Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday's Weekly Wecipe

I've been told I look a bit like Rachel Ray. For a while there, every time I would change my hairstyle she would change hers to the same cut. Coincidence? I own a couple of her cookbooks and have most 30-Minute Meals down to about 55 minutes. 

That is where I got this week's recipe: Southwestern Pasta Bake. As you can probably tell, I have an issue with pasta. I love it more than I should. The other day blogger, Danielle told me that doctors recommend that women over 40 cut out pasta, potatoes & rice. I said, "That means I only have 7.5 pasta-eating-years left!" 

I swapped out the chicken in this recipe for ground beef. We are having chicken later in the week and it's just too darn expensive to buy for multiple nights. I also left out the coriander. 

Yes, that is oil splattered on the page. I'm a messy cook.

It was pretty tasty, but I didn't add enough salt. It's not healthy. Not one bit. 

Large Man Says: 6 out of 10. He observed that it is like fancy Hamburger Helper. I made it a point to add that it lacks the gallons salt and other crazy preservatives. 
Fire Extinguisher Readiness (difficulty level): 4 out of 10. The only thing that made this slightly tricky is that it involved some multitasking as it got down to the end. 

Monday, October 29, 2012


Wow. Just wow.

God love 'er.

Between June 2011 and March 2012, Alicia Richman of Granbury, Tex., has been declared the new Guinness World Record holder for "Most Breast Milk Donated." The 28-year-old mother of one donated 11,115 ounces -- or 694 pounds -- of breast milk to charity, about 87 gallons total. (And, in doing so, she provided liquid food for critically ill and premature infants.)

Alicia found she was producing more milk than her baby required and contacted Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) and began donating on 9 June 2011. Alicia's milk would be pumped, stored and later pasteurised to feed premature infants in the local Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If you can dream it, you can do it!

Liam, in awe of Tigger & Poo
 Those immortal words of the late, great Walt Disney are true aren't they? Unless "it" is taking your family of 5 to Disney World and then, you can only do it if you take out a small loan. My husband and I don't buy many gifts for each other, but we do splurge and get seasonal passes to Disney. It's a nice getaway. We will even hop over to the park for an afternoon and grab dinner. We just renewed our passes last weekend and I was so proud of myself for renewing on time because we saved $30 per pass! Pretty savvy of me, huh? Until I was given the total and the man explained that the price of the passes went up and the "savings" actually just covered the increase. Ugh. Still a savings, but not the price I was expecting to pay.

Mom Squad Blogger, Danielle just sent me a link to this site that at first got me very excited and then I realized the title is misleading. It's A coupon to Disney?! Awesome! Wait. It says, "Couponing" not "Coupon." Upon further exploration, I still see the value in this site. Like Mom Squad blogger Kati's "other" site,, it lists tons of money saving tips and coupons. And the gist is that all your scrimping and saving is to reach the end goal of forking over the cash for the Disney tickets. Keep in mind- you shouldn't buy things you normally wouldn't just to "save" money. The best way to save is to not spend!

I like the idea behind this site because it's always easier to stick to a discipline if you have a goal set. Maybe you're saying, "Abby, I coupon with the goal to pay my electric bill!" I understand!

Check out the site when you have a sec. She even has a section where you can see how she builds her Disney fund. I thought this entry was interesting: $20 deposit: I offered 2 friends a ride and they gave me gas money. I told them I would put it in the fund since I was driving there anyways. And then there was this one: $43.99 deposit– Cancelled our gym membership through the holidays. There is no way we can find the time to go for the next 3 months. Hubby works retail and we are moving next month, so there is no time! We decided to cancel it so we can rejoin with a better deal.

Fresh, new ideas about saving money, for whatever goal you have in mind.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Next Mom Squad Event!

Moms are the heart of the family. They patch up boo-boos, dry tears from a broken heart and cheer the loudest at the game. What would a family be without mom?

The scary truth is, many families are being robbed of their moms because of a lack of knowledge. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in our country, more than any kind of cancer. Yet, when we picture a heart attack victim, one rarely sees a woman. Because of this, women not only ignore the symptoms of heart disease, we don't even know the symptoms!

Let's work (and walk) together to help raise awareness about heart disease and keep more moms around to see their families grow up. The American Heart Association's Heart Walk is Saturday, November 10th at Raymond James Stadium. It's a 3-mile walk and you can bring the whole family (my husband is coming)! It's free to participate, but we would love to raise $1500 as a team. If you raise $100 you get the official Heart Walk t-shirt. Join the team by clicking here (even if you just want to come out and walk and not raise money. We just want to know who's coming!).

If you can't come but want to support the Spirit FM Mom Squad Team you can also give here.

On a personal note, earlier this year my mother-in-law who is 60, three inches taller than me and probably 10 pounds lighter than me had a series of heart attacks. She came over one day complaining of pain in her abdomen. We figured gall bladder. Two nights later she texted saying she drove herself to the ER. She rattled off her symptoms and they immediately sent in a cardiologist. She had something like 95% blockage in one artery, had a stent put in and is now in physical therapy. Oh, and did I mention she's an avid walker? Miles a day! It doesn't make sense, but that's the way heart disease works. So read up on the symptoms and make yourself a priority so your family can have you around for many years to come.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wednesday's Not-Quite-Weekly Wecipe

 I know! It's Thursday. I tried to get on here last night and I was rejected. I've been turned away by better blogs!

Today's recipe is the one that will cause you to raise your fist in anger towards me. It's so good. And so bad. Have you made Monkey Bread before? It's so easy I have the recipe memorized.

2 cans Pillsbury Grands - homestyle
1/2 c white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (I used pumpkin pie spice too)
handful of raisins (optional - I didn't use them)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 c butter, melted

Cut the biscuits into quarters. Fill a large bag with the white sugar and spices of your choice. Shake the biscuit bites in the sugar. I did about a quarter of the batch at a time or else they don't get adequate sugar coverage and we can't have that now can we?! Place the biscuit pieces in a bunt cake/angel food pan randomly, but even in height around the entire circle. If you choose to toss in raisins, drop them in randomly as you place the biscuit pieces down.

Combine the melted butter & brown sugar. Grab a straw and drink it. Just kidding. You'll be tempted! Pour it over the biscuits.

Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes. When you take it out, flip it on the a large platter with a lip because the melted brown sugary goodness will pour down and form a glorious pool of love around the edge. Mmm... It's best eaten right away, but I've kept it over night and eaten it the next day and as my bad-grammar-using alter ego likes to say, "There ain't nothin' wrong with that!"

This is a great treat for the morning after a sleepover. When the kids wake up they can tear at this Monkey Bread, have a nice sugar high and then crash!

Large Man says: 10 out of 10
Fire Extinguisher Readiness Scale: 1 - easy peasy!
Calories: Don't ask.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Blog: Taking Notes

Today's Guest Blog is from Karen!

Although my children are now 18 and 21, I wanted to share one thing I enjoyed doing when they were young that made wonderful memories for our whole family.

When both of my children were just beginning to talk, I would jot down a quick note of what new "cute thing" they said during the week. It might just be a word or a phrase that would remind me of the incident. After I had several "memory joggers" written down, I would take l5 minutes or a half hour while they were napping or playing, and expound upon the topic in a journal every few weeks.  One page turned into another, and eventually I had a fairly thick record of their childhood mispronunciations, unique way of looking at the world, and experiences we had had as a family.

We all think we'll never forget what our child did when his baby sister was born, or what she said when she lost her first tooth, but we do forget.  As the children entered the teen years the entries were fewer and farther between.  It was then that we would sit down periodically and read random entries out loud. Each of the kids enjoyed hearing about their antics growing up, and even now occasionally refer to "time my brother said..." or "remember when..." 

While baby books are nice to record how tall a child is growing, we've found it much more satisfying to record the emotional, social and spiritual development that occurs day by day in a family.  These notebooks have become some of my most treasured possessions, and a tangible expression of my love for my children.  It's also "proof positive" to teenagers of the time and effort you put into raising them each day and how much you value them as individuals, both then and now.  Try's one way not to lose your memory as you grow older!!

My name is Karen Eberts. I have been married to "Dan the Blood Man" of Florida Blood Services for almost 24 years, and we have two children. Kristen is 2l, and Tim is l8.  We attend St. Matthew Catholic Church in Largo.  My favorite Scripture has changed over the years, but currently is Romans 8:28:  "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."

If you'd like to submit a guest blog, email me, Keep it under 500 words please!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Unplanned and Unexpected (and a giveaway!)

October is Respect Life Month. It's a time where we give a special focus to the sanctity of life at all ages - from the pre-born to the elderly and also the disabled and those with special needs. This past Saturday night I had the pleasure of MC'ing (I don't think that's a word) the Foundations of Life Gala to benefit the Foundations of Life Pregnancy Centers, ministries of Catholic Charities.

Like many of our local pregnancy centers, the FOL centers are a beacon of hope to so many families in our area. This year they administered 424 pregnancy tests, gave 312 ultrasounds and handed out over 32,000 diapers plus wipes. And it wouldn't have happened without the help of over 2,300 hours of volunteer work. If you are interested in giving your time or donations, click on the link above.

The testimonial given on Saturday was unbelievable. I'll sum it up quickly although it's no short story. The young woman was married at 17 and became pregnant shortly thereafter. At an early appointment she was told she was having twins. The following appointment, triplets. The following appointment, quads. She said what I was thinking, "My husband said, we're not coming back for another appointment!". One of the four babies died and they were advised to terminate the pregnancy because there were signs that there would be problems with the other three. She was told she could take five minutes to talk it over with her husband. Five minutes.

Abortion wasn't an option. They headed to church to pray for strength. She said, "God, if it's your will that I have three disabled children, then it is your will." WOW. She (now 19) and her husband now have healthy, happy 15-month-old identical triplet boys. Sadly, a few months ago she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which from the sounds of it, the doctors wouldn't have found if not for treatment related to the pregnancy. So on some days when she would get her chemo treatment her husband would have to take off work. They struggled to pay their bills and sometimes didn't have money for wipes, diapers or food, so they looked to Catholic Charities for help. She said the highlight of her month is to go to her appointment at FOL and her counselor there calls her a hero. I agree.

In celebration of Respect Life Month, I have a special giveaway. Maybe you need some encouragement and a reminder that motherhood is a gift, children are a blessing and marriage is a sacrament, then the book, The Life I Dreamed by Kari Burke is perfect for you. You know the drill. Leave a comment to enter to win!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Our Mom Squad Bloggers & YOU!

Hi Moms! Have you checked out Julie's blog lately? She reminds us that there is an opportunity to grow in holiness through even the most monotonous of tasks. Thanks for the encouragement, Julie! I'll bring my laundry over to your house next week!

Is your child a cuddler? My son has just started to put his head on me and suck his thumb (for like 3.2 seconds), but until this point, he hasn't ever stopped for long enough to do anything that could be called cuddling. In her latest blog, Jennifer reflects on her son's recent tummy ache which led to a day of snuggling. God used that to talk to her about how much he wants to cuddle with us!

Have you ever gone overboard on a birthday party? For her daughter's recent festivities, Danielle says, "We stopped short at giving everyone a My Little Pony and a Disney cruise!" How do I get an invitation next year, Danielle? She didn't go that far, but makes a good point with the question, "We just get caught up in this continuous  flow of nonstop birthday parties, Pinterest, and TLC design shows--who has the will power to resist?!"

Are you interested in writing a guest entry for the Mom Squad Blog? Email your entry to me at Has God revealed himself to you in some way through your children? Do you have a great tip to share? The sky is the limit! Remember, keep it light, fun and inspiring! Oh, and 500 words or less please!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I'm So Glad You're Mine

As a parent, sometimes you might get fatigued when it comes to discipline. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it's easier to just give in. The Bible doesn't tell us how to react when Mary cuts her hair or when Billy breaks the lamp after being told to not kick the ball in the house, but it does give us words of encouragement and strength.

We can also strengthen our children with our words of encouragement. How often do you compliment your children? For my son, since laying still on the changing table is a big accomplishment, I feel like I'm constantly complimenting him, but as kids get older and start misbehaving, I think we fall into the habit of doing more ridiculing than praising. iMom has great ideas on how to compliment our children more. These are also things they NEED to hear. My favorite: “Every time I see you, I’m thankful that I’m your Mom.” There is nothing your son or daughter can do to gain or lose their status as your child. In a society where they are told both verbally and non-verbally that they aren't attractive, smart or cool enough, it's a good reassurance that they are special just because they ARE.