Saturday, April 25, 2009

Romano's Macaroni Grill "What's for Dinner" Gift Basket

Jersey Bites is giving away a "What's for Dinner" gift basket this week. As busy WAHMs we can all appreciate a great meal, easy to make, affordable, delicious, and our family will love. This giveaway is just what you need!
Visit Jersey Bites to learn more about Macaroni Grill's line of dinner kits and receive your chance to win one for free!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easy Ravioli Bake

Easy Ravioli Bake

Easy Ravioli Bake

Just four ingredients and 10 minutes prep is all you need to for an oven-ready Italian-style casserole.

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 1 hour 10 min
Makes: 8 servings

1jar (26 to 28 ounces) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
1package (25 to 27 1/2 ounces) frozen cheese-filled ravioli
2cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
2tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1.Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish 13x9x2-inches, with cooking spray.
2.Spread 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce in baking dish. Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in single layer over sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
3.Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Make the Most of This Recipe With Tips From The Betty Crocker® Kitchens

Do you have meat lovers in your family? Any meat-filled ravioli can be used instead of the cheese-filled variety.

Add one of the following on the first layer of ravioli: 1 cup sliced mushrooms, 1 package (9 ounces) Green Giant® frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain, or 1 1/2 ounces sliced pepperoni.

To make this super-easy recipe ahead of time, layer the ingredients in the baking dish, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake as directed.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving: Calories 360 (Calories from Fat 110); Total Fat 13g (Saturated Fat 6g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 30mg; Sodium 870mg; Total Carbohydrate 48g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 11g); Protein 15g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 8%; Calcium 30%; Iron 10% Exchanges: 1 Starch; 2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 1/2 High-Fat Meat Carbohydrate Choices: 3
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

This recipe was found at

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Free Credit Report

You see all these offers to get a free credit report if you sign up for their free 2 week trial. Did you know you don't have to go all through that to get a free report? You are entitled to a free credit report from all 3 credit reporting agencies once every 12 months absolutely free. You do not need a special offer to give you something you are already entitled to. Just visit and you can get yours absolutely free. No strings attached. I have been doing this for a few years now.

My garden

This past week has been quite difficult as my father has been ill. He was experiencing numbness in his legs and it was spreading into his hands. They admitted him to the hospital Monday for tests but came up with a conclusion that was not expected. His blood sugar is not being controlled. His symptoms are being blamed on uncontrolled diabetes. With him having to battle cancer in the past, my fear was this came back just in a different part of the body.

I found myself looking for ways to occupy my mind. My mother has decided to start to garden again after so many years. We enjoyed this for so many years. I can remember as a young girl helping my mother. I still have memories of my brother just under me going out to the garden and talk to his special plant. We were always taught to talk to our plants and they would grow from love. This made me decide to join my mother and start a garden of my own.

My garden started with 3 flower pots for my front porch. I planted the seeds last weekend so expect to see them begin to sprout this coming week. Next came 3 mini small herb pots I found at target. They were only $1 each and will adorn my kitchen window for a bit. I have also started plants from my mothers seeds that she will be planting this year - zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, 2 types of tomatoes, spinach. I will also add onions, green onions, garlic, cilantro, and chili. The men in my life like their salsa so what a great way to go by growing my own.

I plant to keep this in large planters along the back porch this year. Next year my garden will be in a section of the yard prepared. It seemed as though time crept up and didn't have time to get my area sectioned and prepared.

With my new garden I hope to regain back some of the special times I miss with my son. As he grows into a man, being around mom is not always very cool. With my brothers' growing families this will become great memories as I share my garden with my nieces and nephews.

Something wonderful that can be used for starting those gardens are empty egg cartons. Not the styrofoam cartons. The cardboard. Most of these are recycled already. Place soil and seeds in each compartment. When it is time to plant in your garden you can even just cut these up and plant. The carton will break down and is completely safe. Just another way to add a little green to your lifestyle without changing much.

I will post pictures along the way.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Teachers make it diffcult for some WAHMs

I am finding my sons teachers do not understand the concept of a work at home mother. I cannot be the only one they have ever come across. The comment I get often is "since you are home all day...". What!? Yes I am physically home but that doesn't mean I can drop everything at any moment. I am a working mother just like those who work outside of the home.

This year seems to be especially difficult with many teachers as it is. My son has ADHD and as he enters puberty it almost amplifies the symptoms making it difficult to work with. Medication can only do so much and I will not over medicate so teachers do not have to accommodate his needs. This is where the comment comes in most the time. As if my being home all day will allow me to take him to school each day and go to every class.

I have never had so many teachers work against me in his moving forward in his studies and personal growth in his 10+ years of schooling. I believe some teachers feel (coming from various other comments) ADHD is something you grow out of by the teenage years and he should be able to better control himself. I am sorry but that is not the case. He is doing far better than I did in school at this age but I sometimes fear he won't be able to complete school in a regular setting with such resistance from teacher thinking old school that overactive, inattentive children have no self control and comes from bad parenting.

The other problem is teachers do not get the education they need to understand and work with such disorders. What about these children with autism? Yes many children with disorders are placed in special education but many are in inclusive classes. We all have the same goal. We just go about it differently. That goal is for our children to be at their best and get the education they deserve. Many other disorders get more exposure for what they go through and receive more accommodations, compassion, and understanding than my child who has a disorder as well. I too suffer from this disorder and every day I struggle to stay focused. I learned to adapt and most do not see what I go through.

Don't misunderstand. I am not saying mothers working outside of the mom need less support or children with other disorders should be ignored. I am just trying to wrap my head around the idea I am seen is a stay at home mother not a work at home mother and my child chooses not to control himself and stay focused and control impulses like other children.

We need ADHD awareness. It is real. It is highly misunderstood and greatly misdiagnosed. This is why we need the education and awareness. We need the funding for better research. We need the funding to better educate teachers, parents, health care providers. Where are our walks to raise awareness and donations. Where is the education so doctors are not passing on a prescription and sending us on our way. Where are the teachers that have been well taught.

There are great doctors out there. There are great teachers out there. There is just not enough. We had one up until about 4 yrs ago. His pediatrician was fabulous. He was well versed in childhood and adolescent ADHD. He worked with us. Never against. We had some great teachers in elementary school who understood and worked with him. He thrived. It wasn't until middle school (7th grade) and the loss of our doctor that he had since birth. Children with ADHD do not do well with too many changes. They like routine and habit. That is why they follow the same patterns over and over. Its what they know.

Now I just need to get next years teachers on board and hopefully squash the resistance we have felt for so long. He will be a 10th grader next school year, learning to drive, following with a job to start in the summer before 11th grade. Maybe I can finally get these teachers to understand I do work. I just happen to work from home. Maybe they will learn I have to schedule meetings just like everyone else. I can't always take their calls at anytime during non-emergencies. I can't do their job with just a phone call putting my child on the phone to tell him please just get through the class without her calling me again. And maybe I can keep teachers from punishing him for what he has no control over and using a zero as punishment. Until then I will campaign to change their thinking of WAHMs and ADHD.

Flour children

One way to get a rise out of your child is to mix up a batch of craft dough he can turn into a family of stand-up dolls and pets. Once they're baked, he can outfit his collection by painting on features, clothes and accessories.

To make the dough, combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl. Knead the dough until it is smooth and rubbery.

Early stage of Flour ChildrenFor each doll, first form a head by rolling a piece of dough between your palms (it should be roughly the size of a Ping-Pong ball). Make a second, slightly larger ball for the torso. Or, if you want to dress the figure in a skirt, shape a triangular trunk. Press the head onto the torso, applying a few drops of water to make the dough sticky, if necessary.

Next, shape and attach cylindrical arms and legs. Pinch the lower ends of the legs to form feet. Attach ears and a nose, and use a toothpick to etch facial features. Bake the figures on a foil-lined cookie sheet for 1 hour in a 275-degree oven. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Now your child can fashion footwear for his dolls by flattening pieces of dough into thin circles and wrapping them around the feet. (Remember, the bottoms of the shoes will need to be level for the figure to stand up on its own.) Use the same method to craft a wig for the doll's head.

Bake the figures for an additional hour. Let them cool before painting (acrylics work best). Unbaked dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

Find this article and more at

Friday, April 3, 2009

You can do what with baking soda?

You can do what with baking soda?
By Mandie Stevens

Of course you know you can bake with baking soda, and you probably know you can add it to your washing machine to give your laundry detergent an extra boost but here is a list of uses you may not know!
· Puts out fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and rugs.
· Adding baking soda to your laundry helps get out grease and oil!
· Baking soda removes stains from marble, Formica, and plastic surfaces when you make a paste by adding water.
· Add it to your kitty litter to help with stinky odors!
· Sprinkle in the bottom of your dishwasher to help with odor build up and also run a cycle with baking soda instead of soap to give your machine a good cleaning!
· Keep drains clean and free flowing by adding 4 tsps of baking soda in the each week. Flush it down with hot water.
· Soak your shower curtain in water and baking soda to clean them.
· Take ½ tsp of baking soda in ½ glass of water to relieve acid indigestion or heart burn!

You can even use baking soda as a deodorant, to relieve canker sores, or to gargle with to freshen your breath and keep your mouth clean!

Mandie Stevens is a mother of 2 and owner of Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to receive new articles weekly!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Faux Fish Sticks

What's for dinner this April Fools' Day? Cookie fish sticks and tart taffy peas.


Sugar wafer cookies
Peanut butter
Green taffy candy (we used green apple AirHeads)
Seedless strawberry jam
1. For the fish sticks, place a couple of handfuls of cornflakes in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Cover 2 sugar wafer cookies with peanut butter, then toss them in the cornflake crumbs to coat.

2. For the peas, tear off and roll small pieces of the taffy candy into balls. If the taffy is too stiff to work with, microwave it for about 6 seconds.

3. For the ketchup, use a fork to stir a few teaspoons of the jam until it's smooth.

Find this fun recipe and more at