Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PA Baby Shower

Our little guy is really active tonight - kicking up a storm!  I guess he's telling mom it's time to be active too and get some things done off the check list!  (Apparently, he doesn't consider the last 4-5 days of grading "active" : )  I'll have to get that nap in some other time!

This past weekend we had our PA baby shower.  Our good friend Dixon hosted it for us and we had a wonderful time.  Almost everyone there was from where I work with a few friends from out of town that were able to join us.  We feel so lucky to have met so many great people out here in PA!  Our day was truly special, non-stressful and a happy occasion.  Nothing more a new mom could ask for.  I realized when I came back to work on Monday I was describing the shower to people that couldn't make it as "It just felt like everyone was truly happy for us and wanted to be there.  Nothing was forced or overdone, it was just really nice".  So there you have it - this momma was one happy and very appreciative camper!

And now for the pictures!  These are a few shower pics - far too many to post blog style - but I think you'll see how happy we were.

Us with the Dixie Chick : )  AKA - Party Planner Superstar!
The adorable cake that was made to match the napkins, plates and theme. (And no WLS peeps - I did not have any or even try a bite.  I heard from everyone though that it was wonderful!)
Everything was customized - including this banner!  It's so adorable!  We have 2 huge monkey balloons in our house right now - maybe the monkeys well start to drop when little baby starts to drop.  I think 10 weeks should just about do it!
Gift opening : )  People really followed our brown and green nursery theme if they saw pictures on the blog!
And here is Daddy!  This man has not had a beer in well... forever.  So at dinner with Cory and Dixon - he went for the sampler.  Final review... GOOD CHOICE!  I love this pic of him ; )

Baby Bump: 29 weeks

These are my 29 week, 2day pics.  For those of you that are WLS people - some people have been curious about my weight gain.  I'm at 182 in this picture.  That's still 4 pounds less then when we conceived back at the end of Feb, but up from my first trimester low of 173.  The doctors seem good with my weight gain and seem to think its "healthy".  If I stay on track, I'll probably gain 1-2 pounds each week from here on out.  That's another 10-20 total.  I'm feeling fine with it - just a bit "giggly" : )  Now these leg cramps are a different story!!!! UGH!

WLS Friendly Sugar Free Blueberry Muffins

8 blueberry muffins - fresh out of the oven.
Ingredients used for muffins.
Putting the muffins in the oven - 22 minutes at 400 degrees and they are done : )
I got this original recipe off of Hungry Girl's website and modified it a bit for us.  We had a bunch of fresh blueberries from the baby shower this past weekend that I wanted to use up AND this will make a good breakfast for me to take to work the rest of the week.  I'm really looking forward to trying some other recipes I found on this site.  We used some ingredients I normally don't use (like soy milk and egg beaters for example) - but I'm all about trying to make things healthier.  So it's worth a shot! 

After having these, I have a few things I might do differently.  It seems like A LOT of blueberries for 6-8 muffins.  They are hard to eat because they are so messy with all the blueberries - however, they are good that way.  They don't taste "too sweet" which is good, but if you're someone that doesn't like the taste of whole wheat flour, my suggestion would be to go with full on regular flour.  I did mine using cupcake/muffin liners, but with all the blueberries they stuck to the liners.  I would next time use my silicon muffin pan and spray those with a little Pam to keep them from sticking.  I also read online that if you freeze fresh blueberries before using them in baking, they stay together better and make less "mess" when you bake with them.

All in all - a good recipe - worth trying again!

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup regular flour
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup light vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup sugar-free pancake syrup
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute - like original egg beaters
1/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
3 tbsp. splenda blend brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. light margarine, room temperature
2 tbsp. no-sugar-added applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. In a separate, mixing bowl, combine soy milk, syrup, egg substitute, butter, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Using a whisk, mix until thoroughly blended. (Don't worry if butter bits do not break up completely.) Add dry ingredients from the first mixing bowl to the mixture in the large one. Mix until completely blended. Then fold in the blueberries. Line a 12-cup pan with baking liners and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute batter among the 6-8 cups. Place in the oven and bake for about 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy! MAKES 6-8 SERVINGS.

This nutrition is approximate and would be for 1 muffin when you make 8 out of the batter (that's how many it made for us):
Calories: 100 Fat:1.5 grams Fiber: 2 grams Sugars: 5 grams Protein: 3 grams

Chicken Sausage and Potatoes - Country Style

Easy ingredients to make this easy meal.  Not pictured is the water.
The sausage and garlic with 3 tsp. of oil in the skillet.  Browning first.
After sausage was browned, I added the sliced potatoes, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Covered and cooked on medium low heat for 30 minutes (I used level 4 on our electric stove)
Finished dinner with green beans as the side.  1 Sausage link, 1/2 cup of green beans and 1/2 cup of potato/tomato mixture.
This mommy is back in the kitchen!!!  Class is over - grades submitted today.  That means I had a burst of energy at the end of the work day to come home and try this new recipe.  I found some Nature's Promise Mild Italian Chicken Sausage on sale last week at Giant.  It's been in the freezer waiting to be used - just needed to find a recipe.  We've never tried chicken sausage before, and it was actually really good.  Much healthier and not nearly as greasy (for nutrition information: click here).  I highly recommend it.  Also very glad we went with the mild - it had plenty of bite to it : )  So this was really easy and a relatively cheap meal to make.  We served it up with green beans and a slice of italian bread.  Should make great leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

 1 pkg. Mild Chicken Italian sausage, 5 large links total
•  3 tsp olive oil
•  4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced very thin
•  14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes (undrained), Italian flavor
•  3 medium red potatoes, cut in thin slices
•  1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper
1 pkg. Mild Chicken Italian sausage, 5 large links total
•  1 cup of water

In a microwave safe bowl, combine potatoes and 1 cup of water. Microwave of high for 5 minutes. Pierce the sausages in various places with a fork or toothpick. Put the sausages in a skillet with the oil and sliced garlic. Brown on medium heat. Add tomatoes, potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and sausage is cooked thoroughly. Internal temperature of sausage should be 170°F. Serve with green beans and Italian bread.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Best Day at Target EVER! Major Coupons Used!

Picture 1 of target deals
Picture 2 of target deals
Yes... 2 pictures because all of these deals could not fit in one "normal" kitchen table shot of deals : )

I stayed up late last night, way too late to even admit to, to organize my coupons for this run. has recently released a ton of new store coupons.  These coupons from target's website can be "stacked" with manufacturer's coupons.  Stacking means you can use them at the same time on 1 product.  For example: 1 bottle of dish soap for $2.69.  Manufacturer's coupon for $1 off + Target Coupon for $1 off = .69 total for dish soap. 

I have never had this good of luck at target in 1 trip with getting stuff we will for sure use/need.  I feel like the store was especially stocked just for us : )  A lot of grocery items and some A-Mazing clearance deals on clothes.  Alright, here we go... this one is going to be quite the list!

What we bought with original prices and sale prices:
x4 Diet Pepsi 12 packs, originally $5.29 each.  On sale for $3 for 11, get the 4th one free
x4 Skittles bags of candy, originally $0.79 each
x3 T Bonz dog treats, originally $2.49 each
x2 Little Beggin Strips, originally $2.64 each
x1 Velveeta Cheesy Skillet, originally $2.54
x1 5ct. 24 hour Zyrtec allergy, originally $5.29
x3 Kashi TLC granola/snack bars, originally $3.99 each, on sale for $2.99 each
x4 Kashi crackers, originally $2.79 each
x2 Nivea Women's Body Wash Gel, originally $2.99 each
x2 Simply Lemonade individual drinks, originally $1.02, on sale for $0.73 each
x1 Simply Orange individual drink, originally $1.02, on sale for $0.73
x1 Seventh Generation Dish Soap, originally $2.69
x4 Campbell's chunky soup, originally $2.09 each, on sale for $1.50 each
x4 Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Rice, originally $2.34 each
x2 Merona Cropped Capris, originally $21.99 each, on sale for $5.48 each
x1 Merona Denim Cropped Capris, originally $19.99, on sale for $9.98
x1 Merona jersey/cotton sun dress, originally $20.00, on sale for $10.00
x1 Merona silk sun dress, originally $39.99, on sale for $9.98

Manufacturer Coupons used (Printable, Newspaper inserts and some were found on packaging):
x2 $1 off of 2 bags of skittles bags of candy
x1 $4 off of 4 bags of T Bonz or Beggin Strips dog treats
x1 $1 off 1 bag of Beggin Strips
x1 $1 off of 1 Velveeta Cheesy Skillet
x1 Free 5ct. 24 hour Zyrtec allergy
x3 $1 off Kashi Crackers
x1 $1.50 off 1 Kashi Product 
x1 $1 off 3 Kashi granola/snack bars
x2 $2 off any Nivea product
x2 $1 off Simply Lemonade individual drinks
x1 $1 off Simply Orange individual drink
x1 $1 off Seventh Generation product
x1 $1.50 off 4 cans of Campbell's chunky soup
x2 $1 off 2 Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Rice products Coupons used (printed from their website, 2 prints per coupon per computer is allowed):
x3 $1 off Diet Pepsi 12 packs
x3 $1 off T Bonz dog treats
x2 $1 off Beggin Strips dog treats
x1 $1 off Velveeta Cheesy Skillet
x1 $1 off 3 Kashi TLC granola/snack bars
x2 $1 off 2 Kashi crackers
x2 $1 off Nivea Women's Body Wash
x1 $1 off Seventh Generation product
x4 $0.75 off purchase of Campbell's chunky soup and Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Rice
x3 $5 off Merona pants/bottoms
x2 30% off 1 Merona item when you buy 2 (took $3 off x2)

Would have been: $221.44 retail
With target coupons, manufacturer's coupons and sales, Total OOP: $51.20
Total Savings: 77%    : )  Pretty A-Mazing!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Couponing from today - CVS, RiteAid and Home Depot

3 stores (CVS, Home Depot, Rite Aid) overall average of 79% savings!!!
We got some great deals today using coupons and actually have some time tonight to post about them.  Also did some MAJOR damage at Target, but that post is coming next because the deals were just too awesome to not highlight on their own.

We went to 3 stores for these deals.  This was the second time this week that we went to CVS.  I went on Wednesday and got over $35 worth of stuff for 8 cents!  Yep, that's right... 8 cents!  Then the flood hit and well, posting just didn't happen.  You'll see below that we got the Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets.  I can not recommend these enough!  There are 22 to a pack and the sheet goes in with your wash in the washer and also the dryer.  When I think about how much time it saves, how easy it is and one less trip to the closet to get dryer sheets or measure out detergent - it's really the only way to go.  The "Pure" kind is hypoallergenic.  I have to have that with all of my allergies and I'd swear by it.  We use the scented ones for our guest towels or sheets in guest rooms.  No need for everyone else to have unscented just because I have to! 

So here's what we did today:

First Store - CVS:
x6 Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets: originally 8.79 each.  On sale for BOGO Free.
x2 Large bags of skittles.  originally 3.79 each.  On sale 2 for 6.

Used the following coupons:
x3 $1 off of 2 purex 3-in-1 sheets manufacturer coupons
x2 $1 off skittles candy bags
x1 $3.79 off skittles with a BOGO free coupon from the CRT machine at CVS
x3 $1 ECB's from previous purchase at CVS

Would have been: $60.32 retail
With coupons, sales and ECB's, Total OOP: $20.58
Total Savings: 66%    : )

Second Store - Home Depot:
x6 Magic Erasers, 1 ct. originally $1 each

Used the following coupons:
x5 $0.75 off magic eraser manufacturer coupons
x1 $1 off magic eraser manufacture coupon

Would have been: $6 retail
With coupons, Total OOP: $1.25
Total Savings: 79%    : )

Third Store - RiteAid:
x2 M+M's, originally $3.99 each.  On sale 2 for $5
x2 Carefree liners, originally $1.49 each.  On sale 2 for 2.

Used the following coupons:
x1 $1 off 2 bags of m+m's manufacturer coupon
x1 $1 off 1 bag of m+m's Rite Aid video value coupon
x2 $0.50 off 1 Carefree liner product manufacturer coupons
x3 $1 Rite Aid Up Rewards earned from previous transactions

Would have been: $10.96 retail
With coupons, Rite Aid video values and Rite Aid Up Rewards Total OOP: $1.00
AND I earned $3 in Up Rewards to use next time, so I'm up $2 for this transaction!
Total Savings: 91%    : )

Overall - that's an average of 79% saved between all 3 stores.  I'll take that any day!!!

PA Flood 2011

Just a quick update for those of you that might be wondering... yes, we were in the PA Flood of 2011.  That makes for the 3rd natural disaster in 2 weeks.  I think we're just about done with those!  First was an earthquake, next was a hurricane and finally, we had a major flood when it rained for 72 hours straight here - over 14 inches of rain.  We consider ourselves lucky for a few reasons.  1) We were not evacuated 2) we kept power and "safe" drinking water the entire time 3) we were able to get anything we had in the basement out before it flooded 4) both of our college campuses were closed due to flooding, so we were able to be home and keep up with things here 5) the baby is not here yet!!!  I just kept thinking if this was 10 weeks from now and roads were getting washed out, I'd be freaking!

Below are some pics of what we were dealing with.  As of today (4 days later) our basement is drying out.  Again, we feel very lucky that our damage was minimal compared to most.

The broom we left down there is submerged up to the handle.

So lucky no major damage to major appliances including all of our heating systems.

We got a pump on the 2nd day at about 5pm and this is the start of that process... 2 days of pumping later, the basement is now drying out.

My job was to make sure the pump kept pumping the water far enough out into the backyard.  I couldn't be down in the flood water with being pregnant, so Ryan handled it all.  He's the best!

Near Ryan's campus... yes, that is my favorite CVS in the background.  Had to go to a different one in Lancaster today.  Lucky me that there is one on just about every corner around here!

Another picture of what it looked like around Ryan's campus.  Crazy!

This picture is from Hershey, PA - about 15 miles north of us.  The supercuts that Ryan goes to is behind this pizza hut, also flooded out... guess it will be a few more days until he gets his hair cut.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Hair Cut

I'm posting this mainly for myself (reference with the pictures) and for my family to show them my new hair cut.  If anyone else is reading and still cares, feel free to continue : ) 

before front view... ugh, looking so tired!
Before side view - holy crap this is BAD!
Before back/side view.  Note to self... go back to this picture anytime I'm thinking about growing it out again.  3 months of growing out got me to this hideous place AND my hair is growing super fast compared to normal!
After front view.  I swear, no additional make-up or anything else was applied - I just feel SO much better with it cut short.
After Back/Side view
After side view.  That stuff at the bottom was just needing to be combed down, it normally doesn't look like that : )
I got the nutty idea that I was going to try and grow out my hair with how fast it's been growing with me being pregnant.  Well this week I had enough of it and my friend said her lady here in town had an opening for the next day at 1pm.  I took the appointment and hoped for the best.  2 things happened.... 1) for the first time in over 4 years, I've finally found someone that I can trust to cut my hair!  I no longer will feel like it's a gamble each time I go (I've been switching almost every time between cuts in the last 4 years because I'm never quite happy AND 2) she has amazing rates!!!  $16 bucks for wash, cut and style.  With prices like that, I can afford to keep my hair short which means more frequent cuts/trims.  I guess that is one of the perks of living in a small college town (we sometimes are hard pressed to find those perks : )

If you're in the local area, check out Jebeny's facebook page to schedule your own cut!

BabiesRUs: Free Organic Baby Food, Good through today (9/5)

20 free jars of organic baby food - 20 different flavors so we can see what he likes : )
You might think we're nuts... buying baby food and the baby is still 12 weeks away from being born!  BUT - we got this baby food for free and saved ourselves $20 bucks in the process.  It doesn't expire until Feb. 2013 at the earliest and he should be well into baby food by May 2012.  We got 20 different flavors so we could see what he likes and what he doesn't.  That way we won't feel bad throwing it away when he doesn't like it and we can go back and buy the kinds that he does end up liking : )

Here's how we did it:
Through today (9/5) BabiesRUs is running a promo on Earths Best Organic Baby Food.  Stage 1 and Stage 2 jars are buy 20 for $10 (must buy 20).  The stage 2 jars (4oz.) are usually $1 each, so that's your best bet.  The stage 1 jars (2oz.) are 79 cents each normally.  I also signed up for BabiesRUs emails and received a coupon for "Save $5 off your purchase of $25 or more" in my email on Friday for the labor day weekend.  We needed to buy flexible guard rail for the baby's closet door to finish off our re-do on that (pics and project info coming soon) - so with the purchase of both, we hit our $25 mark.  Now here's where the coupons come into play.  Right now on there are coupons for $1 off 4 Earths Best Baby Food.  There is a limit of 2 prints per computer, so you'll need access to at least 3 computers to complete this deal.  (Thanks to my techy husband, we have access to 3 computers : )

Here's what we bought:
1 gummi guard rail cover strip 16.99
x20 Earths Best organic baby food: $20, on sale for $10

Total retail cost: 36.99
Coupon savings: $5 (from $5 off of $25) and $10 from promo deal = $15
Total spent OOP with tax: $16.35  or you could chalk that up to 20 free jars of baby food!!! 

Major Coupon Savings at Giant!

Saved 63% on groceries on Saturday : )
Unfortunately, I waited until Saturday night to go and take advantage of any of these deals at Giant.  That means that they have already passed - but I think it helps to post this stuff so people can see why I coupon and how my time of clipping, major organizing and pinching pennies is worth it.  This past week, Giant was running their $1 coupon doubler deal.  Let me explain...  Normally Giant will double any coupon up to $1.  For example, if I have a coupon for 55 cents, Giant will double that by kicking in an extra 45 cents (whatever takes me up to $1).  Which is why I LOVE finding and getting coupons for 1 item with 50 cents off, I know it's really going to be $1 off for me.  (Weis, our other grocery store that I shop at also has this same policy).  However, a few times a year, Giant will put coupons in their add for $1 coupons doubled up to $2.  There are only 4 per paper and you can only use 4 total attached to each Giant Bonus card (meaning they track you and won't let you double more than the original 4).  This is a great way to use $1 off manufacturer coupons and have them double to $2.  As far as I know, Giant does not allow for overages or money back, so it's important to plan to spend a little more than what you plan to save.  Here's how we did it this past Saturday:

Reynolds Aluminum Foil Wrap: $2.59
x2 Gold Fish Grahams $4.78, on sale for $3.20 for 2
Cottenelle Ultra Toilet Paper, 6 double rolls $4.89, on sale for $3.99
Giant Dill Pickles: 2.09
Giant brand paper towels $1.09, on sale for $1.00
Kando Pampers to-go baby wipes $1.67, on sale for $1.17
Bananas $1.36
x2 Alexia Harvest Frozen Vegetable Mix $ 6.38
Giant brand cream cheese $1.49
x2 Nexcare Active Bandages $3.98, on sale for $2.98
x2 Iron Kids Bread $4.98, on sale for $3.98

Coupons used:
$1 off Reynolds aluminum wrap manufacturer coupon
x2 $.55 off gold fish grahams printable coupon, doubled to x2 $1 off
$1 off Kando Pampers Product manufacturer coupon
$2.50 off Cottenelle Ultra Toilet Paper catalina coupon
x2 $1 off Alexia Frozen product printable coupon
x2 $1 off Nexcare bandage printable coupon
$1 off purchase of 2 iron kids bread manufacturer coupon
$1 off toilet paper in store purchase - catalina coupon
$1 off paper towel in store purchase - catalina coupon
x4 $1 off coupon doublers

Total retail would have been: $35.30
Total Saved with coupons and Giant Bonus Deals: $22.57
Total Paid OOP (with .16 cents in tax added): $12.89
Total Savings: 63%  (That's an awesome savings at the grocery store!!!  Anything over 40% I get excited about!)

Couponing at CVS!

This latest trip to CVS (this past Saturday evening) is a perfect example of why I coupon.  Not only does it save us money on the every day stuff in the grocery store that we pick up, but if you stack things just right, it can save you a boat load on some great deals/products.  I wasn't sure how this was all going to work the night we went through the register because it seemed to good to be true, but it worked out and we walked away with awesome savings!  Here's what we did:

1 Huggies Slip on Diapers - size 3: $11.99, on sale for $7.99
1 Always liners 20 count: $1.49, on sale for $.99
2 CVS baby wipes 72 count $2.99, total of $5.98
1 CVS baby wipes 128 count $5.98

Used the following coupons:
$3 off of a $15 baby purchase CRT CVS machine coupon print out
$3 off 1 package of huggies diapers CRT CVS machine coupon print out
$1 off purchase of baby wipes CRT CVS machine coupon print out
$4 off purchase of baby wipes AND diapers CRT CVS machine coupon print out
$.99 Free 20 ct. Always liners CRT CVS machine coupon print out
$3 off huggies new pull on diapers manufacturer's coupon

Retail would have been: $25.44
Total due after coupons: $5.95
Paid with $.36 cents left on a gift card
Total OOP: $5.59
Saved 78% off of retail!

Here's the best part - last week I spent $30 on CVS brand products (which is why I was buying the CVS brand wipes) and I earned $10 back in ECBs!!!  That means I made $4.41 on this transaction!  Thank you CVS!

Baby Bump: 27 weeks - getting close!

Baby and I are at 27 1/2 weeks today.  That means we have about 12 weeks to go if he comes on time and about 13 weeks to go before someone makes sure he gets here (I'm hoping to not have my labor induced... pitocin seems like the worst drug to me!  The epidural however, I'm fine with : )

So far the pregnancy has been going well.  He's an active little guy for sure.  We knew this from the ultrasounds and how much trouble they've had getting him to cooperate in those, but I'm now feeling the full effects of our little man.  His favorite hours for acrobatics are 9pm - 6am.  Not exactly conducive to me getting sleep.  I've also been suffering from HORRIBLE leg cramps.  These things are crippling.  They happened the other day during work when I was giving a presentation.  Needless to say, it probably looked like I was on some sort of drug with all the hoping around I was doing trying to get them to stop.  Amazingly, I just kept talking - but that was definitely a first in my career.  The worst ones are when they are in both legs or feet at once (I can never decide which side to tend to first) OR when they are in my calf, ankles and toes all at one time on one side.  I had never heard of leg cramps being a problem in pregnancy before.  After a lot of research, it turns out, it's pretty common.  Usually for 2 reasons: 1) extra weight gain taking a strain on you (not the case for me, still under 1.5 pounds from when we conceived) or 2) less blood flow and circulation to the bottom half because of where the baby is sitting and the pressure on the nerves (most likely what is happening for me).  My in-laws told me 3 days ago that both of their doctors at different times had said to eat pickles/drink pickle juice at night before bed to help keep them away.  I was a bit skeptical at first, but after 2 nights of my new routine of 6 baby kosher dills... I'm proud to say I'm cramp free!!!  I never thought I'd appreciate sleeping more than 5 hours at a time.  If anything, it has shown me that I can function on 1 1/2 hour spurts of sleep, so I'm less concerned about that for when he does finally get here : )
I like this one because it looks like he has chubby cheeks.  He's only weighing 2.2 pounds right now, so I'm sure they aren't "chubby" - but still, I like it : )
4D front view of his face at 27 weeks.  In another picture if looks like he might have hair already.  I was born with a full head of dark hair and Ryan isn't sure - but there are good odds our little boy won't arrive bald.
Looking TIRED at 27 weeks... this was before I converted to the pickle remedy and I was only sleeping for about an 1 1/2 hours at most.

This is a maternity shirt and regular khaki pants.  The next day I wore all non-maternity clothes to work and hardly looked pregnant again.  I'm telling you, it's all about the clothes.  I thought I would be much bigger by 27 weeks, but I'll take it as long as he's growing : )

Maine Lobster in Pennsylvania for 2 Iowa natives

3 states came together for this summer extravaganza!  Our friend Dixon is originally from Maine.  Her parents were coming down to PA for a visit and held a lobster bake for us at the end of the summer.  Ryan and I realized it had been forever since we had been to a camp ground.  Despite the rainy conditions, we dug in and enjoyed our FRESH Maine lobster.  And by fresh, I mean I got to tell each one of them goodbye before they went in the pot.  Funny thing is, I wasn't upset or grossed out at all - in fact, I kind of enjoyed the whole thing.  Guess I'm more ready for a little boy than I might have originally thought : )  We ended the evening with a whoopie pie taste off.  Apparently there is some sort of argument going on between the states of Maine and PA arguing over who has the best/original whoopie pie.  None of the whoopie pies are WLS friendly, so I did not partake.  However, I was willing to be the score keeper.  We came in with a tie from our taste testers... 2 for MA, 2 for PA and 1 split decision.  Guess the war will rage on between the 2 states.  Think I'm kidding... there was seriously a rally held here about it!  Check it out here!

Here we are in action with our Lobsters:
Cooked and ready to be consumed... these suckers are a lot of work.  I'm estimating you can burn about half the calories just trying to eat one!

Cooking in the pot right after I told them each goodbye : )
Ryan was a pro at eating these - he was doing them in double time compared to anyone else!

After this shot was taken, I put mine back down on the plate and looked at it awhile longer before working up the courage to "break" in.  My fingers/thumbs only hurt for a few days after this : )

On the left we have red velvet PA whoopie pie and on the right we have a HUGE MA whoopie pie, also called a GOB.  Call it whatever you want... everyone but me was on a serious sugar high after these were "tested" : )

Healthy Pizza Made Right At Home

The finished product: 14 inch homemade pizza - complete with his and her's sides : )
The ingredients - easy peasy
Before going into the oven to bake for 14 minutes at 450 degrees.
Hello Blog!  Where have you been?  Ok, the real question is... where have I been?  The last 3 weeks have absolutely flown by.  If it wasn't for this extra day off this labor day weekend, I can promise I wouldn't be posting right now.  School has started back up for both of us (no, we don't get the summers off... but when everyone else comes back, things tend to get nuts), I'm in the middle of teaching a class - just 2 weeks left to go, and of course - we're getting ready for baby each and every day/weekend.

Last night we stuck to our meal plan and our budget plan (hard to do on a holiday weekend) and made pizza at home.  This is really simple and easy.  Not sure it's cheaper than a Domino's or Pizza Hut deal, but I promise - it's much better for you!  The only thing we had to buy at the store to make this meal happen was the pizza crust.  The rest we had on hand.

Boboli Pizza crust (they come in original, thin, whole wheat or mini 8" sizes)
1/3 cup prego pasta sauce (use as much or as little as you'd like)
Pizza seasoning (ours came with our spice kit - I have no idea what's actually in it)
8 slices of low fat mozzarella cheese
Deli meat ham - cut or ripped into small pieces
No sugar added pineapple chunks (we like our Hawaiian)
Additional toppings used on my side: sliced black olives, green and red pepper and onions.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the pizza crust on a pizza baking sheet or prep on a sheet and then place crust directly on the oven rack for a crispier crust when you're done building up the toppings(we always use the backing sheet - it'd be too messy otherwise).  Place a thin layer of sauce on the crust.  Cover with 5-6 slices of cheese.  Add preferred toppings (we had them in this order: meat, pineapple and then veggies).  Sprinkle ripped pieces of remaining cheese over top.  Depending on your oven, bake for 10-14 minutes.  We go the full 14 minutes in our oven.  Let cool about 2-3 minutes after removing from the oven.  Cut into 8 pieces - serve and enjoy!!!  (Not the best for left overs, so better to have a bigger crowd to finish it up.  Because I can't eat as much, we usually end up throwing away a few slices).