Sunday, February 27, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Sweepstakes

My kids LOVE the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  So when we saw this sweepstakes in the Parade Magazine today, we just had to enter!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cooking Challenge #2

Recipe #2, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, is going to be Chicken Spaghetti.

Chicken Spaghetti


  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Onion
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Okay, so we will go until Thursday night again with results (hope it is more than just me this time!). 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Biolage Gift Basket Giveaway

Go here to enter for a chance at a Biolage Gift Basket!

Cooking Challenge #1 Results

Here are the results from the  first cooking challenge I made this Chicken Fried Steak on Tuesday with mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits.  My husband gave it a 9, my older son gave it a 8 and my youngest son gave it a 10,000 (lol!).  It is a little detailed and messy to make, but so worth it.  Not the most healthiest of dinners, but a good stick to your ribs dinner.  I had to put it on my grandmothers dishes, they are just so pretty!

We had some leftovers and I made a sandwich with it the next night.  Pretty good heated up with a little mayo on it.

I heard from two others who intended on doing this challenge.  One got sick and the other had already been to the grocery when they got the email.

Hopefully we will get more participation.  I would love to see and hear about your successes!

I will post the next recipe tomorrow.

Cooking Challenge Check-In

Has anyone made the chicken fried steak?  I made mine this week and will post the results tonight.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Walgreens Photo Deal of the Day ~

Today ONLY at Walgreens, you can get a 5x7 Easel Art for $1.99!

Details Here

Kroger Highlights

We do not have Kroger here.  But I know some of you do, so I am linking you to the best Kroger deals for this week over at Sarah's Deals!

FREE Sample of Miracle Whip

Free Sample of Miracle Whip

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cooking Challenge #1

Sorry I didn't get this out on Friday.  My sister got married over the weekend, so things were a little crazy here!

I thought we could cook through The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl to start off with.  You don't have to have the book (although I would highly recommend it!)

The first recipe is (I am just randomly opening the book) Chicken Fried Steak.  Please make this sometime this week, get your families reactions, take pictures if you like and report back here!

Chicken Fried Steak

Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 6

Note: Adapted from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" by Ree Drummond.

3 pounds cube steak

2 eggs

3 cups milk, divided, more as needed

2 1/3 cups flour, divided, more as needed

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if you can handle it

1 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning the steaks and gravy


Canola or vegetable oil for frying

1. Begin with an assembly line of dishes for the meat, egg and milk mixture, and flour mixture.

2. Pound the cube steaks until extremely tender (if already pounded, pound a little more to make sure they're sufficiently tender), and cut the steaks into smaller pieces if they are larger than 5 to 6 inches in diameter (this will make them easier to bread and fry). Place the prepared steaks in the first dish.

3. Beat the eggs and 1 cup milk in the second dish with a fork.

4. In the third dish, combine 2 cups flour with the seasoned salt, paprika, cayenne and black pepper.

5. Lightly season a piece of meat with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Then, dip the meat into the milk and egg mixture on each side to coat. Place the meat on the seasoned flour, turning to evenly coat both sides. Dip the meat in the milk and egg mixture once more to coat, then the flour mixture once more to coat completely. Place the prepared steak onto a rack on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining steaks.

6. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottom skillet, heat one-third cup oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is sufficiently heated (I drop a few sprinkles of flour, if it sizzles, it's ready!), fry 2 to 3 pieces of meat at a time (be careful not to crowd). Cook on one side until the edges start to look golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes, then flip over and fry until the other side is golden, another 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed.

7. Remove the steaks to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all of the meat is fried, adding a little extra oil if needed. Set the steaks aside in a warm place while you make the gravy.

8. To make the gravy, pour the grease from the skillet into a heat-proof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add one-fourth cup of the grease back to the pan, discarding any remaining grease.

9. Sprinkle one-third cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden brown paste, or "roux." You want the roux to attain a deep, rich color. If the paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the right consistency is achieved.

10. When the roux is golden-brown, whisk in 2 cups milk, then wait for the gravy to come to a slow boil. The gravy will thicken gradually, but if it seems too thick at first, add a little milk as needed, whisking to combine. The total cooking process should take 4 to 5 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper as desired, tasting to ensure that it's seasoned adequately. Under-seasoned gravy is one of life's great sacrileges.

11. Place the warm meat on a plate and drizzle over the gravy as desired. Serve this to a hungry cowboy and you've earned an admirer for life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cookbook Challenge

I am still trying to work out the details in my head for this one.  What I think I would like to do is pick a book, then pick one recipe a week.  I would detail the recipe on Friday of each week and we would have until Thursday night of the next week to make it, take pictures (don't have to do this, but I love to see your pictures!), write about our experiences with the recipe (difficulty, how our families liked it, etc).  Then I will compile the information and post our combined experience.  What do you think?  Any other suggestions?  One idea that I received suggested that readers could submit the recipe also.  I love this idea.  To start off, I think we will go with a book and then see where it leads.  Please suggest this to your friends and family so we can get more people involved.

Day 13 ~ The Medicine Cabinet Before/After

Becky (Before)
                                                                     Becky (After)

Anyone else still out there?  :::crickets::::

Day 13 ~ The Medicine Cabinet

Day: 13
Challenge: The Medicine Cabinet

Today is going to be a super easy challenge, so you can get caught up on the earlier challenges and rest! You have all been working so hard and Im so grateful.  So today we are cleaning out, tossing the expired, and organizing the medicine/stuff in your medicine cabinets only!  How old is your medicine??   

Good Luck!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 12 ~ The Spice Cabinet Before/After

Anyone else????

New Printables

$1.00/1 Maxwell House

$1.00/2 Ritz Crackers

$1.00/1 Velveeta

$1.00/1 Kraft Mac & Cheese 5 Pack

.75/1 Miracle Whip

.35 Palmolive

.75 Roman Meal Bread

.75 Land O'Lakes Eggs (zip code 90210)

Day 12 ~ The Spice Cabinet

Challenge: The Spice Cabinet

Today my challenge for you is...

1. Take your before picture
2. Take everything out of your spice cabinet
3. Wipe it clean!
4. Go through all of the spices and look at dates.  There will be a lot of expired stuff in there!
5. Now grab your organizing baskets/bins and start catergorizing.  
6.  If you have a label, you can use it here.
7.  Now put it all back, nice and neat and take your after picture.

This one needs some serious work.  I am excited about it though.  When I go to get a spice, I usually have to cover my head from falling bottles.  

Good Luck!

Day 11 ~ The Freezer Before/After

I really need to get it together.  I have been busy the past two days, so I apologize for the lateness of these posts.


Cynthia B.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 11 ~ The Freezer

Day: 11
Challenge: The Freezer

Back on track today, although I am spending the day with my sweetheart!  I will find some time today to tackle this small job.

Today will be one of those.... ugh days!  The freezer isn't the first thing we think about when we get excited to organize right?  BUT... once you organize it, you will be so happy!  I was.

So, take your picture... pull everything out (and throw away the old freezer burnt blocks of ice-I mean food), and start scrubbing.  Then put it all back in a pretty, organized, categorized fashion. I used some bins from the dollar store.  They worked perfectly. Now all we have to do is just pull the bin out to get what we want. Its much easier to find the things we want, fast!  :

Good luck and I look forward to seeing your pictures and hearing about your progress!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Checking In

Okay, so the second half of the week was kind of a failure for me.  I work 2 days a week and taking on any big projects on those days just is not going to happen.  Back on track Monday!!

Last weekend I posted a survey about what to do next.  100% voted for a cooking challenge.  So my question to you is what kind of challenge?  I am either thinking about cooking our way through a book or just random recipe.  Which would you prefer?  If we went with the book idea, I am leaning toward The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I love this book and there are so many great recipes in it and a lot I still haven't tried.  If we go toward random recipes, I have a stack of recipes a mountain high that we could wade through.  Also, we need to decide how often to do this.  Once a week? Twice a week?  I REALLY need your opinions and input!

Looking forward to cooking with you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 8 ~ Toy Organization

Confession time again.  There is no way I am getting to this today.  I am working today and tomorrow, so I am saving this for the weekend.  My little Sam and I are going to get in that room and PURGE on Saturday.  Little Jimmy is lucking out that it is his weekend at Memaws! 

Keep sending me your pictures and updates.  I will post a before and after if I get responses for this one.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 8 ~ The Coat Closet

Challenge: The Coat Closet

I am taking direction for the next 21 days from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

This closet could be a coat closet, but it has become a catch all.  Not much room to work with in here, but I will do my best!

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 7 ~ The Pantry Before/After


Cynthia B.

This challenge was great for me.  I really needed to get into these cabinets and throw a bunch of stuff out and get it organized so I know what I have to work with.  I will add pictures as you send them to me.  Hope you are all still out there!

Tomorrow's Challenge: Coat Closet

Day 7 ~ The Pantry

Challenge: The Pantry

I am taking direction for the next 21 days from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

My challenge for you

1.  Take a picture of this space.

2. Empty your ENTIRE pantry! You heard me girlfriend... ALL of it. ;)

3.  Wipe it clean... mop it if it requires a good cleaning. 

4. Get your trash can and start purging the out dated food.

5.  Get LOTS of organizing bins & your labeler.  You will need them in this space.

6.Have fun!  This is a fun space to organize.  

7. YAY! Your finished.  Take your "after" picture & don't forget to come back to share with us.

Good luck!


I didn't do my dresser drawers :(  I have been battling a cold the past few days plus we had our home owners insurance agent out yesterday for some damage from ice to the house.  I just didn't get to it.

Back on track today with the pantry challenge.  Details coming shortly..................

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 6 ~ Dresser Drawers

Day: 6
Challenge: Dresser Drawers

I am taking direction for the next 21 days from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Some of you may already have this tackled, but some may not.  So if you do, we would love to see your system for keeping clothing organized, clean, folded, and in place!  I am getting better... but still have days when I just want to throw whatever is in the clean pile, in any drawer.  

This challenge will be a refreshing one... The primary purpose is to purge what you no longer need, making space for the "new, trendy you". Once the challenge is done, go to Target and pick yourself out a cute new outfit! You deserve it after all you have been through.

 You get to go through all of you clothes, weeding out the ones that you no longer wear, ones that don't flatter you, if you bought them when you were in high school,  aka... "out of style pieces" or any that just doesn't fit anymore.  Those will go in your donation box.  ONLY KEEP WHAT FITS YOU NOW!   I hope we can inspire each other to get our clothing neatly in order! 

My challenge for you

1. Take a "before" picture of the contents of your dresser, exactly as it is now.  (We don't have to see the booty drawer, if you dont feel comfy about it!) If you dont have a dresser, find a set of "drawers" somewhere in the house.

2.  Now, empty it all onto your bed.  

3. Get your 3 boxes (keep, toss, donate) and start separating. Try them on if you have to.

4. Okay, now neatly fold all of the clothes and put them back in an organized fashion

5. While you are at it,  you can clear the clutter on the top of your dresser too... in the same fashion as the clothing sort.  Remove everything, give it a good cleaning, and toss what you don't need on there.

5. Easy,peasy... Your done!  It was a simple challenge, but gives a great feeling of satisfaction that it was done!  Take your "after" picture and come back & share with us!    

Imagine 6 drawers like this one.  Today I am focusing on my boys dresser drawers.  I have tried to straighten these countless times and they always end up looking like this.  Not sure what to do to break that habit.  But maybe they have too much stuff in there and purging some will eliminate this mess.

Good luck and I can't wait to see your pictures!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's Next?

Day 5 ~ Under the Kitchen Sink Before/After

Sorry I am a little late getting this out.


Sara K.


Cynthia B.
Lisa S.

We did our first week!  I am so encouraged by those of you participating!  There are some participating that aren't able to take pictures just yet, also.  Keep up the good work.  Doesn't it feel so good to get these areas organized?  We are going to take the weekends off, so be ready to go Monday!  Monday's challenge:  Dresser Drawers

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 5 ~ Under The Kitchen Sink

Day: 5
Challenge: Under the kitchen sink

I am taking direction for the next 21 days from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

1. Take a picture of the mess! :)

2. Take everything out of the cabinet... EVERYTHING! (Are you starting to learn the habit? Thats great!)

3.  Wash it down really well & lay some contact paper (if you have some).  Its very inexpensive to purchase... under $6.00 at target and well worth every penny. 

4. Purge, purge, purge!!!  I'm positive that a lot of you have some near empty bottles in there.  Throw them out. They are just taking up space. 

5. Get your organizing bins and place some of them in this space.  They work great here.

6. Now categorize like I did.  Like items with like items.  Cleaning tools, soaps, rags, etc. 

7.  That wasn't hard,was it?  You are finished!  Now take a picture and hurry back to show us all how hard you worked today. Great job!

Yikes.  I am going to Walmart after work today for some contact paper and some bins to organize.  I have cleaned this area out quite a few times and it keeps ending up like this.  Something isn't working.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 4 ~ The Linen Closet Before/After

My linen closet is still a work in progress.  I am still washing sheets and trying to figure out what to throw away/keep/put in the camper.

 Cynthia B.

Lisa S.

Keep up the good work!  Tomorrow's Challenge: Under the kitchen sink!

Day 4 ~ The Linen Closet

Day: 4
Challenge: The Linen Closet

I am taking direction for the next 21 days from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Today we are organizing the linen closet.  This will also be a day of purging. (I know you don't use everything in that closet!) I cant wait to see all of your before pictures, becuause I know what mine looked like and it wasn't pretty!! If you don't have a linen closet, you can organize the area where you keep your bedding stored. So...

Here's the challenge

1. Take your before picture!

2. Yank EVERYTHING out of there... I mean everything.

3. Now, sweep or vaccuum the floor & wipe down the shelving.

4. Get all of your boxes (keep, toss, donate) & start sorting.  

5. If you have baskets and bins, this is a great place to use them. Place your bins/baskets on the shelving and start organizing

6. Categorize everything. ie. Twin, full, queen, king, pillowcases, handtowels, washcloths, etc... Remember to only keep what you USE!  I only kept 2 sets of sheets for each bed.

7. Is your donation box getting full yet?? Remember at the end of this week we will take all donations to goodwill or store them for your spring garage sale.

8. Your finished!!  Now take your after picture and get your tush back here to show us your pretty linen closet.

I am actually excited about this challenge!  We live in an older, smaller home that does not have many closets, so no linen closet.  In our bedroom, we put built in cabinets for closets.  The middle closet was basically just wasted space.  My sweet husband made shelves out of some recycled material we had and I am going to store linens in there!

Sad and pathetic as it is, my sheet and blanket situation up until this point was just wash as needed and store the dirty ones in the basement.  NO MORE!!

  Good luck!