Monday, January 31, 2011

Shop Til You Drop!

Here we are at the end of January already. Wow, one month of 2011 gone already. February is a short month so I'm sure it will be here and gone before we know it too. Once again I find myself way behind on this blog. I can't even remember all that I did last week, but I know I've been busy and the days seem to fly by. So I'll spare you the details of trying to remember each day and what we did and get right to the weekend.

From Friday to Sunday all I did was pretty much shop! It started Friday morning when Em and I ran errands while Ev was at school . I had $20 of Kohl's cash to spend that expired on Saturday so I didn't want it to go to waste. Em and I walked around that store for probably almost and hour and guess what? I couldn't find anything I really needed to buy. It was so unlike me. Any other time I'm in there I find a million things I want. When I've got a free $20 to spend, I can't find a thing. So we left and I figured I'd go back on Saturday with Greg. Maybe there was something he'd find. Friday evening I went out with my friend Jess again and we shopped for stuff for her house. We made a little progress, but didn't get everything done. I had to keep reminding her it was crunch time and she needed to get buying stuff because she's moving back into her house on Tuesday!

Saturday we kind of hung out around home for the morning not doing too much. Then we went to lunch, I had a free $15 at Champps to use before the end of the month. Of course I didn't want that to go to waste either so we figured we'd go for lunch since I didn't have much in the house to eat anyway. Then we headed back to Kohl's. Em fell asleep on the way their so Greg ended up staying in the car with her so she could nap a little. I decided to go in and see if I could find anything one more time, if not I'd send him in. They were actually having a different sale on Saturday and I ended up getting Em a couple things for summer.

The kids went to Greg's mom late Saturday afternoon. Greg and I were going to make a home depot run and stop at Old Navy on the way because they had 30% off the entire store, even clearance. Well before we left I ran across a Children's Place coupon that I had, and guess what folks? Yes more free money to spend! I had a $10 certificate that expired on Saturday that needed to be used. I thought it was good for another week so it's a good thing I checked. So we headed to the mall and went to Children's Place first. Between the store credit I had and the certificate, I got the kids some really cute things! I can't wait til spring so they can wear the stuff! We then headed to Old Navy and found a few things there too. We ran out of time to go to Home Depot so that's for another weekend.

Sunday was another day of shopping and this time I headed back out with Jess. Em spent the night at Greg's mom's. Evan and Greg went to w bike expo at MSU Sunday morning and then Evan had his first classmate birthday party to go to so Greg took him to that. You know the saying, "Shop Til You Drop!" Well, Jess and I probably shopped til we dropped and then some. We first headed to the outlet mall in Howell. We were successful in finding some more things she needed for her house. Then we stopped for lunch at Tomato Bros. My favorite place to go when going to the outlet mall. We then headed back towards home and hit the mall stopping at JC Penney's, Younker's and Bed Bath & Beyond. We also stopped at Kohl's and Target. Pretty much all those places were a bust except for Kohl's which we finally found silverware for Jess (one of her major items she still needed) and a few other things. Plus one purchase at Bed Bath and Beyond! We left about 10am and got home about 5:30pm! I don't think Jess really knew how much I really like to shop. I kept her going and going. LOL. There was a lot to get done though, and I told her she'll be glad she can enjoy her new house after she gets moved in instead of having to do all the shopping. Plus she needed the essential items like dishes, bedding, silverware, etc. so they can at least have the everyday items when they move back in tomorrow!

So that's wraps up the weekend. Today I made a delicious taco chili that I discovered from my friend Ann. I will be sharing the recipe tomorrow!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Laid Back Weekend

Dang is it ever cold! Just when I thought it was really cold, it gets even colder... brrrrrrrrr! Trying to keep warm this weekend was a task in itself. I don't think I ever really have warmed up. The negative wind chills may leave this state at anytime and the warmer temps are more than welcome to come by for a visit... a LONG visit. Is it spring yet? Yes, I'm counting the days! I'm putting my birthday order in for warm weather.

The weekend has come and gone and another week is upon us. You didn't hear from me much this past week because I was a cleaning machine around here. The whole upstairs got an overhaul, and I went to town cleaning. I've had massive amounts of papers to go through and sort and shred. I shredded two big bags of papers, organized the others that need to be filed away, and emptied the box they were all piled in. I hauled three garbage bags full of clothes to Goodwill, scrubbed bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed, and organized. I had laundry to do, but before I could I had to put four laundry baskets of clothes away, did six more loads of laundry, and folded and put all those away. Yes, by Friday afternoon I was sick of cleaning.

Friday evening my friend Jess came over with her daughter Grace. She taught me how to make homemade pizza dough with my new KitchenAid. The dough was really easy to make, however it's somewhat of a long process letting the dough sit and rise. That part took awhile, but we managed to fill the time with some drinks, conversation, and laughs. The kids watched Despicable Me and played with about every toy in the house I think. It was a great evening. Very relaxing and the pizza turned out great! We made a taco pizza (which was awesome) and a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Both were delicious! By the time the pizza was ready we were so hungry and excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture of my masterpieces. So instead you get a two slice picture of the taco pizza instead of the whole pizza. I didn't get a pic of the other one. Doesn't it look yummy? You know you want some!

Thanks Jess for coming over. It was fun hanging out and the kids had a blast playing with Grace. I think we need to do pizza/movie night more often. Here's a picture of the kids snuggled up on the couch during their second movie, How To Train A Dragon. Too cute!

Saturday the kids went to Greg's mom for the day and spent the night. We were lazy and watched two movies we had gotten for Christmas. It was too cold to do anything so we laid around during the day and first we watched Death At A Funeral. We hadn't seen that before, and it was really funny. Lots of laughs. We had a late dinner and then MSU basketball was on at 9pm. We started watching the game, but it wasn't going in the right direction and decided it would be a better time watching another movie. Good thing we did because MSU lost again! I just don't get why they can't get it together this season when they're supposed to be so good. Ugh! We ended up watching Grown Ups! Super hilarious! We had seen that movie at the theater so it was our second time seeing it. Just as funny the second time around. I'm an Adam Sandler and Kevin James fan so I loved it!

Today we picked the kids up and took them to Jumpin' Jax. I had never been before, but Greg had taken them last year. Jumpin Jax is a big bounce house arena. They have a bunch of different bouncy slides and bounce houses. I think because it was so cold out everyone else had the same idea because it was super busy. I can see why Greg has taken them before. It was very loud, lots of kids running around, and basically a zoo! The kids had a blast though and it wore them out. Em was out for a good couple hours after we got home. Here's a couple pics I snapped amongst the crazy zoo of kids there. This one of Ev didn't come out so great because he was going so fast down the slide.

This one of Em did though. She was having a blast zooming down the slides. She would laugh every single time.

The rest of the day was spent watching football. Da Bears didn't win, which was disappointing. Maybe next year. The Steelers won though which I'm happy about, but my cousin Kevin won't be happy his beloved Jets aren't Super Bowl bound. It was nice to have a laid back weekend and just relax. Sometimes you just need that instead of being on the go all the time! And that's all folks from around here. Stay warm!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow Fun!

It was a pretty good weekend around here, but man is it cold! Brrrrr. I'm really so tired of being cold all the time. I'm ready for the warm sunshine, flip flops, and no coat weather to return. Friday I had a surprise girls day shopping. I had stopped into check on some glasses at Thompson Eyecare (the one my friend Jess and her husband Steve opened up). Jess said she was going out to Art Van that afternoon to look for furniture for their house. It's finally getting to the point where they'll be able to move back in since the fire back in September. Only two more weeks and the Thompson's will be back in the neighborhood, woo hoo! I offered to join her in her shopping spree if she wanted some company. We headed out for a couple hours and then went out to some more places Friday night. You all know how I love shopping, so I didn't mind at all helping Jess out and keeping her company. She got all the major furnishings picked out- living room, bedrooms, dining room, and family room furniture. I can't wait to see it all in her house when she gets moved back in. It's going to look great!

Saturday we didn't do much. We went to breakfast with Greg's mom to Sawyer's Pancake house. We've been to Sawyer's a few times. It's really really good. They serve all organic food, and I just love their peanut butter banana French toast. When we got home Greg went out to shovel and the kids really wanted to play outside. It was cold, but they didn't seem to mind. It was Em's first time out this winter to play. She and Evan got to try out their new brick molds they got for Christmas and had a fun time playing in the snow. Here's a couple pics I snapped from inside. It was way to cold for me to go out.

When they came in I surprised the kids with some hot cocoa. Emme said, "Mom, you make the best hot cocoa ever!" Yes, she melted my heart! (Sniff sniff) Here's Em enjoying her yummy hot cocoa!

Greg and I got a couple hours kid free in the afternoon and headed off to the movies. Finally we went to a movie that wasn't animated. We saw The Dilemma with Kevin James and Vince Vaughn. It was pretty good. We enjoyed it, and it was nice to see a movie that wasn't a kid movie for a change. The rest of the day we watched the NFL playoffs so it was a very laid back day.

Sunday was a lazy lazy day. I stayed in my pj's until almost 1pm until I finally got in the shower. It was just one of those days. We watched some more of the NFL playoffs. The Bears won, woo hoo! Later on we made a trip out to Kohl's. I had a 30% off coupon and wanted to get some picture frames. Greg took those pictures of the kids back in the fall on campus that I've been wanting to frame. Plus we also gave Evan some football pictures for his birthday that Greg took at the Purdue game. He got a big picture of Greg Jones and we told him we'd frame them and hang up in his room. This is the start to a room makeover for Evan that I'm thinking by his next birthday will be complete. The makeover is one that I'm eager to do, but yet hesitant at the same time. Evan wants an MSU room which is way cool. However soon after we moved in this house we had one of his walls painted with a surfer doggy beach theme and painting over it is going to be hard. I love it and it's so cute, yet he's kind of out grown it already. So we'll see. Ev really wants his room to be MSU, but I told him we had to go about one more year like it is.

Evan didn't have school today and boy was it nice to have an extended day to the weekend! I lounged in my sweats and the kids stayed in their pj's all day. It was a cozy day inside staying warm. Em earned some brownies today so she helped me bake them. She was so excited to put on her little apron and be my little baker. You can decide for yourself, but I think you'll agree she's quite the cutie patootie mixing up her brownies!

Tomorrow it's back to school and back into a routine! I'm kind of hoping it goes fast and the weekend gets here soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Birthday Party Appetizers- Greek Dip, Guac, Pizza Dip, Dill Dip, El Az Dip & Cake Recipe

I'm finally getting around to posting up the Greek dip I made for Evan's birthday party. Looking back I guess I never posted my guacamole recipe either so here it is as well. All the other recipes I've posted on here before so I will just provide a link that you can click on to take you to the recipe.

Greek Layered Dip

1 container (8oz) Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
1 container (8oz) prepared hummus
1 cucumber, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can (2 1/4oz) sliced ripe black olives
4 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Spread cream cheese in bottom of 10 inch pie pan
2. Layer on prepared hummus, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, Feta cheese, and green onions
3. Serve with Pita Chips

Note: I discovered this dip at Meijer one Saturday when they had samples and they served it all mixed up not layered. I actually wasn't thinking when I made this and that it was supposed to be layered so I mixed it all up in a bowl as well. It actually is pretty good that way so you can do to your preference whether you want to layer the dip or not.


4-5 Avocados
1 Red Onion chopped
1 Tomato chopped
Juice from 1 lemon
McCormick's Garlic Pepper Seasoning

Cut avocados in half and scoop out from peel, discard peel and pit. Mash with fork in a bowl. Add chopped red onion and tomato. Squeeze juice from one lemon. Add Garlic Pepper Seasoning (I don't measure just add enough to taste to my liking). Mix well. Serve with tortilla chips.

Layered Pizza Dip

El Azteco Dip

Dill Dip

Cake/ Cupcakes


Monday, January 10, 2011

Evan's Sparty Birthday Party

The rest of last week flew by, (what's new) and the weekend was upon us and on Saturday we celebrated Evan's birthday with family and friends. I told you we postponed his birthday party a week because New Year's weekend was too busy. Evan decided on a Spartan birthday party this year. I'm so glad he did because it was such a fun birthday party to plan! You all know we bleed green in this house so it wasn't hard to plan this party. It was kind of a fitting time for a Spartan party since MSU had such a great football season and Evan was so into it this year.

I decorated the house in green and white of course, and the table decorations consisted of MSU sports items that we had around the house. Here's the Sparty party table all set up with a MSU hockey stick, hockey puck, football, volleyball, and basketball.

Evan and Emmaline had their Spartan gear on for the party. I tried to get Evan to wear one of his new Spartan shirts, but he said, "Mom, I've got to wear my Greg Jones jersey." He loves that #53 jersey. Many of the kids wore their Spartan attire to the party and it was really cute to see all the kids in their green & white MSU clothes. I wanted to get a big group shot, but unfortunately it didn't happen with so much going on and with some leaving at different times. Thank goodness most of Evan's friends are Spartan fans! I had a couple activities planned for the kids during the party. First they decorated snowflakes and then they decorated cookies. I wanted to get a Spartan "S" cookie cutter, but the bookstore was all out. So I ended up making number six cut out cookies and the kids decorated them with green and white frosting and sprinkles. They had fun and the Spartan "6" cookies turned out great! Here's the kids busy at work on snowflakes and cookies!

Evan requested a Spartan birthday cake for his party. Really, what other kind of cake would we have? Of course there was going to be a Spartan birthday cake. He saw the "S" cake mold at the bookstore and requested that I make a green Spartan "S." So Friday I broke in (No Ann I didn't break it, I broke it in. LOL) the new KitchenAid and made a homemade "S" cake with homemade frosting for the little guy. The KitchenAid was fabulous and worked great! I even whipped up some cupcakes too so I could use it again! When the cake came out of the oven Evan said to me, "That has got to be the coolest cake I've ever seen." That made me feel good. I had done my kid proud and I was happy that he was happy. It wasn't even frosted yet and when he saw it the next morning after I put the green frosting on he was even more thrilled. It was late when I made the frosting and was trying to to other things at the same time. I ended up running out of frosting and had to make another batch and unfortunately one batch of frosting didn't come out the best and was a little lumpy. So it didn't spread the greatest. In the end though it still tasted delicious and Evan loved his Spartan birthday cake so that's all that matters! Here's the Spartan "S" cake.

My Spartan birthday boy with his Spartan birthday cake!
Thanks to all those who made it to the party and helped to make Evan's 6th birthday celebration a wonderful day. He had a wonderful day and you all hold a special place in his heart I know. My little princess tells me she wants a Spartan party someday so I can't wait until I get to do it all over again!

I made the pizza dip again and used the chive and onion cream cheese and it was really good. I also served El Az Dip, homemade guacamole, and tried out a new Greek dip that was really yummy. I will post up recipes sometime this week!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Layered Pizza Dip Recipe

I didn't forget, just been busy again. I promised the recipe for the layered pizza dip I made on Christmas. I ran across this recipe from a Betty Crocker email that I got right before Christmas. It was perfect timing. It's very easy, fast, and tasty. I see myself making this for many events in the future, bunco, birthday parties, football parties, etc. The recipe is one that an be altered to your liking in whatever way you want. You really can't mess it up and can pretty much put in what you prefer. Here's the original recipe then I'll tell you how I changed it.

1 (8-oz.) container soft cream cheese with chives and onions
1/2 cup chunky pizza sauce
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped pepperoni
2 oz. (1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. (1/2 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In ungreased 9-inch pie pan or 1 to 1 1/2-quart baking dish, layer all ingredients in order listed.
  2. Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until dip is hot and cheese is melted.
  3. Serve warm with bagel crisps, bagel chips or crackers.
I forgot to take a picture so this picture is courtesy of Betty Crocker.

Yep, that's it. Simple just like I said. Since Greg and my sister don't like onions I just used regular cream cheese. They're not fond of chunky pizza sauce (which I really have never seen chunky pizza sauce at the store) either so I just used regular pizza sauce. I got a small loaf of Italian bread at Meijer and brushed with olive oil and broiled. Do one side for a couple minutes then flip and brush with more olive oil on other side and broil a little more. I served with that instead of the bagel crisps, etc. It was super good. I recommend that, but make sure you don't burn the bread when broiling. :)

I'm actually making this again for Evan's birthday party this weekend. I'm going to try it with the chive and onion cream cheese this time. I'm also thinking of maybe adding some mushrooms to it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year... 2011

Well it's official, a new year is upon us. Say goodbye to 2010 and hello 2011. That's easier said than done when it comes to writing checks for me. I know there will be a few times when I still right 2010. Hope you all had a great New Year's Eve celebration and were able to stay up for the ball drop. All four of us did, but I was in bed soon after and ended up sleeping until 9:30am this morning. Oh next week is going to be so rough getting back into a routine and off to school on time. Evan's winter break is almost over. Greg had Friday off and he's got Monday off since New Years Day fell on a Saturday. It's been nice for him and us to have some long weekends and spending time together as a family. Evan especially has loved him some extra daddy time. He and Greg even went out for a short bike ride today so Ev could try out his new bike. Evan was in his glory! They weren't out too long though because it got cold fast this afternoon. Wow, what a difference from yesterday. Only in Michigan folks it is 50 one day and in the 20's the next. Is it spring yet? All the snow melted from it being so warm yesterday and raining so I'm good with seeing the grass again (even if it's not pretty grass) and no more snow.

Today is 1/1/11, isn't that neat? The number one will be appearing a lot this year like that. Again on 1/11/11, & 11/1/11, & 11/11/11. Crazy! I've got to talk about it even though I don't want to. Today was the much anticipated bowl game for MSU, and there was so much hype about MSU playing Alabama coached by Nick Saban. I thought it was going to be a really good game and MSU really had a chance to pull it off. Well, my new year didn't start out as planned and MSU basically choked and played horrible. There were a ton of injuries as well that didn't help and it was just downright ugly, depressing, and pathetic. It was like the Iowa game all over again only worse. Kudos to Bama's defense, but along with that came some poor calls (or should I say lack there of) by the refs. Especially when MSU stopped Alabama on 3rd and 10 right on the first drive of the game and then the refs call personal foul on MSU to give Bama a 1st down. It instantly changed the momentum of the game. It sucks that MSU lost and especially to Nick Saban. Still can't stand him and never will. He showed poor class with calling the blitz on the quarterback over and over when they clearly had the game one and were up 35-0. They were playing too rough and injuring MSU players left and right. With that said though, I'm still very very proud of the football team this year. Big Ten Champs, an 11-2 record, and a team that was very special this year. It's been a great season, and I've especially loved my little Evan getting into football so much and his love for the sport and his admiration for Greg Jones. It's a bummer G. Jones is a senior and he will surely be missed. Congrats to Coach D on a wonderful season. Looking forward to next season already.

It actually wasn't a good day for the Big Ten in bowl games all around. I loved seeing Wisconsin get beat by TCU in the Rose Bowl though. It made the MSU loss a little more tolerable. In my opinion it's what they deserved because Wisconsin did not deserve to go to the Rose Bowl over MSU. We'll never know, but maybe MSU would have walked away with a win today had they played in the Rose Bowl.

After the game, I debated about taking down the Christmas stuff. It was so pretty and I love having the lit tree at night. I ended up deciding that I'd rather get it out of the way than come tomorrow wishing it was done and having to do it. So I tackled the tree first and then all the other decorations. I must say the artificial tree was nice taking down and not having the mess of needles everywhere and lights to take off. So now I'm working to reorganize and clean this place up in time for Evan's birthday party next week. I've managed to pack up another box and bag of old toys. Slowly but surely this place is getting back in shape!

Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you much joy, happiness, and good health! Be kind to one another and do something this year that you've never done before!