Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Hannah Montana Movie

I love going to the movies with my kids because they usually like the same kind of "chick flicks" I do... I couldn't pay Dusty enough to go with me.. If there isn't blood, gore, or something deep and disturbing than Dusty won't watch it. One of his favorite movies is "Leaving Las Vegas" that really depressing movie with Nicolas Cage. Cage won an Oscar for it but it was about a drunk trying to drink himself to death while he befriends a Las Vegas prostitute...way too depressing and deep for me. I like light and airy movies... or scary movies...but not too scary...Prom Date, I thought was entertaining...My all time favorite of favorite movies is Pride and Prejudice...I've watched it about twenty times and each time is like the first.. The romance of it...
I have a movie recommendation for those of you with preteens... and maybe some teenagers. The New Hannah Montana movie.. I know it sounds really cheesy... I can't stand the TV show.. but you know... This movie is really good. It has family values, good music, and a good story line.. It definitely won't be up for any Oscars but it's a warm and breezy kind of movie...where you walk out warm and fuzzy....and who doesn't like feeling warm and fuzzy???? My preteen soon to be teenager acted like she hated it but I watched her throughout the movie and she was smiling.... she tries to act sooo cool....but honey I am so on to you....
So, go see Hannah Montana movie with your favorite girl and eat some popcorn for me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm Going To Disneyland

One of the things I did this year that was a lot of fun was to take my youngest to Disneyland on her birthday. I took her out of school and spent the day playing with Minnie Mouse and going on rides galore.... It was a great Mommie and Kara day.. It was a beautiful February day where the weather was perfect. This special day landed in between two huge rain fronts. It felt like the sun came out just for us... and the million other people that was there too... We went in the middle of the week and the lines were not bad at all.. We went on everything...gosh what a day!
I love Disney's new marketing plan - Everyone gets into Disneyland free on their birthday in the year 2009... Thankfully, I have a niece who is in the parade so I was able to get a pretty good discount for myself..
You need to make sure you register on line at least a week in advance and then check your e-mail and there it is.. I ordered one for myself.. because on my birthday in November.. I'm going to Disneyland... by MYSELF.. why you may ask? Well,let's see... a day for me and me and yep for me... to shop in all the stores I always wanted to go in but I had the kids with me.. To go on 'It's A Small World' as many times as I want.. To sing Yo ho yo ho a Pirate's Life for me and not have anyone cover my mouth with their sticky fingers...
This is going to be so much fun... of course spending a great day with my beautiful daughter was wonderful and a memory that will last forever..but let's be real..sometimes it's nice to be on your own too.. at least for a little while

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Snail Mail A Friend....

Today I was thinking about how electronic our lives have become... Email, cell phones, texting... terms that were never used when I was growing up.. Now they have become an everyday thing.. Even the word Blog is silly when you think about it... No longer do I receive newsletter from organizations I belong too... It's all on their website.. Sending mail via "snail mail" is too slow and too expensive..everything is on the Internet highway...speed is the need.... no more taking your time... faster is better...your phone can check your email, take a picture, play your 100,000 songs,and probably cook your dinner.. if not cook it - tell you where you can get it with its Zagat.
Today I received a small envelope in the mail.. It was addressed to my family - in handwriting - honest to goodness writing - not typed.. it was in ink.. Oh boy, the anticipation of an honest to goodness letter... I can't tell you how excited I was... slowing opening the flap...unfolding the lined paper.... it was a bill.... from my brother in law giving us our half of the expenses to our place in the mountains...but he did have a post it attached.... Would love to get together for place? so I did get a letter sort of...
Today, I decided I am going back to the fine art of writing a letter or a note. Each week I am going to hand write a letter to a friend, relative, or someone and I am going to snail mail it...I'm going to lick that stamp... I'm going to put it in the mailbox.. I'm going to touch someone's life and let them know that they are somebody to me.... somebody worth licking a stamp for... somebody worth sitting down and writing a letter too... I want that person to see that white or blue envelope in their mail box and think.. Wow, a honest to goodness letter... with my name on it.. and it's in real handwriting with ink.....

Monday, April 27, 2009

World's Greatest Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 lb bacon, chopped
2 1/2 lb ground beef
2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cup mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cans Italian plum tomatoes (2lb3oz)
3 cans tomato paste (6 oz)
2 T salt
1 1/2 c dry red wind
5 t oregano
5 t basil
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c chopped parsley
2t thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove all but 2 T bacon fat, save rest. Add beef. Brown, braking up with spoon. Stir into meat, the onion,the mushrooms, ground pepper, garlic. Cook 10 minutes. Mash tomatoes, with spoon. Stir into meat. Add tomato paste, bacon crumbles, 1 c wine, 4 t oregano, 4 t basil, and all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, Reduce heat and simmer three hours. Stir occasionally. Add more seasonings after 1 hour. This sauce freezes beautifully. When you defrost it add a little wine and seasonings to per up flavor and simmer for a while once again before serving...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Target Scavenger Hunt

Many times I have shared that I love love love Target and so do my kids. Well, when they are shopping for themselves.. Dusty's kids grandparents gave the girls the ultimate gift... Target gift cards. They received them Friday night and they were ready to jump in the car for a shopping spree..who cares if it was 9:30 at night!!!
Well I had my own Target shopping to do as well... I was itching to use my 10% for the whole day discount and the coupons I had accumulated.. Did you know that my 10% coupon can work with Target gift cards too? More bang for the buck I tell you...
The girls were raring to go buy up all they could with their $20 gift cards.... they did not want to wait while I got my shopping done.. so I decided to have some fun with it. I created the "I've Got A Coupon Scavenger Hunt" I gave each of the girls a bunch of coupons and told them to find the item and the first one who collects all their stuff wins..... Good thing the girls are extremely competitive like their mom so this became a fun time.....except for the fact I had my handy dandy camera with me and decided to take pictures....Kara my youngest is the world's biggest ham so she thought this was great.... Nikki the moody teenager...well, decided to humor me.. check out her facial expressions......Priceless...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Playing In The Pool and it's Cold Outside!

Okay, my kids have officially become nuts.. The sun is out and it's 10:00 AM and it's beautiful outside but it's 65 degrees it feels warmer but it definitely isn't 80 degrees and the pool is 72 degrees I just checked. So here I sit with my sweatpants, fuzzy slipper, and sweatshirt and wishing for a warm day and then I hear SPLASH and a Hugh laugh... My kids think it's summer and I caught them in action....What a great pretend it's hot outside and we need to cool off....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comfort Food For My Cold Weather Blues

I have no idea where our beautiful weather went.... Monday in the 100's.. today 60's burr cold... This California girl needs warm and sunny days.... So to cheer me up.. I made Southern style Comfort food... My mom is from Oklahoma.. so I can make it good. Fried/baked Chicken, White Pepper Country gravy, Fried potatoes, buttery corn, and a nice warm roll.....
If it's going to be cold outside...I'm going to be warm inside....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Discount Target Shopping List!

As you know, I love to shop at Target.... Yesterday I received in the mail my 10% off everything for a whole day card....Yipppeeee.... and I have a ton of coupons to add on to my savings... This is so much fun.... If you are not getting the Sunday gotta start... I tell you just gotta... Here are my deals for this shopping spree.....
Scott Natural paper towels $1.00 off
Scott Natural bath tissue $1.00 off
Glade plugIns buy 2 $1.00 off
Glade oil warmer buy one - get one free
Coppertone Nutrashield $1.50 off - great product
Coppertone product $1.50 off
Reynolds wrap $.55 off
Hefty waste bags $1.00 off
Pedigree dog food $1.50 off
L'Oreal mascara or any eye product $1.00 off
L'Oreal hip eye shadow, liner or mascara $2.00 off - Nikki loves this!
Litehouse bleu cheese dressing $1.00 off
Texas Toast $.50 off yummm
Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner $2.00 off - kid's favorite
ThermaCare (yes again - I'm old) $1.00 off
Lawry seasons buy 2 $.50 off
Grands Pillsbury $.30 off
Bryers Ice cream buy 2 $1.00 off
Energizer batteries $1.00 off
Kellogg's cereal any one box $1.00 off
Treetop apple sauce buy two $1.00 off
Star red wine vinegar $.50 off
Trail mix Crunch Cranberry Vanilla cereal $1.00 off - hubby will be so happy
Green Giant frozen vegetables buy two $.50 off
Bisquick $.60 off
Clorox Clean up $.75 off
Ziploc bags $.55 off
Pine sol $.50 off
All items above can be purchased at Target - Now combine Target with their everyday lower prices, my coupons, and my All Day 10% off Coupon my savings exceeds... - $33.25 savings!!!
Know what else came in this week's Sunday paper? Discounts for Knott's Berry Farm save $22 per person up to 6 people....Nikki wanted to go to Knott's for her 13th birthday in June and now we can! Savings for 4 of us $88!... and Boston Market - my favorite "fast food" has a buy one get one free meal this week....One night of no cooking.. Yeah for me! and one last thing. Pick up Stix has a buy one get one free entree.....I'm thinking I just might have to surprise one of my kids.. or both for a Pick up Stix lunch..hmm quality time together and saving money...What can a mom ask for?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring In My Own Backyard

The flowers are coming out to say hello.. I love love this time of year.. Everything is kids...
I am looking forward to things to come... I love the sun..
I wanted to share my backyard... I have enjoyed looking at many of yours...
Warm Days to come and stay.... Waiting for my Plumerias to bloom.. I want to make a lei... Their smell is so sweet. When they fall off the bush, I like to put them in a crystal bowl of water and let them float and enjoy their fragrance and beauty.
Everyday is a I am going to have my summer very sweet..

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Summer is Coming...

The last two days in Southern California have been extremely hot! Hot with a capital H! It's easy to believe that Summer is fast approaching...Today I bought my first watermelon of the season and it was good....Yeah.... Love love love my summer melon.. While I was working in my office at home, I looked out my window and saw my kids sneaking into the pool... cracked me up.. I knew they were done with homework and chores and watching the kids on a covert mission sneaking into the pool made me laugh out loud...especially when Kara jumped in and screamed it's COLD....
There are many things I love about living in So. Cal.. the weather mostly.. We have sunny days year round..and today was simply it's time to think about and get ready for summer.
Last weekend coupon section of the paper was a gold mine of great ideas for summer. Coupons for sunscreen... and $9.99 sunglasses special... I also got my Kohl's lowest prices of the season card - Every $50 you spend you get $10 Kohl cash... Kohl's makes it a game to shop there..Catch the special days, get the special cash, and you are a special person... Love it....
Now I am on a mission for the perfect summer pool raft....and I'm getting ready for summer... are you....

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Mortgage Processor's Advice

I have been in the mortgage industry since 1986.. Okay, I am really aging myself with that. I started as a Realtor and realized that it is very difficult to sell a home to a mature clientele when I was only twenty-one myself... So I became a loan officer in 1989 and worked my tail off. I enjoyed it but I was a newlywed and never saw my new I went into the office as the support person also known as the Loan Processor. As a loan processor, I handle all the paperwork required to obtain a mortgage loan. I know what FNMA and FHLMC require.. I know what the lenders want and I get it for them. I also help the loan officers and mortgage brokers fund their loans while ensuring that the borrower is happy with their loan amount, terms, and interest rate. I did take a two year break as an underwriter but discovered I am a Loan processor that's just what I am. That's what I love.
Today, there are so many people out there that have gotten over their head... They have no idea what their abuse of credit cards and installment loans have done to their credit standing...Today, I was helping a young couple to see if they can qualify for the home they made an offer on.... and I could not help them.. They had too high of balances on their credit cards and making the minimum payment was not lowering their balances but in fact the balances were going up. It became impossible to get them a good loan with a good interest. I refuse to be a party to those funky loans that has gotten our economy in the horrible shape it is in today... I only will do straight forward loans and thankfully the brokers I work with...will only do those kind of loans as well... It broke my heart that this young couple had no idea that they had systematically hurt their credit by taking advantage of the credit card promotions out there today and the "Pay no Interest until 2010...." debt is debt whether you have interest added on or not...
So here is my advise to those of you that want to purchase a home or want to refinance their existing home......
Use one credit card only... Payoff the card each month...If you can't pay for it in one month... then wait till you can..... (emergencies are excluded from this theory)
Join a credit report service - knowing your credit will help you keep it where it should be. Lenders are FICO driven. What that means is that lender will look at your credit scores to give you a credit determination... Lenders prefer 700 or higher...But will entertain as low as 640 with compensating factors..
Put something away each month.
Your mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance should not exceed 30% of your gross income
Your mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance and all your monthly debt should not exceed 38% of your income.
This is just a guideline to follow.. of course there are exceptions to every loan and nothing is black and following these guidelines it will help you from going over your head.
On this blog one of my advertisers is My FICO score. This is an excellent service to join..but of course there are others out there... Knowing your credit will help you be ahead of the game
I am not a mortgage broker so I can never quote loan rates but if you have questions, please ask and if I can help you I will.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Laundry Lessons

You know what really frustrates me as a mother...washing clean laundry.. Laundry from last week's batch that my kid threw on the floor and instead of putting away... threw it in with the dirty clothes... My husband noticed eleven pair of pants belonging to my daughter..mind you, I wash laundry every weekend... So Dusty asked Kara, my youngest..."Kara, did you wear eleven pairs of pants this week?" Of course, she didn't. This has become a habit for my chore disabled kid... Yelling doesn't work.. Threatening her with early bedtime, no snacks, or anything for that matter just does not work... so Today, Kara is doing the laundry...ALL OF THE LAUNDRY...all eight loads of the laundry.. She is loading the washing machine and the dryer and folding and putting away EVERYONE'S laundry..and she is not having fun....
I told her no TV and no Radio until it's done.... there's a fun kid event tonight at church..if she's not guessed it she cannot go.. So far she has gone to the bathroom seven times... can't stop laughing on this one. I've caught her laying on the couch twice...but she's getting it done.
I am hoping this is a lesson learned for put away her clothes in the right spot not in the laundry basket....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Kids Said They Were Bored...

This afternoon my kids came to me saying they were bored. So I gave them a project...can you hear my devious voice in your head??? I got a bunch of dirty and gross pennies, a bottle of ketchup, some paper towels, 2 toothbrushes and told them to clean those pennies...
The kids had a great time...getting ketchup everywhere... all over their hands, clothes, hair, face, and oh just everywhere....and the pennies got clean...
This is a science project my youngest Kara did in kindergarten...many years ago.(5 to be exact)..
So my kids got to be kids money and they got to keep the other change in the jar.. So far the count is up to over twenty dollars...We're going to put in our "Let's Do Something Fun" account..

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easy to Make Meat Rolls

I don't have a picture to show you...but you'll love this recipe...I promise

4 tenderized cubed beef steak..
stove top stuffing
2 TBSP oil
seasoning salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Lightly season and flour the steak. Then you pound it and pound it until it's very very tenderized.
Lightly spread mustard on half of steak
Place approximately 2 TBSP of cooked stuffing on top of mustard.
Roll and cut into 1-2 inch rolls - use toothpicks to hold together
Lightly brown the meat in a skillet
Place meat rolls in shallow baking dish and bake for approx 30-35 minutes
Let me know what you think..

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ebay The Garage Sale of the 21st Century

I am loving Ebay!... The Internet garage sale of the 21st century..who knew there were people out there that love my kids outgrown clothes... My outgrown clothes... I take a pretty picture, load it up, start with an inexpensive price, and bam I have a watcher..then it's two watchers and then a bid comes up...then two bids... Okay, I keep coming back to my computer to check for bids and watchers.. I don't want to go to sleep at night..because I am addicted... I want more watchers and more's like caffeine to a coffee addict....
My husband likes to switch out his wardrobe. He loves Tommy Bahama...Shirts, pants, socks, boxers, and shoes... When he tires of some of his clothes, I list it on Ebay and then he buys more... It's crazy, he can find brand new with tags Tommy Bahama shirts for $10 normally $125 or addiction has become more fun...
Now I have discovered what a great deal I can get on my DVD collection. I sell movies I am bored with and buy more... I have become a Gilmore Girl fan, One Tree Hill, Sex and the City, Supernatural, Felicity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan....why you may ask... Cuz I got the entire series on DVD for practically free.. I tell ya... free!!! The great thing is when I tire of my series...I sell them and get my money back...and sometimes more..
I go through my house trying to figure out what I can sell this week... Hmm how about the my kids' CD collection....shhh don't tell them!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Family TV Night

I have learned as my kids get older the less we have in common on what we like to watch on TV. So when a show that we all like rolls around, I get really excited! American Idol is this time a round favorite show. To make the most of our "TV Family Time", we created an American Idol Contest... We each made a pick on who will win and we can't change it.....So far all four of us are in..okay, I chose for my husband...but his heart is kinda sorta in it...He really likes Simon... Simon says it like it is.. Anyway, I chose Danny Gokey because he's a cutie, has a good voice, and I just love the story behind him. His best friend trying out with him..Danny auditioned because his lovely wife who died wanted him to tryout.. the whole story sounds like a made for TV movie and it worked for me and when the movie comes out..I'll watch it. Kara my youngest also picked Danny with Allison a close second... Nikki likes Adam and so does Dusty - my hubby.
As the season has progressed. I am thinking that Adam will win. Man, that guy has a powerful voice and every week he brings it on....Danny is still sweet and I think he'll be one of the final two..
Last night was a good show...Allison shocked the heck out me..when she sang "I Don't want to miss a Thing" by Aerosmith...One word WOW and Adam Lambert sang "Born To Be Wild" by Easy Rider... He again showed why is so original...Love it. Danny was okay in my opinion..the judges seemed to like it though. He sang "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie..His emotion made me well up but the song...well...
So tonight - it starts in two minutes - I think Lil will be voted off the island....
We'll See..

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Crock pot Recipe - Apricot Pork Chops

I have come to love my Crock pot. I think every mother should have one and use it often!!! The Crock pot has made it possible to feed my family and still work, take kids to and from school and tennis, and help with homework....

I ran across this recipe years ago and it has stayed a staple in our home. Please let me know how you liked it.

Apricot Pork Chops

1 pound of fresh baby carrots
4 pork chops (boneless works best)
1 large jar (8 -12 oz) of your favorite apricot or peach preserves ( I usually use apricot)

Be sure to use a non stick spray before you put the ingredients into the Crock pot.

Spread the baby carrots on the bottom of the pot and then place your pork on top of the carrots. Poor your preserves over everything. I like the glaze to be thick so I put half the glaze on in the beginning and one hour before they are done, I put the 2nd half. You can do all in the beginning if you choose. It turns out great no matter how you do it!

Cook on low for 8 hours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Break - Cleaning the House

Today is the day after Easter and my girls are on break.. They would be extremely happy if I allowed them to stay in their pajamas, have snacks all day, and watch whatever they want on television...they would really love that..I had a different idea for today.
My house is a mess with a capital "M". The laundry is washed but not folded and put away, the kitchen has dishes that need to be cleaned, counters to be scrubbed, and cabinets to be wiped down. In addition to the kitchen, the bathrooms, the living room, the family room.. All disasters! Not to mention the game room and bedrooms....WOW. So I made two lists.. I wrote out a detailed list for each girl to complete by 3:00 PM today..My oldest was in charge of the kitchen, vacuuming the entire house, family room, bathroom floors, her bedroom and fold and put away her clothes.
The youngest was in charge of cleaning the game room (she made the mess), clean her room, her bathroom, clean all 3 toilets, polish and vacuum the stairs, Windex on the glass tops in the home, and put away on her clothes.
I found that when I keep the girls busy they don't fight, they can't say they are bored, and they let me run my business without so many interruptions. Today was a very productive day. I got a new client....yeah! and my house is clean...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Our Easter

A while back I told everyone that this year we were doing something different.... we were not going to do the egg hunt but hide some bags with clothes...well the best laid plans. My playful husband decided late last night that he wanted to hide a "few" eggs. Total eggs hidden..166. Yes that's right for my two girls ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SIX EGGS.... In addition to the colorful "summer" clothes bags. We were up to almost midnight trying to find new and unusual places to hide the eggs... Kind of hard when you have ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SIX EGGS! The girls had a great time find the first 150 eggs.. I think the the remaining eggs just kind of lost their appeal....but this is a tradition that the girls do appreciate and I have a feeling they will pass to their own children someday. The girls loved their new summer clothes too. We had a great start to the morning..the Easter Egg and bag hunt and then going to Church to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What an Amazing gift. He Has Risen! HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Famous Jerk Chicken

This is my family's favorite Chicken recipe. It is a staple in our menu because my husband requests it almost weekly.

4-5 Chicken breast cut into pieces 1-2 inches

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 envelope of Italian salad dressing mix (I use store brand - cheaper but just as good)

2 TBSP (generous) brown sugar

2 TBSP soy sauce

1 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground red pepper (this will give a good kick) 1/2 tsp for mild kick

Mix all the ingredients together. Add chicken and coat well.

Place chicken on grill. I use my George Foreman knock off.. You can BBQ it or broil it. Be sure to marinade while you cook.

**I make another batch of the sauce and heat it in the microwave for extra sauce to dip or flavor the rice...

You will love this recipe. Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beware Internet Trespassing

When my oldest daughter turned 10, we bought her a computer and gave her Internet access. I thought we were so clever when I put AOL parental controls giving her access to sites geared towards 13 year old and younger..... With parental controls, I get a daily report of her surfing activity..and I thought okay no need to go and look over her shoulder occasionally she is doing great!
I noticed that my daughter was on the net a lot but I was not getting reports and I started to wonder.. During dinner one night I asked her where she went when she was searching the net.. She said she went to Webkins,, and You tube... You Tube????!! How are you getting on You Tube? That's a blocked site...Oh it's easy she said..I just go through Windows Explorer and I can go anywhere! I had no idea she could do that...I asked her how did you know you could do that..."Oh, my computer teacher showed me."
I sat down with my computer genius and went over the rules for the computer...
1. You Can Not Go On You Tube
2. You Can Not Use Windows Explorer - only use AOL
3. If there's a site you want to go on...ask me
A week or so later, I walked by my #1 daughter's room and heard music..her and my youngest were laughing their heads off.. I walked in and there before my eyes was You Tube!!! Both the girls turned around with the deer in the head light look...BUSTED. That day I took away the Internet... I tried to give it back a couple of times but I think the temptation of restricted sites was just too much for my loved ones to handle.
Today, when one of the kids need the Internet they can just go into my office which is right next to the family room which is right next to the bathroom...Which means they are not alone... I have been told many times by my preteen that I am overprotective. She has mentioned that her friends have My Space accounts and they go into chat rooms. "Who do they talk in the chat rooms?"I asked.. Oh they talk to friends and boys... I love the fact my daughter is still so open with me...because the next thing she tells me is that her friend met a boy in one of the chat rooms and that they were "hooking up" at the mall on Sunday... At first, I thought it was the adolescent imagination of a wishful twelve year old because what parent let's their twelve year old girl go to the mall alone?? Not mine that's for sure.. To be safe, I called the girl's mom and told her, chances are it's a story to impress the girls but I just wanted to be safe... The mom told me that she had plans to drop off her daughter at the mall on Sunday because she had to go into the office for a couple of hours.. I did not pass judgment even though I really wanted to say. "What are you thinking?" To be safe the mother told me that she'll have her daughter go with her friend..another twelve year old...Sure enough that Sunday a boy who was eighteen was there to "hookup" with the least that's what we heard through the grapevine.. Fact or Fiction? I don't know but I wouldn't take the chance..
The following notice came in my mailbox today:
California Cracks Down On Cyberbullies
It's a problem that is growing. Over 40 percent of all teenagers with Internet access have been bullied on-line in the past year, and only ten percent told a parent. And girls are much more likely to be the victims than boys, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. A new law will allow schools to suspend or, in some cases, even expel those found guilty of cyberbulling...
Unfortunately, the Internet brings the outside world right into our homes..into our kids rooms... I will continue to guard against that... We need to keep our kids safe.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Something New for Easter

We are doing something new this year for Easter and I am really excited about it. Every year on the night before Easter, Dusty and I would set out to hide over 100 eggs for our kids...mind you, we only have two girls! In the eggs the girls would find candy and sometimes a quarter or two... I came to the conclusion that Dusty and I had more fun hiding the eggs than the girls did finding them..why because the last three years I have found several eggs that still contained their treasures ... I think because of the quantity it became overwhelming...
Now that my girls are getting older and are more into clothes than jelly beans , I have decided to give them some of their new summer clothes for Easter!!! Great way to save some money... I went over to the 99 cent store and purchased a bunch of pastel colored lunch bags..for you guessed it .99 cents. One bag will have a shirt another bag a pair of shorts another bag a tennis outfit and so on... I'm going to put their names on each bag and hide them throughout our home... Of course, I got most of the clothes at Target using my 10% off coupon...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Resurrection Eggs

Every Easter my family discusses the meaning of Easter by using Our Resurrection Eggs. It's a fun way to remind ourselves of the purpose of Easter, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You can make your own Resurrection Eggs too! This is how you can do it..

You will need 12 plastic eggs that open in different colors if possible, an egg carton, and a Bible
Each egg will have an item, Bible verse and explanation of the item that represents the Easter Story. The eggs are to numbered 1-12 or you can go by color.. You can write/type and put the meaning in each egg or you can use a cheat sheet and describe the egg after the participate opens the egg. It's up to you....If little kids open the eggs, I would have the cheat sheet..

Egg #1 A Donkey (plastic or draw one) or piece of a tree branch/leaf
Read Matthew 21:1-9 The Donkey and/or branch represents Jesus coming into town on a lowly donkey just before His death and resurrection. People were shouting Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.The people were laying branches on the road for Jesus to cross over on. (what many people don't know is that it was a common tradition for a king to ride on a donkey in times of peace.

Egg #2 Silver coins. I use a quarter and nickel to represent the 30 silver coins.
Read Matthew 26:14-16, 46-50, 27:1-5 Judas accepted 30 silver coins for betraying Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders.

Egg #3 Passover cup or crackers. Use your imagination- a barbie cup, a drawing of a cup..saltine crackers.. Read Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28; Exodus 12:23 At Jesus' last supper with His disciples before He died on the cross, He used the cup of wine and bread to explain His death. This was during the Passover...

Egg #4 Praying hands. You can use a picture of Jesus praying..
Read Mark 14:32-42 Praying hands reminds us that Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with His disciples

Egg #5 Leather whip - cut a small piece of leather from a belt, bracelet..
Read John 19:1-15 After Jesus' trial by Pilate, the Roman soldiers used leather ropes with rocks and metal woven in to whip Jesus leaving 39 deep gashes in His skin

Egg #6 Crown of Thorns - take a thorn off a rose plant...
Read Matthew 27:29-31 The soldiers who crucified Jesus placed a crown of thorns on His head, so they could mock Him by saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

Egg #7 Nails in the Cross - 3 nails
Read John 19:16-22 Three large nails were driven into Jesus' hands and feet to nail Him to the cross.

Egg #8 Dice for Gambling - one or two dice
Read John 19:23-25 The Roman soldiers used dice to gamble for Jesus' robe

Egg #9 Soldier's Spear - use a twig or draw a spear
Read John 19:31-37 Roman soldiers used a spear to pierce Jesus' side when He was on the cross.

Egg #10 Linen Wrapping - a small piece of white cloth
Read Matthew 27:57-61 Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus in a linen cloth after He died on the cross.

Egg #11 Stone of the Tomb - a small rock
Read Matthew 28:1-3 The huge stone that covered the tomb was rolled away.

Egg #12 Empty
Read Matthew 28:5-8 Jesus' tomb was empty because He rose from the dead.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas

My favorite Mexican restaurant is closing their doors this month. The owners decided to retire... This brings much sadness to me for the fact they make the most incredible enchiladas in the world. I have enjoyed 'The Mexican Affair's' food for well over twenty years. I order the exact same thing every time. The Palomas Blancas which are Chicken and cream cheese enchiladas. My family and I made a recent pilgrimage to Long Beach, California and discovered the impending closing of this incredible restaurant. Our food server was the owner Ruth Lopez. I asked Senora Lopez if I could have her recipe for Palomas Blancas and she said yes! So I am sharing this incredible recipe with you... Please enjoy...

Palomas Blancas (Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas)
Serves 12-15

3 lbs chicken breast, cooked and shredded
12 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 lb butter
1 dozen flour tortillas, medium size
8oz Ortega whole chile peppers cut into strips
8oz cream cheese, sliced thin horizontally
8oz grated jack cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream
14.5 oz can black olives, sliced

In a large pot with water, boil salt, garlic and chicken until tender and shred, set aside. In a large skillet heat vegetable shortening, add diced onions and saute until tender. Add diced tomatoes and simmer for one minute. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
In a medium skillet melt butter on low heat. Coat all flour tortillas with butter on each sided.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Now you are ready to assemble your first paloma. In the center of the tortilla add 2 Tbsp of the chicken, now add 4 strips of the Ortega pepper and 2 strips of the cream cheese. Take each side of the tortilla and fold ends first, then fold to the center loosely. Place the palomas in a shallow baking pan. Top with jack cheese and pour heavy whipping cream over each paloma. Bake for 15to 20 minutes. Now top with green onions an black olives...

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Am A New Coupon Shopper

I have never been one to look for "deals" at home. I never looked for coupons in the newspaper ( I never read the paper), I never looked at the advertisements that come in the mail, and I certainly never used coupons or any form of discounts. Not that I am a snob or anything...I just never thought about it. I had always considered myself frugal... When I went shopping I would shop at less expensive stores, like Target... (read my previous blog about Target and get some great ideas).. I would buy things that we needed and if they were on sale..yeah So in my mind I was saving our family money....Now I know, I wasn't doing that great of a job. With the discovery of coupons, I have saved our family much much more. I have invested .55 cents a week to get the Sunday paper and Here are the coupons I have used this week:
Hefty $.55
ThermaCare $1.00 (a must have)
Max face product - buy one get one free $7.99
Colgate toothpaste children $.50
Kraft Mayo (2) $1.00
Kraft salad dressing Ranch $1.50
Tums (a must have) $1.00
Gogurt (2) $.75
Treetop applesauce (2) $1.00
French's fried onion (bean casserole yum) $.50
Oust air sanitizer $2.00
Fruit chillers (2) (my kids love them) $1.00
Pledge $.55
Windex $.75
Welch's grape jelly $.55
Energizer batteries $1.00
Playtex (a must have) $.50
All items are things I buy..not just because I have a coupon...

Total Savings on Coupons not counting Target's lower prices $22.14 This savings will pay for my Easter HoneyBaked ham, I have a coupon for $19.99....They are usually around $40.00! In addition to the coupon savings, I have found dinner savings: Prime Rib dinner for $13.99 at Black Angus. I also found out that Round Table Pizza has a Tuesday Family Night Buffet for $6.99 per adult and $3.99 for kids. This would be great for when Dusty is out of town on business and I just don't feel like cooking!

In today's hard economic times it's great to find some cut those coupons and read your advertisements in the mailbox!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Summer Imagination

When I was a kid my summer vacations consisted of hanging out with my friends, riding bikes, and using our imagination. Every day was a new adventure. I remember building a fort made out of cardboard was huge. All the kids in the neighborhood came over and our imagination took over. One day we were fighting Indians and the next day we were the Indians.... We were too busy having fun to watch TV. We did not have game boys, ipods, or cell phones. Those things did not exist yet... I had a transistor radio and my favorite radio station was KFJ on the am dial....Motown was big and family values were high.... Our family took two big vacations when I was younger. Both were long road trips to visit relatives. My sisters and I would play I spy, read a book, play barbies, or sleep. We did not have a portable DVD player or laptops to occupy our time...
I love to do creative memory projects when I have some free time. The other day I was going through my family's summer vacation. My family meaning my husband and I and the girls. We have gone on two Mexican cruises, Lake Tahoe, Zion National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Bahamas, Morro Bay, and a two week road trip. In addition to our family trips, the girls went to camp with girl scouts and church. When we are home, the girls would attend tennis camp for a few hours everyday... I noticed while I was reminiscing that I have never let my kids just do nothing....meaning let them plan their own day...use their own imagination.... No wonder when there isn't a good show on TV they don't know what to do with themselves...
This summer I have made a decision. We will not go on a family trip. The girls will not go to tennis camp every day. They already have their lessons three evenings a week. I'm going to let the girls figure out what they are going to do. We live in Southern California so there are many things. They can go swimming in our pool, we can ride bikes to the beach, have their friends over, or maybe make a fort out of cardboard boxes....They don't know this yet...but the TVs will be taken out of their rooms... and I will have them read two books this summer. It's not too late to find the joy that I had as a kid...and for them to learn to use their imagination....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My April Fool's Prank..

I became the victim once again this morning..... to my forty-six year old husband's sense of humor... He literally becomes joyful this time of year trying to think up original pranks to pull on his loved ones. He is so well known for his April Fool's style that friends call him on March 31st for ideas.. This time of year I get a glimpse of how my husband must have been at ten years old!

A couple of years ago...he set every single clock in the house and in my car one hour ahead. I woke up and looked at the clock...oh NO....jumped out of bed , woke up the kids with a we are really late "let's GO", gave them a pop tart to eat in the car, money for lunch. a robe over my pajamas, and out the door we ran.... I arrived at their school and no one was there except the morning daycare. I walked into the daycare and look around and asked the worker where was everyone...She knew my husband..she started to laugh and she said oh noooo, Dusty got you good today...It's 7:15 am....April Foolsssss!!!!

Last year, I caught him trying to sneak my car out of the garage to hide it around the corner, another year a fake spider fell on me when I put down the visor in my car..and the pranks go on....You would think the practical jokes would only stay confined to April 1st...But oh nooo...., my life is filled with unexpected joys and jumps at every turn...

This year he out did himself....This morning after I got dressed I went to my closet to find a pair of shoes to wear. Granted my shoes are not neatly arranged.. I kind of throw them in the closet and there's a big old mess... but usually I can find one pair on top. This morning I could not find one single, I have to organize this closet. I sit on my bottom and start pulling out my shoes...I own about fifty pairs.. still looking for a pair. Now every shoe is out..Not one pair to be found!!! HE STOLE ALL MY RIGHT SHOES!!!!! I had only had left shoes in my closet!

Here's hoping your April Fool's is a good one!


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