Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sausage and Rice

With the weather cool, I thought I'd share one of our family's favorite warm, comforting, hearty, one dish wonders!

Sausage and Rice
(I always double this recipe. It reheats very well.)

1 pack of smoked sausage, sliced/diced
1 14.5 oz. can of tomatoes, drained, reserve tomato juice
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
sprinkle of garlic powder
1 12 oz. can of beef broth
1 c. brown rice
1 T. oil
salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste

In a large pot, heat your oil on med-high heat. Saute your onion, pepper, and garlic powder. Add your sausage and brown. While the sausage is browning, gather your liquid. I pour my juice from the tomatoes into a liquid measuring cup, add my beef broth and then enough water to equal 2 1/4 cups of liquid for a single recipe, doubling if needed. Once the sausage is browned to taste, add tomatoes, liquid, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Lastly, add your brown rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


**Note: If you use white rice, you'll need to add less liquid. Not sure how much less.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

To my precious, blonde-headed, blue-eyed, six year old boy,
It wasn't very long ago that we welcomed you into our family...into our hearts. You are a precious boy, and I'm very thankful for you. I remember the day you were born. No hair and that newborn reddish complexion. So sweet and precious, I couldn't stand it!

We brought you home, and that first night, you slept 5 hours in a row. By then, you'd surpassed your birthweight, so I knew you were growing well or I'd have woken you to eat. Still, I'd go and place my hand on your little chest just to feel you inhale. You would stir a bit, and I'd feel better. The doctor told me to enjoy it! You were a great sleeper! Still are really.

Right now, we're working through first grade, and you're doing so well. You'd rather not sit still while you work, and you'll wiggle in your chair. It's amazing how much you absorb considering how short your attention span is. Maybe it's a boy thing. Maybe it's an age thing. Maybe it's just a Daniel thing!

This birthday post was planned to come on your birthday, but we ended up sick. You told me you felt like your birthday had been cancelled, so we're having a "make-up" day! Cake and ice cream, here we come!

We love you, Daniel! You brighten our lives!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hannah Bella's Princess Haircut

My sweet baby girl looks so grown up since she had her "princess" haircut this afternoon. She walked into the hair salon somewhat timidly and perused the beautiful earrings and homemade jewelry and accessories they sell. Now, she wants her ears pierced, but I doubt she'll even remember that idea. She enjoyed having her hair washed, cut, dried, and "fixed," and by the drying part, she'd become quite talkative with her stylist. She assured her that purple really is the best color there is. She told her that she really does like her brothers and sisters, and she also insisted that chocolate is the best kind of candy there is! My kinda girl, my Hannah Bella.

I sure enjoyed the one on one time with my girlie.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Couponing...The Real Deal

I've been trying to convert all of my non-couponing friends and family to join me in the money saving. It is worth your time. You will save money. Seriously.

But I don't want to buy all the junk the coupons are for... My answer to that reason for not couponing is this. Don't buy food with coupons if you're convinced you don't want any of the food items. Buy all your household items (i.e. dish detergent, laundry detergent, paper goods, handsoap, etc.) and personal care items (hair care, body wash, toothbrushes, paste, and floss, medicine, etc.) with coupons, and keep an eye open for great sale pairings.

But I don't have time for this... You have time. I don't clip coupons weekly! Ever! I file my inserts. Literally, I may not even look at the inserts, but I'll put them up. I have a file box with hanging file folders. They're labeled by month. I have one folder for All You magazine, one for store coupons, and and one for catalinas. I put a piece of paper to divide the inserts by week, and I quickly scribble, I mean, label the piece of paper with the date. I chose a reputable site for coupon match-ups, and I only clip the coupons as I want to use them. This makes preptime quick and easy.

Ficticious Example: $/1 Softsoap bodywash SS 10/3-- I pull the SmartSource insert from 10/3, clip that particular coupon and place the insert back in my box. Takes all of 30 seconds or less. Really.

Sunday, I bought 4- 18 oz bottles of Softsoap Bodywash, 2- 18 oz bottles of Dial Bodywash, 1 tube of Crest ProHealth toothpaste, 1 tube of Colgate toothpaste, 1- 20ct bottle of Advil Liquigels, 1 Purex 3in1 laundry cloths, 1 pack of Halls Throat Lozenges, and a bag of Brach's Candycorn. Grand total: $5.75 Total preptime: 15-20 minutes. (Confession: I rarely ever bought bodywash before I started couponing. We used plain bar soap, but once I started couponing, I kept finding it for free or for much cheaper than the bar soap. We have enough to last a long time! In fact, Deron doesn't use anything but the Men's bodywashes I've purchased for him.)

This afternoon, I plan to make a run to Walgreens to purchase FREE toothbrushes since we found out one of the children had been "borrowing" Deron's (nice.). During this particular trip, I will have to purchase something (don't know what that something is just yet) in order to absorb the overages into the negative.

Now, let me say this. I've only been effectively couponing for a year, now. At first, I bought all kinds of things because they were good deals, and I learned firsthand that you can burnout quickly if you're trying to get every great deal that comes along. Let me tell ya...there will always be good deals! Always.

So, if you burn out, take a break. Put it away, and don't worry about it. I took off most of the month of August, and we were no worse for it. We had plenty put up in stockpile and plenty of food. We made quick purchases for dairy and a few sales, but for the most part, I took off.

I've learned how to purchase things that we like and use for a fraction of the cost. As far as food items go, I, frequently, receive store coupons for $3/ $10 produce or frozen foods. There are, also, lots of yogurt and other dairy, juice, and most importantly, coffee creamer coupons.

My point is this: Couponing will save you money, and I wish I had done it sooner.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wedding Bells

My grandfather got remarried, recently, at the church Deron and I married. Just a little church out in the country. We tried to get pictures out in front, but the fact that the girls hadn't had naps was beginning to show. They're just like their mama. They need their sleep.

It was nice to revisit. The little church brought back so many precious memories. I could see myself frantic because Deron had gone out to eat for breakfast and took for-e-ver to get to the church. I could see his face while I walked down the aisle. I could hear Bro. Chad's voice while he spoke and instructed us during the ceremony. I could feel Deron's hand hold onto mine as we turned to walk out to the church as husband and wife.

Here we are...almost nine years later, but it feels like it was yesterday. Except for the fact that we have four children!

Precious memories...