Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

I tried a new recipe tonight.   I recently got my Aug/Sept 2011 issue of  Taste of Home.  In this issue there were some potluck casseroles that all looked really good.   While we are not going to a potluck, I am always up for a new, tasty casserole that my family will eat. It was the pepperoni pizza casserole that caught my eye, but as usual I did not follow the recipe exactly

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

I often omit and add ingredients, knowing what my children will and will not eat.  For example, the original recipe calls for onion and  can of tomatoes. I only  added a little bit of dried onion to the meat, but not an actual onion.   I also did not add extra tomatoes.    The orginal Taste of Home  recipe is for two casseroles, but since I  did not need that much food, I cut the recipe in half. 

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole Ingredients

For my version you will need noodles, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, a small  can of mushrooms (optional) and pepperoni.   The original recipe calls for ground turkey, and says you can also use ground beef.   I decided to try sausage, since most of my family  likes sausage on our pizza.   This also worked really well, and gave the casserole a bit of a spicy kick

Noodles for Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

If you want to make 2 casseroles for a pot luck, make the entire bag of noodles, otherwise you only need a half of bag.  I made the whole bag to use half the noodles for another recipe. 

Sausage for a Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Brown the meat in the skillet, and drain the grease.  If you are making two casseroles use 2 lbs of meat, but for one only use one lb.  This is where you can add 1/3 cup  onion if you prefer.  I just sprinkled on some dried onion that might kids would not notice. 

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole Pizza Sauce

Add a half of jar of spaghetti sauce for one casserole, the entire jar for two.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. If you want to add extra tomatoes, you would add them at this step.

Add the noodles to the sauce and meat mixture in the skillet.

Add the mixture to a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.  I just sprayed with a little bit of cooking spray  first.   This is the step where you add the mushrooms if you like.  I personally love mushrooms, but not everyone in my family does.  I decided to add them and try and hide them in the casserole.  Can you see them?   When it was cooked they did appear and my child who doesnt like them picked them out an gave them to me. 

Pepperoni Pizza and Cheese Casserole

This is another step I changed from the original recipe.  In that recipe it called for only 2 cups of cheese for 2 entire  casseroles.  One cup of cheese for a pizza casserole is NOT enough.  I added an entire 2 cup bag of mozzarella and then threw on some cheddar for good measure.  In my opinion , you can never have too much cheese!

Baked Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

If you are making the 2 cassesroles, use an entire 3 oz package of pepperoni.  Since I only made one, I used half a package. Bake in a 350 degree over for 30 minutes.  Let it stand for 5 minutes after taking out of the oven. 

This recipe is a keeper.  I did have a request to try regular ground beef next time so it is a little less spicy, but everyone did love this version.
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Ladybug Love

9 years ago, I had a ladybug themed birthday for my now 10 year old.  I was always partial to ladybugs and Kara was so cute dressed like a ladybug. 

It was a simple party with cardstock invitations, red and black streamers, a catapiller pinata and a ladybug cake.  The kids wore antenae headbands made from pipe cleaners and styrofoam balls.   I did not go into all the party details like I do now.  I was just too busy with 3 kids who under the age of 5.

That is why I was so in awe of an AMAZING lady bug party I saw on Bee In Our Bonnet. .  The are so many themed details, it makes me want to have another ladybug party right NOW.  Since Kara's Beach Bash Birthday  was only just a few weeks ago, I dont  have a birthday party to plan.  I will have to come up with another reason to have a ladybug theme.

Isn't this decorated high chair just too cute for words?

You must check out this party at Bee in Our Bonnet  to see all the wonderful ladybug ideas.  She has fantastic games and even spray painted hundreds of beans red and black.    
I also love her month by month banner that would be a great addition at any 1st birthday party. 

 Even the food was adorable.  I also really liked the ladybug cake pops!    These would have been cute at our Garden Party    for my friends birthday.  This party has inspired some creative ideas for me, I hope it does for your too
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Ideas I Love

I  love, love LOVE this make your own  Angry Bird game idea from Brassy Apple.  Playing Angry Birds is so addicting on the phone, but I dont always want my kids using all of my charge.   Using rocks, blocks and a slingshot,  older kids can play an IRL version.   Just make sure that the kids stay clear of the flying rocks, we dont want any birds hitting an unintended target. 

I wish I had a reason to make this super cute rainbow unicorn cake from Triology Edibles. It is just so colorfol and girly.    This could easily be modified for almost any type of girly party. 
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Our School Shopping Adventure

We did some damage today, but overall,we saved a lot more than we spent.  First stop was JCPenny.   Two of these shirts were on sale, and two were on clearance.  I used a $10 off of $25 JCP cash coupon and a $25 gift card.  Spent $19.91 out of pocket, and saved $63.63. (according to the reciept)

I spent the most at Old Navy, but that is also were we got the most and the best deals.    I used a $5 off $25 coupon, and my $10 Old Navy Rewards certificate.  My second $10 coupon actually did not go into effect until Aug 5, so I still have that.   We spent $99.41 for everything  in the picture.  I saved $151.02 off regular prices (difference between tag price and clearance price than rang up  on the receipt ) and another $84.20 off with sales and coupons. (according to receipt)

At Payless, my daughter found the canvas slip ons on sale for $16.99 (regularly $29.99).  The cute white shoes were on clearance for $7 (regularly $24.99), and we were given a $3 off coupon which made the inserts FREE.  We spent $25.62 and saved  $33.99.

One of my daughters favorite stores is Forever 21. While we did not get items on sale,  their regular prices are reasonable.  We spent $84.91 at that store. You cant really see them in the picture, but there are two pairs of jeans for $10.50 each.  The striped tees were $8.50 each, the shiny top was $15.80 and the shirt dress $24.80.

Last stop was Charlotter Russe. There they were having a 50% off clearance price sale.  She got two pairs of pants and a dresssy blouse.  The jearns were only $4.99, the dress pants only $10 and the blouse only $10.  We spent only $26.48 and saved $24.98  I had given my daughter a budget of $100 at her two favorite stores at the mall (Charlotte Russe and Forever 21).  Since the blue/black striped shirt was mine and not in her total, she was extremly close to her budget.  She spent $102.38, which is probably the closest she has ever been to her given amount.  She tends to try and go way over like most teenagers.

Here is my daughter's new  back to school wardrobe.  Other thing a few last minute items we might realize we need, she is done.  She got 4 pairs of pants/jeans, 11 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 packs of socks, a pr of sleep boxers and a ring for $190.   The best deals were at Old Navy.  There I found  her two thermal henleys for only  85 cents  each. They were originally $14.50 markeed down to $1.97, but rang up .97. Then afeter my coupon discount, final price .85.  I wish they had more colors, or I would have went back for more.   The sock packs also from Old Navy, were also a great deal.   Normally $6.50 each, they were on sale $2 for 8, but  rang up only $3.45 after coupons.   The most expensive item she picked out was a shirt dress from Forever 21 that was $24.80.

I also bought her brother a few items from Old Navy  today. He now has 7 new shirts for a total of $23.17.  The polos were orginally $9.50, on clearance for $2.99, but only $2.62 after the coupons.    The green tee was on clearance for $4.49, but only $3.93.  I got the swim shirt for a final price of only $3.50.   I also got him three of the $4 graphic tees, that were only $3.50 after  the coupon discount. 

Little sister  also now has a couple new graphic tees.  All of this was only $13.56.  She LOVES animals of all kinds and I knew she would be thrilled with what I picked out.   Three of the tees were on sale for $4, but only $3.50 after coupon discount, and one was on clearance with a final price of $3.06. 

I ended up with a few items for myself.  I did not realize how much until I got it home.  I spent $38.78 for 8 tops and a pr of shoes.  My best deals were a thermal tee for .85, two V neck tees for $2.18 and the pink top for $1.73.

My final total for our back to school shopping trip out of pocket was $256.33.  Total saved with sales, clearance, and coupons was $357.82.  We  got over $600 worth of clothes for only $250, a savings of just shy of 60%.    And best of all, since my younger kids do not really need more clothes, we are officially done with back to school clothes shopping.  I dont have to fight the crowds in the next few weeks.. 
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Frugal Back to School Shopping

I am taking my teenage daughter back to school shopping today. Living in the state that we do, we actually do not go back until Sept.   One of my best back to school savings tips is to buy a little bit at a time on sale instead of waiting until the last minute to buy back to school clothes.   This weekend looks to be an awesome sale weekend. 

We have $20 in JCPenny cash.  We have two $10 off of $25 coupons (and 2 stores in the area). We also have a $25 gift card that my daughter still needs to use.

Old Navy is having several items on sale for $4 today.  We also have a $10 Rewards card and two coupons.  A $5 off of $25 off of Facebook and a $10 off of $50 from the mail.

Kohls is having a Back to School Sale and I have my 15% coupons.

Forever 21 is having a yellow tag sale

Payless shoes is having a 70% clearance

I am not sure on Pac Sun but it says an extra 30% off of sale items on their website

By using our coupons, rewards and buying on sale, we should save at least $100 today.    I will share my finds when we get back.
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Thank You and 100 Giveaway!!

I want to give a special Thank You to Two Pink Peas  for spreading the word about my blog and giveway.  I really did not expect to get so many new followers to my blog so quickly.  I hope you like my blog, and stay awhile.  In addition to party planning ideas, I share recipes, crafts and shopping tips.    

Now to clear up some confusion

This picture is NOT  the actual giveway, it was the entire stash my daughter and I found at the scrapbook closing.   Several of the items we want to keep to work on our own pages and crafts.   I had not posted the actual giveaway since I was not yet to 100, and I am still putting  the prize  together.   

These were the party themed items I found at the scrapbook store.  I do plan on adding several more party themed  items to the prize package.  I thought I would have a couple more  days to get it all together. =)  

So far in the   prize package is

Chipboard Cupcakes with Glitter Accents from Little Yellow Bicycle
Cupcake/Sweet Stickers with Glitter Accents from Little Yellow Bicycle
Jolees Boutique 3D Party Hats
Chipboard 3D party themed embellishments
Family Reunion Stickers from Bo Bunny

with many more surprizes to be added!!!

To enter the 100 Follower  Giveaway,  please leave a comment on this post that you are following by Monday  Aug 1st at 6 p.m. .  I will also accept the comments that are already  on the first  post as entrants in the giveaway. 

Thanks again to all of  my followers!!!
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Countdown to 100!

I found out recently that our local scrapbooking store was going out of business.  While I am sad that it will be no longer there, I do admit that I have not been shopping  there in awhile.  I have quite a few supplies and not a lot of time to scrapbook.   Today with everything in the store 50% off, I wanted to see what goodies I could find for my crafting/scrapbooking  habit.     Because I found so many great things,  I have decided to have a GIVEAWAY when we reach 100 followers.   I will be announcing the prize package of party themed items very soon.  
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Fashion Designer in the Making?

    Interesting fact,  I majored in Textiles and Clothing/Design in college.   Today I found Kara sitting at the kitchen table working on a project.   She was making outfits for several of her furry friends.    It makes me happy to see my daughter following in her mama's footsteps.   She has been making outfits for her stuffed anials for years, but lately they have actually been looking really good. 

SHe made a wrap around shirt and shorts for her puppy

An evening gown and flower hair accesory for her new stuffed dog

And a sundress for her new monkey. 

I did think it was a bit much that she raided my jewelry box for  earrings to put on her new friends though!  
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VGs deals

I went to VGs (Spartan Store)  to pick up a few more items.  I love my VGs because they double to $1.  Many of their prices are higher than Meijer or Kroger, but when you use coupons with sale items, the price is very good.     I spent only $26.69 for everything in the picture. 

(2) Jamba Juice Smoothes on sale $2.  I used (2) $1 coupons that doubled, final price FREE
Heluva Onion Dip on sale $1.50.  I used .75 coupon that doubled, final price FREE

(2) Chi Chis tortillas on sale $1.09.  I used (2) .50 coupons that doubled, final price .09 each
(2) Daniamls Yougurt Smoothes on sale $2.59.  I used (2) $1 coupons that doubled, final price .59 each
(3) Whonu cookies on sale $2.69.  I used (3) $1 coupons that doubled, final price .69 each
(3) Cookie Crisp cereal on sale $2.50.  I used (3) .75 coupons that doubled, final price $1 each
(3) Kelloggs Pop Tarts on sale $1.88.  I used a $2 off 3 coupon, final price $1.21 each
(2) Xtra laundry detergent on sale $2.50. I used $1 off 2 coupon that doubled, final price $1.50 each
Nine Lives cat food $4.15.  I used $1 off coupon that doubled, final price $2.15
Syrup on sale for $2
Paper plates $2.39 (we were almost out)

I used $17.00 in coupon and saved $11.84 in sales, for a $38.84 in overall savings. of 60%.
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Meijer Deals

I only went to one grocery store this week.  (I do plan on going to VGs tomorrow to get just a couple of things)     Meijer had the best sale this week, and also had the most items that we needed.
I spent only $64.22 for everything in the picture 

(2) Sweet and Saty Chex Mix on sale $1 each.  I used (2) .50 coupons that doubled, final price FREE
(1) Red Pepper on sale $1, I used .50 coupon from a Meijer coupon mailer, final price .50
(2) Bar S Hot dogs on sale $1, I used $1 off 2 coupon, final price .50
(2) Sunny D on sale $1, I used (2) .25 coupons that doubled, final price .50
(4) Dole Mandarin Oranges on sale $1.  I used (2) .50 coupons that doubled, final price .50 each. I also got back .75 off your next order coupon. 

(6) Pizza Rolls on sale $1.  I used .a .40 off 2 and a $1 off 4 coupon,  final price  .70 each

Koala cream filled cookies (not pictured)  .99
Eggs on sale .99

(5) 2 liters of Pepsi and Crush on sale $1 each
(2) Chi Chis Tortillas on sale $2, I used (2) .50 coupons that doubled, final price $1 each
Hot Dog buns on sale $1
Cool Whip on sale $1
(2) Pasta Roni on sale $1 each
(3) Michelinas on sale $1.  I got 1 for FREE because when you buy 10 $1 items.  Final price $2 for 3
Kraft Marshmellow on sale $1
Breakstone sour cream on sale $1

Aunt Milles Bread on sale $1.50
Kraft Big Slice Cheese on sale $2.50.  I used $1 off coupon, final price $1.50
Strawberry Cream Cheese on sale $2
(4) Lucky Charms on sale $2.50.  I used (2) $1.50 off 2 coupons final price $1.75 each
Johnny Morrel Bacon on sale $2
(4) Hot Pockets on sale $2 each
Kahiki Sweet and Sour Chicken  on sale $3.99
Rotissiere Chicken $5.99. I used $1 off coupon from Meijer mailer, final price $4.99

Bananas .54 a lb
Nectarines .99 a lb
Cherries (not pictured) $1.98 a lb
(2) Dole salad on sale $1 each
Mushrooms on sale $1 

I used $18.30 in coupons, (got back .75 OYNO), and saved $37.53 in sales for a total of $55.93 in savings or 47%.
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Target Deals and Clearance

Today was shopping day and we made a run to Target.  I had heard a lot of the toys on clearance were now 75% off.   Once it hits 75% off, I like to stock up on future Christmas and birthday gifts.   Our clearance section was kind of picked over, but I was still very happy with what I found 

Bakagun Dragonoid Colossus   regularly $39.99, now only $9.99.
Moxie Girlz Magic Hair  regularly $29.99, now only $7.48
Girl Gourmet Chill Treats Dessert Maker regularly $19.99, now $4.98
U-Build Connect 4 regularly $9.99, now $2.48
Party Animals Hula Hut regularly $11.99, now only $2.98
Party Animals Carnival Set regularly $11.99, now only $2.98
2 Party Animals (yellow and blue bear) regularly $2.49, now only .62
LPS Lady Bug regularly $3.99, now only .99

Also on clearance girls leggings.  Regularly $4.99, now only $1.24

Special Deal  bonus packs of ink with 2 reams of HP paper   $19.99, plus get back a $5 Target gift card.  Regular packs of ink are on sale $13.99, so this was like getting two reams of paper for only $1!

Oscar Mayer pre-cooked bacon (not pictured)  $3.59.  I used a $1 Target coupon, final price $2.59

3M Command Hooks  on price cut $2.79.  I used $1 Target coupon, final price $1.79

Cutter bug repellent $3.99 (my daugther needs this for girl scout camping)  I used a $2 coupon, final price $1.99

Up and Up Nail Polish remover .97.  I used .50 Target coupon, final price .47

Sally Hansen nail polish $2.49.  I used $1 off coupon that expired today, final price $1.49

Benadryl Itch Stick $2.20.  I used $2 off coupon, final price .29

I used the free $5 gift card when you spend $50 coupon off the Back to School mailer, and got back a 2nd $5 gift card. 

I spent $63.21, and got back $10 in gift cards.   I saved $103.43 in clearance and $7.50 in coupons, for an overall  savings of 70%

My daugther is also learning the benefits of buying on sale.  She had $35 in birthday money.   She went to the game section and found that 2 games that she wanted were buy 1 get 1 50% off.   She saved $10 by buying them this week.  She also found a Kung Zu on clearance (not pictured) for only $2.50.  She saved $12.50 on her birthday gifts.
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More Summer/Beach Ideas

I have come across two more fun ideas that would have been great for our Beach Bash Birthday earlier this month.  It might be too late for our party, but these ideas are too good not to share. 

I love these flamingo cake pops from Lady Behind the Curtain.  They look like they would be difficult to make, but really are not.  You can see her step by step tutorial on how to make them here. These would be so cute a a beach or summer party. 

This ides from Sweeter than Sweets ,  looks like a lot of fun for a kids activity or playdate.  She shares how to make colored ice  for a day of colorful summer  fun. You can see how to my colorful ice here.
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Consider Tracfone for Your Cell Phone Needs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you are like me and have kids in the pre teen and early teen years, Tracfone is a great option to consider.  I personally used a Tracfone for years, and my oldest got her Tracfone a few years ago. Tracfone is the perfect phone for busy families with kids, because it is the least expensive way to own and use a cell phone in America.  They are simple phones for simple needs, with calling and texting capabilites for under $10.  Many real TracFone customers love the convenience and versatility that Tracfone has to offer.

I love that there are no contracts, no credit checks, no activation fees and no surprises because you pay as you go.   You can pay online, or buy phone cards that are available at thousands of retailers throughout the country.   If you prefer to pay all at once, there is a a one year of service  option for $119. With that option, you  will receive double minutes for the life of your Tracfone and 800 minutes.  If you do go with the  month to month option  and like the double minute for the life of your Tracfone feature, it can be purchased separately for $19.99.  Many real TracFone customers love the no contract option that puts you in control of your cell phone cost.

  There are also so many features that are useful on a Tracfone.  .  For $29.99, you can use a phone with a camera/video recorder, web access, app capabilites,  MP3 player and a full  Qwerty keyboard.   There are so many different phone options available, that there is sure to be one right for you.  You can buy a simple candy bar phone, to a blue tooth enabled smart phone.  Many of your favorite brand names are available, such as Motorola, LG, Nokia and Samsung.

 There is great coverage nationwide and excellent reception/connectivity.  If you need to make international calls, Tracfone is the only wireless service where you can call internationally for the same cost as any other call.  You can call over 60 international destinations at no extra cost. 

I really love  all that Tracfone has to offer with its  low cost, that helps me keep in touch with my kids.  It definitely fits the needs of my busy family.

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Back to the Fair

Today was Kids Day so we went back to the fair.  Kids 12 and younger got in for free and ride passes were discounted at only $12 ($8 off!)  Kara was the perfect size this year. She was under the height limit for the younger kids rides and she was big enough for all the big kid rides. A few younger riders were happy to meet her when they were nervous to ride a ride.  I offered her services to sit with the nervous younger rider.  LOL!  She helped this little girl on the motorcycle ride.

And this little boy on the mini roller coaster. He had such a serious look the entire time.  His parents told me it was his first time on a ride, and when he got off, he wasn't sure if he liked it.  
We went back to her favorite game where you win everytime, and she picked  another stuffed dog. 

She rode the large boat with an teenager, and looked very nauseous the entire ride.  I was a bit concerned she might not make it off the ride without getting sick. (she used to get car sick).  Luckily she was okay, when she got off the ride. 

During the ride, she noticed something going on in the distance.  A 75 yr old acrobat was doing an ariel act on an extremely high pole.  We missed most of her act, but the fact that she could still do what she was doing at 75 was amazing!

She then met 2 girls her own age, and went on the Cliff Hanger ride.  She looked really scared, but when she got off the ride, she said it was awesome and she wanted to ride it again. 

She then rode the apple ride, which was basically  a worm that went in a circle around an apple.  It was funny to ride such a simple ride after a thrill ride.

She then rode the Space Chaser which was a much younger version of the flying Cliff Hanger ride. 

At that point it was starting to rain a  little bit, and it was also time for the racing pigs.  This time we watched from the other side of the track.  Kara was picked as a pig rooter, but her pig came in last place, so she did not win the prize.

It was so much fun seeing the pigs jump in the pool.  They loved the water.  

There was one little piggy that was so cute.  Every time he was introduced, he would stand up in his stall and peek his head out.

It was then  starting to rain harder so we went into the  animal exhibts.  Kara got to pet a baby chick that was only a day or two old. We saw one egg that was starting to hatch, but the chick was taking a long time so we moved on.

We met a really nice 4H er who told Kara she was welcome to pet her Pygmy goat. Kara loved that. The goat was so cute and tiny. 

We saw these very interesting chickens in the poutltry barn.  They almost did not look like birds.

Going to the fair was also educational.   Kara learned how to use an old fashioned loom, and helped weave a cloth. 

We went back to the Cliff Hanger and found out that the day passes had just  expired at 5 p.m. I was not going to pay $20 for the evening pass, so were done with the rides for the day.  The guy in charge of the ride was so nice.  He told Kara she could ride it even though it was past 5,  and then asked  me if I would like to ride too even though I did not have ride tickets.  We had told him that it was our favorite ride. I think it helped that it was around dinner time, and there was not a long line at the time.  We made sure to thank him for being so nice to us.   We then stopped at the fishing booth, and Kara caught a catfish.   I was grateful that someone else baited the hook and removed the fish. 

I took this picture while we were waiting for the Family Adventure Theater.  We could see the sky getting dark.  I felt bad for all the people who had just bought their ride passes for the evening. 

Kara volunteered to be in the play, but she was unsure about what she was going to have to do.

She was chosen to be one of the intergalatic Furballs who were captured by Cyber Dancers.  She says she felt silly, but I thought she looked adorable.

The play was really cute, but at this point the rain really started coming down, so we knew it was time to leave. 

On the way out she asked to play one more game.  She beat me in skeeball type of racing game, and won an adorable monkey. 

Good bye county fair.  We will see you next year!!
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