Friday, October 29, 2010


So here is what I cooked Tuesday. Recipe can be found here
I used WW rotini instead of linguine. I also decreased the mushrooms (hubby doesn't like them).
For DFL plan- noodle serving is 1 cup females, 1 1/3 cup males
As always, you probably need to increase the seasonings (in my opinion).
I did use chopped chx breast instead of ground or ground turkey. I think this would be great with lean ground beef also.

New blog design

So I decided the previous one was a little too fru-fru. This one feels a tad more streamlined while still being fun.
I found this layout free from The Cutest Blog on the Block. Great site!
I chose the background then a coordinating header (which I painfully tweaked using Microsoft Paint),
and voila! Hope ya'll like!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ring Bling

So call me vain, and maybe that's it, but to me it's just an interest. I love to check out other ladies' wedding ring bling. And since I currently can't think of anything else to blog- I'm gonna upload a pic of my ring and encourage you all to do the same through Mr. Linky. I just discovered this service and this is my first time trying it. So what you do is make a post on your blog of your wedding ring (or favorite ring) and then enter the link at the bottom of this post.

How to:
  1. Write the post on your blog.
  2. In the text of the post, mention the website whose linky thing you are participating in, such as News from the White House
  3. Then, go back to that website to add your link to the Mr. Linky widget. This can be tricky. Type your name in the first line. Then, copy and paste the url of your specific post,not your blog’s url. The post’s url will look longer, like this: You can get it by clicking on the title of your post and your blog should reopen, only displaying that post. In your browser’s navigation bar should be the address of that post. Copy the post address and paste it in the Mr. Linky widget.
  4. Then click enter and you should be good to go.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm back

I feel like 2 weeks is too long to neglect my blog (and hopefully bloggy friends) :)
But, we were preparing to travel, traveling, and catching up on work and life after traveling. Last week was busy busy!
Anyway, we visited Tampa for John's sister's wedding. It was much fun, but unfortunately my camera picked this opportunity to stop charging. So notta lotta pics. Frankly, I hope I looked a lot better in person than I do in the pics others took at the wedding. But I am never wearing my hair like that again! It was a fun time though, with "Vintage Cuban Cocktail Party" as the theme of sorts. I thought the hubs looked dashing.
Here are the pics others took:
This is love- he hates dancing :)

2 cousins on the left, sister/MOH on the right. Excuse the sweaty tubby girl second from the right.                                 Admire the handsome hunk in the middle :)

The new Vargas'

John's momma

Last week was just busy. I had a pretty busy work week and spent each night trying to catch up on unpacking, laundry, ironing, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. I am trying to get more recipes to make as we seem to have fallen into a food rut.  
Did I mention to you how I'd love to be able to have the energy to cook full meals at the end of a workday? Oh, I did? Like several times? Ok...enough about that then ;)
I did make a recipe last week- Tasty Salsa Lime Chicken. It was good. Especially with skillet pan-fried taters Recipe to follow in a later post.

This weekend things did slow down.
Friday afternoon we applied for insurance again through a different company. We found out John has to get labs again, poor guy. The last lady did not get enough blood. I figured she didn't when I was watching her, but I knew John would not be up for a 3rd poke.

Then later I went and saw the house my mom is under contract on. That's right folks, mama is movin' up! She has wanted to be a homeowner for the better part of 10 years now and is very excited about it!
Brand spankin' new construction!

Her kitchen is probably a little bigger than my living room. Jealous!

Dining room leading to back porch

She will hopefully be in by Thanksgiving and host us for the holiday ;)

Saturday we yard-saled on a limited basis. John suggested an "us" day since he was going out for a guys' night that night. "Us day" turned into errand day, but I was ok with that. We were still together. We did go to "Pet Howl-o-ween" at the local Petsmart store. Basically it was just a costume contest. The kids made it to the second round, but lost to a shark and fisherman, 2nd place, and a dog dressed as a pinata, 1st place. It was admittedly a very cute and original costume. Eby and Ernie bore their humiliation pretty well. They weren't really fond of their hats. In my opinion Ernie's costume was a little tight and Eby's was too big, so she kept stepping out of it. Since they'll be wearing these again for the church's Fall Festival I repaired them, re-attaching Ernie's hat strings and cutting the legs off Eby's so she won't trip. Mom and dad will dress up next Sunday too:) Next year we will hopefully come up with some original home-made cool costumes and dominate the contest :)
We could not get them to be still.

Sheriff Ernie

Prisoner Eby. Her face says she feels like she's in lock-up :)

I had a great nap yesterday, cooked a full-fledged dinner, prepped chicken for a meal later this week and made 2 sets of sandwiches to get us through Monday and Tuesday's lunches. I also watched a lot of "Say Yes to the Dress" while ironing and working on eBay.

John moment: So John was not happy to be at Petsmart with "these people," as he called them. Lol. But then- when competition was involved, he said "This is the only thing that makes being here ok." Then he was dissing other dogs under his breath, calling their costumes lame and saying "Don't cheer for them just cause they're little." Lol. When we didn't win we were "robbed". Then he told Ernie he wasn't getting any dinner that night since he didn't win. :) (JK of course)

Next posts with recipes and my review of this Fall's Real Simple mag.

Recipes and Fall tips

Our ladies' group decided to start sharing recipes at our bi-monthly meetings. This is what I'm sharing this week:

Tasty Salsa Lime Chicken

Note: Requires at least 30 min of marinating time- (prepare morning of or night before if possible)


1 cup chunky salsa

2 tbsp Dijon-style mustard

3 tbsp lime juice (fresh recommended)

1 lime, segmented

2 tbsp olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (filet/split to reduce cooking time if desired)

Salt, cumin and garlic powder to taste

Fresh cilantro for topping if desired

1.       In a shallow nonporous dish (casserole dish works well) combine the salsa, mustard and lime juice. Mix well, add chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

2.       Heat large skillet on medium heat with olive oil. Remove chicken from marinade and add to skillet. Season with 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp cumin and 1 tbsp garlic powder. Sauté until browned on all sides. Meanwhile, boil remaining marinade in a saucepan for 4-5 min. (Be careful not to burn! May need to add water to avoid this)

3.       Add boiled marinade to chicken and sauté another 5 minutes or more until chicken juices run clear and marinade starts to glaze. Remove chicken to serving platter and then raise heat in skillet and boil marinade for 1 additional minute. Water may be added to make the glaze the consistency you prefer. Spoon marinade over chicken and top each breast with 1 tbsp fat free sour cream, 1 lime wedge and fresh cilantro if desired.

You can also grill the chicken and cook the marinade separately then spoon over chicken.

This recipe courtesy of the message boards at Diet Free Life

Apple Pork Chop Casserole


1 lb pork loin chops (can use boneless if desired)

Seasoned flour coating (1/2 c flour, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika, cayenne to taste if desired)

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

½ c chopped onions

1 c thinly sliced cored apples, leave peel on

¼ c honey barbeque sauce

3 tbsp minced garlic or 1.5 garlic cloves

1.       Combine flour and spices listed except salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Season chops liberally with salt and pepper. Dredge chops in flour mixture until well coated.

2.       In a large skillet, brown the chops on both sides in olive oil and butter. Add onions, apple slices, BBQ sauce and garlic. Cover and simmer 30 min or until chops are cooked through and tender.

We like to add a can of drained and rinsed green beans to this so our veggies have a sweet BBQ flavor.

This recipe courtesy of subscription based meal planning service we loved! $5 a month people!

5-minute Hummus


1 15oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed

1 clove garlic (or minced garlic)

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste), optional

1 tsp cumin, ¼ tsp paprika, ¾ tsp salt to taste

1.       In a food processor or blender, puree the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and tahini (if using) until smooth and creamy. Add 1-2 tbsp water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

2.       Drizzle with olive oil and top with paprika before serving.

This one is from a blog I subscribe to. She also has a great recipe blog. Show some love to Megan.

Then today I was able to pick through my latest Real Simple magazine.

I confess I've been getting these since before I was married, but rarely looked through them. Today I took the time to, and I must say, there are a lot of helpful hints! Here are just a few things I took from this issue.

1. Use old books as Christmas and gift deco: Tear pages from unwanted books, shape into a cone, secure with 1 piece of tape. Multiples of these in different page sizes would be great to grace a mantle or shelf for some modern holiday flair. Adding a pre-made sticky bow to the top would be so simple to jazz it up even more!

2. Use a box cutter to make a well in a book to hold and disguise a small gift. Wrap book.

3. For giving jewelry, back a poignant page from a book with cardboard and then pierce jewelry through page as a display.

4. Go to to get the inside scoop on black Friday deals before the ads are printed.

5. Want Christmas e-cards that look more like the real deal? Try $10 for 150 e-cards.

6. Add 1 or 2 spoonfuls of pumpkin puree to spice up traditional pancakes.

7. Visit to send a free Share Pack of tissues to a sick friend or family member.

8. a website with the estimated time and cost (with instructions) for over 300 DIY projects and cost of hiring it out. Recommendations to pay or DIY. Written by 2 former NYT columnists.

And a random tip from a Yahoo! article on holiday scams and safety- Do not put your actual home address into your "home" favorite in your GPS. If a thief steals your vehicle, or just your GPS- they'll know exactly where you live. Instead- put a nearby place like a gas station, church or school. I contend that if they steal your actual car- they'll get your address from your registration or some other identifying information in the car. But I guess if they just steal your GPS it could be worthwhile for them not to know where you live too.

I also copied several recipes out of the mag. Once I try them I will share if they're any good! :)

Happy start of the work week, lol!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out of ideas

So I did an internet search about blogging ideas.
Here's one I came across that I think is pretty interesting.

Where You Were When 9/11 Happened:

I do remember this morning. I was a senior in high school. I was almost to school, listening to the radio in my car. I heard it on the radio. When I got to school everyone was abuzz. We rigged up a TV with bunny ears I think. Or cot a really long coax cable or something. Anyway, we watched in on TV some. That's really about all I remember, but I do remember the actual moment, and I doubt I can ever forget it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Update

So this week I do remember what we did Friday night :)
We went to a softball game for our church's co-ed team. We took the pups. The fan turnout was dismal. It really wasn't very fun. But we did discover that Ernie is a giant coward at softball games. Eby has been before, and loves it. This was Ernie's first time, and he kept his face buried in our armpits or laps almost the whole time. We finally forced him down on the ground and he just cowered behind our legs. Somehow the sound of the bat making contact with the ball freaks him out. What a little ninny. :) But, it was kinda cute too. They are so much like little kids sometimes. Only without the back talk and they can be left alone :) Bonus!

Saturday we went YSLing as usual. This week I made out better personally. Two pairs of sandals, 1 pair of wedges and a cute polka-dot skirt. I also got my mom some nice grass green and chocolate brown polka dot napkins, 25 cents each! I don't have pics yet and probably will not before we go out of town. Maybe next week.
I can't remember all we got to re-sale. We did get 2 wire dog crates- the coated kind. These retail for alot, so fingers-crossed! I did get the kids a cute water bowl to keep at grandma's ;) Also scored a Rowenta iron to re-sale, a gun case, some ink cartridges. Other stuff.
Update- the Burberry coat and scarf did well. Coat sold for $61- bought for $15. Should make around $40 after fees. The scarf went for $25 so we should make about $22 after fees. Not too shabby :)

Saturday night I got some mommy shopping time. She's like my Santa Claus :) As usual I came out with 3 bags and she came out with a belt, lol. I got a pair of flats, a pair of brown low-heeled buckled boots that I can't wait to wear with the skinny jeans we got, a new pair of black flats for work since I killed my other pair, a pink polka dot sunglasses case and a short-sleeved embellished black button-less jacket/wrap. I don't know what you call those things. The fabric hangs in the front? I tried on a long-sleeve one and I love how they look from the front but from the side they just make me look like a tent! I love the way they look on skinny girls!
I have to say, from what I saw in the stores, I may not be able to participate in this winter's trends. Huge wraps and "Grandpa" sweaters just do nothing for this body. I can't afford to wear clothes that take away from your shape and still look good. But I do still love tunic sweaters, scarves, boots and hats!

Sunday was church, fabulous lunch at mi mama's (chx pot pie), a nap, and grocery shopping alone again. It was still enjoyable, although I was a little bummed about going alone at first, after I got there I liked it. All our in-between time this weekend was spent cleaning in the house. I can't stand to come home from a trip to a dirty house, already feeling behind again. So, I clean before we go. Once I made up the big list of what needed to be done, I was really grateful for John's help.

Oh, and I had a John moment for the last blog but forgot to post it. I told him I was going to share his maturity with ya'll: Upon exiting the restroom, leaving on the exhaust fan and shutting the door he told me, "That was a stinky poopy hun". Then he proceeded to sing me a jungle about stinky poopy. It went on for a few minutes and as usual, I think it involved some forced dancing from me. The attack dance. The kind you can't get away from. Yes folks, he is over 18, believe it or not ;)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Fail

Wow guys, I really have got to start proof-reading better. I am fixing this post a week late.

So I had been intending for 3 days now to write this post, but hadn't found the time. So I'm eating lunch at my computer and biting the bullet :)

The weather here has been so nice for about a week! Highs in the low 80's and lows in the 50's. This is fall where we live :) So John and I have been spending more time outdoors, just taking a walk or laying on a blanket in the grass :)

But this Saturday even though the weather was great for YSLing, the buys were not. By 10am I had more than lost my YSL mojo, as I told John. We tried out our pastor's neighborhood, which is a private community that only has a yard sale once a year. Well- when we got there at 8 when it opened, there was a line of cars a half-mile long just inching towards the gate. So we decided to hit up some smaller ones in the area. I think all that came of that area was an insulated lunch bag and a few books. Boo. Then we went back to his house where it took us an hour to get in and out of the neighborhood- it was a lot of old people's ugly crap and over-priced stuff. I don't think I bought 1 thing out of the 5 homes we visited. Oh wait, I did buy a combination lock that ended up not working for what I needed it for. There were 80-something homes participating, but it was like an ant farm congested with double-parking and one-way roads. So we hit a few more back in our city and I felt only a tad better. I got Eby a cute jacket and I got 2 tops. But not the spectacular deals like before. John bought some things to re-sale- but that doesn't excite me :)
We did get a Bissell Big Green Machine (carpet shampooer) for $20. We decided to keep it. :)

And to top the bad day off- we brought Mom along. Not that her being there was bad, it was bad that this less-than-fruitful day was her first time yard-saling with us. She is back home for now. We assured her it's not usually like this. I think from now on we'll stick to our own pond- we know the area and where to go ;)

Buuut- the day did get much better! We took the kiddos to a festival in their honor- Barktoberfest. the local humane society uses it as a fund raiser each year. There were all kinds of vendors including dog-related, people-services and food. And a kids area with inflatables. I've never seen so many dogs in one place. Literally hundreds. I saw the biggest Great Dane of my life- he was like up to my chest. Saw lots of cute dogs and cute costumes for them. They were having costume contests. We watched a flyball demonstration- and those dogs were excitttted! They got Eby so hyped-up she was barking and howling! That's unusual for her. She's more of a whiner if she makes any noise at all. Anyway, I had a great time taking the "kids" out with us. There aren't too many dog-friendly places in our area and by city ordinance they are not allowed in public parks. (Exceptions for some events obviously). We are now planning on taking them to Howl-o-ween at Petsmart and meeting up with another co-worker and her dogs.

Other than that the weekend was low-key. Oh- except Friday afternoon John finally went under the needle (just labwork) for his life insurance. Poor guy has not-so-great veins so they had to poke him twice and still only got a tiny amount, but hopefully enough! They took his BP before and it was borderline hypertensive. I had already asked the MA to take it after the lab draw but she took it before just for fun. After the poke it dropped like 20 points! Poor guy was all drained after. Woozie-ish :) He said "I hope it's good cause I'm never doing that again. I only did it for you." Lol. Oh and Friday we also had yummy Greek lunch with mommy and I got some toner put on my hair (it's lightened quite a bit). And we had church and John got to sit with me some. This is really a treat for me- you just don't know. He is ALWAYS up on the stage or back in the TV room.

Sunday afternoon I enjoyed a very leisurely therapeutic stroll through Wal-Mart, grocery shopping alone. I really did enjoy it :)

This work-week is almost at a close! Yay. Next week I only work til Wednesday and then we leave for a much-anticipated trip to Tampa for John's oldest sister's wedding. It's retro themed and I've got a pillbox hat and some wrist gloves to wear! So excited! And excited to get away! Can't wait to show you pics after!

Notice the dog bed on the right. and the spoiled dog sleeping on our decorative pillows on the left :)
Eby's face cracks me up in this one!

She was sacked after all the excitement of Barktoberfest!

Sweet Ernie napping with me after Barktoberfest

Her $0.25 YSL coat

After all the cute costumes at the event I had to buy them something :)

The fam at Barktoberfest. Ernie loves dad ;)
John and his "Ernie" face