Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pizza stuffed parmesan crusted chicken...

Well, I was planning on making the faux mashed potatoes yesterday but both of the kids had tutorials and Jansen had an extra private tutoring class after tutorials, so by the time I picked him up, Josh was home. It was time for dinner!

The good thing was, I timed the chicken just right so that when I got home, it only had three more minutes to bake. 

Josh said, "I am impressed with this chicken!" Yay! Go me!!!

Next time I would use chicken breast, because they would be easier to pound thin, and then just fold over the pizza stuffing. Alas, I only had chicken tenders, so it was difficult to get the stuffing to stay in the pocket. 

Anyway here it is...

Looks pretty good right?! Tasted yummy. Now this was low carb, the "breading" was parmesan cheese. It would have been AMAZING with traditional breading, but we needed this to be as low on the carbs as possible. 

It was pretty easy. Here is what I did:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. 

Cut chicken diagonally to create a pocket and stuff with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices. Dredge in egg and then in seasoned parmesan cheese (I used salt, pepper, fiesta seasoning, and jalapeno garlic salt). Briefly fry it in hot veggie oil until crispy, about 2-3 minutes on each side. 

Remove from the oil and place in the baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and cheese is melted. 

It was really good for a low carb, gluten free dinner. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making the effort to cook..

My husband is on a low carb diet. I hate it, but am often an on-again/off-again participant in the diet as well. Right now, I have gained some weight, but I just can't seem to get back on it full time. 

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon head first, I am just making the effort to change small things. Dinners are low carb. That's better than nothing right?!

Anyway, I LOATHE cooking. It makes me frustrated, annoyed, and irritated. Cooking low carb is even worse. But I have been making the effort to cook more often. While I am not in school this semester, it's the least I can do. 

So over the last week, I have made:

Sausage and peppers

Roast chicken and parmesan zucchini

Zucchini lasagna

And tonight, I am going to be attempting Parmesan crusted, pizza stuffed chicken with cauliflower "mashed potatoes" and salad. We will see how that turns out. 

Oh how I hate to cook. Ugh.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Monthly Operation Christmas Child box...

Last Christmas as we packed our yearly boxes for Operation Christmas Child, I thought about the need to be giving all through the year. We decided that each month, we will purchase goodies to fill a child's box so that by Christmas, we could donate 12 boxes. Incidentally, every year our boxes go to Mexico, which is kind of a bummer since we live so close to Mexico. We were hoping they could go someplace else so we could look up that country and learn a little bit about it. Last Christmas, they went some place new...HONDURAS! Yay!!

Each month my kids can choose a gender and age group of a child and we can shop and pray for that child. I forgot to blog about this last month, but this month we have our box ready to go. 

The boys decided this month to shop for a girl aged 5-9 and I let them pick everything out, and didn't try to talk them out of anything. They came up with some cute things! Here is what we bought...

First of all, I am out of shoe boxes so we purchased a plastic shoe box with a snap on lid. Then we bought a stuffed rabbit, an etch-a-sketch, a Little Mermaid book, a My Little Pony, a two pack of Zest soap, some dental floss, toothbrushes, a My Little Pony coloring book, crayon, glitter stickers, and a bunch of hair ties. And of course, the box. Not bad for $20. AND it all fit! Tightly, but it fit!

Two boxes down and 10 more to go!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Team Savannah cupcakes

There is a precious little first grader at my son's school that is battling for her life right now. She is currently in the hospital battling cancer. Cancer sucks. It sucks in older people, middle aged people, but it especially sucks in little children. It would be such an honor to eventually be a pediatric oncology nurse. That is my dream job!

Anyway, there is a benefit over the next two days to help pay for her medical bills. Most of the time I hate living in such a small town, but it is times like this that I love it. Our school and town is very small but we stick together like glue!

The least I can do is provide some baked goodies for the bake sale tomorrow. So after I made this actually delicious low carb dinner...

I made these cupcakes for sweet little Savannah's bake sale...

I hope we can raise a lot of money to help this family out. She is a doll!  Check out her Facebook page for more information. #TeamSavannah!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Name brand clothes on the cheap!

Caleb is in intermediate school and I think, by far, intermediate school is the most difficult years of a kid's life. High school is tough, but 5-8th grades are nuts. These students are going from kids to teens, hormones are raging, and cliques are forming. 

My child is already different. He is a bit odd, a bit quirky, and is difficult for children to understand and accept. We have dealt with a little bit of bullying but not too much, thankfully. 

In intermediate school, looks matter. And while I don't like to focus on such a shallow view, I do want my children to be clean, presentable, and fashionable. That is just one less thing that they can be teased for. That said, I am not going into the poor house to buy Hollister, Under Amour, and Aeropostale clothing. 

I swear, every day in the pick-up line, 90% of the kids are wearing these brands. It can get expensive quickly. 

In my drive for thriftiness, I plan ahead, keep my eyes open, shop the sales, and thrift store shop. Today, I think I got a great deal on a bunch of Aero shirts in the next size up for Caleb.  I got all this....for $35. Each shirt was a bit over $4 each. Yay! 

These have been washed with some Downy Unstoppables and will be hung in the closet, ready for Back to School in August. I love being ahead of the game!

Deal of the Day!

I had $30 worth of Kohls Cash burning a hole in my purse thanks to my mother, so while I was out this morning, I headed over there to see what kinds of deals I could score.

Turns out, there were several things I saw that I wanted for me, but in the end, I bought shirts for Jansen. Why buy myself one blouse when I could get Jansen 3 shirts?!

There was a quite large 60% off rack in the back and the most expensive item was $10. So I left the store with these:

A blue Tony Hawk short sleeved shirt, a blue Vans short sleeved shirt, and a black Tony Hawk long sleeved shirt. 

And I still had $1.61 in Kohls cash left. Not much I could do with that, but I tried to get as close to $30 as possible. Thanks to my mom for sharing her savings as I didn't pay a penny for those shirts. I think I am going to set them all back for Back to School wear. They are a bit big, after all. 

New activities....

Now that snowpocalypse is over in the South, temperatures are beginning to return to our 10 month a year normal. Temperatures for the last 5 days have been in the 70's and 80's, which means everyone in town is running outside to load up on Vitamin D. 

I love it. 

My husband was finally home on a Saturday this past weekend so we took the kids to the movies and then to the park to play while we walked the track and chatted. That is the first time in our 13 year marriage that we have gone walking together and it was so nice. 

The other thing that we noticed was the fact that Jansen is suddenly enamored with tennis. He is the one that doesn't want to play any sports, do anything extracurricular, and is only interested in cooking and eating. Well that is fine. I have him in the kitchen with me frequently to nurture that interest, but I would really love to get him involved in something that gets his body moving. 

After practicing a bit of tennis with him, on our walk home, he said, "I don't want to play soccer, basketball, football, or baseball. I just want to play tennis. Tennis is the best!"

So we have been going every day to the park or the school just to practice hitting tennis balls, running around, and having a good time. I have left a message for a private tennis instructor to see if we can get some lessons on the book to see how he likes it. We have a family rule that if any of our kids starts an activity, they must commit to a full year. He is going to have to commit as well. 

Oh how I would love him to play in intermediate and high school. We shall see. For right now, he is loving it and is asking to go play every day. I'll take what I can get!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kiddos' Valentine Breakfast...

Happy Valentine's Day! 

This morning I got up extra early to create a little something for my kids. They are the ones that my husband and I focus on on Valentine's Day. 

Last night I set up all of this because I really wanted to snooze a bit before having to wake up and get going. 

So this morning, I cut up some fruit and made some silver dollar pancakes. The kids were happy. 

We don't usually do pancakes unless it is a special occasion and they LOVE pancakes. I think Valentine's Day is a special occasion right?!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Oh Valentine's Day....

My husband and I really don't participate in Valentine's Day. Both of us agree that it is just "holiday" created to put unjust pressure on men to sweep their significant others off their feet, or forever be punished.

With the advent of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like...everyone posts their gifts and whatnot, and then others see it and secretly plot 50 ways to kill their lover because they weren't as thoughtful. 

Nope, I don't buy it. Flowers are nice, but they die and I always think of a million other things I could have bought with that money. Jewelry is always acceptable and beautiful, but meh....I am just not super excited about jewelry. I like practical things. Vacuums are amazing, but I don't want to get a cleaning product for Valentine's Day. So you see, it is a no-win with me. 

I am totally an acts of service individual. If my husband would quietly help my kids with their homework, or take them to get hair cuts and to the movies or something like that, I would love him forever. The slightly sad fact is, he is a work-a-holic. So we take what we can get. 

So, I spend the majority of Valentine's Day making sure that my children know that they are my Valentines. But this year, even though I am super angry with my husband, I wanted to just do a little something for him when he comes home tomorrow morning. 

We had an argument before he left for work tonight and I was really not in a loving mood. But as I started thinking of all the qualities I love about my husband, the anger started to melt away. Now I am back to love. Easy, right?! Not always. But this is my Valentine to my husband. Happy Valentine's Day, my love. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New-to-me car

My car is disgusting. I mean, really. I purchased my Honda Pilot in February of 2009 after I was in an accident and my Honda Odyssey was totaled. We got a good deal on it as it was used and had some minor blemishes.

I really liked that car but the windshield was cursed. Every rock that hit it, broke it. It was cracked almost all the way across, which drove me crazy. My super clumsy child, Jansen was 4 when we got that car and spilled more than 100 sodas, sno-cones, and ice creams in that car. It was in rough shape. 

My husband and I have been talking about trying to trade it in for a while now. We finally got the payments down to where we thought we could just make an even trade in for it...but we didn't want to hold our breath. Also, since I will hopefully be starting nursing school soon, we wanted a bit newer car, maybe smaller, that would reduce our payments. 

So today, Josh and I went to Houston to look at a few cars. We ended up at Car Max and test drove the Chevy Equinox, the Kia Sorento, and the Hyundai Santa Fe. We agreed on the Equinox and began that tedious car buying process. 

We just wanted to pay off my Pilot. Once we crunched the numbers, the deal was looking good and we were headed home. We had to leave before they could even clean up the car for us, because we had to go pick up the kids from school. 

Getting used to another car will take some time, but I am sure I will enjoy driving this car. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Race car party lanyards....

Like I have said before, thank goodness for Simone, who created all the wonderful printables for a race car party!

This time, I am creating drivers license lanyards for each of the children that were invited to Caleb's party at the race track. 

They turned out really cute. 

Please excuse my weird phone photos. The photos turned out pretty grainy and I have no idea why, but you get the idea. 

These will be placed in a little square box next to the goody bags already completed. I can't wait to see it all come together next month!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pokemon gift bags....

So Jansen's birthday is in May, and I am pretty sure that he has changed his mind three times now about what his theme should be. First it was Camping, then it was Sonic, and now it is Pokemon. I told him he isn't allowed to change it anymore!

He is hard core into Pokemon so I am sure that this is going to stick. 

Anyway, while I am working on Caleb's party details for next month, I am gathering supplies for Jansen's as well. I started with gift bags. Target had a huge package of red paper bags on sale for about $2.00 so we purchased one of those. 

Then I made personalized pokeballs with Jansen's name and age on them, printed them on card stock, cut them out, and glued them to the bags. 

I am still debating on what to fill them with. We are spending a significant amount of money on the venue and the cake since we are personalizing it, so I am trying to make many of the other aspects.Especially since the child wants to invite his entire class of 24 children. Not all 24 will come but I am making 24 bags for those that do come and will bring siblings :). 

I have a plan to make some pokeball necklaces. Jansen will probably want to put in some packages of Pop Rocks. He also mentioned buying a set of 60 pokemon cards and putting 2 in each bag, so that is an option. I'll probably go to the dollar store and get some glow bracelets or some other kind of prepackaged party favor. 

We plan on providing pizza, drinks, cake, and goody bags. Whew. Party planning is something!!

Happy 100th Day of School!

Happy 100th Day of School from Jansen!

100 tissue paper popcorn kernels glued to a shirt. Easy peasy. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New/Used Trombone....

Caleb has been talking about playing the trombone for about two years now. We know he is musically inclined because he took piano and his teacher kept making comments about him writing his own music as they played. 

A couple of years ago, my friend and I took our children to our local college to kids' music program. They had high school and college band and orchestra members seated at tables with instruments that the children could hold and try out. 

Caleb went right to the trombone and started playing it. Of course he wasn't playing actual music, but he was able to instantly produce sounds, which is more than I can say for me when I was his age trying to learn clarinet. 

Anyway, band begins in August and over the summer, parents are scrambling to find various instruments to purchase so that children can practice at home. We knew we were going to have to purchase an instrument so we put some money back, and started looking. 

We have a local website through Varage Sale where people post items they are looking to sell. Lo and behold, I was finally able to find a gently used, student trombone with a case and a slide in perfect condition. The brass was a bit discolored and it needs to be oiled, but it came with everything he needs to begin band. was $150! 

Caleb was so excited. He ripped that case open like it was Christmas. He and his dad put it together and he started playing. 

Musical instruments are so expensive!!! We were very happy to purchase a used instrument to begin his band experience with and if he continues into high school, we can invest in a new one. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

100 days of school shirt

It's already time for the 100th day of school. I just cannot believe it!

Jansen told me on Friday that they were supposed to wear a shirt with 100 things on it, but he doesn't know when. And of course, there has been no letter home from the school. Don't even get me started on the lack of communication this year! UGH!

Are you really depending on an 8 year-old to give me accurate information?! Anyway...

We are having to spend a good deal of money on several things in the upcoming months and we over-stretched ourselves over the holidays, so this needs to be free. It's not like he is ever going to wear the shirt again. 

So, we had a plain white shirt. Free. We have paints and markers. Free. We have tissue paper. Free. We are making a popcorn shirt with 100 kernels of tissue paper popcorn glued to it. 

Here is the shirt after I drew out the popcorn box and half way painted it. It doesn't have to be looks a little vintage. 

And here it is with 100 tissue paper kernels glued to it. 

Free and now I wait until I get information on when he needs to wear it. :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finally finished Autism tattoo!

Yesterday, we surprised one of my friends with a trip to Kemah and a tattoo for her 40th birthday. Those events were her choice, so that's what we did. I will blog about that in a bit. 

Anyway, we came back to our town to get her tattoo. A group of five of us rolled into the shop and two of us got tattoos. While we were waiting for the artist to draw up her tattoo, I asked one of the other artists about the possibility of "fixing" my red puzzle piece on my left foot. The previous artist drew some lines in it that I was never really sold on, so I always wanted just to color it in. 

He took a look and told me that he had an appointment coming in but he thought he could fill in that puzzle piece in less than 5 minutes. Sold!

So he filled it in, and we were still waiting on Lupe's drawing. The guy asked me if I wanted the other puzzle pieces since his appointment was over an hour late. My thought? Now or never; let's do it. 

I was done with my tattoo before Lupe even started hers. He was taking FOREVER!

Um, it hurt. It hurt BAD! The green one by my ankle was making my toes twitch and I kept trying to be as still as possible. But it HURT!

Now I am very happy with it. I am glad that it is finished and over with. I am glad that it is such a vibrant color. And I am glad that it pays tribute to my son. :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Racing birthday banner....

I am very thankful to Simone because everything I wanted to create for Caleb's racing birthday, she has already created. Print, cut, done!

So this morning, I printed out and put together the "Happy Birthday" banner for Caleb's party next month. 

Yay! I am hanging it on our piano to keep it out of the way and ready to go for the party. 

There are so many other small projects to work on for this party, and then we move on to Jansen's Pokemon party. So many ideas....thankfully still so much time!