"" Three Ladies and a Dad: September 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: No oil or eggs?

We are not a 'sweet' family. As far as indulges go, in our home we prefer salty and crunchy. But, every now and then, a sweet cake does sound good.

Too be honest, I am not sure how this tip originated. I just heard it from my mom who heard it from hers, I'm sure. Nonetheless, it works!

To the point...ever buy a dark cake mix and realize you don't have any eggs or not enough oil? No problem...grab a can of Diet Coke! Literally, a can of Diet Coke can completely replace the eggs and oil.

You can bet we have done this with any boxed cake I have made since learning this. The cake still turns out moist and delish, and you can not taste the difference.

Pour the cake mix in a bowl and add the Diet Coke (12 oz.). The only difference between this and the regular method is this seems to be foamy.

Pour in the pan and bake as normal.

Allow to cool and ice the cake.


For some inspiration on flavor combos where you can taste a hint of the soda..
Add Diet Sprite to lemon cake. (Don't use 7-Up)
Add Diet Root Beer to white or vanilla cake.
Add Diet Orange soda to white, orange or vanilla cake.

Use your imagination!

A few technicalities, a can of regular coke works just as well, but we always have Diet Coke in our home, so it just gets first dibs. And it does not have to be name brand soda.

Hope this helps you out one day.

For more tips to help out in the kitchen, hop on over to Tammy's blog!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday shopping...

On Sunday, I got to shop. I have been in need of jeans for some time now, but since my legs are so long, I can not just go spend only $30 on a pair of jeans.

Thankfully, the Buckle has lay-away. That way, I can still get my shopping fix but not drop major bucks all at once.

The ones in the pictures are the ones I got.

I was looking for jeans that come in extra-long (35 inch inseam), be dark washed and I wanted some with a flap pocket. They met my expectations!

I could not go home empty handed so I got a cute necklace...I am trying to accessorize more so I try to pick up a little something often.

I am off to bake a cake for tomorrow's post. Class was canceled tonight...got to love that. I finally got my test score...I got an A! If you only knew how tough this class was...I seriously was expecting a C. I was on cloud nine all day!

Menu Plan Monday: The week of September 28

This week is an "eating from the pantry week". I love using leftovers to create new meals, so that is the plan. It's even better when your original meals were made in the crock pot!

Monday: Chicken from the grill, mashed potatoes and a veggie
Tuesday: Pot roast with carrots
Wednesday: Roasted chicken with veggies (making broth for tomorrow)
Thursday: Homemade chicken noodle soup...I want to try these noodles.
Friday: Pot roast subs with veggies
Saturday: Out to eat
Sunday: Leftover buffet

For hundreds of menu ideas, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

So, about my last post...

I saw something on my Twitter today that made me feel sort of bad...

"If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back."
(Of all people, Ashton Kutcher tweeted this.)

How true is that?

I do understand moms are in fact, humans. I feel like we do deserve to have a bad day, even though my bad days are unpleasant for everyone around me.

But in the grand scheme of things, I am thankful that I have these problems...as weird as that sounds. I have children. The man I call my husband is a great father to our children. I have a great, supportive family, and sisters that are best friends. My friends get me.

As long as I have those things, my life is good. It is just hard to realize that when you have those kind of moments.

My solution...print out that saying and put it on my fridge. Maybe it will help me get through my bad days and enjoy my good days even more.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stick a fork in me - I'm done.

Thankfully, I have a great husband. He knows the minute he hears my voice over the phone how my evening has been. His dad needed help doing a few things tonight so even though it is past bedtime, he made sure it was okay with his parent's that he brought the girls.

"Do you care if I bring the girls to give Alaina a break?", he asked his mom.

Here I am, sitting on the couch, typing away, in silence. I need of a time out.

I truly feel like being a mom is the hardest job on the planet. Things just naturally fall onto your lap. No matter how great your husband is, how involved your kids dad is involved, it all point backs to the wife. The mom.

Today was one of those days. I feel like all I said was..

"Girls, be quiet...girls, BE QUIET!... {As I am yelling.} ...please listen...clean up your room....etc."

One of those days I feel like a failure as a mom.

It is exhausting. Tiring. Emotionally depleting at times.

But it is so worth it. The rewards are so much greater than the roughest day times ten.

And the best part about it all? Tomorrow is a new day...another chance.

Long story short...

I'm fine! Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment in St. Louis for this lump on my jawline that has been there about six weeks. Last week, I was told it could be one of three things. I had an ultrasound yesterday and it showed that is was an inflamed muscle. The protocol? Just watch it and call them if anything changes. Woo-hoo!

As we were leaving the hospital, we got rear-ended. Perfect! That put us back an hour and a half. By the time we ate lunch and picked up the girls, I had about thirty minutes before heading off to class.

Did I mention I was going on four hours of sleep?

That makes for a long day.

And we still have not got scores back on our test. Seriously, what is taking so long?

Other than that, life is good. I have a few fun posts coming up by I need pictures. My camera is messed up...the battery light is always on and it just dies. I will figure something out though.

As the saying goes, it is always something.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I have the worst case of writer's block ever. I just typed a few scheduled post but they have certain times they must be published. Ugh..

Thought? Ideas? What do you want to know? Suggestion on how to move out of this funk?

I am in St. Louis today and will probably be out of it tonight. Not quite sure yet. But I would love to come home to some comments.

And thanksomuch from the bottom of my heart for your prayers for my father-in-law. Things are going much better and I have no doubt The Big Man upstairs heard them.

I hope you all have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

{life happens}

I probably sound like a broken record, but this week has been nuts!

Jeremy's dad has surgery on both of his legs this past Monday. The surgery was in St. Louis and they planned to put a stint in one of his veins. Come to find out, a stint would not work so they planned on doing a by-pass on the vein. They opened up the other legs for the vein and that vein had an anuerism in it as well! After putting two 'plastic' veins in both legs, his legs are cut from lower calf all the way up to the groin area. Ouch! He is home and resting now...and from what I can understand, is still in a bit of pain...understandably. I would greatly appreciate good vibes and prayers you can send his way!

Secondly, I had my second appointment in St. Louis on Thursday for my little issue. I don't want to get in on the details, but I go back to St. Louis for another appointment on Wednesday. Can you say a prayer for me, m'kay?

Third, microbiology is kicking my butt! I literally studied for 16 hours for this last test and will be happy with a 'C'. (It might be helpful if the study guide for the test might actually be the questions on the test, but I guess people's logic might not think the same about that.)

And last but not least, rugby is back. I am not a good wife during rugby. Especially when all of the above is going on. I miss my husband.

Seriously, I miss him. I have hardly seen him lately. Between class and doctors and hospitals and studying, I feel like we have barely communicated at all this past week.

In a weird and twisted way, I happy happy to know that I miss him. Sometimes you get in to a groove and just stay that way, and not seeing him lately makes me know how much I do love him.

Okay, that is it for now. The girls are calling and their bellies are growling. Lunchtime!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Follow along

Over here...with a new review up!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: The week of September 14

Monday: Sinfully Sweet Cornbread and Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Tuesday: Ham and Beans and leftover cornbread
Lentils Tacos
Thursday: Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Boats and a Caesar Salad

Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Jeremy has a work dinner.
Sunday: Tex-Mex Summer Squash Casserole

For more Menu Plan Monday, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Italian girl at heart

I love pasta...any kind. White sauce, red sauce, cheese sauce. Sauce with seafood, chicken, bacon or just plain. I could eat pasta for every meal.

One of my favorite home cooked meals is lasagna. But because it is such a long process to make, I don't get around to making it very much. (And the store bought kind is not the same.) Whenever I do get the time to make it, I try to make an extra at the same time and stick it in the freezer. I still don't get it often enough.

So, when I saw this, I had to try it. Quick, easy and scrumptious!

I modified it a bit to our taste and the girls and I loved it. Unfortunately, Jeremy was at rugby so it did not get to try it fresh out of the oven, but I have no doubt he will love it also. Plus it has no pasta in it.

That's right...lasagna with no pasta. But, it taste just like the real thing!!

Here we go:

Rice Lasagna (modified from Jane 4 Girls recipe)

2-3 c. cooked rice (I used brown rice)
1 pound of ground beef
1 onion, diced
A big handful of fresh baby spinach, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used an 8 oz. block of cheese and shredded myself and it was enough.)
1 c. Parmesan cheese
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If need be, start to cook your rice. Once cooked, drain of the water and set aside to cool.

2. Heat pan to medium high. Throw in the onion and garlic. After a few minutes, add the ground beef. Once beef is fully cooked, drain the pan to get rid of the grease.

3. Return the beef mixture to the pan. Add the baby spinach. Once it starts to wilt, add the spaghetti sauce and let simmer while you finish the rest.

4. Combine the eggs and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Add the cooked rice. Stir it around until fully mixed.

5. In another bowl, put all the mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, Mix well.

6. Now it where you start to layer...rice mixture, beef and sauce mixture, cheese mixture. Repeat as necessary. I only had two layers of each.

7. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes.

I am telling you, this tasted just like lasagna! It is a kid-friendly recipe also...Macie and I made it in about 15 minutes from start to finish. It looks like it will be freezer friendly also, which means it will be great during busy nights!

Let me know if you try it!

Added: I also linked this post to Girlymama's "comfort food" recipes post. Thanks for hosting Melissa! I will be better prepared next week with a new recipe.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I feel like I am back to baby nights.

Nights without sleep...screaming at random times...a baby lying between us...

Zoa has not slept well the fast few nights. She will randomly scream...not terrified scream, but more like just scared scream. Two nights ago, we were up four times dealing with it. Eventually, we just told her to hop in our bed. We had to sleep.

She doesn't wake up during these episodes and her eyes remain compleelty closed. It is really scary for us, much less thinking about what she is thinking about to scream.

Has your child ever done this? Tips?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


For you Jessie...

is a very unique number...check this out...

Today is 9.9.9.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009.

Wednesday has 9 letters.

September has 9 letters.

It's the 252 day of the year...2 + 5 + 2 = 9.

The average life expectancy for a child born today with Cystic Fibrosis is 36 years...3 + 6 = 9.

Jessie passed away last year on October 6. In 27 days, it will be one year....2 + 7 = 9.

A $9 donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation can make a huge difference in the lives of 30,000 children and adults in the US alone suffer from Cystic Fibrosis.

I would be forever grateful if you could donate $9 each by 9pm tonight (CST) to my Great Strides Account. Every penny goes directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and their search for a cure for CF. Please, if you haven't yet, consider Clicking Here and investing in those who are living for that hope.

(I would like to thank Nate for allowing me to re-post this.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

I saw this Labor Day meme on a new blog I read and wanted to jot it down. Bear with me, I hardly remember anything from Zoa's pregnancy and delivery but I will do my best!

How long were your labors?

Macie: About 14 solid hours.
Zoa: About 12 hours.

How did you know you were in labor?

Macie: I was induced. Boo for the pitocin drip!
Zoa: Induced again...I wanted my dang water to break but it just did not happen on it's own.

Where did you deliver?

The hospital.


Macie: Wanted to wait as long as I could for the big epidural. After staying at 3 cm for hours, I wanted to epidural.

Zoa: I don't remember, but I got the epidural.



Who delivered?

Macie: After Dr. J did not show up after being paged for one hour saying I was at a 10, Dr. P graciously delivered Macie after delivering a patient of his.

Zoa: My doctor, Dr. U.

Play along if you want!

(Image via.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I am over here. Come join me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Family favorite: "Stuff you put over toast"

We had a bbq last weekend and wound up with some leftover baked beans. I am not a big fan of baked beans but love them when I make Stuff You Put Over Toast.

This recipe is so easy, simple and can be eaten over toast or without toast. But then you would just have stuff. :)

{I apologize in advance for no pictures.}

Stuff You Put Over Toast

  • 1 large can of baked beans or pork and beans
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Bug handful of baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 TBSP sugar
  • Salt and pepper
1. In a large pan, add diced onion and green pepper. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain fat.

2. Add in everything else and continue to leave on heat until it is warm throughout.

2. Toast bread.

3. Served over toast.

I like to get me bread extra crispy so it does not become all soggy immediately. But I also hear my brother in law likes his to be soggy, so whatever your preference is will work.

The great thing about this recipe is it's versatility! Don't have enough baked beans? I have used a small can and it is been fine. Only have 1/2 pound of ground beef? Throw it in and it will still be perfect. I have subsituted so many things in this recipe and it still taste the same way.

Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thirty free SwagBucks!

I have told you all about SwagBucks before. It is a simple search engine that randomly gives you SwagBucks, just for your everyday internet searches, which in turn you can cash in and receive gift cards, merchandise or cash. (Today, I actually just cashed in SwagBucks I have earned for $5.00 PayPal cash...I need some some new jeans!)

SwagBucks just released a new toolbar and as a promotion, during the month of September, they will release a SwagCode which will show up as a message on your toolbar. You will get a new code each day and each one is worth 1 buck.

This code is only available through the toolbar.

The point is:

This is a great way time to join and an easy way to gain 30 SwagBucks! In addition to your normal searching, you could easily have enough bucks to get a $5.00 Amazon gift card (45 points), $5.00 PayPal cash (70 Bucks) or another item you see in the SwagStore!


It seems just moments ago I was a senior in high school. At the same time it feels like it was forever ago.

Yesterday. I was driving in my car, alone, thinking when did I get my license? Seriously. How did I get here? Was it not just a few years ago I was playing with babies? And now...now I have babies.

I still can't believe it. I know to some of you it might sound odd but in my life it just happened so fast. Met Jeremy. Became friends. {Finally} started to date. Fell in love. Had babies. Two of them. Got married.

It happened so quickly. But back then, it felt like it took forever.

And now, my girls are growing up. Zoa will start kindergarten next year. Yes, we plan to have more. But these two girls, Macie and Zoa, are my babies. We grew up together. They have done more to my life than anyone will ever know. And not just normal mom stuff, but literally, Macie was with me during some of the darkest times in my life. It's crazy to think how far we have all come.

But, as the saying goes, we are enjoying the ride.

Does anyone else just look at their life and wonder what happened to the time?