Easy Homemade Vegetable Soup Recipe

                                                     

         
I love making soups and chili during the fall and winter months.  I adapted a soup recipe that you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen making and it’s delicious.  Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 package of stew beef
  • 2 cartons of Swanson’s Beef broth (32 oz.) or store brand  (I have used Food Lion brand)
  • 1 quart of your whole canned tomatoes or 32 oz. from the grocery store 
  • 1 package of Hanover frozen veggies or your garden veggies from your freezer
  • 2 -3 small potatoes cubed
  • 1/4 box of elbow macaroni (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Brown your beef in a tablespoon of butter or margarine. Drain, remove from skillet and place on a cutting board. Add your tomatoes, 1 carton of Beef Broth and 1 cup of water to a stock pot and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.  (You can cut up your tomatoes before placing them in the pot if you like smaller pieces). 


While tomatoes are simmering, cut beef into bite size pieces.  Add  beef and additional broth to pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Peel and cut potatoes into cubes. Rinse and add to pot. Simmer until almost done.  (You don’t want them to be completely done or they may get mushy). Add frozen vegetables and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.  Stir pot occasionally. Add 1/4 – 1/2 box of elbow macaroni and simmer until tender.  Season to taste. 

This soup gets better if it sits for a few days. You can freeze it in mason jars or soup containers for a quick and healthy meal.  It’s Yummy!

                                                           

Boo – Happy Halloween!

My adorable Minnie Mouse and Ninja.  Happy Halloween from my family to yours. 
                                                                             

Thirty One Tote Review

I received this Thirty One bag for review, and it’s a keeper.  It was larger than I expected, but I’ve found that the possible uses are endless.  I love the plaid, it’s a classic design.  The bag is well made and can serve as a week-ender, diaper bag, and would be great for carrying supplies to a scrap book party or beach bag. 

It has a hard bottom, which helps to ensure the content stays in place and the bag keeps its shape.  The bag is deep, which makes it an excellent week-ender.  The material is study enough to handle the beach.  Notice the pockets on the side.  It’s great for carrying baby’s bottle and sippy cups.  Toss in a bottle of water or drink for yourself.  You don’t have to worry about the liquid spilling inside, but if it does the fabric on in the sides are made of a vinyl like material.  Wipe it clean.   

Back to utilizing the bag for the beach.  Carrying a few beach towels won’t be a problem in this bag.  It’s big enough to handle the sun screen, tanning lotion and the shells that the kids find on the beach too.  Although I didn’t try it, I believe the sand can be easily wiped off.   

The only issue that I had with the bag were the straps. I wasn’t particularly happy about the material.  I’m not sure how to describe the material, they look similar to straps that you would find on a backpack.   They actually look nice going down the center of the bag, my problem was the handles.  Would that be a deterrent to purchasing the bag, no.  I’m a big fan of Thirty-One products.  I encourage you to check out the products at Thirty-One  and take a look for yourself.   They have great bags and accessories. 

Note:  I received this bag as compensation for this review, however, my opinion of the bag is my opinion only. 

Finding Love Again



I’ve met a man that could potentially be my soul mate.  I may be falling in love again!  After my on-line dating fiasco, I had just about given up on love.  When it was the least of my concerns, I met a gentleman that has potential.  I met this gentleman through my Uncle, who had met him on his job.  For some reason, he believed that we would be perfect for each other. 

I was leery, but also intrigued.  My Uncle had never involved himself in my love life in any way.  I was curious as to why he believed this person was a match for me.  He also has tons of other nieces, I wondered why he chose me.  After chatting with him to get answers to these questions, he said he believed that we had many things in common and I should at least meet him.  I agreed to give up my cell phone number, and I would take it from there.  I received a call the next night, but I decided not to answer the my phone when the call came through.  

The gentleman left a message, and I must admit his voice captivated me.  I decided to wait until the next day to  return his call.  When I did he was unavailable, so I sent a text.  He responded immediately.  I soon learned that he was a weapons expert and was teaching a class.  We texted off and on for the next 2 hours.  We decided to exchange pictures, we both liked what we saw.  We talked on the phone and texted each other for the next two weeks.  We decided to meet and we’ve been inseparable ever since.  We’re hitting the seven month mark.  He believes that I’m the one, and he’s going to marry me.  We’ll see about that, but I’ve decided to enjoy the ride. 

He currently lives in the next state; however, he will be relocating to my area.  I learned that he has been teaching in my area and along the east coast for about a year, and plans to relocate to my town.  That was a plus.  We found out that we had many things in common.  He’s divorced and has 3 children and 1 grandchild, I have 1 child and 2 grandchildren.  We both love seafood, wine festivals, amateur photography, travel and the Lord

There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to get my hopes up because I’m afraid of another disappointment, but there’s another part of me that’s saying take the risk.  He may truly be the one.  Things have already gone better than what I encountered on the on-line dating sites.  He’s a romantic, holds my hand, opens the door for me,  pulls out my chair, he conducts himself like a perfect gentleman.  A man who has a job and is a gentlemen, nice start.  I was curious to see what was under the exterior. 

I felt that I needed to do thing differently in hopes that I would attract someone worthy of my time.  You may be wondering what I did.  I read Steve Harvey’s book Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man and decided to follow his rules.  I decided that I would not lower my standards.  If he wanted to be with me he would raise his if necessary.  I can’t say that he raised his, but he respected mine. 

Secondly, I didn’t let my emotions get the best of me.  I followed my head and stuck to my guns on becoming intimate too soon.  He pressed initially, but I held my ground.  I made it clear that I wanted to wait and get to know him and I wanted him to get to know me before we took that step.  Becoming sexually involved too soon clouds a woman’s judgment.   He backed off and actually said he respected my decision and he would wait until I was ready.  Ladies, if he respects you he will wait.  There’s times when we meet someone that we’re attracted to, and get involved too soon because we’re afraid they’ll go elsewhere.  My attitude was go, but you won’t be visiting candy land anytime soon. 

As we spent more time getting to know each other, I leaned that he has been divorced for 10 years, and has had time to heal.  No excess baggage and no baby’s mama drama!  He clearly stated that he has a 13 year old; however, he doesn’t allow her mother to interfere in his relationships.  Another plus.  He’s ready for a permanent relationship.  He also stated that if I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship he would accept that, but he would have to move on. During one of our conversation, he said there were three ingredients to a successful relationship, God, trust and respect and they must be in that order.  If any of the ingredients were missing, the relationship would fail.  Wow, he really got my attention there. 

Another thing that I really like about him is that we can talk for hours about nothing in particular.  We burned the phone lines for 4 hours one night and I think we hit the 1,334th text message in a three month period.  We’re still going strong.  Stay tuned for periodic updates on my journey to love. 

How did you meet your significant other/husband?  I’m always up for a good love story.   

                                                                           

Freezing Green Tomatoes

fried green tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes anyone?  They’re delicious.  I had a ton of green tomatoes left in my garden, and decided to freeze them for use during the winter.  Yes, you can freeze them or water bath them in the canner in wide mouth pint jars. 

I decided to slice and freeze mine.  The easy way to prepare them for the freezer is to slice and than place individual slices on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Make sure slices are completely frozen, otherwise, they will stick together.  Place individual slices in freezer bags.  When you’re ready to prepare them, place the frozen slices into an egg and flour batter and drop them into hot oil until golden brown on both sides.  Season to taste.

Winner of Little Mermaid DVD Giveway

Congratulations to entry 318, Stephen Nettles, you’re the winner of our Little Mermaid DVD giveaway.  Your name and address have been forwarded to the promoter, and will be on it’s way shortly. 
True Random Number Generator  Min: 1         Max: 440      Result: 318

Thanks to all who entered.  Stay tuned for the next giveaway. 

Fabulicious Finds – Sports Tees for Boys


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I’ve been a big fan of Boscov’s Department Store for the past six years.  I started shopping on this site when my grandson was born and I’m still finding great buys.  I like quality at a good price, and I’ve always been able to find it at Boscov’s. 


My grandson is transitioning from Nick Jr. characters to name brand sports apparel.  Yep, at the ripe old age of 6.  What does a parent do, accommodate him.  I do, because I shop for quality items in my price range and I’ve always been able to find what I’m looking for. 

I love Boscov’s because they offer fast shipping, their site always has items on sale, and they offer quality products.  I ordered 5 tees for my grandson all at half price, and he loved them.    Two are shown.  The market is flooded with adorable items for little girls, but shopping for boys can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for stylish items.

My grandson is playing flag football and basketball now.  These tees where a great boost for him, and he sees them as being cool.  They’re made by Addias, so they’re quality items.  He loved the graphics and messages on the tees, Bring the Noise and Dominate the Game.  The other have Undefeated, Built to Win and Respect the Game. 

Cool and affordable!  My kind of shopping.  If you haven’t checked out Boscov’s for your son or grandson’s apparel, you must pay them a visit.  The have soccer and baseball tees available as well.  I’m sure you’ll find a deal that you will love too.  Where do you find stylish clothing for your son/grandson?  Please leave us a comment so we can share with other readers. 

Look Who’s Six – Happy Birthday

Hard to believe my baby boy turned six this week-end.  We spent the week-end celebrating his 6th birthday.  Yep, the top picture is from three years ago.  He is going up fast.  I’m amazed how his likes have changed as well.  No more Nick Jr. unless he’s watching cartoons with his baby sister.  He’s turned to Disney where they have real people,  as real as it gets on TV anyway.  No more dinosaur figures, hot wheels or toy soldiers.  He has iPad, X-Box and Kindle
Fire to play computer games and learning activities and a new four wheeler for outside fun.  You can find either a football or basketball in his hands.  We received a new bike for his birthday.  One without training wheels at that. 

His taste in clothes has changed as well.  No more Elmo, Handy Manny, or Cars tees.  He’s into Nike, Addias and Puma.  He now wears boxers, Jordan tennis shoes and his favorite sports team hats.  He’s playing flag football and basketball.  Where does time go?  

There was a part of me that was happy to be celebrating his 6th birthday, but a sadness too because I know it’s just a matter of time before his interest change even more.  Thankfully he still loves to snuggle with Mawmaw and thinks girls are yucky!  I have a few years left before he asks for the car keys and heads out on a date. 

Bad Parenting or Unfairly Treated?

Kids behaving badly or family unfairly treated?  This family believe they were unfairly treated because they were asked to leave Applebee’s as a result of their children misbehaving in the restaurant.  According to the parents their children are active, they were acting like children.  According to other patrons in the restaurant at the time, the children were literally running around the establishment and disturbing other customers.  This was in fact why they were asked to leave. 


As I look at this picture, I can believe they were running around disturbing customers.  Look at the mom holding the child on the right.  He’s about to take off in the picture.  Reminds me of my trip to TJ Max the other night.  There were two ladies there with a little boy and girl.  I’m thinking mother and grandmother.  The children ran through the store the entire time I was there and the grandmother yelled at them.  They just laughed and ran until their heart was content.  As I was checking out, the mother was at another register.  She tells the clerk,  “I have to go find my kid”.   My thought, she’s going to hold up the line to go find her kid. 


As I’m leaving the store, there’s a lady outside with 3 children.  She seems to be overwhelmed.  I’m looking at her and looking back at the lady in the store yelling at the children.  The lady outside proceeds to tell me that the little boy had run out in the street.  She grabbed him and took him back inside.  She stated she didn’t know who he belonged to he just took off running once he got inside.  She was clearly affected by the incident.  I know that I was affected by them running throughout the store, and the grandmother yelling.  So, I can see Applebee’s asking the parents to leave.  I wished TJ Max had asked the 2 ladies and their children to leave.  It definitely affected my shopping experience.  

If the children were running through the restaurant, I have no sympathy for these parents.  Parents control your kids, or stay home!  There are other paying customers there who would like to enjoy their evening out, and not be distracted by your “active” children. 

Do you sympathize with the parents or do you believe Applebee’s took the appropriate step?  Please leave a comment. 

Ideas for Cheap Halloween Costumes

Looking for inexpensive ideas for Halloween or playtime costumes?  Here’s a few ideas that you can start with:

  • Punk Rocker
  • Princess
  • Super Hero
  • Doctor
  • Ghost
  • Cowboy
  • Hippie
  • Farmer


Start with the children’s dress up clearance racks in your local stores or better yet head to the thrift store for items that you can convert or use as part of the costume.  If all else fails, head to yours or your kids closet and see what can be converted.   Buying Halloween costumes at the end of the season for next year’s use is a good idea too as well as from sales. 

You can put a pair of bib overalls and an old plaid shirt together for your son’s Farmer costume.  Can’t find a pair of bibs, what about a pair of jeans with a rope belt.  If you have a old handkerchief around, hang it from his back pocket or an old pair of work gloves from the Dollar Store.  Add a straw hat and a galvanized bucket to collect the treats and you’re good to go.

A Ghost is an easy one.  Buy an old sheet from the thrift store and get to work on the eyes, mouth and nose. 

Go for the mismatched, I don’t care what I’m wearing Punk Rocker look.  You can head to your child’s closet for this one.  Find a sweater, pair of leggings with a skirt, rip a few holes in an old pair of jeans, mix polka dots and stripes, whatever.  Spike her hair in some manner, add some funky earrings and bracelets from a discount store and add tons of make-up, which she will love.  Sneakers will work with this look or a pair of boots. 

Know a Nurse or Nursing assistant?  Seek out old scrubs or a lab coat.  You may be able to find them at your local thrift store.  If you can sew, cut down an old pair of scrubs to fit your child.  Buy a toy doctor’s kit with a stethoscope and use the medical bag to gather treats.  Print out a label to identify your little doctor.  If your child decides to be a surgeon, don’t forget the shower caps to cover their head and shoes.

A Hippie is an easy one.  Rip a pair of old jeans and insert fabric to create bell bottoms.  Tie dye a tee-shirt with your child.  Tie a bandana around his/her head.  If it’s your daughter, create an afro or curly hair effect.  Top off your costume with a poster protesting a cause or just make a colorful peace sign. 

Use your imagination and be creative.  The possibilities are endless.  If you have ideas, please leave us a comment so we can share with other readers.  We would love to hear from you.