Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Recipes: Day 2

So how did you do with the Warm Spinach and Rice Chicken Salad?  My husband said it was good but weird because the spinach was warm.  I liked it enough that I'll make it again but for lunch with the moms.  It was filling but I was hoping for more of a zip from the dressing. 

 Here's the recipe from the site.

What You'll Need
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 flour tortillas (6-inch), warmed
1 small tomato, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 green onion, sliced (about 2 tablespoons) 
How to Make It
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Stir the soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder in a medium bowl.
2. Stir 1 cup soup mixture, chicken and cheese in a large bowl.
3. Divide the chicken mixture among the tortillas. Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side down in an 11 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining soup mixture over the filled tortillas. Cover the baking dish.
4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top with the tomato and onion.                                      
If you have questions or suggestions, please leave us a comment!
See you tomorrow for Day 3,
Jessi and B

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

25 Days of New Recipes

Hello!  It's been a while but I promise that Bree and I have some exciting DIY projects cooking.  And speaking of cooking, boy am I tired of making and eating the same thing over and over!  You may remember from this post that I budget my groceries and plan my meals.  It's been about a year since I started my meal planning and I'm ready for some culinary changes.  Keeping budget in mind plus my increasingly busy schedule, I needed to come up with some quick and satisfying options.  I started with my own recipe box that is overflowing with clipped recipes from magazines and newspapers (yes some are very old lol) and those little promotional cookbooks from the grocery store.  I decided on one book and one website to start since my little box was so overwhelming full.  As I go down my list daily, I will include the recipe and/or the link.  These are easy, quick meals that a beginner can do and a veteran can appreciate so I hope you can join me!  In no particular order, here is my recipe list!

1. Skillet Vegetable Lasagna
2. Cheesy Rotini and Chicken Skillet
3. Bacon Horseradish Burgers
4. 2-Step Creamy Chicken and Pasta
5. Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
6. Easy Chicken Parm
7. 2-Step Skillet Chicken Broccoli Divan
8. Warm Spinach and  Rice Chicken Salad
9. Fiesta Soup
10. Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie
11. Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole
12. Chicken Wellington
13. Wild Roasted Chicken Wraps
14. Warm Chicken Caesar Wraps
15. Southern BBQ Chicken and Rice
16. Monterey Chicken and Rice Quiche
17. Pocket Meals on the Run
18. Mexican Dip
19. Southwest Steak Salad
20. Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
21. Chef's Salad
22. Cobb Salad
23. Ham and Asparagus Strata
24. Pesto Stuffed Porkchops
25. Dave's Oven-roasted Porkloin

I hope to post in the morning what I'll be making for dinner as well as a review of the recipe from the night before.  All but 3 of these meals will be new for me too so I'm very excited to get started!

Warm Spinach and Rice Chicken Salad
from Perfect Meals, a mini cookbook from Uncle Ben's and Tyson Foods 1997

2 Tyson IFF boneless, skinless, chicken breast, frozen
1 box Uncle Ben's brand Country Inn Rice Dishes-Chicken flavor
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pitted ripe olives, halved

*I used my usual Walmart brand chicken breast and Rice-a-Roni because I couldn't find that Uncle Ben's rice.  Also will be omitting the olives because my husband doesn't like them!

1. Remove protective ice glaze from frozen breasts by holding under lukewarm running water for 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare rice according to package directions. Brush chicken with 2 teaspoons salad dressing. Grill or broil 20 to 25 minutes, or until juices run clear, turning once.

3. Combine hot cooked rice with remaining salad dressing, spinach, tomatoes and olives; stir until spinach is lightly wilted. Place rice mixture on individual serving plates, top with sliced chicken.

Serves 2.

Mmm, I can hardly wait!!!
Jessi and B
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Monday, February 11, 2013

A Single Mom's Crazy Rantings: How do you do it?

It has now been just over 6 months since I've been an "official" single mom to my 3 crazy-lovable kiddos. Day in and day out there are obstacles, challenges, rewards and difficulty.
The most popular question I get is "How do you do it?"
Sadly more often than not the person asking this question is asking for advice. I find that my advice is asked most frequently by a number of woman whom are wanting to leave their husband or significant other for one reason or another.
It's not my job, nor is it my business, to judge another's  marriage but I am more than happy to give my advice, help, understanding, acknowledgment or encouragement.
So "How do I do it?"
I don't.
What people see:
I was a stay at home mom until a month after I asked my husband to leave. I have a part time job and live on my own with the kids. Most of all they see that I'm happy :)
Most people see what they want to see. They look at me and see a single woman making it with her 3 kids even through divorce.
Here's the truth:
I desperately want to be a stay at home mom for my children so I work a part time job night and weekends. I do this so during the day I'm home with them doing our normal routines. Breakfast, chores, lunch, preschool, sports/activities, dinner, etc. Half the time I leave before dinner to go to work. This means someone else reads them a bed time story, tucks them in and sends them off to sleep. I usually work until 10:30pm, pick up kids and come home. I then stay up until midnight or 1 am working (for no or little money) on my photography or the blog. Even on days I don't work I'm still up until midnight "working".
Then its up at 7:30am and we start all over again. Since the blog and photography don't pull in huge pay checks (yet) I also frequently nanny a couple other kids here and thereto make ends meet. My house is usually messy because there isn't enough time to do anything and when given an opportunity to have a minute to myself I take it instead of doing dishes.
I didn't get much help before, but when your a single mom you get NO help. Each day its you and the kids, there's no more spouse giving you a break when he's home from work. Its only you. There are mandatory breaks every other weekend and possibly a few hours once a week. That's 4 days a month I get a break and even then I try to work as much as I can because there's no childcare costs.
For 3 kids I get just over $600 a month, my part time job brings an average of $400. These are the only consistent incomes I can count on. The kids and I get medical and food assistance from the state, which takes the food costs out of the equation. Rent and power average to about $600 a month. Which then leaves me with $400 a month to pay for diapers, wipes, gas, preschool, childcare, toiletries, non food groceries (garbage bags, dish/laundry soap, paper towels, etc), sports/activities, clothes for the kids if needed and other bills (phone, car ins, my medical expenses, debt, etc) Does $400 a month cover these items? NO.
I pick and choose what bills I can pay each month. Or I make smaller payments when I can't afford the full payment.
Some months I don't have enough for the basics. When this happens I have been very fortunate that I'll have a photo shoot, nanny and the extra money comes in somehow.
Living like this might have been fine when your single but not when you have 3 children to support.
Another factor that you have to keep in mind is the constant battling over the littlest things with your ex spouse. Childcare, support, expenses, family, cars, debt, kids, jealousy, diapers, etc. You name it and there could be an argument. I choose to disengage or not argue because I hate confrontation.SO I choose to take the higher road and don't lower myself to the argument. If its pertaining to the divorce case at hand then I let the attorney handle it. If its an argument relating to personal issues I don't give it the time of day. Though its hard to not argue back and forth this has been my biggest accomplishment thus far.
Then there is the fact of paying for an attorney for my divorce. I don't, I have been borrowing money from family (thankfully for them). Who knows how I'll ever pay that back. SO far the average total for the attorney has been close to $4,000.00 and the divorce isn't even final yet.
I have come to realize I can't go much longer than like this.
For over a month now I have been either looking for a second part time job or a full time job. The only difficulties with this are to be able to afford my portion of childcare for 3 kids I have to get a full time job that pays a minimum of $11/hour after taxes. And in this economy there really aren't many options available, and if a position opens up your trying to claw your resume through the competition. This will also means that my "dream job" of being a stay at home mom for my kids is soon over. I'll drop them off at day care so someone else can raise my children then pick them up with just enough time to feed them dinner and tuck them into bed. I'll be like most other working moms where you only get to see your kids a few hours a day. I'm not wanting pity, tons of people do it, but when you have made sacrifices in your life to stay home with your children it just makes it a hard situation to swallow.
With today's economy, money seems to be the most important thing in peoples lives. They seem to think that if you don't have money your not happy. This usually is reflected on a marriage. Sometimes this isn't the case and there are other reasons for divorce.
Unfortunately most couples think that divorce is the answer or that the grass would be greener on the other side. This is NOT always the case. And in today's society divorce seems just as disposable as taking out the trash.
While my life is happier now I tried everything first. I believe its your duty to try everything possible before walking away. I tried to make things work, went through marriage counseling but in the end infidelity was where I drew the line. You will not always be happy in a marriage but you made a vow and I feel that you should try everything to uphold those vows.
In the end trying everything may not work or may not be for you. But making the decision to get divorced or spilt up your family isn't something that just pops into your head one day. It's something that needs to be thought about, processed and talked about before any decisions are made.
My life is what it is. Its a struggle everyday. But I still seem to stay positive, have a great outlook on life and believe everything happens for a reason. We'll make it somehow and I can't worry about tomorrow when I'm living today. :)
SO, "how do I do it?"
I don't! But I'm trying.
{Looking for a job ~Bree and J}
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Half a years photography

It's been half a year since I started dabbling into photography! And BOY OH BOY have I learned a TON! The craziest thing is that there is still a TON more to learn!
 I feel like I've just hit the tip of the ice burg but I am so EXCITED to learn more, grow, experiment and meet knew people all while taking their photos!
There's something about that ONE shot you get that hooks you!
Capturing a moment that will last there anything better?!?!
Here are some of my favorites within the last 6 months!

{Grab your camera and just have FUN! ~Bree and J}

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Don't take you tub for granted!

I have reached a new low!
I couldn't handle it anymore!
Yes...if you didn't already guess (lol)...
I attempted to take a bath in our stall shower...

Yes, You heard me!
Where the kids and I moved there is only one bathroom, no biggy, but NO bath tub/shower. It's just the stall! This has had its own challenges as far as "baths" for the kids but thankfully they were already used to taking showers before we moved. Plus usually the shower is easier all around! more relaxing baths for momma :( I thoroughly enjoy taking a nice, hot, relaxing, bubble bath with a book and a glass of wine and sitting there until the water gets cold. The last time I took a bath was over 11 months now. Before that I took one at least once a week (if kids aloud)

I finally broke down, plugged the drain in our 4 inch deep stall shower, dumped bubble bath in and let the shower run. My results were actually surprisingly relaxing! :) Funny how when determined you can make things work out of nothing!

{Don't take you tub for granted! ~Bree and J}
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MLW: Lovin' that man of mine

{Catch up...MLW: Making Life Whimsical}

I'm featuring a post of theirs again because I just love this idea and their designs!
For more on these adorable ideas CLICK HERE to be directed to Making Life Whimsical!
{If you have a good man show him some L<3VE ~Bree and J}
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New Addition

{A Single Moms Crazy Ranting's}
We all know Bree talks...and talks a lot she can do! Usually her ramblings are filed under "Bree's Crazy Ranting's"...until now!
(so cheesy)
With a shocking amount of women asking me "how I do it?" I have decided to dedicate a new label or column you might say on my experiences as I go through life.
Have no clue what's going on, now that I'm not talking in 3rd person any more here is a brief run down...for fun lets go back to 3rd person! LOL!
2004 Bree meets Boy
2007 Boy and Bree buy a house
2007 Happily welcomes Baby Boy
2008 Wedding bells ring!
2010 Happily welcome another Baby Boy (screaming)
Boy and Bree Short Sell their home
Move into tiny 2 bedroom apartment
Welcome Precious Baby Girl
Boy starts sleeping on couch
Packing to move into new, 3 bedroom!, HOME :)
Boy tells Bree "I don't love you anymore" :'(
Moved into new home :'( start marriage counseling
July 2012:
Boy takes off wedding ring
Celebrate Precious Baby Girls 1st Birthday
Bree takes off wedding ring
Bree finds out about Boy's new girlfriend
Bree kicks Boy out
Aug 2012-Current
Divorce papers, tears, kids and I move out, attorneys, tears, court, going back to work, child support, arguing, kids to Boys every other weekend, and too much bull#*$%!

Caught up??
Feel free to follow me as I go on about my daily struggles, accomplishments, battles and more!
I'm not trying to do this as a means at getting back or trash talking  Boy; and have always tried to stay above the battles and be respectful.

This is meant to help those women thinking of divorce/going through it/and have been there. These are my experiences and even though every one has their own turns and bumps in the road the process is still about the same!
At the end of the day if you'd rather not read this than don't. I will never again let anyone control how I act, what I say or what I do with my this is very real, very honest and very raw.

Here are a few postings that will also catch you up:
Back to my routine...I guess...
"How are you doing?"
Mondays are for Complainers
You Smell Like Taco's Mommy
My Facebook is Not Your DRAMA
and CARRY on Bree

 {Much LOVE ~Bree and J}
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Handmade Valetines for KIDS

I stumbled upon a great blog.
Its newer but very well executed and ADORABLE!
Here are some of their adorable valentines day ideas
for your kiddos!
FREE Printable along with this one!
 My favorite! Looks so yummy!!! No good for the diet!
 And I just found this one so unique and creative...yet so simple!
To see their Whimsical Valentines Day designs plus much more CLICK HERE to be directed to their blog!

{Finding something new everyday ~Bree and J} Pin It
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