Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pizza Baked Ziti - Easy, Fast, Kid-Approved


I am that woman, the one who loves pinning away for the perfect recipe (not kidding, check out my boards).  I then spend hours in the kitchen prepping and preparing only to have my family tell me it was okay??  The way we judge new recipes in our house is, first did you eat seconds? And second, would you want me to make this again?  So many of the recipes I make we eat once and never again.

So I had some pepperonis in the fridge and I had some extra ground beef left over from making a dinner to take to some friends who are going through a rough patch right now.  Quickly, on a Monday night, my Pizza Baked Ziti was born and man did my family love it!  My husband had leftovers and exclaimed how wonderful this was!  My son ate his second helping as a bedtime snack and told me to make sure there was some leftover when he got home from school tomorrow!  Guess this one is a keeper! Not only is it quick and easy to prepare, it come in at less than $5 to feed a family of 5 - 6.

Ingredients:
1 box of Ziti, cooked to package directions
1/2# - 3/4# ground beef
1/2 an onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 - 1 jar of prepared spaghetti sauce
1 - 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
Pepperonis

Directions:
Brown ground beef with onion and garlic.  Once pasta is cooked, return to pot and add cooked beef mixture and spaghetti sauce and mix well.  Pour into a 9x13 pan (or use a foil pan for easy clean-up).  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperonis.   Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Enjoy with a side a breadsticks!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash - Review & Giveaway


The day I received this sample in the mail, it was -20 degrees Fahrenheit!  Yes, it was that cold in Ohio and yes the body wash was frozen!  However, I can happily report it thawed out nicely and I was able to try this little "miracle" product on my dry, hasn't seen the sun in 4 months skin!

New Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is infused with caring Marula oil for beautifully, soft skin.  This new body wash is formulated with Micro Oil Technology for a luxurious, clean-rinsing lather that leaves skin feeling clean, soft and smooth.

I love soft, healthy skin and I love a skin care routine that allows me minimal time in the shower in the morning.  Hey, I have 3 kids, two of which have to catch a bus in the morning!  I love this new product from Dial and it truly did help heal my dry skin.  Now if only the sun would come out and heat up past 20 degrees!

Do you want to try Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash for yourself?  Three luckily readers will win a coupon for a free bottle, just leave a comment on this post on what you most look forward to in spring!

Thanks for reading and good luck!

I wrote this post on behalf of Purex Brands Company. Spend Less 2 Save More received Purex products in exchange for an honest review. This is not a sponsored review, all views and opinions are of my own and were not influenced in any way.  Spend Less 2 Save More is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising


Monday, February 23, 2015

Top 10 Parenting Tasks I Depise



Don't judge me, but there are some parenting tasks that I truly do not enjoy!  I love my children dearly and I love being a Mom so much, but sometimes I wish I there were things I did not have to do.  Since my kids are now 9, 6, and almost 3, I feel I have gathered enough experience to finally put this list out on the Internet.  I'm sure there are some you agree with and others that may not bother you as much as they bother me!

For dramatic effect, I'll count backwards from 10...

10.  Cleaning Up Kid Vomit - baby spit up is fine, everything else is not!

9.  The Stage When Kids Need to Nap Yet They Don't Want to Nap - this goes from when they go from 2 to 1 nap and then when the nap gets eliminated.

8.  Staying With Babies in Hotel Rooms - this never goes well for us, but I won't give it up I love to travel too much!

7.  Reading Books Before Bed - only because I have two children that have to have the same 20 books every night read in the same order, no exceptions!

6.  Holding Down Babies While Getting Shots - its a necessary evil, but it does get easier with more children!

5.  Not Being Able to Give Cold Medicine and Listening to Children Cough Over a Monitor - I hate this sound and I hate it even more that there is nothing you can do!

4.  Buckling 2-4 Year Olds in Winter Coats in Car Seats - I am never so happy when they can go into a booster seat.

3.  Teaching Kids to Tie Shoes - this is just painful and a LONG process!

2.  Changing Crib Sheets - one would think I would find an easier way, but I am not convinced there is an easy way!

1.  Potty Training - enough said, the third child should potty train themselves!

Do you agree, disagree, or have anything to ad?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kick the Pre-Packaged Mix - 2015 Challenge


Call it convenience, lazy, or just a taste preference, I have a slight addiction with packages of different mixes.  I actually have a whole shoe-box size basket in my pantry loaded with these little envelopes!  Yes they are convenient, however they also contain a lot of ingredients that are really not necessary to make a meal.  In addition, most of the ingredients that you need are more than likely in your spice cabinet.

I am challenging myself to break this habit (and I may not eliminate it completely), I truly want to find out if a homemade mix is truly as good as these prepackaged ones.  I know when I am in a rush,  I will probably still grab a packet, but if I have the time I am consciously going to try at making my own mix!  If I find one I like, I can make a large batch and store it for future dinners!

The internet is an amazing place when it comes to recipes.  So much so, that I do not even think one truly needs a recipe box anymore!  I spent some time trolling the internet for some prepackaged alternatives.  Here is a good list to try!

Homemade Sloppy Joe Mix - $5 Dinners - I tried this and it was amazing!  The verdict?  I will use this instead of an envelop mix!

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe - Whole New Mom

Meat Loaf with Homemade Seasoning Mix - Just A Pinch

Homemade Gravy Mix - A Few Short Cuts

Homemade Fajita Seasoning - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Ranch Dressing Mix - Untrained Housewife

Beef Stew Seasoning Mix - Budget 101

Chili Seasoning Packet - Family Corner
 
Homemade Enchilada Sauce - Damn Delicious

Dry Onion Soup Mix - Yummly

Homemade Vegetable Dill Dip - Katrina's Kitchen

Caesar Salad Dressing - Heart Healthy Home

So do you have a favorite you care to share?  Leave the link in the comments!




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tax Season


It seems to creep up on us every year, tax season.  As members of The United States we are subjected to yearly federal income taxes.  It should come to no surprise, since it happens every year, at the same time, but I always find myself somewhat rushed and unprepared when all of the forms start appearing in our mailboxes.

I am clearly a Type A personality.  I love to be organized and have everything together.  Unfortunately, being a Wife, Mom of 3, and Working Woman with two jobs, I often have to slack on some of my organizational ways!  Here are some tips that we use in our house to make tax season a lot less painful.

1.  Have a dedicated folder or envelope for all of your tax items.
2.  Throughout the year, when you make any donations, purchase items for a home office, receipts from professional organizations, etc., put all of those receipts into your folder or envelope. 
3.  As soon as you receive forms in the mail, W2's, 1099's, mortgage documents and more, place them all in your folder or envelope immediately.
4.  I create a spreadsheet of all of the items from the previous year that I will need to gather for this years taxes.
5.  Sometime after the first of February, begin to go through your envelope or folder and using your check list to insure you all of your documents. 
6.  If you are missing any interest documents from your bank or loan company, you may have to go onto their website to print the information.

The next debate is often who is going to do your taxes.  Back when we were first married, I did our own with a computer program.  As the years have progressed and our taxes have become more difficult, we find it best to hand it over to our accountant.  Once we drop our documents off, we usually have our taxes back within a week.  He also automatically files our federal and state taxes for us.  Personally for me, it is a huge relief knowing a professional is doing our taxes and I do not have to worry if I missed something. 

What are some other tips to make tax season less stressful?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

In the "Nick of Time" Santa Pic 2014


You know when you have everything perfectly planned and then it all goes out the window?  Yes that was my weekend.  We had waited until the weekend before Christmas to go visit Santa.  Well Saturday came and my baby came down with the most feared thing in my house.... THE STOMACH BUG.  Well you know how this one goes, Mom went down at 6 pm Sunday night, my 6 year old woke up just before midnight on Sunday and then at 6 am on Monday my oldest was struck! 

Dad was our hero, he took care of us and we were just about convinced ourselves he was spared.  That was just until about 9 pm Monday night.  Luckily he had a quick case of the bug.  By Tuesday night we were all doing well.  As I was laying in bed with my 6 year old, he asked why we hadn't seen Santa yet?  Uggh!!  Why did I wait until the last minute?  Why didn't I think we would all become insanely ill the weekend before Christmas?  Next year I won't procrastinate!

Tuesday night we all went to the mall.  We all waited in line for about an hour.  But finally we got to see the big guy.  Everyone was excited and then this happened, the scream of fear!  Well, kind of describes my weekend, the awful "Christmas Bug of 2014"!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Three Days in NYC With Friends - Day 1

I was able to do an incredible girls trip to New York City for three days, with two of my dearest friends.  We met in college and lived together for two years.  We still get together quite often for dinner and laughs, but this was our first trip together since graduating college in 2000.  I hope we can make this a yearly tradition because we had a beyond amazing time. 

We arrived on a 8 am flight into LaGuardia so we had an entire day to spend exploring the city.  We stayed near Times Square at the Row NYC.  We were able to walk and take the Subway for our entire trip.  Day One adventures included:


Times Square

 
 Rockefeller Center
 
 
Central Park


At night we went up into the Empire State Building and visited Macy's.  It was a lot of walking, we took the Subway once, and saw so many sites!

Stay tuned for Day 2...