~my thoughts about life~

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just Ramblings

If you haven't entered my Shutterfly giveaway, make sure to do so right away! The contest ends December 4th at midnight. Free fifty bucks!!!

I know I haven't updated about my cousin's baby...my apologies.  They went in for their appointment that Monday with a huge decision to make.  As I said, 7 of 8 doctors recommended they wait as long as possible.  It was a nurse who helped sway the decision.  She said that she's the one who takes care of these babies and knows the difference between one born at 26 weeks and one born after 30.  They decided to wait.

This Monday, they went to their 8:00 AM appointment with a C-Section scheduled for noon.  For the first time in six weeks, the ventricles in the brain got smaller!  It's nothing shy of a miracle of God!  He works in His own timeline, not ours!  So, my cousins get to wait at least another week!  The baby is up to 3 lbs. now and will continue growing with the steroids her mama is receiving.  It's good news around here!  Thanks for your warm thoughts and prayers!


I'm fully immersed in Christmas Spirit right now!  For the first time ever, I put my tree up in November!  We purchased a new one this year because the old tree makes Hubby seriously lose his temper.  This one stands on it's own and is pre-lit!  Bonus and bonus!  It looks totally real and makes me feel slightly better about the $250 we spent on it.  (We have to keep it until we die for it to be completely worth it.)  I set up some tiny trees in my front landscaping and they look totally adorable.


Does anyone remember the mouse in the house I had last year?  It nearly ruined Christmas for me.  It decided to nest in my box of Christmas ornaments.  When I figured out what happened, I carried the box right back downstairs and decided not to decorate for Christmas.  My grandma was doing very poorly with her Alzheimer's and I was very emotional.  Looking back, it was a good choice.  However, that choice means I had to take care of the issue this year.  Donned in stylish rubber gloves, I removed everything from the box and tossed out anything that had been chewed.  I washed everything else off, unless it was wrapped well or in a box.  My kids' stockings were slightly chewed.  Three of them are sentimental so I decided to launder and try to keep them.  Baby Girl's was the most eaten and hers was not sentimental.  I threw it away and hope to find a new one before Christmas.  I sterilized the rubbermaid box and plan to keep the lid tightly sealed from now on.


Today, I spent $50 on gift wrapping essentials.  Please do not tell my husband.  I used a $25 gift card so that he wouldn't realize the full extent of the damage.  Here's how I'm justifying the cost.  I ordered an industrial roll of brown kraft paper.  It's 1000 feet long, so it should last me til I die.  I also ordered 100 yards of burlap ribbon.  It's supposed to be used to wrap delicate tree trunks, but I think it will look very lovely around my kraft paper packages.  I also added 2300 feet of red and white baker's twine.  That's for extra loveliness and attaching the tags.  It will last my lifetime and will be passed on to my grandkids.  OK, are you convinced?  My packages are going to look so cute...you will surely be jealous.  I took an idea off of Pinterest for the gift tags.  You'll have to wait and see how adorable they are!  I am slowly turning into a crafty person, thanks to Pinterest. 


After I put up the new tree, I told Big Sis we still needed a tree skirt for underneath. 
She replied, "Maybe we can use one of my skirts!" 
"No," I answered, "your skirt wouldn't be nearly big enough to fit around the tree."
"Maybe we can use one of yours then!"
Sarcastic little booger...I love her to death!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's For Dinner?

If you haven't entered my Shutterfly giveaway, make sure to do so right away!  The contest ends December 4th at midnight.  Free fifty bucks!!!

I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I finally succumbed to the ever growing Pinterest fad.  Scared of addiction, I avoided it for years.  Finally, I just decided to cannonball into the the Pinterest Pool.  Yeah, I'm now an addict too, but that's another story.

ANYHOO- I noticed a recipe my friend pinned for Orange Chicken.  I like Asian food, but I'm not a huge fan.  I love P.F. Chang's and have enjoyed anything I've ever tried there.  The photo that went along with the post really reminded me of something I might see at Chang's.  I read the ingredients and they were all fairly normal.  I expected to see things like saki, root of wasabi, and other unpronounceable things.  The ingredient list for this recipe were mostly things I had anyhow.  I decided to give it a try.

Wowzers...it was the most amazing homemade Asian food I've ever tasted!  It was actually better than the Asian food I've had at most restaurants and totally tasted like it belonged on P.F. Chang's menu! 

I worried that the kids wouldn't like it (they like nothing).  They do, however, like fried rice.  So instead of making steamed rice to go along with it, I googled how to make fried rice.  (In case you're wondering, you steam the rice, then fry it in very hot oil.  It can't get much simpler than that!)  We don't like the egg or veggies in the rice anyway, so I just made it completely plain.

The kids tore it up; the hubby tore it up.  I took some to my mom who loved it.  I called my sister-in-law with the recipe and she made it the very next day.  She and her mom both went crazy over it.  She passed it on to her sister, who made it and went wild over it.  This is the new beloved recipe in my circle of friends and will be a regular on my menu!

If you even kind of like Asian food, I would suggest giving this recipe a try.  It's not too difficult to make but tastes like you prepared it in a gourmet kitchen.  Here it is, for all my favorite readers!

Orange Chicken
This is the photo my friend texted
me when she made it.  Excuse the
poor quality.
1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1/3 C flour
olive oil
1/2 T salt
1 t balsamic vinegar
3T ketchup
4 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
4 T brown sugar
1/4 t ginger
1 t red pepper flakes, optional

Put orange juice in a mixing bowl to thaw.

Chop chicken into large bit sized chunks.

Add to juice:  brown sugar, vinegar, salt, ketchup, ginger, and pepper.  Stir.

In a ziplock baggie, add flour and chicken.  Shake until each piece of chicken is covered with flour. 

Pour a small amount of oil in a skillet and brown the chicken.  (At this point, the recipe says you can add it to a crockpot to complete cooking.  I kept mine in the skillet and made sure the chicken was cooked all the way through.)  Cover the chicken with sauce and stir.

The recipe says to cook in a crockpot on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3.  I poured the sauce right into the skillet and brought it to a boil, which caused the sauce to thicken.  I served it right then over rice.

*I altered the recipe a bit for my taste.  Reviewers of the recipe mentioned that there wasn't nearly enough sauce for the chicken.  1 1/2 lb. is too much meat for my family, so I just cut down on the chicken and flour and kept everything else the same.  I used two medium sized breasts and one small chicken tender.

*I didn't have balsamic vinegar and didn't want to buy some to use only a teaspoon in the recipe.  I used a teaspoon of white cooking wine instead.

*I know the ketchup sounds gross, but I did it anyway.  I hate ketchup, but you could not taste it in this recipe.

*4 oz. of concentrate juice is 1/3 of a standard sized container.  I just put the rest back in the freezer to use next time.  My mom felt the orange flavor was a bit overpowering.  So if you're worried about that aspect, you could probably use a little less juice or dilute it a bit.

*I don't have red pepper flakes but I wanted to give it a bit of a kick.  I have cayenne pepper, so I used 1/8 t.  It was almost too spicy for me (I'm a wimp), so I might use a scant 1/8 t next time.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!!!  I'm going to make it again this week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals!

Are you an avid online shopper?  I can't tell you how much I enjoy shopping from the comfort of my own home, hot tea beside me and flannel pajama pants being my outfit of choice!  As of Turkey Day, I hadn't purchased one Christmas gift yet.  As of today, I am nearly done.  I have only visited one actual store, and that was to help out my aunt with her Christmas shopping.  Online shopping is Da Bomb! 

I scored so many Black Friday deals online, it gave me shivers!  Today is the oh so famous Cyber Monday and I would just LOVE to finish all my shopping today! 

For all you stay at home shoppers, have I got a deal for you!  Shutterfly is at it again and offering another fabulous promotion!  Visit http://www.facebook.com/shutterfly today and score 25% off!  This is valid on top of the discounts already on the site - up to 50% off!  This offer ends November 26, 2012 (11:59 P.M. PST).

ALSO- don't forget to enter yesterday's giveaway of $50 off an order of $50 or more!  You can't beat that deal!  The giveaway ends December 4th, so don't delay!

Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Giveaway to be Thankful for - SHUTTERFLY!

Yes, there is a giveaway associated with this post!  Stick around to find out the great news!

Ya'll know I'm a Shutterfly addict!  The personally designed photo albums are some of my favorite things in the whole entire world.  I have several albums and there are so many more I have in mind to make.

Shutterfly Christmas Cards are also something that score high on my Favorite Things list.  Did you see my cards last year?  They were da bomb!  I can't possibly imagine topping that this year, but I'm sure gonna try!  I haven't taken my family photo yet, so I'm not quite ready to pick out my card design at this time.  Here are a couple that rank among my favorites:

I guess I'll be going with a black & white photo this year!  We'll see...
If you order your cards through Shutterfly, I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed!  I think this is my fourth year using Shutterfly Christmas cards.
Make sure you browse all their Christmas Card designs!  There are so many fabulous layouts to choose from!  Be sure to check out their special offers too!
Now, are you ready for the BIG EXCITING NEWS???  One lucky reader will win $50 off an order of $50 or more! (This deal excludes tax & shipping and cannot be combined with any other promos.  It expires 12.14.12.)  What's better than free cash to spend at Shutterfly?!?
Here's the deal- leave a comment on this blog post to enter that includes your email address.  Easy as pie!
Wait- there's a bonus entry!  Leave a second comment if you are a follower of She Says!  Followers are my favorites and get two entries!  (Please do not leave a third comment correcting any mistakes.  Email me if you made a mistake.)
Important- this giveaway ends December 4th at 11:59 PM EST.  Please enter before then!
I can't wait to see who wins!  Giving away free prizes makes me giddy...especially at Christmastime!  Good luck to all!
This post is sponsored by Shutterfly, however all the opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Sad Today

A while ago, I mentioned my cousin who is expecting their second baby in February.  Yesterday, they got some heartbreaking news.  They're going to have to take the baby on Monday.  The swelling in the brain has intensified, and I guess the amount of fluid surrounding the brain has greatly increased.  I don't know any other details because the family is too broken up to talk about it.  She's only 26 weeks and the lungs are just starting to develop.  Today, they're administering high doses of steroids, but I can't imagine that much can be done between now and Monday.  It doesn't look good.

If the baby does survive the birth, she will be immediately transferred to Children's Hospital for brain surgery.  Her mother will still be in the Operating Room being stitched up after her C-Section, and that's more than she can bear right now. 

If they allow the baby to gestate longer, the chances of mental problems greatly increase.  The doctor gave them a choice between this Monday and next, but strongly suggested they move as quickly as possible.  How does one decide between taking the baby earlier, reducing the chances of survival or waiting and greatly increasing the chances of abnormality? 

We're still clinging to hope and trusting God who is in control.  We don't understand why things happen and we can't even pretend to try. 

Thanks for letting me dump this on you all.  I can't actually talk about it in real life.