Archives for September 2010

Teal for Toes


Tonight I got a pedicure and it wasn’t a normal pedicure for a few reasons.  This pedicure went to a good cause and it wasn’t just my desperate feet!  The best kind of pedicure right?  Teal for Toes is an organization that helps raise awareness about ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer has been known as a silent killer because it’s usually too late before women are diagnosed.  However, there are symptoms you can look for. 

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

The idea behind Teal for Toes is that women get their toes painted a funky teal color, usually giving an open door for people to ask about it.  That gives you the great opportunity to let people know about these symptoms of ovarian cancer. 

The second cool part about the pedicure is it was done at the Ballantyne Spa which is, for you non-Charlotte folks, a spa attached to the Ballantyne Hotel where the likes of Tiger Woods and other celebrities have been known to hang out while in town.  And since we were getting salon service, the spa was open to us all day!  Melissa got there early and hit up their gym and pools.  Melissa’s two sister-in-law’s and I were able to join her after work where we had some time in their hot tub, resistance pools and sauna before heading upstairs for our pedicures.  While the time seemed to zip by, it was some great girl time and such a treat along with the pedicure for such a great cause.

Be sure to check out their site to see if you have a local participating salon!

Easy, Budget-Friendly Manicotti


This is a long-standing recipe of mine. Probably the first edible one I did after we were married besides Hamburger Helper.  Not. even. joking.

I made this Monday night and was able to get 3 small casseroles from it.  We ate one that fed 4 and then two smaller ones I froze that will be great just for me and the girls one night Scott is working.  Usually I make 2 medium sized casseroles.  OR, just make one big 9×13 casserole dish of this if you have a crowd or like leftovers.  I’m going to do the recipe as it is one big casserole but you can divide between however many dishes you want.

1 pkg of jumbo shells (I prefer these over actual manicotti shells)
2 jars spaghetti sauce
32 oz ricotta cheese (or 2 15 oz containers)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons parsley
2 eggs
Parmesan cheese

Cook the jumbo shells according to package.  While you’re waiting, make the filling in a big bowl by mixing the ricotta cheese, 3 cups mozzarella cheese, parsley and eggs.  It will come together like a  big ball when you’re done.

Put 1/2 of one jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the dish.

When the shells are done, run them under cold water and when they’re cool enough to touch, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the filling into each shell. I like my filling where it makes the openings just touch or the filling puffing out just a bit.  Put the stuffed shell in the casserole dish.  There is no rhyme or reason here.  Continue until you can’t fit anymore shells in the dish.  I cram them in but usually have lots of shells left.

Top with the rest of the spaghetti sauce.  Cover with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes or whenever the cheese is melted and everything is bubbly.

Optional: Brown 1 lb of meat and mix with the spaghetti sauce before using.


Radical Chapter 3

There’s a song on my iTunes favorite list by Jon Peter Lewis (long-gone American Idol contestant) called “Something Almost Sacred”.  I don’t know why I keep it there because there is a verse that bugs me every time.

I don’t believe in miracles and signs

What kind of God would have that kind of time?

To bless one life with all His other children on their knees

They got way more faith than me.

And of course I don’t agree.  I don’t believe I understand all the ways of God but I do think those words are short-sighted.  I do think He has the time and interest in our lives.  How he chooses to answer prayer is always up for great debate but I know this.  He won’t do something that would cause his child pain unless somehow it’s for our benefit or His glory.  This part of chapter 3 in Radical just reminds me of this:

When you really contemplate it, this seems bold doesn’t it?  To go to God and say, “God, I know you are busy running the universe and keeping all of creation alive, but I have this problem in my life.  And, God, I don’t really want comfort for the moment, and I don’t really want guidance for the moment.  Would you…would you just come down, live in me, and walk through this for me?” Isn’t it pushing the envelope to ask the God of the universe to come down and take residence in you and me?

What Jesus is saying, though, is that God our Father delights in this.  He delights in giving us himself.  He puts his very power in us so we might have all we need to accomplish his purposes in this world.

Now this is not a genie-in-a-bottle approach to God that assumes he is ready to grant our every wish.  But it is a rock-solid promise that the resources of heaven are ready and waiting for the people of God who desire to make much of him in this world.

So yeah, I think He’s got that kind of time.  I think he’s a personal God.  I think he delights in us.  And I think He knows what He’s doing even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.  I may not have much faith, but I do have faith in that. And I’m ready to take what little faith I have and make much of Him.


See more Radical Responses here

On Catalyst and Toy Story 3

I have good news and bad news about next week’s Toy Story 3 On Ice.  And there’s a little story so hang in there.

Weeks (months?) ago my friend Becky and I exchanged several emails about going to Catalyst in Atlanta.  Once Beth Moore was announced as a main speaker, I was raring to go.  Not to mention Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, T.D. Jakes, etc, etc.  Well, Becky just couldn’t get it worked out with work and it was just too expensive for both Scott and I to go.  I let it go.

Then last week at small group it somehow came up that one of the couples’ daughter was going as part of work and really wanted some company.  Sign me up!  And I did.  And I’m psyched!  That’s the good news.

In (super) bad news, I’ll be missing Toy Story 3 On Ice next Wednesday.  But Scott is off and will be taking the girls and reporting back for us all.  Don’t forget to use the codes below to get your discounted tickets!  The offer is only good until October 6 so don’t wait until you hear our report to sign up!

DOI_Mom Blog Offer_2010

Check out more information and get tickets over at Time Warner.

I received this opportunity including 4 pack of tickets to the opening show because of my participation in the NC Blog Buzz network. I have pledged to give my honest opinion of the product/event.  All opinions are my own.

Budgets: Meal Planning

I feel a little one-track minded these past few days.  Is that even a phrase? I know someone can have a one-track mind but can they be one-track minded?  OK, so I feel like I have a one-track mind lately.  And it’s all budget, budget, budget.  I’m not sure what I was thinking when I started a test-run of a budgeting system on a Friday.  Um, hello Friday night-life, Saturday shopping and Sunday sales papers.  Boo!  But we did really, really well.  Like, super well.  I continued to say no to things but it felt really good to have a full envelope.  As expected it is SUPER tough to spend cash.  I haven’t even gotten Starbucks yet this week.

The hardest part though has been groceries.  I think we have plenty budgeted but it’s hard to think about what to cook in advance and keep it under budget.  And it’s hard when you’re in the store not to pick up other stuff.   I mean, you have to think about food at least 3 times a day and much more with kids that require many snacks.  Just when I get over one meal, I feel like the cycle starts all over again.  Scott says I should plan for a week at a time and I know that’s what most meal-planners do but I just can’t yet. I don’t know.  Right now I’m going one day at a time.  It seems grocery sales ads change at different times and my stock items at home are running out and I’m trying to plan around the kids’ meals at school and I just can’t plan a week in advance.  To be honest, the whole thing is stressing me out a little.  Can you tell?  This is why for our entire married life I’ve always just cooked what I’ve wanted when I wanted and eaten out when I didn’t want to cook at all.  But I can’t ignore the fact that we only spent $40 on food through an entire weekend, including a few staples we needed.

Also, I’m loving that our checkbook balance is not plummeting every time I log in.  It’s good.  I know it is.  It’s just…I have to get better at this meal plan thing.  Advice?