mix
spaghetti ~ 3
canned mushrooms ~ 2
turkey ~ 1
beef broth
tomato sauce
Italian sausage

Perishable Ingredients
cheddar cheese
onion ~ 2
carrots ~ 2
butter ~ 2
cream ~ 4 c
parmesean cheese ~ 2

Staple Items
BBQ sauce
chili powder
cayenne pepper

Now multiply this all by three and that is what I will need for our meals.  :)  This is just for the main dishes.  I will do the snacks and breakfast things later.  This is a HUGE accomplishment for me today.  I am also making a recipe book with ALL the recipes I am going to be using for this so I have all of it in one place.  I will be using a binder with plastic sleeves and dividers to keep it all organized.  I am also going to be working on that today!  Wish me luck!

<3 Alison

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Planning Day!

I have deemed today a planning day.  I wanted to get some things done but my head cold is not allowing that to happen.  So I thought, well, I certainly can plan the meals I am going to make for Baby D's arrival!  :)  And since our freezer was delivered yesterday I have all sorts of motivation to fill it full of food!  :D

So here is the gist of what I plan to make for when Baby D makes her arrival.  I will be making 3 of each so that will be just over a month's worth of meals.

Main Dishes
Beef Stew
Cream Cheese Chicken
Chicken/Turkey Tettrazini (Betty Crocker Recipe)
Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells
Chicken Pot Pies
Lentil and Sausage Soup
P'sghetti and Meatballs (Rachael Ray Recipe)
Sloppy Joe's
Pizza Bagels
Taco Meat

Breakfast Foods
Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chip Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Bran Muffins

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
No Bake Cookies

Here are a few tips that I have found on-line to help with your freezer meals.

1.  Label what your freezer meal is and date it.
2. Rotate your freezer meals.  New goes on the bottom of the stack or back of the freezer and the older meals get moved up.
3. Don't place your hot food directly in the freezer.  Let it cool slightly, at least 30-45 minutes, on the kitchen counter.
4. If you are cooking your meal directly from the freezer to the oven make sure to add additional cooking time.
5.  If you are using potatoes, combine with a liquid or moist ingredient.  Potatoes don't always work well in freezer meals.
6. If you are including rice or noodles in a freezer meal, leave them out and add before cooking.  Or under cook them slightly and make sure they are included in a sauce before freezing.
7.  Include frozen vegetables, bread, rolls, loaves of bread or dough for side dishes in your freezer recipes.
8.  Try creating your own homemade frozen dinners by using dishes that are large enough to include side dishes.  Place a meat and two side dishes in a freezer container and freeze.  You have a healthy homemade frozen dinner for a busy night.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quinoa and Bean Salad and Updates!

I found this recipe in my latest edition of Rachael Ray (which I am happy to say I finally ordered on my Nook so I can stop paying off the rack prices!)  and I just had to try it!  :)

Here is the YUM-O (yeah, yeah, I couldn't help myself!) recipe.  :)

Quinoa and Bean Salad

1 20oz can kidney beans (drained)
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (3/4 c raw)
1 red onion, finely chopped (I only used 1/2 of a med size onion)
2 bunches basil, stems discarded and leaves chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 c EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together the kidney beans, quinoa, onion and basil.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and 1/2 c EVOO; season with salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and toss to coat evenly.  Serves 4.

To me, this recipe made MORE than 4 servings.  Perhaps 5 or 6.  Next time I make it I will add a bit more basil and a bit more lemon.  I love those flavors and they are fantastic in this dish.  ENJOY!


This weekend we went up to a Lowe's to get some landscape timber.  So I now have the lumber to make my four raised bed gardens for this summer's garden!  I am so excited.  I am hoping that Thursday I can get my seeds planted in the basement so that they can start to germinate.  Yes, I know it seems late to do this but here in MN we can't plant outside until late May so I still have time for them to become nice and big and healthy.  :)


Last weekend we purchased a bigger freezer.  We finally found one that would be delivered to our area! YAY!  And it is being delivered today!  YIPEEEEEE!!!  I will soon have a big freezer to start storing my freezer meals and the meat from the cow much father-in-law will be butchering this month.  I can't wait!  Who knew I could get so excited about a freezer!  I must be growing!

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

<3 Alison

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family.  Her name is Sammi.  She is a 10 month old Beagle.  She is a DOLL!  For being a 10 month old puppy, we are very impressed with what she knows and how well trained she is.

She needs to be leash trained yet so we are working on that.  Yesterday went pretty well.  There was significantly less pulling this morning when I let her out.  Still pulling but a lot less.  Today we are going to go buy a stake for the ground so that we can let her out back without us having to be there.

We will also be picking up some treats for her and some raw hides.  Her previous owner says she won't chew on anything but the raw hides as long as the raw hides are available.  So, we will keep the raw hides available.  :)  She has a few for now but that is definitely something I don't want to run out of.  :)

Here are a couple of pictures of our new little cutie!