Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Wasn't Born on a Tuesday

I'm sure everyone has heard that old poem....Monday's Child is fair of face, Tuesday's Child is full of grace, Wednesday's Child is full of woe....... Well, I can assure with absolute certainly that I was NOT born on a Tuesday!

My daughters decided to have a lemonade stand today with their friend down the street while his mother had a garage sale. I was carrying down our stand, the ice, the lemonade, and a container of cups. While walking, I was talking with my youngest and not paying a lot of attention. Our sidewalk is NOT good. It has shifts and sudden drops and raises in the concrete....the kids hate it because they can't even bike on it due to how rough it is.

Well, my flip-flop decided to connect suddenly with one of the places where the sidewalk suddenly jumped about 3" in height. I tried to right myself, but had so much stuff in my arms that I could not. Before I knew it, I was flat on the ground and there was lemonade EVERYWHERE, including all over said youngest daughter. I have already taken several ibuprofen, but I know tomorrow will be even worse when I feel the impact on my muscles. I have three very scraped toes (one of which hurts so badly I fear it's broken), a nasty knee, a palm missing quite a bit of surface skin, a scraped up arm, and lots of bruises starting.

The only saving grace of the experience is that I don't believe anyone actually saw my act of acrobatics. I'll have to check You Tube tomorrow just to be sure, though!!

I guess the moral of the story is when life hands you lemons, please be careful not to spill the lemonade!!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now THIS is a deal!!!!!

So what do you think? Is this enough pasta to last us awhile??????

I HAD to share this steal of a deal I found today!!! I was at HyVee in Kansas City, taking advantage of some of their wonderful sale prices that started today. I happened upon the pasta aisle and found that they had the Ronzoni Smart Taste for .99 each. (Apparently this is an online-ad-only deal.) Now, that in itself is a decent price, but I happened to have 24 of the $1 off one coupons from the 4/5 Smart Source insert. I've been waiting for a deal like this!

I picked up 24 of the 1-pound boxes and loaded them into my cart, thrilled about FREE pasta!! But at the checkout, the deal went from great to incredible!! It turns out that there is an in-store promotion, as well! For every two you buy, you receive a credit of .75 on your total bill!!!

I brought home 24 POUNDS of healthy pasta, and they PAID ME $9.00 to take it!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!

Please let me know if you do this deal, too!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Winners of "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming"

I don't know how to do a "screen shot" on my blog, and can't find an option on the site, so here is a cut and paste of my winning numbers for my book giveaway:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

2 23 37 16 39
Timestamp: 2009-05-26 12:31:13 UTC

A huge CONGRATULATIONS goes out to the following wonderful readers:

2 - Minda

23 - Marie

37 - Deedles

16 - Annie Jones


39 - A Reader

I will be sending out emails later today to the winners. If anyone does not contact me within 48 hours, I will pick another winner.

Thanks everyone for entering! I hope to do another giveaway very soon!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Fun and Unique Evening

Last night, DH and I went out and had a great time, doing something completely foreign to us. I like a country singer named Brad Colerick. He's funny and talented and I enjoy his music. However, he lives in California and doesn't get out to the midwest too often to perform.

On a recent newsletter, he mentioned a performance in the Kansas City area and gave a contact if you were interested in attending. I immediately sent an email to the point person and found out that this was a private party at a HOUSE across town. She sent me an invitation to come and bring a guest.

I really wanted to go, but both DH and I were a little nervous about just showing up at someone's house for their Memorial Day weekend party. But we got Mom to watch the kids and headed that way. We almost backed out at the last minute, but decided it would be an experience. So off to the door we went.

It was a little odd not knowing anyone, but we walked into the backyard and up walked Brad himself to welcome us! He was very nice and chatted with us for a bit, inviting us to make ourselves comfortable. We sat down for a bit, then went inside and got soda and water and some of the wonderful snacks offered. We went back outside and went to one of the tables to enjoy the treats (which were very tasty!). As we ate, Brad came over again just to talk to us and make us feel welcome. It was so nice!! We talked a bit about my favorite singer, Suzy Bogguss, with whom he has performed live and has recorded a duet of "Ring of Fire."

The show started around 8:20 or so, and it was excellent! He even treated us to an entire preview of his upcoming CD, "When I'm Gone." I've already pre-ordered it; it should be out in July. Sadly, most of the partygoers were more interested in drinking and talking while Brad and his friend Steve Hanson performed, but we still enjoyed the show. I just wish more of the attendees had actually listened to the talent on the "stage."

There was a brief intermission due to a broken guitar string, and Brad even took the time to show me how to change the string since I had no idea how to do it! He was SUCH a nice guy!!!! The second set ended about 10:30 with my fave of his tunes, "Let Her Fall in Love." We went up and thanked him for the show, and he even remembered both of our names (amazing!). How cool is that?????

We had a really good time, even if we didn't talk to anyone but Brad Colerick. I really do encourage you to check him out if you enjoy country music. I think you will find him to be a refreshing artist. And while you're at it, be SURE to look for Suzy Bogguss!!! She is nothing short of amazing!

I'm very glad that we decided to leave our comfort zone last night and do something different - it made for a great evening out!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 5/18/09

**If you're looking for the giveaway, click here!**

Okay, I'm going to get back on the train this week and try and have a plan! I've done okay at winging it, but today I actually felt like planning things a bit. I involved the kids, and they actually decided on 5 of the 7 meals, so I'm pretty sure they will eat well all week!

Monday - Baked ziti, soft buttery breadsticks, green beans. I'm not sure what exactly we will be having, but I have a just-expired container of cottage cheese in the fridge, and no lasagna noodles, so I'm going to make something resembling a lasagna, but with penne pasta. Wish me luck! :-)

Tuesday - Jack's Ranch Chicken, rice, corn, homemade rolls.

Wednesday - BBQ ribs, baked potatoes, grilled corn on the cob, rest of the rolls. I still have to figure out how to fix the ribs, but I've looked at some online recipes and it sounds like slow cooking for most of the day and then a quick visit to the grill makes good ones. We'll find out!

Thursday - Macaroni and cheese, glazed carrots, biscuits.

Friday - Chicken alfredo pizza on a wheat crust.

Saturday - Pastitsio, green beans, sourdough bread.

Sunday - Ham and scalloped potatoes, corn, cornbread.

It's a simple week of family favorites, but that's what you get when you let the kids do the dinner planning! :-) Now we'll see if I can actually stick to it!

For more great menu plans, visit OrgJunkie!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Great Book - and My First Giveaway!!

I recently received a copy of the new novel, "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming," compliments of Hachette Book Group. It arrived on Thursday at about 2:50 in the afternoon.

I do enjoy reading, but generally don't have a lot of free time, so I will read a few pages here and there. I haven't read a book cover-to-cover with barely a break since "The Davinci Code." I decided to open this one and just read a couple of pages. All I can say is WOW!! This book had me after the first two pages. At 3:00, I turned off the television and curled up on the couch. My kids came home from school and I kept reading. I put things in the oven for dinner, while reading. I could not put it down!! At around 7:45, I finished the book. It really was THAT GOOD! This is not common for me, so you know it had to be a very intriguing book.

Here is the publisher's description of the tale:

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

Richer and more rewarding than any story Joshilyn Jackson has yet written, yet still packed with Jackson's trademarked outrageous characters, sparkling dialogue, and defiantly twisting plotting, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING is destined both to delight Jackson's loyal fans and capture a whole new audience.

I have to say, this book doesn't fit neatly into the box of any genre. It is part mystery, part drama, part ghost story, part suspense/thriller...all work of art. It kept me interested from beginning to end, and I was never quite sure where it was going or how it was all going to play out in the end. It never slowed down, and the character development was sheer genius! I will definitely be seeking out other books by Joshilyn Jackson!

You can order a copy of "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming" from many retailers. You can find a great list here. But, thanks to Hachette Book Group, I am also offering 5 of my readers the chance to WIN a copy! Believe me, you WANT to read this book. It's endlessly fascinating!! Winners must be in the US or Canada, and books cannot be shipped to a PO Box. So if you have a US or Canadian street address, PLEASE enter!!!

In order to enter to win, please leave a comment on this post. If your email is not visible on your profile, please leave me a way to contact you. For an additional entry, become a follower of my blog. Be sure and leave a second comment if you follow me. For a third entry, blog about this giveaway on your own blog and leave me a comment with a link to your post. I really want to get the word out!! And for a fourth, and final, entry, grab my button and post it on your blog, leaving a comment with a link to where I can find it. Easy, isn't it?? I will take comments through midnight on Monday, May 25th and the winners will be selected by and announced on Tuesday, May 26th.

Thanks for entering my first giveaway! And a HUGE thanks to Hachette Book Group for sponsoring a giveaway of an absolutely excellent novel!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday's Missing Menu Plan

I've just not been motivated lately to come up with a menu plan. I've been doing well at planning as I go, and it has allowed me to get a little more creative with my leftovers (see this post). I've kind of missed that. I also needed to go the grocery store this week, so I thought I'd see if anything struck my fancy. After visiting both Aldi and Price Chopper today, I have a few days figured out.

Tonight we had swiss steak (dump a can of diced tomatoes over a thick steak and put it in the oven for 2-3 hours at 300°), cheesy rice patties, corn, and sourdough bread that was left from last night's dinner. I even made an apple pie for dessert (the apples are from my brother's tree and I had frozen the filling at harvest time).

Tomorrow we're having hamburgers (I made my own patties and froze them, as the pre-made patties have gone WAY UP in price!!) and tater tots. I got the buns and the tots at Aldi today. It just seemed like a fun meal. We will also be going to Haagen-Dazs for our free ice cream scoops! I've never had their ice cream, so it will be a fun time!

Since I have a bit of steak left from tonight and lunch tomorrow is a volunteer's appreciation luncheon at the girls' school, that steak will still be there on Wednesday. So we'll be having a stuffed bread. I haven't decided on sides yet. I'm thinking I might do glazed carrots and green beans.

Thursday will be a chicken stir-fry. I got some broccoli crowns today and the kids LOVE stir-fry with fresh broccoli. I always serve it with rice and we'll probably have rolls with it, too.

Friday is pizza night. I'm thinking ham and pineapple/mushroom this week. I cheated them last week by purchasing pre-made crusts. DH and I drove up to Osceola, Iowa, to see my favorite singer, Suzy Bogguss, perform. We had to leave around 3:00, so I had to put together something easy for the world's best baby-sitters to prepare for them. It is great that we left early, because we ended up running into Suzy and spending quite a bit of time chatting with her outside the restaurant in the casino. Gotta love that!!!!

OOPS!! I just realized that Friday might NOT be pizza night this week! Friday is my youngest's 7th birthday, and she gets to decide what's for dinner. She wants to have family bowling night that evening, so we will do that after dinner and then come home for cake and ice cream. So....if she picks something different for Friday, we will move pizza to Saturday.

So there are my thoughts for the week. They're a little random, but work well for me. And I'm entirely flexible, which is always good. I guess I need to get my almost-seven-year-old to commit to a decision so I can get any needed shopping done. I've only spent about $45 this week on groceries, so I have a bit of wiggle room. :-)

I promise...I will get back to menu planning soon! I just think I needed a break from it. I just needed to be rebellious for awhile! *evil laugh*

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I have a BUTTON!!!!!!

I am beyond excited!! I FINALLY have a button for my blog!!! Now, please be advised that I designed this myself with absolutely NO knowledge of what the heck I was doing! As a result, it isn't the most exciting button, and it probably isn't the button I will keep, but I actually managed to create it!! Wa-HOO!!!!

If you're in my position and are clueless as to how to accomplish such a feat, there is a wonderful tutorial here. Without it, I'd still be deeply jealous of all bloggers who have buttons! :-)

PLEASE feel free to grab my button and place it on your blog. I'd love to see it out there in cyberspace. I'm quite proud of it!