Friday, April 29, 2011

Easy Preservative Free Home Made Chicken and Rice Soup

My family loves this soup so much I've made a huge batch twice this month!

3 cups of shredded cooked chicken
2 cups of dry rice
3 cups of water
1 large box of low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons parsley
3-4 large carrots chopped
3-4 large stalks of celery chopped

1. Cook rice in 3 cups of boiling water. We use minute rice.
2. Do not drain rice but add 1 large box of low sodium chicken broth.
3. Add cooked chicken, chopped carrots and celery.
4. Add parsley, salt, pepper and any other seasoning to taste. We just add parsley, salt and pepper.
5. Cook on medium for 10-15 minutes until carrots and celery are tender.
6. Take off heat and serve.

This makes 4-5 huge bowls of it. If you let it sit for a while it will turn into more of a chowder as the rice will absorb more of the liquid. You can add more water or chicken broth in the beginning of the recipe if you want more broth.

*I took this picture the next afternoon when I reheated it for lunch. The original batch was much more "soupier". You do not need to add extra chicken broth or water if you eat this right away.

Friday, April 22, 2011

#Home Depot: Picking Out Our Granite... and the girls' field trip to the warehouse

This is the sample of the granite slab we picked out at Home Depot back in March. I have carried this little piece of granite in my purse for a month. Why? Why not?

The girls were both so excited to pick out our granite slab for the kitchen counters. We went Thursday morning and picked out the slab in Jessup, Md which is 1 hour and 45 minutes from us. We measured ourselves and picked the color and paid back in mid-March and the actual granite people could only fit us in to measure professionally this week. They measured Wednesday and Thursday we took our road trip. The picture above is just one of the aisles inside the warehouse. We saw some awesome pieces and some funny ones. We'll show you in just a bit.

 Here is a close up (pardon the flash and the reflection of the lights above).  What we chose is called Azul Platino from Spain. Contrary to the name there is NO blue in it. There are specks of white, black, clear, a look like stainless steel and just a hint of pale green. No blue. Someone was color blind.
Honestly though, this wasn't my first choice. I really wanted Carerra Marble after my idol Sarah Richardson, but alas. Marble isn't as strong as granite and the sales lady said it would stain easier. Hence, my husband said no way. Below is my beloved marble. :o(  I may get him to agree to a master bath vanity in marble. Maybe.... that's at least a year in the future so I have time to soften him up.

Here are some interesting things we saw. I don't know what this one is actually called but Emma said it looked like raw meat with snot in the middle. The mind of a 6 year old.
 This one was so neat! It actually looked like it swirled around almost like water. You can't really tell from the picture though.

This one looks like and feels like a tree. It is completely textured. I have no idea where you would use this because it was so bumpy a pot or pan would not be able to sit level at all.

 Two very excited girls who LOVED seeing all the "pretty rocks".
 A beautiful slab made from amethyst (my birth stone).  They had it lit up from beneath to show you could install it that way I guess.
 Blue agate slab lit from beneath. Where would you put this?
 This was brown agate. Much more variation.
 A close up of the amethyst. Isn't is beautiful? I still have no idea where we'd ever use something like this.

 Two crazy girls standing in front of our future kitchen counter top.
 Here is our actual slab. That is my brother, husband and Emma you see. Miss Eryn is in front of my husband. You can only see a small dot of her pink jacket.
 Again, my granite. We chose this one because we wanted to go with a counter that was as light as possible because we are going to use Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformations to make our cabinets white and we are painting the bulk head above the cabinets a pale tan. We aren't 100% sure what tile we are doing as a backsplash but we know it will be tile. Thus... me having a piece of granite in my purse for a month.

We go back to Home Depot either this evening or tomorrow to finalize everything and then our counter will take 1 week to be cut/polished and then they will come install. I am SO excited to have a fine counter top. I've never had anything other than laminate in any house I've ever lived in (married or as a child). 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Easter Dresses, a Burnt Wrist and No Sleep

Let me explain this lovely title by saying there are no Easter dresses with sleeves to be found anywhere. My opinion is my own and I in no way want anyone to think that I am trying to say everyone should do as I do. However, our church believes that there should be sleeves in clothing for both men and women combined and I grew up always wearing at least short sleeves.

With that said, I cannot find Easter dresses that have anything more than tank top sleeves. I know you can buy shrugs, etc to cover up the sleeves and Emma has done that last year as well as Eryn. But.... the now 3 1/2 year old hates anything she thinks is a jacket and tears it off immediately. It doesn't help that church is always freezing and Eryn is currently sick.

So, with all that in mind I set out to make the girls' Easter dresses this year. Of course, they picked out the fabric and I still have all week so I might make a second set and we'll vote on which ones get worn Sunday morning. I'm not a huge fan of this fabric as it is extremely bright but at $2.00 a yard and the girls' best pick I said yes.
Here is the carnage of my table. No that isn't my telescope, Emma tried to see the stars but it was too cloudy so it ended up on the kitchen table for some reason or another. I purchased a bunch of patterns off of Etsy and tried to make Emma's dress first. Here is the pattern and scrap carnage on my table.
First thing that happened was I turned on the iron to press the fabric as I sewed. Less than 1 minute later I accidentally brushed against it and burned my wrist pretty bad.
Here is the dress after I finished most of it Friday night, very late so not much sleep. Also, with Eryn being sick I haven't slept much because she hasn't slept much. Therefore, I am in great need of a nap. I hung it my bathroom on the hook so Eryn wouldn't see it since it was Emma's dress.
Sad part happened when Emma tried it on Saturday morning only to discover it was too small. It seems the pattern I purchased didn't have the measurements right. Emma is a size 10 and I made a 12 just to be sure she had some wiggle room. Following the pattern precisely made it just a hair too small. So.... I altered it to fit Eryn and finished it for her. Here is Eryn now wearing the same dress after I changed it a bit and added her black lace, sleeves, button, pocket and oh yeah, hemmed it too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Great Giveaway at Win, Lose, or Blog + Week 1 Results

The week 1 totals are in for weight loss and I'm in at number 3! With 9 pounds gone in week 1 I lost a total of 3.6% of my body! It is crazy to think in terms of that much of my total body but I'm loving it!

Win, Lose, or Blog is hosting a giveaway for Jessica Smith who does 10 Pounds Down and Look Better Naked DVD's.  The giveaway is for a downloadable 10 day meal plan from Jessica herself!

Click HERE to enter at Win, Lose, or Blog!

Also, Jessica has an amazing giveaway at her site. Click HERE to enter her giveaway as well!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

(#NSNation!) My Nutrisystem Snack Experience

My downfall with weight loss comes in the evening in the form of snacks. I love to have snacks like watching TV in the evening with my family. The problem was that I've always grabbed chips or something high in calories, saturated fat or salt.

Well, Nutrisystem has an answer for that. For me it was the orange creme bar. It was amazingly good! I love dreamcicles from when I was little so this brought back memories and cured my craving for something sweet! So many snacks are chocolate and while I LOVE chocolate I don't always want it. Shocking right?


Wanna lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem too? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or by visiting

(#NSNation!) My Nutrisystem Dinner Experience

Well I finished my 10 days of Nutrisystem as a part of their 10 day challenge and I have to say that some of the dinners were really good and some just so so. I'm really picky about my frozen meals and don't like to eat them that often. I can tell you out of all of them the Salisbury steak was the best. I've always been a fan of Salisbury steak even when little and this one did not let me down.
I liked the macaroni and cheese but it wasn't the best I've ever had.

I will tell you this: Nutrisystem is the easiest method because everything is color coded and labeled. If you don't want to think very hard you simply get a red box for dinner. It doesn't matter what red box because they are all very similar in caloric and fat content.  This makes it easier for people who don't like to count calories. You can also add it into their online tool and it calculates everything for you. Very easy!

Wanna lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem too? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or by visiting

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recycle Bank Green Your Home Contest

Join Recycle bank HERE to earn points and get coupons and learn about making our Earth a better place! I love using recycle bank because even though our neighborhood does not pick up our recyclables we are able to earn points with surveys, games, etc.  I have earned FREE Happy Baby product coupons, FREE Coke coupons and more!

Right now, Recycle Bank is have a "Green Your Home" contest for April. Simply click HERE and click on the different rooms to learn ways you can save energy, reduce your costs, and recycle. Then click the link that says "earn points".  I earned over 100 points today only!

With the contest you can win FREE Energy Star kitchen appliances worth over $18,000!

Sign up for Recycle Bank first before clicking the Green Your Home link. It is easier that way. Registration is FREE

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Johnsonville Sausage Pasta Bake #SSJohnsonville

This great recipe is something that I just came up with but my family LOVED it so I thought I'd share.

Sausage Pasta Bake Recipe
1 small box of penne pasta
1 package (5 links) Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 cups Italian shredded cheese

1. remove sausage from casings and brown in a pan.
2. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and set aside.
3. Boil water and cook penne pasta until al dente.
4. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan.
5. spread a layer of  sausage then pasta then cheese.  We kept 1/2 sausage free because my oldest daughter has problems stomaching any type of spicy seasoning and she requested no sausage.
6. repeat until all pasta, cheese and sausage is gone.

 7. Top with more cheese! Add as much as you like.

 8. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted throughout. Serve and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I was sent coupons for Johnsonville sausages. They in no way swayed my review but did give me the product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shaklee Earth Day Special! FREE MEMBERSHIP!

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That is our BEST Join Free Offer yet!
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15% discount (off retail prices) on product purchases
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Click HERE to see all the great non-toxic products Shaklee has to offer!


P.S.   Now through May 20th, anyone who purchases a GOLD PAK gets a Shaklee Personal Website (PWS) at no additional charge for three extra months!

Spring Fireplace Mantle!

I will be completely honest and say in my super busy life I did not change the Valentine's day mantle until last week. Yup! You heard me... it was a lot of LOVE in my house until March.

With that said, who wouldn't want a little more love?

Our spring time mantle will last until around mid-June when I will redo it as the summer mantle. We start out with some adorable ducks and ducklings I got a few years ago from a local store in Hagerstown.

I am reusing my amazing vase I found at Marshall's. My mother is also now making adorable block letters and made me a set for Mother's day. Of course, she gave them to me early so I could use them for my mantle.


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