Stuffed Shells

Planning meals means we have been having some GOOD food. We are thinking about our freezer inventory, our pantry inventory and planning meals on what we have (no shopping this week) instead of what we can buy.  We grocery shop this weekend, so then we will be able to plan our meals on what we have/what is on sale.

Last night we had stuffed shells and ohmygawd they were so good. I had to fight to save two for my lunch today! They were easy and something we will be making again for sure.

I got my recipe from three different cookbooks and sort of blended them together.

At least 12 Jumbo shells, we did 15
Tomato sauce (we used homemade sauce, because Hubs is a rockstar)
Hamburger and/or Sausage
Shredded mozzarella Cheese (about 1 cup)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1/4 cup) You could use Ricotta, we just don’t like it
1 Egg

Pre-heat oven to 375
Grease the bottom of a 9×13 pan
Cook shells per directions, run under cold water and set aside.
Brown the meat, drain and add the sauce to meat bringing to heated temp.
Mix the cheese and egg into a bowl, leaving a little to sprinkle on top.
Put a layer of sauce/meat mixture on the bottom of the pan.
Using a regular spoon, insert about a scoop and a half into each shell.
Lay open side down in the pan.
Once all shells are filled, cover with the remaining sauce/meat mixture
Sprinkle with a little cheese, you don’t need a bunch
Bake for 25-30 minutes, let sit for about 5 minutes after and serve!

This is one the best dishes we have made, and they were so filling! It is also something you can do without meat if you are going for a meat-free night.

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Crest and Oral-B Team Up with Jeannie Garth – Giveaway

Many times I have come here to talk about oral health and how important it is to my family. Between family history and the environment we live in oral health is so important for everyone, but especially our kids.

I know that in our house, with Boo being home for the summer that her teeth brushing and flossing has gone to the back-burner. I am not here in the mornings to make sure she does it right the first time, and that is not going to last any longer.

Jennie Garth, Crest and Oral-B are teaming up to inspire children and their families to “brush up” on their oral hygiene habits as school gears up. Jennie Garth says, “Sometimes it’s more difficult to keep routines in place during the summer. The back-to-school season is a great time to build a schedule that works for the whole family and to identify the right tools to ensure we take the best care of ourselves.”. This is so true for many of us.

Crest and Oral-B have made it so easy to get yourselves into the schedule and routine as the new school years begins. With the Pro-Health FOR ME for the tweens (age 8 and up) and the Oral-B Stages (4 months to 7 years of age) there is a wide variety of products available for your child, with their favorite characters. The Pro-Health FOR ME line just launched an electronic toothbrush,(seen below with Jennie and her daughter Lola) it even works for kids with braces.

“The most important part of oral care happens at home. Proper brushing and flossing habits, along with regular dental checkups, can help children establish positive lifestyle habits, while also preventing decay and gum disease.” advises Dr. Jennifer Salzer, a dentist, orthodontist and mother of four. “Using products such as Crest and Oral-B can give parents a peace of mind that their children are receiving excellent oral care – while knowing that these are products children will want to use.”

I remember a time when Boo would ONLY use a tooth brush that had a Princess on it, and Oral-B Stages has many that fit that bill. Whether your child likes Pooh, Princesses or even Jake and the Neverland Pirates, there is something for every child.

What can you do to set your child up for success with their oral health?

Want to win a set of either Oral-B Stages or Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME products for  your child? Leave me a comment below on your favorite part of back to school.

Connect with Oral-B or Crest on Twitter or Facebook:

Giveaway closes Friday August 24th.

The above content includes only my thoughts and opinions. I did not receive products for this review, I just believe very strongly in what Crest and Oral-B stand for and do.

Posted in giveaways, reviews | 3 Comments

Pizza Burgers – Recipe

Pizza Burgers are a flash back food around here, school lunches of my youth. They go hand  in hand with Italian Dunkers for Hubs.

We had Pizza Burgers last night for the football game (so glad football is back!). We always try to do something fun for games, and if all else fails we do Hubs Chili.

When I was working on next week meal planning, I found ground sausage in the freezer, and since last night was not a planned meal night (lots of reasons) we decided to use it and the other ingredients we already had to make some yummy Pizza Burgers.

Here is the recipe that we use:

1 lbs hamburger
1 lbs ground sausage
I jar tomato sauce or pizza sauce (I used spaghetti sauce, adds more flavors)
mozzarella cheese – as much as you want
1/4 finely chopped onion
2 gloves garlic
salt and pepper
8 Hamburger buns split (16 halves)

Preheat oven to 350

Cook hamburger and sausage in the same pan, yummy! Add onion and garlic to cook it down some.

After draining the meat, add about half the jar of sauce. Stir in some cheese, you want it to be a gooey mess really. Add as much additional sauce as you want. I had ours be a bit runny to start and added more cheese at the end. Having the juice soak into the meat is key for my kids.

Scoop about 1/4-1/3 cup of the mixture onto one half of a bun. I can fit about 8 halves (4 buns) onto a cookie sheet.

Place both cookie sheets into the oven for about 20 minutes. If using to different shelves/racks rotate about half way through.

Once out of the oven, sprinkle with more mozzarella cheese and let sit for a minute or so.


These are great for freezing too, easy dinners when you are busy. Freeze the burgers on a cookie sheet until almost frozen, wrap in foil individually and put in a freezer bag/container. When you want to reheat, defrost about half way and put in a 350 oven for another 20 minutes still wrapped in foil.

You can also add some yummy peppers or flavor them anyway you could possibly want. My kids LOVE them, even Leo.

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My new favorite thing

Part of taking better care of our budget, is to plan.

We are working to plan our meals, our days and our weekends ahead of time. So many times we are rushing for last minute plans, instead of taking the 5 minutes to plan ahead so we are prepared and not feeling rushed.

With out meals, oh man. Just looking at this past week I can see so many areas for improvements. We decided to make salsa, but had to get cilantro and lime instead of just waiting or making it without. It wasn’t well thought out at all.

So, last week I was at the thrift store and they had a bunch of school supplies on sale. I was walking around just looking, wasn’t what I was there for, and saw this.

It is a Stick-On Dry Erase Weekly Planner. It is made by The Board Dudes, sold mainly at Wal-MArt and on Amazon, but someone had donated it at the thrift store. I snatched that up so quickly I think the lady next to me had a moment of panic. I may have squealed, but will neither confirm or deny. (note: mine is a cling, doesn’t have a cork part but I can’t find a picture of it. I know they carry them at Wal-Mart though)

We, well I, have tried printing out paper versions of weekly planners to plan our menus for years, but it never holds. I always lose them, rip them or just give up because it is pain. This one, people it sticks to my fridge! It is there right now with this weeks menu AND this weeks activities listed on it ready to go. The menu has been planned, and I am so excited. It takes a weight off my shoulders at the end of the day. I no longer have to rush home trying to figure out what to feed the family if Hubs hasn’t already.

Now, the goal to is keep it up. Keeping planning even as life gets chaotic as it will in the coming weeks with back to school. Our other goal is to start making things more home-made. We did that a lot this weekend, and it was wonderful. If we can keep that up just think of how we could save $$! See…it all comes back full circle!

*This is not a review, really. I found this product and fell in love with it and had to share. All opinions are my own

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Perfectionisim is my enemy

We always forget how different and individual each of our children are, how we must change our parenting style with each child.

I have one that needs constant reminders, constant “staying on top off”. He is unbelievably smart, but needs that push to follow through.

Right now, Leo is all boy. He wants rough housing, very few snuggles and the freedom to explore. With some limitations of course. “No Leo, you can’t play in the dogs bowl” comes out of my mouth more times than you can count. He wants to be in everything all the time.

With Boo…it is a gentle touch we have to take with every moment. She is sensitive, so free and fierce with her love and loyalty, but so protective and hurt and someone breaks that loyalty.

With her gentle touch comes her massive levels of perfectionism. Her goals to be the best in everything have caused more than one melt down, more than one night of tears over frustrating work, a game or just not being able to do what she thinks is the correct way because she hasn’t figured it out.

We saw her perfectionism even more so this summer in softball. She was one of the starting pitchers, the first year that this had happened. She has worked so hard to be the best pitcher she can be, to throw the best strikes and the most of them. But when it went wrong…she took it hard. There were many times she would come off the field with tears in her eyes, or even rolling down her face. That was rough.

We learned some tricks for dealing with this side of her long ago, and while it is a constant work in progress, I wanted to share a few of the tricks we learned that can help her and maybe your child.

1- When she gets (another) 100% on her tests/report card we work hard to say “You worked so hard to learn this stuff! Great job!” instead of saying “Another A+! Way to go!”. We want her to see the hard work is the important part, not just the grade that comes with it.

2 – We let her make mistakes, as many as we can. She has to learn to work out through the frustration and anger. We no longer rush to help her figure out a math problem, video game or reading question. We push her to work through them, to slow down and think about it from the beginning. It has worked really well with her, she get the problem figured out 90% of the time.

3 – When Boo started softball, we made sure she understood that she was just starting, she was not going to be the best right away. It took time, practice and patience to become a better player. Having started as the player that couldn’t even field a ball, to one that is a leader on the team was something that took a lot of work. She was so proud when she caught her first pop-fly, hit her first double and threw her first change-up. She isn’t afraid to work, but with that we have to set limitations (see 4)

4 – Setting a time limit/pitch count limit on the amount of time that she is allowed to work on something can help. Some days she will sit at the table working on math problems (even in the summer) for hours. One week she went through an entire workbook, all 200 pages of it. She loves to figure things out, but if she is free to just sit and work on things like this it can backfire when it really counts at school.

5- Most importantly, we are there for her. We listen when she is frustrated, mad and sad. We allow her to feel however she is at that moment, and then work through it. Sometimes all it takes is reassurance that it is okay to have bad day and rough homework. She can be frustrated she didn’t Ace a test, as long as we help her get to the fact that it is okay she didn’t.

We have learned a lot over the years we have been parents. The best lesson being how to parent and love each child as they need. Watching them each grow is such a blessing, and a stressful as you very well know. But learning as we go along, and sharing the lessons we learn has been my favorite part.

Posted in being a mom, Boo, Life, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

I miss her

My girl is at camp this week…I miss her. This is her first away from home, not a family member camp. She was giddy, and practically shoved me out the door when we dropped her off. She will ride horses, swim, have campfires and learn songs that will drive me crazy for weeks.

I know she is fine, I don’t worry about her. She was MORE then ready for this.

But me…not so much. I keep thinking of her as my baby girl. She is my punkin, my partner in crime.

Circa 2003

I am having a hard time letting her grow up. Letting go of the everyday decisions that she is more than capable of making on her own. She is finding her own way, with sports, school and friends. She is smart, too smart. I often joke that she is a Pod Person, but we are so very proud of her.

She loves to add color/feathers to her hair, but hates to “do” her hair because it makes her feel too “girly”. She wants to straighten her hair, but for the same reason doesn’t. She likes comfy clothes, past the phase of wearing skirts from a couple years ago. Sweats, hoodies and t-shirts are her new favorite.

I know that in the days/weeks/months/YEARS to come we will butt heads, break each others hearts and make up over and over again, but can I just take today to remember the little girl from above. The one that wouldn’t even think of being apart from me, that loved so fiercely it was overwhelming.

Tomorrow I will go back to the almost 11 year old that fights, loves and works with such desire. Such drive. Her love is fierce, just like her.

Man I really miss her.

Posted in Boo, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The picture is to make you smile, it always makes me.

Being a grown up sucks.

I said it, we know we all think it.

Hubs and I just spent some time reworking our budget, struggling to find the balance to live life and be stuck with so little right now. We are fighting to get ahead, and it will happen, just going to take some time.

But, with each of the struggles comes reward. That is something I have to keep reminding myself. We have to struggle to come ahead, have to fight to keep what we have worked hard for and to.

We are using a website to plot our expenses, set our new budget and see how we spend our money. We want to see each penny, see each dollar and where it goes every time we spend it. It will be a harsh reality as the days go, but a reality we need to face and change.

We want to show our kids how to work hard, plan and strive for rewards. Things in life don’t come for free, things are not just handed to you on a platter. Hard work pays off, hard work stinks but it pays off. In a few months we will be in such a better place for our family, while celebrating making our goal.

Now to figure out how to celebrate while staying within our budget 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments