Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crock Pot Stuffed Cabage Rolls

I love to make easy dinners in my slow cooker/crock pot. I tried out a new recipe for Stuffed Cabage Rolls but also did a few stuffed bell peppers in a regular pot. Both are so good topped with sour creme.....
I was supposed to use two cans of tomato sauce for the sauce but I only had two cans of stewed tomatoes. They worked just fine! I also added some fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar and ten shakes of Worcestershire sauce.
I was supposed to chop a whole onion but only had about 3/4 cup so I just added dried onion flakes to the meat. I also add one egg slightly beaten, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 tsp each dried basil, parsley and oregano. I needed two small cans of chopped mushrooms and didn't have any canned so I used 1/2 a carton of fresh. It was sooooo good!

I added my two pounds of browned ground beef and two cups of cooked rice to the spice mixture.
I was originally supposed to make 14 stuffed cabbage leaves but I ended up only getting 11 good leaves and the rest of the mixture I put in 6 large bell peppers. I made the same sauce mixture for these, spooned some on top and poured the rest on the bottom.
In the slow cooker I poured the tomato sauce mixture on top of my rolled cabbage leaves and let it cook on high for an hour and then turned it to low for 4 hours. Browning the meat helped speed up cooking time.
I cannot tell you how good the house smelled. We had to do deliveries and it was sooooo hard to not eat first. We came home with hungry tummies!
The stuffed cabbage is very similar to the Russian dish galubtsi. So we topped ours with sour cream just like you would galubtsi. It was beyond delicious!

I am linking this up today to Kelly's Korner Crockpotalooza!
This is also the last week to enter my giveaway here- perfect for families with school-age kids!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Since I've started school back, my days are so, so long! I have to do my schoolwork, get the girls their homework for the day, go to school, help Emil, come home cook, clean, grade their homework, take a shower and if I'm lucky start on my homework before midnight! It's been stressful.
So today, Emil offered to take the girls out for a while and let me stay home...alone... to study in the uninterrupted quiet.... THANK YOU PAPA BEAR!!!!
I can probably count the number of times I have stayed home alone in the past ten years on one hand...this is a real treat! (I'm not saying I don't love my girls or being a mom, sometimes I need a time out and just rest and think about me.)
SO....... the first thing I did was put the TV on classical music.... I would never be able to do that if everyone was home!

Then I folded a load of clothes, washed another and after this post will put a third load in. I swept the floors, mopped the kitchen and living room, washed all the dishes, cleaned the table then cleaned the kitchen....with no interruptions!

Mom texted me and asked me if I was having fun is my response....

I just may have put my karaoke machine on and sang some Whitney Houston....maybe...after dancing around my living room to "Family Tradition".... just maybe....

The girls called and said they would be home in about an hour, so I uploaded these photos, am writing this post, made me a cup of Cafe Mocha......

and now am getting ready to buckle down and study some hormones and the heart...

I am so thankful Emil took the girls and gave me some free time. I don't ask for much and this was greatly appreciated! This little break should hold me over for a few sure was nice. I do miss them all I crazy?

Today was supposed to be our last day of triple digits... I sure hope it is. Yesterday we supposed to break all types of heat records. It was so hot! Both Emil and I got really bad headaches, and body aches yesterday. I think it was heat exhaustion. We weren't even out in it that much, but what we were out in was unbearable. It's like you can't even breathe it's so hot and so much pressure.

Sunday we girls stepped outside after lunch. It was the hottest I have ever felt outside....

This is why......

I am so ready for fall. I've been looking at fall crafts on pintrest and am ready for some fall scents. I've been hounding my sister about Scentsy fall scents. I want fall colors and scents and crafts....I am ready for fall!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pink Saturday - Goodbye To Summer...

Today as were walking through Lowe's I wondered over to the Garden Center to see if they have any cactus... I didn't find cactus, but I did find a few pretty pink flowers left. AND since it's Pink Saturday time, I thought I'd snap away!!

Birds of Paradise, Mexican grass (?) and Rangoon Creeper

I absolutely LOVED these orchids!!

And this flower, Bromeliad, really caught my eye....very unique!

I guess since Fall is supposed to be coming now, not that you'd know it here (we are expecting 108 today) I guess warmer colors and mums will be popping up. I only had one good bloom from my roses this year. I lost five crepe myrtles, all my tomatoes, basil and one miniature rose. I think it's just been too hot for anything to grow. Hopefully next year will have a better growing season!
You can visit our sweet host Beverly's blog here to see more sweet pinks!


You can enter my giveaway here....the winner will be drawn next week!

Ready For The Weekend!!!

I am so ready for this weekend! This past week has been so hectic and crazy for us. I started college back, Monday through Thursday, and Lena started her homeschooling back full time as well. I've been wanting to get the girls in bed by 10:30, a time both Emil and I agreed on. However, there just isn't enough time in the day and they've been getting to bed closer to midnight!! This coming up week I plan to buckle down and fix that!

Last night when the girls and I came home from being out of town, my sweet Papa Bear had dinner cooked (Dover fish and rice) and had the table set for us!! It was soooo good and so, so sweet!!!

Then today after I came home from an appointment he made some appetizers for us.... grilled bread topped with sprotik fish, fried garlic potato cubes, fresh cilantro and cheese.... so, so good!!

Since we successfully finished this week with our nerves in tact (and CC did SO good in Math today), I promised the girls I would take them to Gigi's for cupcakes. I know you're not supposed to reward with food....because we're not dogs...but we really needed to just get out of the house, sit in a cool place, laugh and talk and have fun!!!

Lena choose the Banana Split cupcake.... it was good!

I went with the Miss Princess cupcake. It was good but still no Cupprimo.

And CC choose Merry Margarita, with the warning, "Don't eat and drive!"

She loved her Margarita Cupcake.....

Maybe a little too much!!! haha! (I think the tequila was getting to her!) The girls did sneak in a nice picture when I left my phone on the table.......

And then they decided to make fun of all the young kids who make these silly fish/duck/confused faces and show a peace sign....I guess that's what happens when they get too much sugar in them!!

When we came home CC and I watered the grass. She got smart and started spraying me. I took off running, hiding behind the car on the driveway and slipped and cut up my leg pretty nice!! But we had fun....lots of fun....and she just might have been trying to get me back. She said she was trying to spray, "that stupid little braid on my head!"

We don't have much on the schedule for tomorrow and I am glad! My Chemistry book came in today and I am so excited to start on homework!!! And this is going to be one of the hottest weekends on record, so I definitely plan to stay inside!!!

I'll be catching up on laundry, doing homework, grading all of Lena's many, many lessons and maybe make Tiramisu brownies for our friends in Austin.....

I am just so over this heat...I really, really want a change of weather! I need some cooler temps and a little rain!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

College, Guinea Pigs and a Surprise

Yesterday CC asked me to stop her at PetSmart so she could buy bedding for her guinea pigs. I honestly thought bedding was all we would be walking out with.

But then Lena saw this.....

and she has been begging for a guinea pig.....

She fell so hard in love with the black cowlick guinea pig. She made a phone call to her daddy and this cutie came home with us!

Meet Jynx, the newest member of our family!!!

Lena held him most of the way home. CC helped her set up his cage. She has hardly gotten any homework done, she has played with him so much today!! I think Jynx is going to be pretty spoiled!

About a month ago Lena had to keep CC's guinea pigs in her room for about a week. They loved all the attention they got from her and she loved having a guinea pig (or two) to play with. Gypsy, the newest one, is on the left and the beautiful, bad Tara (Tiramisu) is on the right.

Today after school I came home and Mom was here. That is always so nice! I love coming home and she is here. Papa Bear was marinating ribs and sausage and ...... he and the girls cleaned the house up and down. The refrigerator was spotless...better organized than it has been in years! I was so excited and happy!! It meant so much to me, especially since I started college this week and things have been so stressful and hectic! Emil even washed the dishes AND cleaned the laundry room!! You don't know what a nice surprise that was!!!

We grilled veggies...eggplants, zucchini, yellow squash and fresh was so delicious!

And of course had ribs and sausage.....

We all ate together and talked and was so nice!

My Anatomy teacher has been all that I expected...and more.... she is tough, strict, yells, is super sarcastic, she humiliated a boy for asking a question, cut down a girl for correcting her that Labor Day is not this coming Monday but the following AND.....she actually took a students cell phone today because it rang during class!!!!

I do have to say, she explains things very clearly. She makes sure you understand before moving on. However, I would be terrified to ask her a question even if I didn't understand. We took lots and lots of notes today. My arm hurts from all the writing!

My chemistry class will be awesome! I LOVE my professor. His name is Jamshed Ayub. He actually worked with Gallo at the NIH when the AIDS virus first surfaced in the late 80's. He was one of the men who first identified and tried to find a vaccine for it. He has chaired several universities and colleges and I think this will be one of my favorite classes!! I just need to get my book in.. I bought it online, the cheapest one I found was a whopping $79!!! It's sure not cheap to get an education!!

I am so not looking forward to this weekend. They are expecting some out of this world temperatures... temps that will break every record we've ever had. Some forecasts have Saturday and Sunday with temps of 110 and heat indexes even higher.... Goodness!! I want winter!!!

You can still enter my giveaway here... The winner will be announced next week!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Stressing.....

Today is the first day back at school for Lena and for me. Lena is starting fifth grade and I am taking two courses, Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology 2.
I guess because I have been so stressed and nervous about today I woke up at 6 a.m.!!! I laid in bed hoping to fall back asleep but that never happened...instead I made myself some coffee.

Then I went back to bed to do some reading. That always calms my nerves.

By this time the girls had woken up. Lena made herself some coffee and went straight to work. Since this is her last first day as a elementary school student I had to take her picture.

She is so super excited about her German classes. Fifth grade has given her lots of homework already. Saturday night I logged on to her homeschool and printed out all her papers and assignments for today. I seriously think I printed out about 20 pages!!! I had to tell Emil to buy more printer paper!

Lena also got a hair cut Friday...this is hers....the inspiration photo and her style.

It's shorter than we wanted but she is loving it! Especially when we put in some mouse and blow it out!!

My A&P teacher seems like a nightmare. I am so terrified. She has tons of rules!!


*If you are 15 mins late you are counted absent.

*After 4 tardies, every time you come in late you are counted absent.

*If you are absent it is up to you to find out what your assignment is. There is NO make up days.

*Homework is turned in when you WALK into the room. NOT once you sit at your desk.

*She has the right to take your cells phones if you bring them into class. (I have children and a husband who owns a small business... I NEED my cell phone!)

*All supplies should be brought to class the first day, NO EXCEPTIONS, however, she lovingly didn't tell us what those supplies are other than to say we could bring color pencils if we choose.

*If you miss a test, for any reason, you automatically get a zero. NO EXCEPTIONS!

*There is NO excuse for absences. Period.

I can tell this will be a wonderful semester!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gigi's Cupcakes & Our Last Weekend...

This is our last weekend before school starts up for me and Lena. This summer flew by so fast!! One thing Lena did ask me to do before school starts was take her to Gigi's Cupcakes. Today, we did just that!

It's really cute inside, very quaint and comfy... and very pink!!!

Their selection of cupcakes change daily and seasonally. There were so many different choices it was hard to decide!

They had several options from their menu and then a few specials for the day.

In the back there was such a nice area to sit and enjoy your cupcake....

I loved these can't see it here but they are the softest of pinks!

And they have the cutest pictures on the and brown..that's my kind of color combination!

Lena choose the Top Hat. It was devil food cake with white butter cream frosting with chocolate ganache and a fondit hat on top. As you see she ate it before I could snap a picture.

CC picked the Champagne cupcake... description here... it was superb!

I was going to go for the Kentucky Bourbon Pie..but instead went with the Spumoni. It was good.. cherry cake, pistachio frosting... I just wasn't really digging the combination together and the frosting was SUPER SWEET!! I ended up taking 1/2 of it to mom!

And we brought Papa Bear the Midnight Magic cupcake home...he was in LOVE!!! And they had it wrapped up in a cute box!

After Gigi's we went to visit Mom for a while. With me starting school and homeschooling two girls, helping Papa Bear and finding time to study I won't have much free time until probably January, so I thought I better go visit her while I can! Tonight the girls and I did a late night run to Target to finish up getting what we need for school, folders, markers, pencils, etc.

Yesterday the girls and I went for haircuts. Mine is somewhere between these two. Papa Bear said he doesn't see much of a difference. I see that all the dead and damaged ends are gone!!

Lena's hair is shorter than we had planned and CC hates her hair, even though it looks really good on her. It about an inch shorter than she wanted and now she's begging Mom to buy her some Rogaine!! Oh lord...these girls are something else!

*Don't forget to stop by my giveaway here and leave a comment on the giveaway post to enter!