greatest dinner ever

I've gotten back into cooking now that I'm at home and planning meals.  A few weeks ago, the grocery store had green peppers on sale and also cream cheese.  That got me thinking about jalapeno poppers.  I decided to create something similar using the green peppers.  I didn't use a recipe at all, which is a big step for me. 

I sauteed some onions, corn, and jalapeno peppers in some butter.  Then I added some black beans from a can and corn.  Once that was all heated through, I melted a package of cream cheese.  I could have stopped right there and just ate the mix with chips, but I stuffed it into the blanched green peppers and then baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes.  I then sprinkled some cheese on top and baked them for 5 more minutes.  I figured corn bread would also taste good with the peppers so I tried out the Pioneer Woman's Skillet Cornbread

I seriously think this was the best dinner I have ever cooked.  Mike agreed.

little bee

Product DetailsWhen I picked up Little Bee to read, I was hoping it was going to be good since we gave it to my mother-in-law for her birthday this summer.  While not at all what I expected, it turned out to be a good book.  There really wasn't a summary of the book on the back cover, so I really had no idea what it was about.  It turned out to be about a couple that went to Nigeria on vacation and met a Nigerian girl.  They all witnessed something they shouldn't have.  A few years later, the girl shows up at the couples house on the day of the husbands funeral.  The story does a great job of blending flashback and the current story.  It certainly was not a lighthearted read, but it was a great story.  Completely different from what I normally read.



So I may have gotten 8 hours of sleep before, but last night was the first night that I really remember it happening.  Hudson struggled to go to bed, which is pretty unusual, but Mike finally got him to sleep.  For once, I did not wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and my little guy decided to sleep until 8 this morning.  I'm not sure what time I actually fell asleep, but I know it was before midnight and that I didn't wake up until 8.  Surprisingly, I still felt pretty sleepy when I woke up.  I think my body is still recovering from the months of interrupted sleep (and H will probably be up tomorrow night again).
While the sleep is great, I do kind of miss Hudson during the night when he doesn't wake up.  This doesn't mean that I want him to be up all night, but I do enjoy snuggling with him in the middle of the night.  I'm going to miss it when he's done nursing during the night.
I also know that now that I've blogged about getting 8 hours of sleep, he's going to be up all the time for the next few nights.  Just his way of reminding me that he's still in charge :)


which to pick

It's not even November yet, but I'm already thinking about Christmas.  Especially Christmas cards.  With a new baby, I know we need to send out photo cards so everyone can see how cute our kiddo is.

I was thrilled to be offered free photo cards from Shutterfly.  We used Shutterfly to make our baby announcements and they turned out great.  I went on the website and couldn't believe how many cute designs they have.  You can find them here.  I know we're going to need a card that allows for more than one picture.  I also really like the ones that allow you to write a little Christmas letter or list of events from the year.  It combines the best of the photo card and a Christmas letter.

Here are a few of my favorites.
Picture Joy
Bright Red Filmstrip
Family Wall Red
Christmas Letter
Love 2010

Picture Tree

How am I ever going to pick a card, let alone the pictures to go on it.  Good think I've got awhile! Guess I'd better start taking more pictures.

Thank you to Shutterfly for allowing me to blog about them in exchange for 50 free photo cards.  All opinions are my own.

Bloggers, if you're interested in this great deal, go here for more info.


saving money

Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in HalfI just finished reading Be CentsAble by Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee.  I've been trying to find ways to save us money, especially on groceries.  We used to go to the grocery store several times each week and spent way to much money on food.  I never planned meals, especially when I was pregnant.
This book had a lot of great tips, especially about planning meals.  They said that it's one of the easiest ways to save money, because you don't go to the store every other day.  I've started planning meals since I've been staying home.  It has made a world of difference.  It's so nice to only go to the store once a week or so, especially with a baby.  It's also great to kind of know what we're having to eat for dinner.  I don't pick meals for specific days, I just pick 7-8 meals to buy things for and then pick on the day of what we're going to eat.  I usually pick a soup, a breakfast for dinner, and a pasta each week and then other things we want to eat.  I've been trying to plan based on what's on sale, but that's been a little more challenging. 
The book also talks a lot about using coupons.  I've started using them and even snagged a great deal for a subscription to the local paper.  I haven't quite figured out the best way to organize them.  Websites that match the weekly ads with coupons are a lifesaver.  I don't have enough time to match coupons with sales.  If you're trying to save money, I would definitely recommend reading this book.


a good one

The Good Daughters: A NovelI just finished up The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard.  I read Labor Day by this same author last month so I thought I'd give this book a try.  Normally I don't enjoy books that span a great deal of time.  I'd rather authors focus in on one specific event, etc. (this is reminding me of a writing lesson I taught last year).  This book was interesting enough to keep me hooked, even though it spanned these two girls entire lives. 

I have this thing about books that take place in New England.  I love reading them.  Anything about Cape Cod or New Hampshire, etc.  I'm not sure what it is, since I haven't really traveled there.  Something about the way of life that seems appealing.

This book was great, and the ending, oh my.  Can't tell you what happened, but it's great.

cinnamon bread

This week I baked the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Bread found here. The recipe was easy to follow. I didn't get a very good rise from the dough. Probably because I was baking on a cold, rainy day. It turned out very dense, but was great for french toast. It felt kind of like I was eating a cinnamon roll, only slighty healthier because it was bread (though I'm sure it's really not that healthy).
I think I may have fixed the poor rise problem. Today I mixed up some Ciabatta bread found here. I followed the Pioneer Woman's trick of running hot water in the bowl before I turned the bread into it. I covered it with plastic wrap and a towel and then put it in front of a space heater. The bread definitely rose this time. I haven't baked it yet, so hopefully it will turn out.
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Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24



I've never been one for couponing. We would use them when we went out to eat, but I would always forget to bring them to the grocery store. We need to really watch how much we spend on food. I've been following a couple of blogs, SpringsBargains and MoneySavingMom that post grocery store deals paired with coupons. I decided a couple of weeks ago to start getting the paper and saving the coupons. Last week I was able to take our grocery bill from $57 to $43 with coupons. This week there were a couple of great deals at Whole Foods. I never shop there, but figured with the coupons, that I needed to make a special trip.

Whole Foods had Muir Glen 28oz cans of organic tomatoes for 2 for $4.  I had two whole foods coupons for $1 off and two $.75 off manufacture coupons.  That made the final cost for each can $.25.  I also had some coupons for ThinkThin Bars that reduce the cost to $.25.  I think I'm going to like using coupons.  There's quite a rush when you get such a good deal.
coupons galore

$1.25 total
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 This week's baking was a new biscuit recipe to go with biscuits and gravy.  It was from my new baking book.  It was the easiest biscuit recipe I've ever followed because it used cream instead of butter.  I had to add a little more cream because the dough was pretty dry. 

The biscuits turned out pretty good.  I under baked them and the bottoms still got a little too done.  The outside looked pretty dry, but the insides of the biscuits were still soft and moist.  Yum Yum.  They were perfect for the sausage gravy that Mike made.
new cookbok


into the oven

look yummy

yep, yummy


I went to the Just Between Friends sale with Melissa. It was a lot of fun and I got some great deals. I went looking for a Johnny Jump-Up and found one for only $10. I also found cute clothes, of course, and some toys. Hudson already loves his stacking cups.
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olive kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge: FictionI read a book that won the Pulitzer Prize.  I feel smarter just by having it in my house.  This was not your typical novel, but rather a collection of stories centered around one character, Olive Kitteridge.  I loved the style and format and especially that in some of the stories, Olive played only a minor roll.  The writing was less focused on plot and more about characters.  It was also nice because I don't get to sit and read for long periods of time these days.  By having the chapters be separate stories, it was easy to pick up after having not read it for a few days.  And, I feel smarter having read something that won the Pulitzer Prize.