Friday, December 4, 2009

Yummy Steak Pasta

I got the inspiration from my friend Ashley (thanks girl!). I tweaked her recipe a little. This recipe comes together so quickly and is absolutely delicious.

Steak Pasta

1/2 lb. John Soules Beef Fajita Strips (these come frozen from Walmart or Sams)
Wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped (I used frozen chopped)
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 can diced tomatoes
Parmesan cheese

While the egg noodles are boiling, heat olive oil in a pan. Saute the fajita strips and onion. Add the tomatoes, basil and garlic powder. After draining pasta, mix together with the meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle had a dream. The forty-eight year old wanted to be a professional singer. When she arrived on the stage for Britain's Got Talent in April, the judges and the audience scoffed as she proclaimed this dream.

But then she opened her mouth to sing and the scoffs turned to amazement. Hers is truly a Cinderella story.

I was excited to receive her CD in the mail today that I ordered from The CD was released November 23rd and became Amazon's best-selling album in pre-sales. Think about that for a

Try as I might, I cannot listen to "I Dreamed a Dream" (the title song) without tears. There is something about it that touches me deeply.

Inside the CD jacket, there is a quote from Susan: "I would like to dedicate this album to my beloved Mother, to whom I made a promise to be someone."

You are someone alright, Ms. Boyle, and we love you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Fever

I have always been a proponent of celebrating the holiday at hand instead of rushing on to the next. It always comes as a surprise to me when I see Christmas trees up in stores in October, even though I should be expecting it since it seems to get earlier each year.

However, this year I have been wanting to put up my tree for weeks. I don't know why, but it just seems like the thing to do. Normally I wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year I will be out of town, so I am giving myself permission to put it up this weekend.

We always have so much fun decorating, especially now that BK is old enough to enjoy helping. Last year was the first time that she and I put the ornaments on together. We turn on Christmas music and pull all the decorations out - the old ones mixed with the new. So many old memories - mixed with new memories we will make this year. After the tree is all done, maybe we will make a batch of cookies - decorated with green and red sugar sprinkles, of course.

Christmas is a magical time. A time for kids and kids at heart.

No wonder I can't wait.

Beef Taco Bake

I found a new recipe and tried it at a family gathering last night. Everyone said they liked it...I think it's a keeper.


1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed tomato soup

1 cup chunky salsa or picante sauce

1/2 cup milk

8 flour tortillas (8-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces

8oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

3/4 can corn, drained

1 packet taco seasoning

1 t. cumin

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Cook the beef and onions in a skillet until well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat. Stir in all the ingredients except for half the cheese. Spoon the beef mixture into a shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish and bake at 400° for 30 minutes, or until the beef mixture is hot and bubbling. Take off the cover, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Faux Friends

Online relationships are tricky. Whether it is someone from my past that I haven't had any contact with in years, or a family member that I don't see very often, or even people that I have never met in real-life, the way that people deal with each other online is often very different than in real life.

Since opening a Facebook account not so long ago, it has changed the way I see people and things.

For one thing, when we read things that others post to these websites, we start feeling like we know them better than we actually do. It is very easy (at least for me) to lower my barriers and to feel emotionally connected. This tends to give a false sense of security and makes it easy to believe that we are closer than we really are, therefore enabling us to think it's okay to share our hearts...when in fact it is not.

I am not talking about opposite-sex friendships leading to something inappropriate (although that danger does exist), but rather just a false sense of intimacy that develops...a faux friendship, if you will.

One such instance happened a while back, when I read a note that a relative had written on Facebook. This is a person that I love and respect and have enjoyed reading his writings very much. But I found the direction that his posts were going a bit disturbing. I sent him a message telling him that I was concerned for him and that I had decided not to read his posts for a while because I didn't seem to be able to keep from leaving negative/snide comments, so it was better if I just didn't read his posts.

Talk about opening a can of worms.

Not only did he amend the original post to blast me, but he sent me an angry message, bringing up all kind of things from the past that had nothing to do with this. I could only deduce that his intent was to hurt me, as he said that I had hurt him...and he was successful.

Should I have just kept my thoughts to myself? Probably so. But this goes back to the original subject of this post, which is that false sense of intimacy. I felt that I was close enough to him that I could speak my heart in love and that even if he didn't accept it, at least he would hear and understand my concern.

Boy, I could not have been more wrong.

What I heard him saying is that because he has made some gay/lesbian friends, now he is leaning toward the belief that their love must be pure and therefore accepted by God.

What he heard me saying is that I am threatened by all things homosexual and that I believe Christians should beat them over the head with their Bibles until they see what dirty sinners they are. (NOT)

Angry impasse.


Another situation just happened this week. I have been a moderator on a mom's forum for a few years. We post about many things on this forum, sharing details of our lives, offering advice and prayers, laughing and crying together. I've met many of the women through Mom's Night Out and different activities.

What I realized is that many of their children have had birthday parties in the last couple of months, but that BK had not been invited to any of them, even though they posted photos and it was clear that many of the other kids were there. So I decided to post and just ask about it...telling them that I was not upset, just curious.

A few people answered, but the one that stood out to me made it clear that we were just "online friends" and she felt that should explain it.

Wow. Seriously?

Okay, so now I am having to rethink all of my online relationships...and maybe some of my real-life ones too. Are they genuine or faux?

I'm not sure that I am going to like the answers. Suddenly I feel very lonely.

30-Day Giving Challenge

I just "happened" upon a blog during the wee hours this morning. It is Keeping the Kingdom First, Balancing Faith, Family and Frugality. If you have never seen this blog, head over and check it out.

Alyssa was challenged by a message from her pastor to spend 30 days with a journal in hand and to document everything you give, along with the blessings that come your way. He went on to say that generosity is a Kingdom Dynamic. Read the original post here.

From this message, The 30-Day Giving Challenge was born. Even though I have missed the first week or so of the challenge, I'm jumping on board. What better way to spend Thanksgiving month than to give from the abundance that God has given us.

Let me know if you will consider joining this challenge. Be sure to take time to keep notes of your journey.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Raining Leaves

Today was a beautiful fall day here in Mississippi. We typically don't have much of a from summer's heat and plowing into winter's cold. So when the weather is this nice, we have to get outside to enjoy.

There are a lot of trees in our neighborhood. We have a few in our back yard and all of our neighbors have them in abundance. As I sat on our back porch and watched BK play, I could hear the wind coming through the neighbor's yard to the west of our house. Slowly the leaves began to rustle and then the tempo increased, moving closer and closer to our yard.

When the wind finally made it to our trees, the leaves started to flutter and rain down in our yard. BK was delighted. She squealed and she ran back and forth trying to catch them. Then as suddenly as it came, the wind moved on to the next neighbor's yard, sending their leaves flying as well.

I was glad that I had my camera in hand to capture the moment.

One more example of simple joy...experienced through the eyes of a child. What could be better?

Christian Homemaking Website

Blair Massey has unveiled her newly updated Christian Homemaking website today. There are contests and give-aways every day through the 13th. Click here to head over to join the fun and register for a prize, which will be given away daily.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Deals of the Day

I just love it when I can find a bargain. Here are mine for today:

Comfort Choice buy one, get one 50% off

I chose a bra for $22.99 and put two in my cart. The first listed as $22.99 and the second as $11.49. Then I searched on Google for a Roaman's coupon and found one on RetailMeNot for 30% off my highest price item. When I applied this code, it brought the first one down to $16.09. Total for my order (including shipping) $34.57.


1. Puffs tissues - 216 ct. box - regular 2.19 - with sale paper coupon 2/$3 (I had two .25 manf. coupons that I used) Total price for two boxes: $2.50

2. Bottled water - 24 16oz. - regular 4.99 - with sale paper coupon $2.99

3. Dawn detergent - 10.3oz. ultra concentrated - regular 1.59 - with sale paper coupon .99 (I had two .25 manf. coupons that I used) Total price for two bottles: $1.48

4. Wal-Zyr (generic Zyrtec) - 60 ct. box - regular $23.99 - buy one, get one free!

For more Frugal Friday ideas, head over to Life as Mom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cook Ahead - Roast

When Kroger puts English Roast on sale, I buy a family pack of two roasts, which is usually .10 or .20 cents a pound cheaper than buying the single roasts.

I go ahead and cook both roasts (using an envelope of onion soup mix and a can of mushroom soup...baking at 275 for about 3 1/2 - 4 hours). We eat what we want for dinner, then I cut the leftover meat into bite-sized pieces, separating into several meal-sized portions and put in zip-lock freezer bags. I pour any gravy over the top of the meat and freeze. This usually makes at least three bags for three more meals.

When I'm ready to use one of the bags, I just put it in the crockpot frozen, add some baby carrots and peeled, chunked potatoes, and another can of cream of mushroom soup. I usually sprinkle some brown gravy mix over the top, then let it cook on low for about 6 hours - or until the veggies are done. Serve over rice.

For more make ahead meal ideas, head over to the recipe swap at the Life as Mom blog.

Spirit of Adoption

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

Those of you who know me in real life, know that adoption holds a special place in my heart. My sweet girl was given to us through adoption and I can't think of a more selfless gift.

We made the decision when she was very young that we would tell her early that she is adopted. I want her to grow up knowing that she was chosen and that she is loved very much.

Sometimes she and I talk about adoption. Today it was about a baby kitten being adopted. We talked about the baby kitty needing a family...and a family needing a baby they took the kitten home with them to love and be a part of their family. Then I reminded her that she is adopted and that her daddy and I brought her home with us to love her and to be a part of our family...forever.

She looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and said "Mommy, do you love me in your heart?"

I had to swallow hard before answering to keep the tears at bay because she wouldn't understand them.

"Yes sweet girl, Mommy's heart is full of love for you."

I am thankful for the gift of adoption. For the opportunity to mother this precious angel. And for my own adoption that makes me the daughter of the King.

The Spirit of Adoption is sweet and precious...and forever.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chili and Cornbread

I woke up from a late nap today and realized I had nothing planned for dinner. After a quick perusal of the pantry and freezer, I came to the computer and Googled "ground beef" and "Jiffy cornbread" and instantly found several recipes. I grabbed this one for Chili & Cornbread.

I tweaked the recipe a little and it turned out so delicious... definitely a keeper. It could be made spicy, but I like it mild so my four-year-old can enjoy it too.


1 lb. ground beef

1 onions, chopped (I used about a cup of frozen onion/green peppers)

2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 1 tsp. garlic powder)

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. vinegar

1 (1 lb.) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (1 lb.) can kidney beans, undrained

1 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix (small)

Brown ground beef with onions and garlic; drain. Add chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, vinegar, stewed tomatoes and kidney beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced and thickened.

Put in an 8x8 dish. Mix cornbread according to package and cover chili mixture with it. Cook according to package directions or until cornbread is golden brown and done in the center. Serves up to 4.

The recipe can easily be doubled. I will make this again and I think I will at least triple the meat mixture and freeze in meal size pans. Then when I'm ready to cook, I will defrost and mix the cornbread for the topping for a super quick meal.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chilly Weather = Soup

It is much cooler than usual in the deep south this morning. Temps are about 20 degrees below normal. Of course, I am enjoying it because I'm a cool-weather kind of girl.

Last night I started thinking about soup, so I looked through my recipes to see what looked good. I found this recipe and I'm planning to cook it tonight. I don't think I have tried it before, but it looks really good.

Please feel free to share your favorite soup recipe in a comment.


4 cans (10 oz ea) Rotel (or 2 cans diced tomatoes & 2 cans Rotel)

4 cans (14.5 oz ea.) chicken broth

1 can (30 oz) refried beans

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups shredded cooked chicken

Tortilla chips

Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Put tomatoes and broth in large pan. Stir in beans and corn. Bring to a boil; Simmer on low 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add chicken; heat through. Top with tortilla strips or chips and cheese.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I resisted getting a Facebook account. I really did. My thought was that I didn't really need another website to have to "babysit" everyday. But when I finally caved in and opened an I'm addicted and I love it.

I like connecting with old friends and family members. I like being able to share photos and anecdotes of my life, as well as reading those of my Facebook "friends" (that term is used loosely, because I've never met some of the people on my Facebook list).

How people interact with each other has always been interesting to me. Being involved on this social networking website has been an eye-opener. I can't help but wonder how many relationships have been effected by Facebook...for better or worse.

If they post often, then I am able to get to know the people on my friends list...what is important to them...and what ticks them off. This can be a good thing...or a not-so-good thing. Sometimes people look so much better from afar, you know? Of course, I suppose it's entirely possible that it goes both ways, as others get to know me better as well.

In this age of technology, which makes it easier than ever to stay in touch, it seems that people are becoming more disconnected from each other. Facebook helps me feel connected to my people. And that is a good thing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Bonnie Kate watched her first Benji movie last night. Apparently the little guy has not lost his appeal all these years later, because she loved the movie.

Of course, part of that is that she just loves dogs...and all things dogs.

I decided to go on eBay to see if I might be able to find her some Benji movies for Christmas. There is a set of four DVDs that I'm bidding on. The bid is under $4.00 right now and the auction ends tonight.

Wish me luck.

By the way...who could say "no" to these eyes?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rotisserie Chicken Meal X Two

I love rotisserie chicken. It makes a quick, easy and yummy meal. And when you can pick one up at Kroger for $4.99, that makes it pretty inexpensive as well (I've priced whole chickens and by the time you add all the spices and cook for several hours, I don't think you would come out much cheaper by doing it yourself).

But what makes this purchase even more frugal is the leftovers. Let me tell you what I did this week.

1. After we had a meal from the chicken one night, I picked off all the meat and stuck it in the fridge.
2. I dumped the rest of the chicken in a pot, covered it with water, and cooked on low heat for about an hour and a half.
3. Using tongs, I took out the bones and strained the liquid (this makes great homemade broth for soup or to cook with). At this point, I froze one container of broth and refrigerated a little over two cups.
4. Before discarding the bones, I examined them to see if there was more meat that I could remove.
5. The next day, I cooked a cup of rice in 2 1/4 cups of broth, along with the chopped up leftover chicken, for 25 minutes (thankfully, I realized that I had not salted the broth, so I added some salt).
6. After I turned off the heat, I let the pot sit, still covered for about 5 minutes. Then I stirred in about 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup.

Voila...meal number two!

You can also add cheese on top and stick it in the oven until melted. This is a comfort-food dish for me and an old stand-by for anytime I have leftover chicken and want a quick meal.

So there you have it...the tale of the two meal chicken. If any of you have more ideas on using leftover chicken, I would love for you to leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lovin' Ms. Dale

BK absolutely LOVES her preschool teacher. When I dropped her off this morning, she saw Ms. Dale standing down the hall, so she jumped out of the car and ran to her.

As I was driving off, I could see BK giving her a big hug. That does this mama's heart good to know that my baby is being loved and cared for so well.

Yesterday was Ms. Dale's birthday, so BK took her a gift and I took decorated cookies so they could have a party. It was a good day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Smart Girl

My sweet girl loves to draw. Give her a marker and paper and she is ready to get to work. She writes, draws, colors, makes up stories, draws some more...

At least until the little stuffed puppy shows up...

And jumps on her head...just because little stuffed puppies are like that.

Tonight, after she beat her Daddy at Bingo, she ran in to get her drawing board and wrote her first sentence (without our help).

In case you need help deciphering, it says "Bonnie Kate win at Bingo." I think that's pretty good for a four-year-old.

Angel Food - October

You can find details about
Angel Food Ministries on their website. You can also search for a pick-up location near you.

Here is their $30 box for October:

1.5 lb. New York Strips Steaks (3 x 8 oz.)

1 lb. Steak Fajita Strips

2 lb. Chicken Stir Fry Skillet Meal

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1.5 lb. Breaded White Meat Chicken Tenders

1 lb. avg. Center Cut Ham Steaks (Hickory Smoked)

1 lb. Bake or Fry Fish Sticks (32 sticks)

1 lb. Pasta

25 oz. Marinara Sauce

1 lb. Frozen Baby Lima Beans

1 lb. Frozen Mixed Vegetables

2 lb. bag Fresh Apples (8-10 ct.)

10 ct. Flour Tortilla Wraps

32 oz. 2% Shelf Stable Milk

Dozen Eggs


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Christian Women Online

I found a great website: Christian Women Online. You will find article on relationships, living well, recipes and much more. Check it out today.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pioneer Woman - New Recipe Website

I love The Pioneer Woman. For those who have never heard of her (are there really people out there who have never heard of her?!), her name is Ree and here is how she describes herself:

"I’m a thirty-something ranch wife, mother of four, moderately-agoraphobic middle child who grew up on a golf course in the city. I attended college in Los Angeles and wore black pumps to work every day. I ate sushi and treated myself to pedicures on a semi-regular basis. I even kissed James Garner in an elevator once. Then, on a brief trip to my hometown, I met and fell in love with a rugged cattle rancher. Now I live in the middle of nowhere on a working cattle ranch. My days are spent wrangling children, chipping dried manure from boots, washing jeans, and frying calf nuts. I have no idea how I got here…but you know what? I love it. Don’t tell anyone."

The Pioneer Woman website is wonderful. It is full of humor, recipes, beautiful photos and stories of life on a cattle ranch that will leave you smiling and wanting more. Her reader base is incredible and once you check out the website, you will know why.

Today I saw that there is a new website called Tasty Kitchen. It is a site where all of Ree's readers can submit their own very favorite recipes. You can search for a specific recipe, or browse by category. I looked though a few and boy do they look good!

Ree also has a cookbook that will be released in October and you can check it out here.

School Girl

BK started Pre-K this year. She goes three half-days a week. Two weeks have passed and she is still as excited to go every morning as she was the first.

On Tuesdays they alternate going to Music one week and Computer Class the next. On Wednesdays, she is enrolled in an extra-curricular activity, TOT Basketball. On Thursdays, they go into "big church" and worship. Every day brings a new adventure.

Her teacher is a very sweet lady, who turns out to be a friend of a is truly a small world. BK is already crazy about her and she is making new friends.

I think this will turn out to be a very good year for her.

Frugal Advice

A friend asked for frugal advice for a friend of hers who wants to be able to quit work and be a stay-home mom. I wrote some things for her and decided to share it here.

~My strategy on groceries is to stockpile when on sale, preferably with coupons (however, oftentimes store brands are just as good and are cheaper even without a coupon). I keep up with the prices and when there is a good sale, I stock up on those items, then the next time there is a sale, I stock up on the sale items that week (for stuff I know weuse all the time). Using this method, eventually I don't have to buy much of anything unless it's on sales, because stores generally put about the same items on sale in a predictable cycle.

~Cut down on eating out. When you do eat out, use coupons or even go to and buy gift certificates cheap (they put them on sale for 80% off), so you can have a $35 meal and pay $10 for it. If you are married, or have kids, share meals. Always get a to-go box and take leftovers to eat for another meal.

~If you take over -the-counter meds regularly, check out to sign up for their online ordering sale emails. I take Prilosec every day and the generic is just as good. Sometimes at they put all their CVS brand items on sale for 50% off. If you order $50, you get free shipping, so I stock up on that and allergy meds. Great deals!

~Look around your house and see what you can sell. If you don't love it and haven't used it in a year, get rid of it. is great for that. I have sold tons of stuff there, mostly BK's clothes and shoes she has outgrown. Better than eBay because you don't have to worry about shipping. Also, when you get ready to buy something, check out Craigslist first.

~Take advantage of the library. You can search your local library system online to see if they have a book (or DVD) you want. If you see it listed at another library, they can order if for you and call when it arrives. If you want to buy books, check out They sell used books cheap.

~Look for free or cheap community activities for kids. In Rankin Co. you can go to and click on Plan Ahead to see what's going on.

~Don't be too proud to shop garage sales and thrift stores. I went in the local Goodwill a few weeks ago and found my husband 5 name-brand dress shirts and a pair of dress pants that looked brand fact one still had the original tags on it. The total was going to be about $20, but when I got to the register, she said that adult clothes were 50% off that I walked out paying $11 and change for all that. I was a happy camper. I have found BK lots of cute clothes there too.

~Plan your menus ahead...a week...two weeks...or even all month. Make a list of meals that your family likes. Print out a blank calendar and fill in the meals. Plan to use leftovers creatively too. Have breakfast one night a week...even if you use a whole dozen eggs, that's usually under $1.50. Plan a meatless night too. There are great recipes out there.

~Cooking ahead and freezing helps for busy know, those days when you would normally go thru the drive-thru because you don't have time to cook. The easiest way is to double or even triple your fav recipes and freeze the extras. Label them and make a list of what you have in your freezer so you won't forget. Plan your menus around what is on sale. You can even make a game of it...see if you can make dinner for under $5. Yes, it can be done. Check out for recipes and great ideas.