Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pizza Casserole

I can't believe November has gone so fast! Friday is my last day at work for maternity leave...52 blissful weeks of not having to get dressed up to go into the office. Jeans and t-shirts, here I come! I still have lots to do before Christmas and baby, but I have been putting it off since I am off work a month early. I want to be sure I have something to fill the days before Christmas.

One of the things I have been doing in the last few weeks is freezing meals for January. This was one I found on Pintrest, it led me to a blog called For Mamas. I made this for dinner last week and froze half of it.

Pizza Casserole.

1 bag egg noodles.
1 large bottle pasta or pizza sauce
3 cups shredded cheese
1+1/2 Lbs ground beef
1 pkg pepperoni.
Italian seasoning
green peppers, diced
onions, diced.

In large pan, fry ground beef until thoroughly cooked. If using, do the same with the sausage. Cook noodles as per package directions. If desired, mix together onions, green pepper, sausage and ground beef. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of 13X9 pan. Layer as follows:
Half of meat mixture.
Half of  noodles.
Half of remaining meat.
Half of sauce.
Remaining noodles.
Half of cheese,
Remaining meat.
Remaining sauce.
Remaining cheese.
Top with pepperoni slices. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Yum. The recipe suggested using mozzarella cheese, but I used cheddar because I had a lot from the last time it was on sale. This was a recipe that I had everything in the fridge or freezer for, the only thing I had to buy was the sauce, because I was out, which is very unusual in my house!

I wanted to use up some leftover breakfast sausages that I had in the freezer, so I chopped and fried them into it. I also threw some pepperoni into the mix because I had extra. This was leftover from a pizza we had a few weeks ago.

This is half the layers in the dish. The recipe suggested onions, I think this would be good with green peppers to, but I left both out because I know Mr Man won't eat them.

Layers complete and ready to go into the oven! I meant to sprinkle the Italian seasoning into the sauce, but forgot, so I just sprinkled it on top of it all. It looks delicious even before it is baked.

I thought this was really delicious, a great combination of flavours. He was not wild about all the pepperoni, he said maybe if it was sliced thinner. This is my fault, as I chopped it myself. Next time I might just buy a package of pizza meats, but I will definitely be making it again, as it was quick, cheap and easy. Plus, I still have half of it in the freezer!

I hope everyone is having a great week, and that all is well!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Another fad that I fell in love with is the bookshelf with baskets. I really wanted to incorporate this into the nursery but just about anything, even a plain basket, around here costs between 10 and 20 dollars. Each. That can add up quick! So, i decided to attempt to make my own.

I started out with a stack of cheap, kinda ugly baskets from the dollar store, 2 dollars each for this size. I have three sizes, these deep ones, some shallower squares and some mini baskets.

I wanted everything to match, but the purple camo fabric came from a store over an hour away, so instead I used this turquoise fabric that I had bought when I was considering another colour because I could not find the purple in my city.

I measured one side of the basket and multiplied that by four, then added a centimetre for the corners. I also put the fabric to the basket and decided how deep I wanted it to go. I cut about 3.5 inch strips from my fabric. I used a 12 inch ruler, so my cuts were a little crooked. Meh. I pinned the fabric to my baskets (above) and hauled out my trusty glue gun. Sewing machines hate me, so I cheated.

Basically from there it was just tuck and glue. And burned my fingers! I did the outside first, removing and replacing the clothespins as necessary, and then I did the inside. I made sure to have a line of glue up the corners as well, so they are not loose.

Ta-Da! These are the deep baskets, I have 5 of them. They will be for diapers and some quick change clothes. 

The shallow square baskets, there are 4 of them. They will hold wipes and toys

And the mini ones, they will be for the dresser and will hold things like a hair brush, barrettes when she is older, and other small items. .

They are not on my shelf yet, because this is what the nursery looks like right now, or at least as of last weekend. 

The bike has been removed, there are two chairs in there that will hopefully be out next weekend, and then I can start re-arranging things, We are still using the dresser I plan on doubling as a change table, hopefully we will get our bigger one out of storage next weekend as well, so we can put the smaller one in the nursery. I am dropping off the fabric for the curtains this weekend, and I already have my wall decals, it is just a matter of getting them up. I am finished work next Friday, so I will have plenty of long day times in December to get everything done while Mr Man is at work!

Hope everyone is having a great week! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meal Planning

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to try meal planning. I have been reading a lot about it online and thought it might help me cut costs, and have leftovers to put in the freezer for after baby comes. I put it off for a few weeks, and then last week finally got around to giving it a 2 week trail. We are now halfway through week 2.

In order to get Mr Picky on board, I had to agree on a few things, one is not much pasta, he is not crazy about it. Another is I have to incorporate at least 1 boxed meal every once in awhile  The man likes his KD and Hamburger Helper! Now, I am not doing all the compromising; He has to try at least one new recipe a week. He has a stock of cans that he can make if it turns out he does not like it or it is not enough, or if I am not home to cook.

I started with a simple spreadsheet, labelled with the week at the top and the days of the week down the side We get the flyers on Friday, so I decided this is the day I will plan for the next week. For now, I have my 'start day' as Monday, but I found to much overlap last week, so I might change that this week to Saturday.

Last week, I just simply filled in meals I knew I had stuff on hand for. Monday was my new recipe, I found one for hamburger steaks on Pintrest, also know around here as Salisbury steaks. Tuesday I made chicken pot pies, also something new for him. I made them last Christmas with turkey  The only thing I changed was I used packaged gravy instead of homemade. I had a lot of leftover veggies, I over estimated the size of my pie pan, so the next day I made another for the freezer. Wednesday, I made another new-to him recipe. Last summer I made potato patties out of an Irish Pub cookbook I have. I enjoyed them, he did not, so he had a couple and then a can of soup that night. Thursday was 'can' day, aka, fend for yourself because I had a Doc's appointment before work and had no time to cook, I took the leftover potato patties. Friday was pizza. I was going to make homemade, but instead just used a deli one. Saturday we always go to his Mom's for burgers, but she was sick this past weekend so we went to East Side Mario's, we had not been there in a long time. Finally  Sunday, I made one of his favourites, Goulash. Basically, it is hamburger and macaroni with a can of tomato soup thrown in. The only things I had to buy for this week was the pastry mixes, a gravy mix that I did not end up using (it is for next time) and a box of potatoes, I made them Monday because I did not feel like peeling potatoes that day and he likes them once in awhile. I'll eat them, but I am not crazy about them.

This week's flyers showed a few good sales, whole chickens, roast beef and pork chops all on sale! Friday, I bought one of each for the freezer, and Monday, I made pork chops and mashed potatoes. Monday morning, I went back to the store and got a nine dollar chicken, I threw him in the crock pot Monday before bed and had him cooked up by the time I woke up Tuesday. I made gravy and mashed potatoes with him. Today I am going to have a sandwich for lunch and then freeze the rest of the chicken and gravy, probably for another pot pie when I get more veggies. .

Tonight's dinner is going to be a beef stew, I didn't have to buy anything for it because I have plenty of left over veggies and a package of meat in the freezer from when I made one a few weeks ago. Tomorrow's dinner will be the same, no purchase necessary, as I am making one of my favourites: lasagna. I always have the ingredients on hand for that and half of it can go in the freezer. For Friday, I got a 5 dollar roast, he is in my crock-pot now because I did not want to freeze it and was afraid to leave it in the fridge any longer. I will most likely make gravy & mashed potatoes with that to. Saturday is our out night, and finally Sunday I have the promised hamburger helper.

So, in the middle of week 2 and it is going good. I have started a second page for meals that are a success, once I get about 20 or 30 I can start a rotation. And I have started a third page on my spreadsheet for a freezer inventory, so later I can just pick what I want off it and make sure I have it pulled for the meal.

Hopefully there are some good deals this week, usually about once a month my grocery store has a buy one get one sale, and it should be soon. My stores are getting low and with only 4 paychecks to go before maternity leave, I need to stock up; preferably cheaply because it is bill time to!

I will keep you updated on how the meal planning is going, and hopefully be able to share a few new recipes, to!

Have a good day, everyone!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget

It is Remembrance Day here in Canada, a day we stop and remember the men and women who fount for our freedom. Every year I try to go to the services  and this year is no different. We just got back. I did not take any pictures this year, but these are some that I have taken in years past. Always remember and never forget the sacrifices they made. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Closet Dividers

All around the internet, I have been seeing closet dividers for baby's room. You get so many clothes in so many sizes, it is easier to just look in and see things by size, I am told. My favourite ones were homemade out of wooden door hangers, I wanted them to match my Nursery Letters, so i decided to undertake the task.

My first stop was the dollar store. I was sure I had seen the wooden door hangers there! No such luck. So I went to Michael's instead. None there, either! I did, however, find some little pieces of wood on sale for 1.99. They were perfect. I also got some small decorative wooden shapes to go on each one. When I got home, I realized the wooden pieces were actually 4 packs instead of the 2 packs I had originally thought, which means they are half the size width wise. They were still OK, so I didn't bother returning them.

First things first, I sanded them down and got my man to drill some homes in them for hanging.

I took one of the wooden shapes on each and traced the outline of it. No sense on wasting paint on an area that is going to be covered! I also drew my camo spots.

Colour one: Lilac purple.

Colour two: Purple-purple. 

Colour three: Dark purple.

And colour four: White. 

I put a layer of mod podge on them before realizing I forgot the numbers. I could not find stickers that i liked, so I just painted them on with yellow paint. I am thankful for the mod podge, as I had accidently mis-numbered them, so I had to go back and wipe some numbers off, it would have been much harder if it was just paint underneath. I finished up with 3 more layers of mod podge and then painted the sides and back purple, I left them podge-less. 

Finally, I lined up the decorations, pinned with a clothespin and used my glue gun to attach them. 

Here is one hanging in the closet with a onesie I got from my older sister at the shower. 

These are not the best pictures below, but here is a shot of each.



 So, things are starting to come together! Next up is my baskets for a bookshelf I am putting in the room, they are about half done.

Hope everyone is having a good week!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Baby Shower

 Yesterday was my baby shower, my sister threw it for me and we all had a good time! She managed to get purple decorations, which I forgot to get a picture of!

My sister made most of the food, including these yummy cupcakes! We also had egg, tuna and ham sandwiches, chips, fudge, cookies, banana bread, and of course, the obligatory fruit and veggie trays. We got a lot of nice gifts, as well, so here I am to show them off!

Staring off with some nice homemade goodies, this is a quilt that baby's Grandmother made.

And a knitted set that her Great-Grandmother made.

The one below is a set that my Mom received at her baby shower for me. I wore it only a couple of times, for pictures, and it has been packed away with the Christmas ornaments since. I can't wait to have baby's pictures taken in it!

My sister gave us a nice diaper bag...that was full of goodies!!

And from some of the girls I work with, I got a container full of more small things for baby.

A few toys for baby to play with.

And of course...plenty of clothes!! These are two of my favourites, one for each of us from his Mom.

A bundle of tights and pants from various people. Oh! And a hat, over to the right.

And more clothes, this is the next day with everything sorted by size. Some are things I bought before, but most is shower gifts. We had a onesie count game, and altogether I got 16 onesies and about 10 sleepers.

This pile below in the closet is sized 0 to 9 months. Baby is going to be well dressed for those months!

I also got some soft fleece blankets, a monkey swaddle and a mosquito net for the stroller. This was from my Mom, because she lives in the country where there are lots of bugs!

And finally, the books! These were by request and from various people. My cousin gave me the Gruffalo books as these are her 2 year old's favourites, and a friend gave me the Belly Button Book because it was her son's favourite when he was a baby.

Some things I did not get a picture of included some bath products, rattles, receiving blankets, washcloths, and a changing pad. I still have plenty to go through to have a space for everything, but slowly it is coming together!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!