Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lovin' Sunday

Oh my. Today is a good day.

I'm lovin:

---the party we threw last night. What perfect weather, fellowship and fun! Here are some sneak peeks! (I don't have access to all the pics yet.)

---the time I spent around the fire with Cameron after everyone left and some of the mess was cleaned up. We hadn't eaten our dinner yet (isn't that usually how it goes when you're the hosts??) so we filled our plates and got the fire going again. We talked about the party, us and the future.

---the plans we have for today! Corn Maze and Pumpkin patch!!! Markin' stuff off my fall list!!!


---how clean my house is.... There's a bunch of clutter from the party that needs returned to its owners or spot in our house (not lovin' that part! haha) but for the most part, the house is clean!! Vacuumed, dusted, organized.... it's all done.

Dontcha love the aftermath of a party?? All the random stuff to put back....

---that I figured out how to decorate my large wall in the front room. I've wanted to do a gallery wall, but haven't wanted to invest in all the frames..... so--- I'm going to leave up my clothesline, but switch it out with pics of us, our families, friends, etc.

---that we're getting our roof fixed this week.

No more roll-y roof.

---that my brain is already switching gears to the next two parties I have a part in!!!

---that I can put the rest of my fall decor up in the house.

---that I've had another week with my loved ones. After a tragic accident in a neighboring community, I squeeze my loved ones a little longer during our goodbyes. I'm grateful with each day with them.

Until next time..

Recipe: Lasagna Rollata Al Forno my way

Hey everyone! If you've not tried Lasagna Rollata Al Forno at Olive Garden, you should try it next time. It's my new favorite there... I love it so much that my husband and I were determined to have it more often and cheaper at home. I googled and found the recipe...made it according to the recipe one time, and then tweeked it to make it cheaper and easier...

Let me start by first saying that I am in no way a photographer
and these pictures were taken in my very dark kitchen. No windows.

 Here's what I use. A bag of shredded italian cheese, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, a tub of cottage cheese, lasagna noodles, a jar of alfredo and a jar of marinara.
These are the brands I get--- after some trial and error

Preheat to 350 degrees... and evidently my oven front needed a good scrub. gross.

Boil the noodles. I make 10 just because that's what fits in my dish.

Mix the jar of marinara, jar of alfredo, a handful of italian cheese, two spoonfuls of cottage cheese and a generous shake or three of parmesan. (This recipe is not a science.) I put this in a saucepan on medium. You want all the cheeses to melt and mix with the sauces. Stir occasionally.

 The original recipe called for wine and I made it that way once, but we don't keep wine on hand so I started leaving it out and I like it better this way. 

In a bowl, mix the rest of the cottage cheese, the rest of the italian cheese, about 5 generous shakes of parmesan and about 10 shakes of Italian seasoning. The original recipe called for all different kinds of shredded cheeses (expensive!), ricotta cheese, and an egg, but I do it my way now. (I started leaving the egg out because I didn't have any one day. It only affects how the roll stays together and it's not a big deal to me.)

Boil your noodles until they're pliable. Then rinse in cold water until you can handle them.

Dry a noodle off and fill it with a helping of your cheese mixture.
I lay it out on a paper towel to absorb the water.

Roll it up and stand it in a dish.

Fill the dish with all your rolls. If I get to the end and find that I have quite a bit of filler left, I sometimes throw it on top as you can see in the middle of my dish, or I take some rolls out and add filler.

Pour the sauce on top--slowly-- and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
***You can also sprinkle Italian bread crumbs on top. I forgot to do this for some silly reason?!!?!***

Voila. Very easy Lasagna Rollata Al Forno.
The hard part is finding where the rolls are in the pan.
We serve with tongs or two spoons.
(Excuse the spoon in the photo. My husband couldn't wait while I took a pic.)

Let me know how you like the recipe. This is an cheap and easy go-to meal for us. The ingredients stay good for a while in the fridge so I always keep the cheeses on-hand... and it's meatless---- cheap!
The night I made this for the tutorial, my husband called to say he was heading home (about a 25 minute drive.) This was a night that he usually works later, so I wasn't prepared to make a dinner and was in a mad-dash to throw together something and get out for my run. I had the dish in the oven before he pulled in the driveway, and then went out for a 30 minute run while it baked-- once he got home. It was perfect timing.
If you know my husband, you know he's a big eater. He fills up about two times a day so if he likes this meatless dish, that's saying a lot! It really fills you up!

Until Next Time...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bring in 'da Noise..Bring in 'da Funk

Oh my goodness.... I told ya about my new running shirt in one of my Lovin' Sunday posts.... well... I wore that shirt for that 8 mile run and boy did it stink when it was time to get washed.... and by stink, I mean STINK. It was beyond funky.... Like knock ya over stink..... (I know, gross, right? I'm sorry...I just want ya to understand just HOW nasty this shirt was.)

First of all, the shirts have a chemically/warehouse smell anyway, so then when you mix it with a nasty day-old sweat smell... yup, gross. I was devastated that my brand new shirt already had such a nasty stinch to it.... so to Google I went. After a wash and air dry, the smell came out completely...

so I'm here to share what I learned...

I rinsed the shirt out in cold water... then soaked it with this:

and this:

and this:

Then... I scrubbed the spots that I sweat the most with this:

Then I washed it as normal with detergent, vinegar and borax.....


It's like new again....maybe even better smelling : )

I've also learned to rinse out running clothes immediately after the run to help with the smell...

Until Next Time..

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just a Thought

Hello again....I've been seeing stuff on Pinterest that are both so true and go hand-in-hand.

First, I believe it was Audrey Hepburn that said, "Happy girls are the prettiest." Boy, isn't that true! Positive and bubbly girls are so fun to be around. I'm sure you're like me and know that one girl (and maybe even have a little 'girl crush' on her---- don't lie or pretend... you know you have one on some girl you know....) hahaha... anyway, where was I... You have that one girl that everyone just loves to be around....the sweet and fun girl... the girl that always knows what to say... the girl that is so poised and positive. Is she not just beautiful in your head?? BEAUTIFUL, right??    Now, what about the Downer you know?? Uh-huh.... you don't picture her in the same way do ya?? Happy girls are just pretty....

Now... There's also a pin that says....

"Just because I laugh a lot doesn't mean that my life is easy. Just because I have a smile on my face doesn't mean that something isn't bothering me...."    Ooo. Heavy.

We immediately associate, as a society, that a smile and laughter signify happiness and bliss. It doesn't mean that life is perfect. Remember the post I did about judging a book by its cover??
Is pushing the negativity away something we can do forever? Well no. Don't we all have breaking points?? But wearing a smile and pushing through a hardship is definitely something that is possible. Finding the good in the situation, having faith in something larger than yourself, remembering that good things come from those who wait, finding the good in every situation and believing that something better is on its way are some things that I try to remember.... Am I perfect at staying positive?? Absolutely NOT! My recent post about what felt like Friday the 13th around here is evidence, but it's something that we can try to achieve often.... On the same note, don't judge the book by its cover....there's a lot more going on in a person's life than what can be viewed from the outside.

Just a thought....
Until Next Time...

New Template

Hey!! I may love fall and all, but that Fall Template I had... I just wasn't loving it. There was something about it that looked kinda .... I hate to say I found this one and thought it was still kinda fall with its dark/muted colors, but still cutesy... Whatcha think? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Pinteresting...

Gotta love linkin' up!!

Have you all joined the craze of these 'e cards' that are all over facebook and pinterest.... they make me laugh out loud! Here are some of my favorites.

Are you crackin' up right now!?!? You definitely should be!

This facebook "I love you" crap that some couples post ALL.THE.TIME just gets under my skin. Anyone else?!?! Seeing it occassionally---- that's cute and loving (especially when the man writes it... for some reason that makes it sweeter than when a girl does it)....Every day with ooshy gooshy details and words--- that's where I draw the LINE! That bologna makes me want to comment with "blah blah blah. this made me puke a little".... Sorry if you're one of these people or if this offends you, but this is one area that just bugs me!
And grammar...OH, the grammar on the internet... I don't know if it's my education background, my common sense or my slight Type A personality........... but that 'you know what' irks my tater!

If you haven't checked out the E-cards you totally should....Some E Cards
Happy Pinning!

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Soda....Pop...Soda Pop

No matter what you call it, that fizzy carbonated stuff that comes in a can, bottle or fountain beverage machine spells bad news in my book. I gave up pop (as I call it) about 7 years ago. I was drinking nothing but Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper....and I mean that's all I was least 6 or 7 a day, every day. It was beyond ridiculous. I have chronic heartburn/indigestion problems and very yellowed/cavity filled teeth....and I blame both of those on the amount of pop I was consuming. One day, I got the flu and knew that was my time and chance to cut it out of my life. At first, I substituted with juices and fake drinks like Kool-Aid, until I realized that the amounts of sugars in those were just as bad or worse than the pop. I was not one of those people, however, that cut it out and dropped a few pounds, (sad day, right?!) but I would hate to think of the weight gain I would have encountered if I had continued consuming the same amount through college! That would not have been good!

I do not, in any way, mean to sound as if I'm the almighty for cutting out such horrible things from my diet... I do enjoy some greasy, comfort food just like everyone else....and I get a rootbeer float about once a year or so....but again, it's about moderation.

Here are some articles about soda pop...

Obesity 2
What a Video!
Tooth Enamel

The experiment with the egg is something that I actually did in college for a project. We soaked eggs in all sorts of drinks and then used toothbrushes to try to brush it off.... The pop, tea and kool-aid stained the egg shell (tooth enamel) and the shell of the pop-soaked egg started to decay as we brushed it.... yuck!

Moderation is key...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lovin' Sunday.....

It's time for another Lovin' Sunday time to sit back, reflect and appreciate.

Today.... I'm lovin:

My tape.....It let me run 8 miles on Friday!Nexcare Absolute Waterproof First Aid Tape, 1-Inch x 5-Yard Roll (Pack of 6)

Yup... gonna go ahead and say it... I'm loving that I ran 8 miles Friday! 8 miles. That's a personal record for distance... and the first 2.5 miles were solid hills...up and down, up and down... I'm loving that I've reached this distance. Now I know that a mini marathon is only 5 more miles away. I'm so close to reaching such an amazing goal for myself.... 5 more miles in 5 more weeks. I can do that!

I'm loving this sweatshirt weather.

I'm loving my new running shirt. It's Danskin brand from Wal-Mart and cost about $9. I got the 80s bright pink. It's so comfy and was great for a fall run!

<c:out value="Danskin Now Women's Performance Long Sleeve Tee" escapeXml="false" />

I'm loving the kind words that the teachers in my building said about me when referring me for a job. I just accepted a 5th maternity leave teaching position. This one is in another Kindergarten class, but I will have a 45-50 minute drive : (  We are hoping that Cam and I can carpool a few days a week to help with gas.... that drive for 12 weeks is going to get tiring, but it's so worth it. Having this spot for 12 weeks is awesome! I'm trying to remember that 'good things come to those who wait.'  I feel blessed to work with such great people and look forward to meeting more at the new building. Thankful for my opportunities.

I'm loving the time spent with family this week.

I apologize... these pictures won't get smaller! They're cell phone pics so they aren't clear.

I'm loving my husband that works hard to provide for us so that I can strive to reach my dream of becoming a classroom teacher.

What are you lovin' today?
Until Next Time...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weight Loss programs

Here's another one to explain what's wrong with other country's obesity problem...

Weight Watchers

I did this program for a little bit and as soon as I stopped, it all packed back on. It fills your body with nothing but FAKE fillers and starves it of what it needs. Fruits are higher in points than expensive 'junk' food you can buy at the store.... ugh! The way they are deceiving poor people trying to better their lives! Eating right and exercise is the only way to do it!

Until Next Time...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fast Food Frenzy...

Since December 30, 2011, I have strongly cut down on my fast food consumption. I've not had a burger or nasty chicken sandwich from a chain since then.... I cannot believe how much better I feel when I'm not eating junk, and then how sick I feel when I consume something from a fast food chain.

Ok... now, can I just say that the new "Family Dinner Winners" from McD's and the jumbo value meals with a zillion nuggets, fries and 2 drinks for just $x.xx just IRK MY TATER..... I try to keep this blog PG so that's my clean way of saying it ****** me off!  As if the DOLLAR MENU wasn't cheap enough to fill your belly with nothing but junk....Could we just make it a little cheaper to get fat?!??!? I despise that sounds so rude and heartless...but come on, FAT is exactly what is happening from all this fast food. Now you can feed the whole freakin' family nothing but preservative filled food for only $x.xx....

I can't even begin to tell you some of the astounding information I've read, so I'll just let you read it...

Size of Fast Food Meals x7

Fast Food Stamps?!?!

Consumption and Money

This is just GROSS... If you read nothing else, read this!

McD's is Cheating

Chicken Nuggets 

Chicken Nuggets part 2

More Gross-ness

Are you disgusted yet???? Is your tater irked??? Kinda makes you wanna give up fast food, doesn't it??? GROSS!  gross! gross!

Until Next Time...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just a Thought...

Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City is one of my all time favorite characters.... The show makes me think so much.... and it's funny!

Here's one of Carrie's quotes that I love...

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.

Within a couple of days of watching this rerun, I found this pin.

Ok... being happy with yourself is just a no brainer. How can you expect anyone to love you and for you to know what you want out of life and who you want to marry/spend your life with until you are happy with who you are, where you're at and where you're going. Needing to find the love of someone else to make you happy is not how it works. I think our society has this conception turned around. We seemed to be trained from childhood that we should find a mate in love to make us happy. Insecurity is an ugly thing.

Now... the other part of Carrie's quote is about relationships....
Ever thought of who you surround yourself with in life?

open you up to something new and exotic
 those that are old and familiar
 those that bring up lots of questions
 those that bring you somewhere unexpected
 those that bring you far from where you started
 and those that bring you back

Think of who you're spending time with.... Oprah Winfry once said:
Surround yourself with only people who lift you higher.

Just a thought....  how can you expect positive things in your life when you surround yourself with negativity?

Until Next Time..

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Pinteresting...

Hey Ya'll... I'm linking up today!

We are just a few days away from the first official day of fall, but if you read my post about my fall decor, you know that I've had my decor up for almost three weeks already! It's ok... you can laugh at me. Really, it's ok... I know, I'm goofy and totally over excited about my holiday decor.

Fall is something that I look forward to all year and I know that right now, while we don't have any babies running around the house, I can put up whatever I want and know that it's pretty safe.... so I'm going to take full advantage of this time while I can......

These are some of my favorite fall pins...(meaning, yes... I've pinned a lot of fall stuff)

This is where I got the idea for my blog theme...Fall in love..true love.

Is this not the cutest little saying you've ever read?!? 

My heart melts for this rich plaid!


I used this, plus a few other bucket list pins to make my own bucket list.
My husband laughed at me for the all the fall fun that I look forward to, but it happens just one time a year and there's just something about it that makes life seem perfect.
What fall stuff are you pinning??? There's so many beautiful front porch ideas and mantle pretties.... I just love the colors, the warmth and the feeling it gives!

Happy Fall!
Until Next Time...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What?!?! What are we eating?!?

The following information is from my new favorite website and blog: Fooducate

Did you know???

In the last 50 years, over 1000 new chemicals and ingredients have been used in food products, without the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even knowing about them, let alone reviewing their safety.

In several studies, artificial colors have been linked to numerous problems including hyperactivity and cancer. While the FDA has found the evidence inconclusive, health agencies in Europe have required warning labels on products using them.

Processed cheese is also known as “process cheese”, “prepared cheese”, and “cheese food”. Yes, it’s made with regular cheese, but with the addition of one or more of the following: whey, emulsifiers, milk, salts, preservatives, and food coloring. Legally, processed cheese cannot be sold as “cheese”. It needs to be called a “cheese food”. In fact, the FDA highly regulates how products can be labeled based on their cheese ingredient, moisture content, and milkfat:
* Pasteurized process cheese - contains 100% cheese
* Pasteurized process cheese food - contains at least 51% cheese.
* Pasteurized process cheese product - contains less than 51% cheese.

Lunch meats, hot dogs and meals like Lunchables contain Sodium Nitrite (E250) – A naturally occurring mineral used as a preservative in meat products against bacteria that cause botulism. Unfortunately it’s a precursor of carcinogenic nitrosamines, which are especially reactive in young children.

Is this not apalling to you!?! We Americans are consuming nothing but JUNK and then wondering why we are all so sick all the time...... and obese! HELLO!!!  You should just vernture through   It's eye opening, that's for sure.   After an evening of reading this site, I completely changed my grocery shopping lists....  

Until Next Time

Monday, September 17, 2012

Easy Decorating Project for my Kitchen

Since we moved in well over a year ago, I've been planning a project for my kitchen. I wanted to frame my family's recipes. They're not 'secret' recipes, just special recipes. I bought the frames and then they just sat in a bag for the next year....partially because my grandma's recipe box was tucked away in storage. Well, I finally got fired up one night and dug deep enough to get to the recipes and sorted out about 10 that I wanted... I narrowed them down and photocopied the ones that I wanted. The photocopies turned out perfect!

I hung 4 of them above the doorway from Kitchen to Living Room and the other one above our light switches by the door.

The stains and worn marks even copied on all of them. I love that!

This is my grandma's favorite recipe. It's a bread recipe
and she even wrote "This is my Favorite Bread Recipe" on the card!
She says she was asked for the recipe each time that she made it.
I love that I have such special decorations in my kitchen. I'm looking for something to go in between or above the frames to finish it off. It just looks 'incomplete.'

To hang them, I did the "pinterest" trick of tracing the frames on paper to find the desired spacing and position. It worked well! Because the frames all so close to the door, I was afraid of them falling crooked, or just falling off completely, so after I hung and leveled them, we put heavy grade sticky tack on the top corners of each one.

Total price of the project: $15 for the 5 frames (already owned the sticky tack, scrapbook paper and nails)

Until Next Time...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lovin' Sunday

Hey Ya'll.. It's time for another Lovin' Sunday.... I know. Other people do "What I'm lovin' Wednesday" but Wednesday are my pinterest days... and Sunday to me is a time to reflect on what I appreciate and love...

This week... I am loving:

1) The weather! How beautiful has it been this week?!?! The cooler temps, the breezes, the slight rain... Just wonderful!!  I'm so ready for fall to officially be here..... The festivals, the craft shows..... You're starting to think I'm the crazy lady, aren't you?!?!

2) This new site that I read like every post of and tried some of her tips and tricks: MaskCara. She's all over Pinterest! Be sure to check out her eyeshadow primer recipe, smokey eye tut and her mineral veil recipe. Tried them them.

3) Stores are putting out some Christmas stuff...Yes, Christmas, and YES... I'm loving it!

4) The big party I'm hosting is in less than two weeks. I've done so much thinking, planning, DIYing and so on that I'm just ready to see it all come together!

5) My dark fall/winter duvet cover that I just put on....tans, browns, reds and browns.... loving it!

What were you loving this week???

Until Next Time...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Vacation...Gatlinburg

For the third year, my family has gotten a large cabin in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area and spent 3 nights together celebrating before my grandma's birthday. We have so much fun together!

Packed up and ready to go Thursday morning.

Family time Thursday evening at the cabin.

Spent Friday in downtown Gatlinburg

They are two of a kind!

Grandma watching the taffy

Family lunch at Hard Rock

It poured while we were in there.... so we took our time eating!

Loved all the time we got to spend with Emma.

Our beautiful view

The bear we saw Saturday morning going through the neighbors trash.

Headed to the waterfall.

This 1.2 mile hike to Grotto Falls was about ridiculous. More than we signed up for! haha

Our cabin

The downpour we got while freshening up at the cabin after the hike.
We ate at Bennett's BBQ in Pigeon Forge before going to the Comedy Barn

Karter LOVED the show!
He even went up on stage to 'dance.'

Cam met a movie star. This guy has been in movies like Brain Donors and Kindergarten Cop.

Annual Sky Fly

Another bear Sunday morning...

He put his paws up on my sister's Jeep.

A 2nd bear Sunday morning

Love these two : )

Most of our family ended up at the same rest stop on the way home
We had to burn off some energy!

This year, we felt as though the weekend just flew by! Our cabin was about 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg (above the Alamo and Little House of Pancakes) and at the TOP of a very steep hill. The drive to it was the craziest of any we've been to. The first night we get there, we all do what shopping/exploring we want to do before going to the cabin to get settled and have a cookout. Cam and I drove about 30 minutes away to meet up with some of his family we'd not seen since our wedding! We had a really good time visiting.

We spent a lot of Friday in downtown Gatlinburg, shopping and exploring. That night we all got some bonding time in with Emma!

On Saturday, we woke up to a bear rummaging through the trash in our little neighborhood. It was a big bear and could get into the trash canisters without any problems! After breakfast, we packed up for a hike. We chose to go to Grotto Falls because it was close to where we were staying and listed only as 'moderate.' First off---The parking was crazy (we parked about a mile from the waterfall trail entrance) and then the hike was much more 'advanced' than we thought it was going to be. Taking a three year old on it was a bit much. We switched off carrying him a lot of the way because we were very afraid of him falling or tripping. It was almost guaranteed that your feet were going to get a little wet and things were very slippery! We were so tired once we got there (an hour or more after started--- and no, we didn't stop on the hike. It was a constant pace!) but we didn't pack lunch or anything because we totally underestimated the trek, so we had to take a few pictures, turn around and make the hike back down.... We were exhausted!
 Waterfalls won't be on the list for next year! haha 

After we showered and got ready again after our hike, Cam and I ran to the Christmas store. Oh my goodness. That place is massive....but it really didn't have the things we were looking for. I was very surprised that they didn't have any brown decoratons...none!...But we did get a few things for my tree this year--- peacock colors minus the brown! We also found a breast cancer yard flag that I had been wanting. It's so pretty!

The whole family ate at Bennett's BBQ and it was delicious! Most of us got BBQ pork or the Brisket. Everyone loved their meal and we had a 10% off coupon for dinner. Gotta love saving a little money at a time.

My mom had reserved tickets for the Comedy Barn for us and that was worth every penny. It is a family friendly show with all levels of comedy. We laughed a lot! If you've not been there, you should go! Some of us cousins do the Sky Fly every year and this was no exception! We just love it! And we had to squeeze in a little arcade time for Kart.

Sunday morning we got to see two more bears, although we think the bigger one was the same one we had seen Satuday. They are very tame and were walking right up to cabins and cars. In years past, we had signs in the cabins warning of bears but this was the first year we saw any! I walked out Sunday morning to load things into the car and there was a bear about 20 feet from our front door. My sister was loading her vehicle and made a run for the house.....but then we were all taking pictures of it like ding bats!

After all the excitement, we loaded our cars and headed out.
Cam, my sister, Karter and I headed back to the Christmas Store for my sister to look around and then had lunch at Popeye's before heading out. We though we were a long ways behind everyone else until we all ended up at the same rest stop!

We had a really good time and are already talking about next year!

                                                               The gang

 Until next time....