Monday, August 23, 2010

Give and Get is Here!

Give and Get is Here!: "Enjoy 30% off from August 26-29 at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy and we'll donate 5% of what you spend to a non-profit."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mini Meatball Soup

This soup is a favorite here. I know its hot outside to be eating soup but the man requested soup. Ugh...it's too hot for soup, I thought, but he rarely makes requests. So I asked him what kind of soup he'd like me to make. Mini Meatball Soup. Hmmm...I haven't made that in a while. No problem, dear.

This is a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal recipe but it takes me longer than 30 minutes. I don't chop quite as fast as she does. Maybe I need to get a set of RR knives. Ooh and maybe some of those cute ramekins. The orange pots are pretty cool, too. But I digress. This is about the soup. It's a quick soup that is really delicious and super simple to make. I tend to use more carrots and celery than the recipe calls for because I like hearty soups.

Both of the babies love the soup. I puree the soup so that it's nice and chunky and will sometimes add some pureed sweet potatoes to make it even healthier.

Stephanie enjoying her chunky soup

Mini Meatball Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan in a slow stream
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef, pork and veal combined
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, a couple of handfuls
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried pasta, rings, broken fettuccini or ditalini(I use multi-grain)
  • 1 pound triple washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped


In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery and onions and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Uncover your soup pot and add broth and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. You are making meat dumplings that will cook in the broth. When you are done rolling the meat, add pasta to the soup and stir. Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. When spinach has wilted into the soup, the soup is done and ready to serve. Adjust your seasonings.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to School Coupons

Click here for 20% all school and office supplies at Staples. Offer valid 8/15-8/21.

Click here to get $10 off of your purchase of $50 or $15 off of your purchase of $75 at JCPenney. Use promo code BTS4YOU at jcp.com. For free shipping on orders of $49 or more use promo code BSMART2.

Use code TC102DOE TO get 10% off of select items at Target.

Click here for various coupons for Babies R Us / Toys R Us.

Click here to receive 15% off of your entire purchase at The Children's Place. Use code C9AFYHJR8A online.

Use code GAP2010 to receive 20% off of adult clothing and 10% off of kids and babies clothing at Gap. For free shipping on orders of $100 or more enter code GAPSHIP100.

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Today is 8-9-10!!

I had no idea what today's date what was until my friend sent out a text message about the date and that she planned on taking a picture of her daughter with a sign. I obviously thought it was a very cute idea.

My girls...Alexandra, Stephanie & Eva

It's the best I could do. Anyone with kids knows that it's pretty difficult to get all of them to cooperate at the same time. Here are some outtakes.

Stephanie didn't think it was a good idea.

Now her eyes are closed.

Ladies, can you stay still??


Come on, kids, can we just focus for one minute??

I guess not.


What did you say, mom?

Oh, ok.....CHEESE!!!

Now what does this say?


Can you guess what her answer to me was??

Almost had it!

Darn it! It's too blurry.

That was exhausting. Poor Alex was trying so hard to keep the babies still and yet she managed to smile in every shot.

I'm glad that we won't have to do this again. Well, not until 9/10/11!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tres Leches Cake

I can still remember the first time I ate tres leches cake. We were in Charlotte, NC visiting my brother and sister in law and we had stopped at some place to eat what they claimed to be some awesome chicken. Yes, the chicken was really good but what they didn't tell us was how AMAZING the tres leches cake was.

That was about 4 years ago and I'm still thinking about it.

I have tried several other versions when I happen to see it on the menu and while they have been good I still longed for the cake from Charlotte.

Alberto's birthday was yesterday and I decided that I wanted to make him tres leches cake. I searched online for some recipes and even considered a couple of different recipes from some blogs that I follow. The only thing stopping me was that the cakes were made from scratch. I am not a baker. I decided to post on my local message board and lucked out with a recipe that started with a box mix.

My verdict: So, so, so good!!! You can, of course, make a sponge cake from scratch and I bet that it would be great. But if you're not a baker go ahead and use a box mix. I promise that I won't tell.

I baked my cake in a glass 9x13 baking dish. I left the cake in there and poured all of the milk mixture over the cake. It's going to look like too much. But have no fear. All of it will be absorbed into the cake. I promise. Some of the blog recipes that I was considering using suggested reserving a cup of the mixture to be used in coffee. Not a bad idea. One even had the nerve to suggest using only 1 cup of the mix and discarding the rest. I quickly closed out that tab. Use it all. Every.last.drop. You won't be sorry.

Tres Leches Cakes

  • prepared yellow cake, cooled
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • maraschino cherries to garnish (optional)
  1. Using a fork, pierce holes all over the top of the cake.
  2. Mix together 1 cup of heavy cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk.
  3. Pour ALL of the milk mixture over the cake. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour until the mixture is absorbed into the cake.
  4. In a bowl, beat remaining cup of heavy cream, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until it thickens.
  5. Spread whipped cream over the cake cover and continue to refrigerate for a few hours but preferably overnight.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Adventures in toddler beds

I moved Stephanie out of her crib and into a toddler bed at the beginning of the summer because she was jumping out in the middle of the night to come into our room. As annoying as it is to be woken up by a 2 year old poking you in the eye I was worried that she'd hurt herself scaling her crib while she was half asleep.

The first step was deciding what to do about her crib. Should we convert it into a toddler bed or buy an inexpensive toddler bed? We chose the latter. Eva is still in our room sleeping in the pack n play. The plan is to get Eva to wean and start taking a bottle or a straw cup with formula and then hopefully start sleeping through the night. Once she is successfully sleeping all night then I hope to move her into Stephanie's room where she will be taking over Stephanie's crib.

I decided to buy Stephanie this bed and hoped and prayed that she would be so excited about having a big girl Dora bed that she would stay in her bed all night long.

That idea did not appeal to Stephanie. At all. She was very excited about the bed. Loves that Dora's face is on it and was even trying to sit on it as I was putting it together. But what I think appealed to her more than anything was that I made it so much easier for her to get out of bed and come into ours.

Hmph. I hadn't thought about that.

After about a week of her coming out of her room several times when she should be sleeping I came up with an idea. And you may judge me for being mean but I don't care. I am no longer being woken up at 3am by a 2 year old who wants to play instead of sleeping.

I grabbed a screwdriver, the tool not the drink, and unscrewed her doorknob and turned it around so that I can lock it from the outside. She complained the first couple of days about not being able to escape but now I hear her check the doorknob, realizes that it's locked and goes to sleep. Sometimes on her bed.

Sometimes on the floor.

I have even found her in her closet on top of a basket full of towels.

Maybe some new bedding would help.

I was thinking of getting Dora bedding to match her bed but while reading the not so great reviews on Target's website I changed my mind. I really didn't want to spend a lot of money but then I noticed that a cheaper set had great reviews and it was in stock at my local Target.

The next morning the girls and I headed to Target and for $22 dollars I bought this super cute Circo Happy Flower 4 piece toddler bed set.

The sheets are super soft and the comforter seems like it will be nice and warm. Stephanie LOVES it. The first night we used her new bedding she jumped right in and pulled up the blanket and was ready to read her book.

Did I mention that it only cost $22? For 4 pieces? And it doesn't feel like sandpaper I swear.

I wonder if Target sells something that will get Eva to wean so that I can kick her out of my room, too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friends & Family Coupon - LOFT & Ann Taylor

Enjoy 30% off of your entire purchase at LOFT and Ann Taylor by entering code FRIENDS and receive free shipping if you spend $100 or more. If you'd like a printable coupon comment on this post with your email address and I will forward it to you. This coupon is good from August 3 - August 8.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Updated my book list & setting some goals...

I am so in love with my Kindle. I think it's the greatest thing ever. I love to read. I love getting so wrapped up in a book that hours can pass I wouldn't even realize it. I love becoming so engrossed in a book that I can't bear to put it down and I just have to find out what happens and then be upset that I read the book so quickly that I already finished it.

Unfortunately, I am unable to read like that. My bosses, aka my kids won't allow for reading more than a few minutes at a time. I think about reading when the babies are down for their naps but inevitably my dirty kitchen yells for me to please clean. Or the mountain of laundry that has suddenly appeared even though I did 3 loads the day before. Or worse....it's time to figure out what to make for dinner. Can't I just settle down on the couch and wriggle my nose and have all of my chores done so that I can read in peace? Didn't think so. I have also tried to read in bed before I go to sleep but I can barely read a chapter before my eyes start closing.

When I first received my Kindle as an early Mother's Day gift, I began keeping track of the books that I've read so far this year. Click here to read the original post with my list of books read. As of right now I am up to 15 books. Not bad for almost 3 months.

There are 5 months left in 2010. I'd like to set a goal for myself to read another 15. Of course I'd like to read more than that but I have to be realistic. I am also still crocheting so that also takes up some of the rare free time that I have.

If only I could count Dr. Seuss' books and the ones about Dora the Explorer...I could be in the hundreds ;-)