Friday, April 28, 2006

Mexican Lasagna

We love this dish and with Cinco de Mayo coming up, maybe you'll be looking for something to make!

4 flour tortillas
1 package enchilada sauce mix
1 can tomato paste (smallest can)
1 can tomato sauce (small can)
1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco sauce mix
1 can refried beans
2 c. shredded cheese (we use the Mexican blend)

To make the sauce: follow directions on enchilada sauce mix using tomato paste and water. Cook and stir, add tomato sauce. Or you can use one can of enchilada sauce and one can of tomato sauce. This makes enough sauce for several batches, so I keep the extras in the freezer.

Brown ground beef and drain. Season with taco mix as directed on package. Stir in refried beans.

Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1/4 c. sauce over the bottom of the pan. Cut two of the tortillas in half and place half against each edge to form the bottom of the casserole. Next top with just enough sauce to cover.

Top with all the meat mixture and 1 1/2 c. cheese. Place the remaining two tortillas halved (four halves) on top of the meat/cheese. Top with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Third Time's A Charm!

After much suspense and several ultra-sounds, we found out yesterday that we are expecting a baby girl! We are all very excited! I had gotten to the point where I would not have even minded a surprise at the end since it seemed like we weren't going to be able to find out...but all in God's timing. The main thing is that she is healthy and happy!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Works For Me!

As mentioned last week, Shannon is starting a new feature and has invited everyone to join in! So, here is my entry for this week:

This idea comes from Cleaning Up The Clutter by Emilie Barnes. She suggests labeling each box or bin that is going into storage with a number and a listing of what is in it. Then, keeping a list by box number of what is stored. For example, this box contains 6-12 months girls clothes and shoes. So, I write box number 10 on my index card and list what is in it. When David takes it to the attic, all boxes are numbered. And when I need something specific, I can ask for box x without having to search through all the boxes. This is also a great way to keep track of what is in storage. Similar ideas were also shared in Amy Dacyczyn's books, The Tightwad Gazette.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spring Tea

Our church had a tea for all the ladies this last Saturday. This is an annual event that we can invite friends to and enjoy the yummy food and fellowship as well as a message from our pastor's wife. Each table is decorated by anyone who wants to sign up and this is my table! I grew grass in small glass flower pots and in one silver tub for the middle and made pinwheels out of double-sided scrapbook paper and pastel colored straws. I thought it turned out nicely.

The whole afternoon was very refreshing! I enjoyed the message, funny skit, making new friends, and tea food! Happy Spring!

Monday, April 24, 2006

6 Random Things

I was tagged by Megan to list six random things about myself, so here they are in random order of course:

1. I love Lucky Charms cereal and sometimes like to eat out all the cereal part and leave a bowl full of marshmallows to finish with!

2. I am terribly afraid of any thing that resembles a bug, insect, rodent, pest, reptile, etc... Ahem, yes - and I live in the SOUTH!

3. One person I would have loved to meet was Corrie ten Boom. I am amazed at what she lived through and the attitude which she had through it. I benefit from reading the Hiding Place every once in a while and have many of her other books as well.

4. I love the smells of freshly mown grass, clean sheets, and cinnamon rolls baking!

5. I do not like tomatoes but will eat ketchup and pizza sauce - go figure.

6. Some day I'd like to have some sort of ministry to young women who did not grow up learning how to manage a home. And help them with meal planning, organizing, chore managing, and weave Bible Study and creating a peaceful home through the whole thing.

I'm not sure who to tag, so if you want to play - please post your link in the comment section!

Friday, April 21, 2006

From Our Garden...For You, Grace!

Dresser Makeover Complete!

The dresser is complete! Thanks, Meredith, for the suggestion of spray painting the handles! They turned out great!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let The Christmas Shopping Begin!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Target clearance?!?! :) Ok, yes - I know I have several times! But, today was yet another great day on the clearance racks.

As mentioned, we are going to use our Discover bonus for gift shopping throughout the year, so here is how I spent the first $20 of our bonus!

Playskool Talking Tool Bench: reg. price: $34.99 marked down to $8.74

Little Tikes Microwave with batteries: reg. price: $14.99 marked down to $3.74

Little Tikes Blender: reg. price: $7.99 marked down to $1.98

My Little Pony: reg price: $5.00 marked down to $1.24

Angelina Ballerina poseable doll and DVD: reg price: $14.99 marked down to $3.74

Angelina Ballerina "Learn To Dance" set including ballet outfit, shoes, tiara, DVD, etc...: reg. price: $19.98 marked down to $4.98

Total original prices: $97.94

Total paid: $24.42

I guess it goes without saying that I paid with our Discover card so that I earned a bonus on this also! Some of these gifts will be for other people and some I will keep for Emily. I also thought of putting aside one or two for the Shoebox gifts as quality gifts were discussed on Megan's blog last holiday season.

Painting Timesaver

I cannot remember where I once read this idea, but I decided to try it and it seems to work great! When you are painting and using a paint roller, and know you'll be using it multiple times in a week or so - you can put the paint roller in the freezer between uses and it won't have to be cleaned out each time. Just wrap in plastic wrap - put the whole thing in a gallon size ziploc and pop in the freezer. Then, set out about one hour before you want to paint to let it "thaw" - it has saved me a lot of time in painting and clean-up this week!

P.S. Check out this blog for lots of other great time-saving tips from other Moms and look forward to Works-For-Me-Wednesday ideas! Thanks to Megan and Michelle for participating and passing on the info!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Water Girl!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Free Oak Trees!

Several months ago, we raked leaves and gathered a large pile of acorns. A few days ago, David noticed a big green patch in the acorn pile, what do you know...they are growing into little oak trees! I don't particularly want all these zillion trees in our yard. But, I do think it is really neat to see the tree and the roots coming out of the acorn with zero effort on our part! Any suggestions on what to do with all these little trees? It seems a shame to scoop them up into a black trash bag...

Monday, April 17, 2006

It Pays To Call (Literally!)

I spent a lot of today making phone calls on lots of over-charges or mixed up dr. bills. The combined total would have cost us more than $1000 if I had not called, but most of it may be taken care of with money back even! Just because the dr. says that the insurance denied my claim, does not mean I can't call and find out why! (Turns out it was because they thought I went to an out-of-network-provider: when we got that straightened out, they are going to re-submit my claim!) Anyway, just an encouragement to not just accept what these papers that come in the mail tell you without a little investigation!

On another money-note: The latest 5% Discover card rebate is for gas and auto-related purchases (through 6/30).

Here's to spending a little time on the phone to save a lot of money!

We're Home!

Our week in Florida was beautiful and relaxing. The weather could not have been better and Emily enjoyed playing in the sand this time instead of screaming!

I have wanted to visit this Holy Land in Florida since I don't know when or if I'll actually get to Israel. David's aunt found half-price tickets for us, so we went last Monday. I would not go again with a little toddler - but it is really neat if you ever get the chance to go.

Home projects are now in the front of my mind: painting the spare room, dresser hardware, etc...

I've missed being in touch with all of you and am glad to be back!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

North and South

David is headed north for a work conference for the week, so Emily and I are going with his mom to the family condo in Florida! Here's looking forward to a restful week at the ocean!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fun Finds and Feeling Old...

David and I agreed that we had a great day together yesterday! I enjoyed my trip to Hobby Lobby and found the above goodies! Planter for the porch (50% off), egg basket with six wire cups - great organizer or planter (50% off), pair of scissors to replace the ones I lost during VBS last year (40% off) and a package of rusty tin stars (40% off)! Yeah!

We also enjoyed the concert, though - I must say I felt much older than I usually do. I did not really enjoy the opening band at all, and we had great seats on the floor - but ended up moving to higher seats so we could just sit down and enjoy. The Third Day part of the concert was great and very enjoyable. The encore was the best part of the whole show, I thought!

I guess one reason I felt old was the average age of those attending was probably 15-18! Though there were parents and obvious "chaperones". Maybe I've just out-grown the whole concert idea? Either way, we really enjoyed our day together!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fun Friday!

We have Grandmum (David's Mom) scheduled to come over this afternoon, so we can enjoy a fun Friday together!

For our anniversary, I surprised David with tickets to a Third Day concert (he missed the last one because Emily was born two days previously!).

Since this involves travelling to another part of South Carolina, we also have stops planned for:

- a new DVD player since our died recently, with a stop to this store
- preschool games on sale here
- and, a much-anticipated trip to one of my all time favorite stores

The only thing that would make this trip better is if they had one of these where we were going!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Great Dresser Makeover!

As I prepare the spare room to become Emily's new room, I wanted to paint this dresser. (Thank you, Mom for encouraging me to paint it!) I had considered getting rid of it because I disliked it so much, but am really pleased with the small investment of a quart of yellow paint! And, now I realize how silly it was to consider getting rid of it, because a new dresser would have been much more costly.

Ok, now to the next problem - I wanted to get some new hardware for it and just naively assumed that all drawer pulls are the same size. Not so! I bought two different kinds today and neither of them fit.

So, what are your tricks for matching drawer-pull sizes? Or, does anyone have any ideas on how I could re-purpose the existing ones by updating them somehow?

The holes are 2 1/2 inches apart on the dresser and both sets of drawer pulls I purchased today (and now need to return) are 3 inches apart. I have done some basic internet research and this seems to be an unusual size for handles as most come in 3 inches at the smallest. Thanks for any suggestions!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Finding Time

I have learned an important lesson in mothering recently. Finding the time for certain important things is difficult, but the payoff is huge. Here is what I mean:

I began noticing that on the days when I set aside time before Emily got up to have a quiet time and read my Bible, and I mean really read it - think about what I was reading and take the time to understand what I was reading, our day together went so much better. I was more patient, she was more agreeable, just all around it was a better day.

Then this week, I noticed another thing. That when I was lax about reading her a Bible story at breakfast, our days together were harder. When I took the less-than-five-minutes to read her a story, it made such a difference in our day.

All this to say, I have learned the hard way that pushing aside the most important thing - time with the Lord, just invites a more chaotic day. Putting Him first invites Him into my day to be the controller and guide of my day. I want to choose the latter, knowing there will be mornings when I will fail, yet, I will strive to start my day right and start Emily's day right.

It's worth finding the time!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sweet Surprise!

Yesterday when I opened my mail box, I saw this beautiful box! Who has ever gotten a box in the mail with a flower glued to the front?! So cute! Inside was the little clear business card holder filled with personalized cards of God's promises and His Word using my name whenever applicable. What a sweet and thoughtful gift from my sweet friend, Rebecca! Thank You!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Deals of the Week!

Here are some great deals I found in this week's ads - hope some of you can get the great deals too! :)

Listerine: 1 liter size on sale for $3.99 (this one came with a free smaller size bottle making the value $7.98)
Colgate Toothpaste: on sale for $1.99 (regularly $2.99) plus a 0.75 coupon in Sunday's paper
Colgate Toothbrush: on sale for $1.99 (regularly $3.99)

Total: $7.62 ($14.96 value)
Mail-In rebate for purchasing all three items - $5.00
Final Cost: $2.62 including tax

Eckerd's Pharmacy:
Herbal Essence Shampoo or Conditioner: on sale for $2.49 (regularly $3.99)
Windex: on sale for $1.99 with a 0.50 in-ad coupon making it $1.49 (regularly $3.69)

Total: $3.98 ($7.68 value)
Mail-In rebate for purchase of H.E. Shampoo or Conditioner: $2.49
Final Cost: $1.71 including tax

Other deals I saw but haven't gotten yet:

Toys R Us: Milton Bradley pre-school games are on sale for $4.99 and there were two $1.00 coupons in the Sunday paper.

Walgreens: Three 12-packs of Dr. Pepper, 7 Up, A&W, Canada Dry or Sunkist for $8 with a $5 mail-in rebate making the total $1 per 12/pk. (Our Walgreens was out of Dr. Pepper - so I have a rain check.) Thanks, Mom, for the tip on this great deal!

Anyone else want to share a great deal?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

VBS Craft Ideas

Our VBS this year is focusing on the country of Latin America. And, I'm helping to come up with some craft ideas. I have found a lot of info through Google and through my Aunt! So, am just putting out a plea here for any of you who have ideas that you have tried in the past with children in a VBS or similar format. Thanks!