Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cyber Monday

Even after waking up very early and going shopping on Black Friday, I was very excited to check out the Cyber Monday deals this year. This was really only the second year I had heard about "Cyber Monday" and I was hoping to find my hubby an awesome Christmas present during the major sales that day. Did we buy anything you ask? Yes. In fact, our purchas surprised me. 

 This is what we got: 
Hello, cozy movie nights on our new 40" 240hz 1080p t.v.. I am stoked! 

Here's the deal: When hubby and I were engaged we were surprised to find out that the bride and groom often gave their spouse-to-be a wedding gift. We could not think of what we would possibly get each other besides something practical for us to enjoy together: a nice television. So our plan was to purchase a t.v. after our honeymoon as our "wedding gift" to each other. But our plan didn't exactly work out as we planned because Hawaii is expensive (we honeymooned there). So, now we are getting our wedding gift as a big Christmas present too! It should be arriving in the mail in the next week or two. 

Goodbye, old dinosaur t.v.. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekly Recipe: My Crock Pot Chili Recipe

One of my favorite ways to prepare meals is with our crock pot. Yes, even though I am married to a chef I still do some of the cooking. It is so convenient to be able to throw in a bunch of ingredients and let it simmer for hours until dinner time. What's in mine right now? My delicious homemade chili. Although I've made it many times, my husband always tells me how much he loves it as he goes back for seconds. It is easy, and it is good.


1 lb of lean ground turkey (or ground beef)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can chili beans
1 can kidney beans
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups of corn (I just throw in frozen corn)
1 packet of chili seasoning mix (if I am too lazy to make my own..)
1 medium onion, diced


 Fully cook ground turkey in skillet on medium heat. While meat is cooking, open and empty these cans into your crock pot: chili beans (with sauce- I do not rinse), tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes. Pour can of kidney beans into a colander, rinse with water, dry, and add to crock pot. Add corn, onion, and seasoning mix. Stir ingredients in crock pot. Add cooked meat to crock pot and stir all ingredients. 

Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat or 4 hours on high heat. 

Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and serve with some corn bread. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

After hours of shopping 'till we literally dropped during the wee hours of Friday morning, we went home for some much needed rest. We went to the most delicious pizza joint for dinner called Flying Pie Pizzeria. It was G O O D! After we consumed all of the pizza we could eat, we bundled up and went to the Idaho Botanical Garden Christmas light show. It was chilly, but we did not care because it was beautiful.

My love.

My brothers- Jonny and Nick

My sister, Erika, and I

Erika, cousin Brendon, cousin Kristofer, Nick, and Jonny.

My wonderful Grandparents.

Before going home, we warmed ourselves by the cozy fire. It was a great night with family!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thank Full

Our Thanksgiving was great. It was an awesome celebration of all we have to be thankful for. Hubby, my family and I are still in Idaho at my grandparents house. We spent the day relaxing and being together with family. 

Our feast consisted of turkey, ham, and many delicious sides (like the garlic mashed potatoes Stephen made).

We told stories and joked about who would be the first to spill their drink- something that always happens at meals in our family. 

After dinner we sat down for a family game of Apples to Apples. Then Friday morning my aunt, sister, and I headed out at 4:15 am for some Black Friday shopping. We went to Kohls, JCPennys, Macy's, Target, Shopko, and Fred Meyers. It was fun but when I was done I just wanted out. I lasted until 10 am when we went home for a nap! I am now completely finished with my Christmas shopping- well except for Stephen. 

Hope everyone had a memorable, relaxing Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Secret Santa

What a fun idea! I signed up for blogger Secret Santa here. Check out the link for more information and sign up. I am so excited to send and receive a gift from somewhere else in the country/world.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The holidays

have arrived.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones! 

I am in Boise, Idaho at my grandparents house with my siblings, dad, and wonderful husband. Enjoy your day! 

There is much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


... it is soggy outside. We have gotten three inches of rain in 24 hours.

... I will embark in a 7 hour car ride with some of the people I love the most: my husband, my dad, and my three siblings. my Friday.

...I am feeling blessed for all I have been given in this life.

...I will spend hours watching episodes of "Friends" on said car ride.

...I will see my grandparents who mean the world to me.

...I am thankful for the gift of life.

I'm Blank Because...

My friend Kylee did this and it seemed fun, so I thought I would do it too.

I'm weird because..
  • I will not eat any type of seafood. At all.
  • I love drinking herbal tea before bed.
  • I can't stand having dirty dishes in the sink.
  • I am very afraid of throwing up.
  • I love bleu cheese. It's one of my favorite things.
  • I love going to bed early and waking up late.
  • I absolutely love wine. Like alot.
  • I do not like cats. My family is full of non-cat people. So, when my sister got a kitten a couple months back it surprised us all (even my dad was surprised he let her get one). I have to admit though Tux, my sister's kitten, is pretty cute. 

I'm a bad friend because...

  • I don't always keep in touch as much as I should.
  • I don't always take initiative to make plans.
  • Sometimes I can be too honest.

I'm a good friend because...
  • I am supportive and caring.
  • I enjoy listening to others.
  • I want the best for those I love.
  • I'm not afraid to say the truth.

I'm sad because...
  • My grandma is sick and in the hospital. She has been in there for four days without any improvement.

I'm happy because...
  • I am road-tripping with my family to my grandparent's house for Thanksgiving.
  • I have an amazing husband, supportive and loving family, and great friends.

I'm excited because...
  • The holidays are here!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY Gift Ideas

Every year I try to think of a gift fitting for each of my loved ones. I try to pick out something I think they will love. But what shows more thought than homemade gifts? We have already made homemade Kahlua and Frangelico, but I am thinking of making a few more gifts and placing everything in a cute gift basket for each person. Here are some cute ideas I found:

Homemade Laundry Soap (See my recipe here.)

Are you making homemade gifts this year? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Let's get started....

It definitely was not me who woke up at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning (after getting nine hours of sleep) only to go back to bed at 10:00 for a nap. I would never waste my day like that. Ever!

It also was not me who accidentally left the freezer door slightly cracked when I left for work one morning last week. I am more more careful and observant than that. Therefore, it was not hubby and I who had to throw out meat and other frozen foods that had hawed during the day. Bummer. Glad that was not us.

Also, it was most certainly not me who gave into a Shari's radio commercial advertising their delicious new pie shakes. It was not me who asked hubby if we could go there Friday night for a date.

Marionberry Pie Shake. YUM.

Friday, November 18, 2011

There's An App For That

It's true: I love my iPhone. I'm entered the smart phone world in February of this year, and I'm not sure how I lived all those years without one. It's hard to know where to begin when discussing the favorite things or uses for my iphone. However, the first feature that I instantly fell in love with was the fact that my phone would buzz when I had email. I no longer needed to log into my email on a computer to see if I had email. Wow how convenient! And instantly, I was hooked.

Other apps that have me hooked:


The oppurtunity to stalk others in cyber world while the babies I watch are sleeping, or while I am at the gas station. Either one.


My favorite applications are ones aimed toward productivity. You see, I am a productive person and anything that helps me save money or get things done is grand. CouponSherpa allows you to search for coupons by retail store. I have often found myself in a store with my hubby saying "Well, let me see if I have a coupon for this store on my phone."


When I take pictures I almost always use Instagram to edit them. Instagram allows you to take, edit, crop, and share photos instantly with friends. 


This application is super handy because when I take multiple pictures of the same thing or place they can all be made into a collage inside one photo. 


Groupon is another app that's great. I can quickly check to see if there are any deals I could use around me and then move on with my day. I have actually purchased a few Groupons on y phone too (Britney Spears tickets for $20 was too good of a deal to pass up...).

Words with Friends

This game is fun! It allows you to create a screen name and play with friends (you're going down Kylee!) or it will match you up with a random opponent. I play this a lot when I am bored because it's a fun way to pass the time. I have even convinced my husband to make a screen name and once in awhile if I am lucky, he will play a game with me.


I recently downloaded The CNN app after hearing about it from a friend. It's handy because when there is breaking news it will flash up on the screen like a text with information about what just happened. I usually don't have the time or forget to watch the news, so this helps me stay connected to the world.

These are just a few reasons I love my phone. I'm interested to hear what apps you love (even if you don't have an iPhone!). 

Sponsor Swap

As a new blogger, I know how hard it can be to get the word out about your blog. I would love to do a sponsor "swap" with anyone interested. 

To participate you will need to create a "button" (100 x100 pixels) email it to me at Your button will then appear on the right side of my blog and my readers will then be led to your blog. When I receive your email, I will reply back with my button for you to place on your blog as well. 

The new sponsors will be up on my blog until January 1, since I am starting this in the middle of November.

Now, go ahead, create your button and send it my way! What a great way to grow your blog. Have a wonderful day. I am off to snuggle up with a warm cup of coffee while I wait to hear from YOU!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Secret Blown?

Although hubby and I have been together for years, we are new to this marriage thing. This means that we are learning more about all the little things that you realize when you live with someone. Like, the place in the room where your significant other piles all of their clothes, or you may be learning who puts the dishes directly into the dishwasher and who leaves them sitting out when they are finished. One thing that is new for us, and especially tricky with the holidays coming up, is sharing a bank account and not finding out what we are getting each other for Christmas. We are still trying to figure out a solution...

My birthday is also coming up four days after Christmas. My hubby devised a plan to find a way to buy me a birthday present from the money he had made himself, and he thought he was being so sly. Unfortunately for him thought, I killed his buzz. Here is how it went down:

Stephen has been working occasional weekends for a catering company downtown. After working, he received pay checks and tip checks in the mail. Well, I started realizing that it had been awhile since we had received any pay checks for some shifts that he had worked. I decided to mention my concern to him and the first few times he blew me off. He would say things like "I am sure they are coming. It's fine. They will send them." But quite a bit of time had passed. I was turning into a worried wife because he worked for that money , and we definitely could use it! Eventually I told him that he needed to email his work and tell them he had not received some checks for shifts that he had worked. He told me he emailed them. When I asked if they responded he told me yes and that they were mailing him the money. Phew, I was relieved. But the checks never came! Now I was mad. I wanted to know where the money. During this particular conversation, I was driving on the 80 mile drive home from visiting family in Corvallis. Stephen looked at me and said "babe, they mailed the checks a long time ago. I cashed them and I have the money. I am saving it for your birthday presents though so that it is money that I earned (since he is in school I have been the one working right now).  Wow. Shoot. I blew his surprise! "What is wrong with me?" I thought. But my loving husband;'s reaction? He understood. He had talked with a friend of ours about this situation and realized that he would just have to tell me that the pay checks had come and what he was planning to use the money for (my birthday present). 

This is just one of the many reasons why I love my husband. He realizes that this sharing a bank account thing is new for us, and he wants to try hard to make the upcoming holidays special for me like they have been every year.

Christmas 2008

 Christmas 2009

Christmas 2010

Although I now know he has money saved for my birthday present, I still have no idea what he is planning for me, and I want it to be a surprise. 

Now, if anyone has any ideas of how to keep Christmas presents a secret money wise, please let me know. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

15 Days of Thanks- Part 1

Today is November 15. Each day of November has sparked the desire to think of what I am most thankful for that day. While I have kept them in my head until now, I have decided to think up and list one thing I am icredibly grateful for each day of the month until now.

I'm thankful for...

1: The ability to pay my rent each month and have a warm, cozy, safe place to live.

2: That I married the most selfless, honest, loving man who takes such great care of me and constantly makes me a better person.

3: For the two parents who raised me into who I am today. Although their marriage fell apart, they taught me how to love, how to work hard, and that a relationship with God is the most important thing in the world.

4: I am thankful for my job. There are good days and bad days, but I am so blessed to have the situation I do in this economy and with Stephen in school.

5: For each breathe. Sometimes I forget about the simplest things. Each breathe is a miracle and we never know when our last will be.

6: Real friendships that are deep, inspiring, and honest. For those that remind both of us of where we have been, how far we have come, and where we have yet to go.

7: For my siblings. Helping take care of them when I was young (I'm the oldest- they are now 21, 16, an 12) gave me a love for working with children. All three of them are growing up and they make me so proud.

8: For food and my chef. Whether it is my hubby or I cooking, I am blessed to know that I will be able to eat every meal. There are people in this world that can't say the same and it humbles me.

9: For jokes and laughter with those I love.

10:  Grandparents that have poured so much into my life. They have given more love and support than I deserved at times.

11: For me education. I was blessed with a great college experience where I earned two degrees in an area that I love (education).

12: For pictures that allow moments to stand still. I love being able to go back and see a moment in time and having the opportunity to capture important events.

13: I am thankful for coffee because it makes it easier to wake up in the mornings (especially on the chilly, dark days).

14: For tradition. I am so grateful that I look forward to holidays such as Christmas and can smile when I think of the traditions my parents created for us.

15: For days off so I can sleep in and choose how I want to spend my day.


I would love to read your list of thankfulness. If you have posted one, would you please share the link in the comments below so I can check it out?

Recipe of the Week: Quiche

This is one of my favorite meals. We make it a couple times each month and always make two pies at a time so that we have plenty of leftovers (and of course hubby can eat over half of one himself the first night for dinner...).

Pie Crust Recipe: (*makes two 9 inch pie crusts)

2 cups white flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz butter, grated with cheese grater
1 egg
2-3 oz ice water

Sift flour. Mix in butter with flour until the butter is coated. Blend together egg and water then slowly add to dry ingredients. Add more water if needed, but only 1 tbsp at a time. Stop mixing when dough forms. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before use.

After cooling, roll out dough and place half in each 9-inch pie dish. Before baking, place a piece of wax paper  on top of each pie crust and place about 4 cups (1 pound) of dried beans on top of each pie (this is used as a weight; beans are still good after using them for this). Bake for 15-20 until golden brown at 350 degrees. Remove beans and follow Quiche recipe (below).

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Quiche Recipe: (*makes two pies)

2 onions julienne, carmelized
2 cup of diced, cooked bacon
1 1/2 cups chopped, steamed broccoli
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 cans (12-fluid oz) evaporated milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheddar and 1/2 of pepper jack cheese into each pie crust. Add cooked bacon and carmelized onions.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into each pie crust.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean when inserted near center. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by Mckmama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

On Saturday, it was most definitely not me who left the house to go pick up a prescription 30 minutes before the pharmacy closed. But then I did not make it a block from my house until I realized I didn't really need it that bad, and therefore I decided that I would rather stay home instead. So, I turned around and headed home. What a waste! I would never make such rash decisions.

It was not me who repeatedly told my husband that I loved his design skills better than mine after we created labels for our Christmas presents which I talked about in this post. They both turned out cute, but I was certainly not envious of how good Stephen's turned out.

In addition, it certainly was not me who went to Albertson's a second time yesterday when I found more "Twice the Value" coupons. I would never get excited about saving more money and getting things we needed over half off. Also, it was not my husband who refused to go back to the store with me on the second trip. He willingly came the first time but did not say no when I told him I was going back.

Image courtesy of Google Images.

What about you? What have you not been doing?

Date Night: Home Style

Hubby and I  both had bad colds all last week. Nanny for three kids (under four, I must add), it was no surprise that Stephen and I both got sick shortly after the kiddos started spiking high fevers, snotty noses, and coughs.

We each had our fair share of vitamins, airborne, and tea throughout the week, and by the time Saturday night came we were feeling much better. However, we still felt like staying home on the couch and spending time together. So what did we do? 

We had a cheese and wine night, of course! It was a very fun at-home-date.

Stephen used his talent for food presentation to arrange the fruits, crackers, bread, and cheeses for us. 

I lit candles and we snuggled up and watched Friends for hours. It was a perfect evening.

I am blessed to be married to an amazing man who is my best friend.