Saturday, April 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 4/27/09

Well the menu plan worked really well this week! I had to switch things around to different days a few times but that is the beauty of it! I had the flexibility to do it and we didn't spend any days wondering if we had something to eat! This week I posted a pretty ambitious plan with completely new recipes so we'll have to see if some things have to be post poned due to a large amount of leftovers.

Our favorite recipe from last was the King Ranch Chicken Casserole. I've been looking for a good recipe for this for a while now and this is great!

I found almost all of the following recipes using the links on

Monday-Turkey/Beef & Biscuit Bake (I will be using turkey for this recipe.)
Tuesday-Baked Teriyaki Chicken (My final project for grad school is due today so we'll see if I get it finished or else cereal for dinner it is.)
Wednesday-Cheeseburger Soup
Thursday-Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast
Friday-Apple Cinnamon Ricotta Pancakes (Kevin requested pancakes for dinner sometime this week so we're trying out a new kind!)

A Ragdoll in La

I have two great pieces of news to share!!! I'm extremely excited about both but...I'm going to start with the one that has pictures!!!

On July 25th, 2009 at 8:00 pm I will be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with floor seats at an AEROSMITH and ZZ TOP concert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE Aerosmith!!!!! I mean love, love, looooovvvvveeee Aerosmith! I have always wanted to see them in concert but never been able to. Between school and work I've always been busy. Kevin promised me a long, long time ago that if they ever performed in Vegas that we would go. Well my mom got an email on Friday announcing the concert and emailed it to me because my entire family knows how much I've always wanted to go. Kevin and I bought tickets the moment the presale opened up. We will be on the floor right in front of the stage!!!

We already booked our flights and hotel. We will be staying at the Monte Carlo. I wanted to stay really close by so we wouldn't have to pay for taxis. That gets WAY expensive!

I also love ZZ Top. A trait I picked up from my parents! I LOVE the tv show called Bones that has David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top guest stars as Angela's father on that show and those are some of the best episodes!!!

I always say that I have a wide variety of music that I like. I love classic rock, modern rock, pop, rap, jazz, country...the list just goes on and on. I could be listening to Michael Buble one second and then Mims the next. Some of my favorites though are classic rock songs that I grew up listening to with my parents. Scheduling actually worked out great because I have to be at my business conference in Houston right after so we will drive to Houston, fly to Vegas, spend 4 days, fly back to Houston and be there for 4 more days for the conference!

Speaking of also worked out perfectly because I will be teaching Kids Kollege and Adult computer classes for Angelo State this summer! I will be teaching Kids Kollege courses from 1-5:15 for three weeks in June and the adult courses from 9-noon on Mondays and Wednesdays from June 15-July 20th. I've been really praying about a way to make money this summer. Since I'm hourly and there isn't school in the summer...I wouldn't be bringing home a paycheck. I barely make anything!!! I mean really nothing...barely even pays my health insurance each month but it does help. I should actually be making a little more than I do right now and it will be really fun! They also want me to think about teaching adult continuing education computer classes at nights all year long. This should be great experience and a great addition to my resume. I'm completing my masters so that I will have the opportunity to teach at the college level someday so this will be a great advantage. I will still have a lot of time off and be able to make some good money. Our trip and my conference will be right after it ends and then I will have several more weeks off before summer ends and I will hopefully begin a FULL TIME job somewhere.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 4/20/09

I have been menu planning for a while but am just now getting up the nerve to link to orgjunkie's blog. Menu planning as really made my life much easier!

Monday-Parmesan Crusted Porkchops (This didn't get made last week. We substituted Swiss Stuffing Chicken instead!)
Tuesday-Pizza or some other kind of take out. (I have 4 huge assignments due for grad school this day!)
Wednesday-Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken
Friday-King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Last week we ended up loving every meal! I didn't think the alfredo sauce turned out very well but my husband and brother loved it! The tater tot casserole was good but needed more turkey. I would probably include 2 lbs turkey for each casserole dish. Overall favorite was the Swiss stuffing chicken I substituted. It was wondeful! I'm going to make several pans to freeze.

Helen Devitt-Jones

Helen Devitt-Jones...who is this lady? I honestly do not have a clue but nonetheless I love her.


Because I was recently notified that I received a Helen Devitt-Jones Part time graduate scholarship to Texas Tech University!

It isn't much, only $400 a semester for Summer 2009, Fall 2009, and Spring 2010. I'm so happy to receive something! Now I'm not ungrateful, I just say it isn't much because my 1 graduate class I'm taking this semester cost over $700. Kevin's 4 undergraduate courses he is taking cost about $900. It is a part time scholarship so I will be able to take only the 6 hours a semester I had planned. I'm hoping to find a full time job next year so 6 hours would really be the max I could take.

I do not want to leave my current job because I'm enjoying it so much but I realize that for this time in our lives...I need something full time with benefits. I got teary eyed the other day thinking about not seeing my kids next year but hopefully I'll get to stop by everyonce in a while. Last week my principal asked me if I would be back next year and I was honest with him. I told him that I needed to look for something full time but if I didn't find anything I would definately come back again next year. I also told him to keep me in mind if he has a full time position that opens up. It would be a regular classroom teacher job instead of business/technology but if that is what I find...then that is where God wants me.

I've been doing a lot of assignments for my grad class. Several are due on next Tuesday so once again...I should be doing homework. My final project is due on April 28th so I'll have a little break after that! I've been working a lot on my degree audit and planning my future classes. At this point, going only part time, I could graduate in December 2010 or May 2011. I've also been working on Kevin's and Justin's degree audits. Kevin should graduate with his Associates in August 2010 and Justin should graduate around the same time as me, August or December 2010. Kevin will start at Angelo State right away and should graduate with his Bachelors in August 2012. The next three years are going to be a little stressful but I'm very proud of him for going to school. He is doing a wonderful job just like I always knew he would!

Just a quick update on my Dad: He went back to Houston last week and they said things are looking good. They wanted to make sure though so he had to have another CAT scan. The doctor should call with those results on Monday. He is as ornery as ever and we are so thankful he is feeling better. I have done TONS of research on the internet about Blunt Laryngeal Trauma and we are so lucky he is alive. Almost every article I read stated that treatment for his kind of fracture is very minimal and not well known because most people die from the injury. I've had a little bit of a tough time realizing how close we were to losing him but I know God saved him for a reason and I'm so thankful. Thank you for your prayers.

I have approximately 13 teaching days left at Trinity. There will be several Fridays that are early dismissals where they won't have computers. Well back to my homework now...I've stalled enough.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The inevitable question...

You know the inevitable question...the one that people are always going to ask as soon as they get any piece of information. It isn't really one question. It could be any of a number of questions but they are always asked as soon as we divulge information. I know this is vague and ambiguous so I'll give examples...

I'm pregnant...when are you due?
I'm a war veteran/policeman...have you killed people?
I'm from Texas...Do you have horses?
I'm getting married...when is the big day?

There are always inevitable questions. When I tell people that I teach computers to 3 year olds and 4 year olds and kindergarteners through 8th graders there is always the inevitable question...What can you teach a 3 year old or 4 year old to do on a computer??? When I explain that they actually can do quite a bit on computers people just can't believe it. We underestimate the abilities of our children so much! Almost to the extent that we hold them back instead of encouraging some of the amazingly creative things they can do. So when I saw this commercial awhile back I was thrilled! Maybe this will open the eyes of America that our kiddos can do great things not just even at a young age but maybe even better at a young age.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Recipes!

I also wanted to include a few recipes from our previous meal plans that I didn't get posted.

Ritz Chicken Casserole
(This is a family favorite that my mom has made for years. There are many pictures of me eating this in my high chair! I was so suprised when I found almost the exact recipe on Kelly's Korner Recipe blog. The only difference is she adds poppyseeds and we always added frozen peas and carrots. She also had one of my favorite recipes, Chicken Georgia, posted. This girl and I have very similar tastes!)

Shepard's Pie
This is from the blog of the happy housewife! I've been looking for a good recipe for this and we loved it! I ended up using 2 cans of cream of potato soup. I also need to season the meat with more salt and pepper next time but it was great!

2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
Garlic powder
1 can cream of potato soup
1 small bag frozen corn
Mashed potatoes (enough to cover a 9 x 13 pan)
Grated Cheese (cheddar or colby jack your choice)
Brown turkey on stove top, add onions during the last 3 minutes of cooking, I also season with some garlic powder. Mix turkey and onions with the cream soup. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick, then spread the turkey mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then layer the corn on top of the turkey, finally spread the mashed potatoes on top of the corn. Bake covered for about 25 minutes @ 350 degrees. During the last 5 minutes of cooking uncover the casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Mexican Cornbread
This is just a recreation of my Gran Gran's recipe. I was 15 when she passed and there are so many things I wish I would said to her or done with her. I really regret not learning recipes for so many of the things she cooked! I basically took what I remembered and created my own recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown 1 lb lean ground beef.
Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to the ground beef following the directions on packet. Make sure you allow the taco seasoning to thicken for a few minutes. (I prefer Taco Bell Taco Seasoning. I really dislike McCormick Taco seasoning but I don't know why! I like other McCormick items!)
Mix in about 8 oz of salsa to the ground beef. I always get the mild chunky version because I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy things.
Drain 1 can of corn and 1 can of black beans then add to beef mixture.
Press beef mixture into a 9 x 13 pan.
Cover mixture by sprinkling generously with shredded cheddar cheese. (I've honestly never measured this but for me...the more cheese the better.)
Prepare 1 packet of corn bread mix according to the directions on packet. (These packets are so cheap at the store that I couldn't make it from scratch any cheaper. My family likes their cornbread a little sweet so I add about 1/4 cup sugar to the mix.)
Pour corn bread batter over meat/cheese mixture so that is is completely covered.
Sprinkle batter with more shredded cheddar cheese! lol
Bake in 350 degree over for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of your cornbread clean. I always serve this with a dollop of sour cream on top! Yum!

Menu Plan Monday 4/13/09

Monday-Easter Dinner Leftovers YUM!
Tuesday-Chicken Alfredo Penne Pasta (I'm going to grill strips of chicken and boil the pasta and make an alfredo sauce that was mentioned here! We'll see how this goes!)
Wednesday-Duggar Family Tater Tot Casserole (I copied the recipe from their website and placed it below. I believe I will be cutting this recipe in half. LOL)
Thursday-Chicken Stroganoff (I actually bought the red wine to use in this recipe. I have NEVER cooked with alcohol before so we'll see how this goes.)
Friday-Parmesan Crusted Porkchops (I've posted a link to this before but these are quickly becoming a new favorite of ours! After I made them last time I was flipping through my Weight Watchers magazine and found the SAME RECIPE! The only difference was to use egg white instead of whole eggs. We will be making them the WW way this time!)

Things have been a little crazy lately. It has even been hard to find time for grocery shopping but I've still been planning our meals each week even though I haven't been posting. It saves so much time to know exactly what I'm going to cook and I actually look forward to cooking each night! Our grocery bill has been less and the shopping every week is easier than the way I used to shop! I was telling my mom the other day how much of a major shift our eating has taken. We have a side by side fridge/freezer in our kitchen and a stand up deep freeze in our garage. It used to be that our fridge had barely anything in it while the freezer side and our deep freeze were just bursting at the seams. We ate so much pre processed frozen food to save time. Now both of our freezers are almost bare and our fridge is stuffed! We are eating so much more fresh food including fresh fruits and vegetables!

Duggar Family Tater Tot Casserole
2 lb ground turkey cooked, seasoned, drained
3 2lb bags tater tots
2 cans cream of mushroom
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cans cream of chicken
Brown meat & place in large cass. dish.
Cover with tater tots. Mix soup & milk together.
Pour over top. Bake at 350 for 1 Hour.
Makes 2- 9”X13” pans

Busy and Glorious Day!

Yesterday was a very busy but very glorious day! My mom is a WONDERFUL cook and for as long as I can remember she has been able to whip out amazing meals large enough to feed an army and doesn't even break a sweat. I've watched and helped her for many holidays but this Easter I decided to attempt the feast myself...I know I know...a disaster waiting to happen. My mom has been a little stressed lately as she helps with my dad's healing, deals with insurance companies, and juggles his appointments so I wanted to try and cook Easter dinner myself and let her relax. Last week I decided on a menu, then created a grocery list, and headed out to the store. It took my hours but I bought everything I thought I would need and then yesterday morning after Kevin and I went to the early service at Glen Meadows Baptist I attempted to start cooking. This is what was on our menu plan.

-With big guys like my Dad and brother around while your trying to cook it is necessary to have something around to keep them out of the kitchen.

Shrimp Ring with Cocktail Sauce
Kelly's Signature Spinach Dip with Bagel Chips (I have been looking for a warm cheese based spinach dip FOREVER! This was the best I've had!)

Main Meal:
Spiral Sliced Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Macaroni & Cheese
Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad
Pink Fluff
Brown & Serve Rolls

White Bunny Cake (This is just a white cake with white icing covered with coconut and jelly beans that is cut to look like a bunny face with ears and a bow tie. lol My mom used to make it when we were little.)

I started cooking as soon as we got home from church. I thought the ham was going to be the most difficult but it actually turned out to be the easiest part! My mom and dad got to our house a little early and thankfully she helped me peel potatoes and finish up because I was getting a little overwhelmed with so many things cooking at once but... I did it! It was all ready at the same time so nothing got cold and nothing burned! Yay! It actually turned out really good. It was really hard work and I admire my mom for doing it for so many years without complaining or even seeming stressed. I was so thankful to be able to spend the day with my family and to have a home where we can all fit comfortably.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is risen...

(5) And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? (6) He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, (7) that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." Luke 24:5-7

Today I am thankful I have a Lord who was willing to give his own Son for my sins.
What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fun Facts from an Elementary and Jr. High Computer Lab

1. I once had an 8th grader scream bloody murder because her computer screen was filling up with the letter M all by itself. I ran over, told her to stop screaming, and calmly picked up her book. It had been sitting on her keyboard...on the letter M.

2. 99% of the time when I have a student says that their computer has a problem... it can be fixed by closing and reopening whatever program they were running. I tell them this...repeatedly...all day long.

3. I swear computer labs are like the best breeding ground for germs in the world. It has to be their Cancun. I have 18 computers and 11 thirty minutes classes a day. That is 396 hands a day. A minimum of 180 of those 386 hands, pick their boogers. That is a very conservative estimate.

4. Kids have the most amazing ability to destroy a set of headphones in hours without anyone seeing! I can put out a brand new set first thing in the morning and by 2:00 pm the wires are showing, the ear padding is gone, and the sound will work in only one ear. This is all after I've been eyeballing the headset all day. I have no idea how they do it.

5. When log in names are used to access a computer, the log in name becomes the author of documents created in certain programs. I once had 8 students all digitally turn in a MS Word assignment and all were authored by "dsmith08".* They couldn't figure out how I knew they were cheating. I also had several students turn in a document where everyone mispelled Opera and wrote Oprah instead. Yeah those guys weren't too happy about their grades either.

*Usernames have been changed to protect the not so innocent.