Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I love Old Navy!

I've always loved shopping at Old Navy, but it seemed like years ago whenever I would go there (which was rare) it just so happened that there wasn't any good deals going on at the time. So back then I decided that it was going to be one of those stores that I loved to shop in but couldn't really afford it.

Well a couple of years ago the built a new shopping plaza closer to where we live and guess what they have....Old Navy! Last year right before Christmas I went with my mom and her friend out on our annual shopping trip. We went into Old Navy and they had all these sales, that as a woman I could not ignore. I ended up with a ton of stuff for myself, my daughter, and even my husband--for cheap! To top it off they had a promotion going on that if you opened an account with them you would get 20% off your purchase. That made my great day even better! Years ago I had an Old Navy card, but since there wasn't one close I didn't use it enough and ended up closing the account. However, there was a store closer to me now, and 20% off was a great deal that again, as a woman, I could not pass up.

This has got to be the one department store credit card that I've had that has actually been worth it! After spending (I think) $200 I received a $10 off coupon in the mail. Ever since then I have received several other coupons as a result of shopping there. The coupons have ranged anywhere from $5 to $20 off a purchase, to 20% purchases on Tuesday during the summer (a temporary promotion they were running this year). Just the other day I received another coupon in the mail where next week I can receive a free Old Navy tote and 20% off everything I can stuff into the awesome is that!

A couple of days ago I went out with my my daughter, mom, and sister-in-law because I had a $10 off coupon burning a whole in my pocket. I wasn't sure if I was going to get anything, but figured I might as well look. If not, the coupon was still good for another two months. Well, the coupon didn't last that long. I found two cute 3/4 sleeve shirts that were $5 each, which with the coupon meant I got 2 free shirts! Heck yeah! I walked around the store to see if there was anything else on sale. Over in the kids section they had cute stuff that was an extra 50% off the already low sale prices. I bought my daughter two t-shirts that were on sale for $3.49 each, and with them being half off they were $1.25--you can't beat that! These plain white shirts are going to be perfect for some of the iron-ons I have for my daughter. I also got her a pair of white soft cotton capris for the same price.

There is one more good deal that I got a couple of months ago I have to tell you about. Right before Father's Day Old Navy had a sale where all men's clothes were half off! I bought my husband two pairs of reversible shorts (which is actually like getting four pairs of shorts), 3 polo shirts, and 2 v-neck t-shirts for only $40. Without the sale all of this would have cost me over $120, but everything was 50% off, plus I had a $20 off coupon (thanks to my Old Navy card). I brought it all home to husband and he about went through the roof when he saw how much stuff I bought. But when he saw the price he couldn't believe what a good deal I had gotten and was absolutely thrilled, not to mention relieved I didn't break the bank!

Now I'm not saying you should rush right out and open up an account with them, but if you are ever looking for a credit card that you will actually benefit from, this is the one I recommend. I use the credit card so I can get the points needed to receive those love coupons and discounts, and then just pay it off anytime there is a balance on it. Since I'm cheap this isn't hard for me to do :-)

You can see a reflection of my love for this store in my closet....most of my tags now say Old Navy on them :-)

Lisa's Weekly Recipe -- Coleslaw Dressing

If you are ever looking for a quick side dish for a meal then I have one for you! There are times when we're having something like hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and I don't want to put in a lot of effort in my side dishes. My mom makes this awesome coleslaw and I finally asked her for the recipe. When she gave it to me and I looked at it my reaction was somewhere along the lines of "Are you serious? This is it?"

Now, if you want to actually shred all the ingredients for the actual coleslaw, then have fun. As for me, I just go and buy a pre-made bag of coleslaw at the grocery store. The only thing you need to do is make the dressing for it.


1 cup of mayonnaise
2 Tbls. of white vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 cup of sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste


Mix all these ingredients together in a small bowl. You can either put the shredded coleslaw in a large bowl or in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and mix it together well.

That's it! Simple huh? I do recommend letting the coleslaw sit in the fridge for at least an hour so the dressing has a chance to flavor the coleslaw, plus, it will draw some of the moisture out of the coleslaw making it all the more yummy!


Movie Night -- Ponyo

Ponyo is a very cute movie about a little fish that meets a little boy and wishes to become a human girl. We took our daughter to see it when it came out and she loved it..."mommy this is my new favorite movie!"

Ponyo is another movie by Hayao Miyazaki with cute animation that reminds me of the kind of animated shows I watched when I was a kid. However, unlike his other critically acclaimed movie Spirited Away, this one is suitable for all ages. I thought that there were some scenes in Spirited Away that were a little too scary for children my daughter's age. But that is neither here nor there... :-) Ponyo is rated G so feel free to take little children to see it.

The story line of this movie is very cute in what the little girl and boy have to endure in order to keep their friendship alive. The animation is a throwback to animated movies from years ago (like 20 years ago!) so don't walk into the theater expecting to see the intricate detail of a Pixar movie.

I don't want to give away the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, but it is a very cute movie that I think all ages will enjoy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lisa's Weekly Recipe -- Thai Beef Salad

This is a recipe that my mom got from my Vietnamese aunt years and years ago. The first time I had it was when my aunt came to my high school graduation and was making some of my favorite foods from when I was a kid. This was something new she snuck in on me and I absolutely loved it...I've been making it ever since!

Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup fish sauce
2 pieces of garlic, minced
2 tsp. sugar
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp. salt
2 hot peppers

Sauce Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the fish sauce, minced garlic, sugar, and lime juice. Since the fish sauce is already salty you may want to only add 1/4 tsp of salt at a time depending on taste. Now, the recipe is called Thai Beef Salad because my aunt used Thai chillis. However I cannot find them in my local market so I use habaneros instead. I do not use two whole habaneros because I think most people I feed this to cannot handle it. Instead I buy a bottle of habanero sauce and add it in 1 tsp at a time, again, depending on taste. If you don't like really hot foods, you may want to use the peppers sparingly.

After you have combined all the ingredients together for the sauce, mix well and let the sauce sit on the side (so the flavors can marry) while you are preparing the salad.

Salad ingredients:

1 head of Lettuce
1 to 2 tomatoes
1 to 2 cucumbers
1 bunch of cilantro
Green onion
1 sirloin steak

Salad Directions:

Chop up the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro and green onion and place in a large salad bowl. Add more or less of the ingredients depending on taste.

Lightly season the steak on both sides with salt & pepper (I prefer to use garlic salt instead of regular salt) and cook in a skillet (medium high) until the steak is medium (if you prefer your meat more well done then cook longer). Allow time for the steak to rest then cut into thin strips, about 1/4" to 1/2" thick.

Place steak on top of the salad. Then add the Thai beef sauce over the entire dish, or if you prefer, serve on the side (in case there are people that don't like it).


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lilly's New Pets

Well, my husband and I have been thinking for a while about getting our daughter some fish of her own. We already have two dogs, but we thought she might like having a pet that is truly just hers.

Since she is so young--and mommy doesn't want to be responsible for taking care of another time consuming animal--we decided on some low-maintenance fish. We've had fish before in a 10 gallon tank, but after a while and a lot of reproducing it got to be too much work for me to try and keep that tank clean and the fish alive! So we decided we were willing to get something small for her, in the three to five gallon range.

So this past Sunday on their daddy/daughter day, Sean and Lilly went around town looking for fish and fish tanks. He found a 3-gallon tank that we agreed would be a good size for her first fish tank. The two of them came home and set it up that afternoon. While I was getting ready to cook dinner the two of them went to the pet store and purchase two African cichlids--Sean asked for some "hardy" fish. No point in getting some fish that are going to go belly up the next day!

After dinner the two of them went and put her new pets into their new home. Lilly is so excited to have new pets that are all alone. The only downfall so far is that she constantly wants to feed them, so we had to explain to her that they only get fed twice a day. To make this easier for her to understand and remember, we told her that she can feed them once when she wakes up in the morning and then once again before bedtime.

Maybe over time after she understands about the responsibility of owning a pet we can add to her fish collection!

Lilly's 1st Day of Preschool

About a month ago my girlfriend and I decided that it was time for our kids to get a little more social interaction with children their own age, so we decided to put them in preschool. The school we decided on had the option to either put them in full-time or part-time. Since we're both first time parents we decided we weren't ready to give them up all day 5 days a week, so we opted for the part-time version of Tuesday & Thursday preschool.

So today was my little girl's first day of preschool! She has been asking for several weeks when she was going to start school. Last night when I was putting her to bed she was so excited that I wondered if she would ever get to sleep--luckily she did!

Our day started early this morning so that she could get everything done in time for us to be at her school a little before 8:30 a.m. Right when I woke her up she was talking about how excited she was to go to preschool today. First thing she did was to feed her new fish. Then it was on to the normal grind of drinking her milk, taking a vitamin, and then eating her breakfast. She didn't finish her breakfast at home because I think she was a little too

So since breakfast was slow going we decided to put it off to the side for a little bit and brush her teeth. Then she had to hurry up and get dressed for school. Once she got dressed and I fixed her hair, I got her loaded up into the truck and we were off! She finished her breakfast in the truck :-)

Once we got there she had a couple of minutes to see her friends before they went off to their different classrooms. When we got inside her classroom we were able to meet her two new teachers where all the parents were able to stay for about the first 45 minutes and get to know the teachers and get an understanding of what was going to be going on throughout the year. After the little meet and greet the children and parents were allowed to roam around the room and play.

Then came the time for the parents to leave to go to the parent orientation. There were some kids that didn't want to let their parents go, and then there were others--like my daughter--who, after they received their hug and kiss, were like "bye mom!" I had a feeling that my daughter would be one of those that just said bye and didn't get upset--she's pretty independent so it was no big surprise.

During the parents' orientation the preschool director explained all about how the preschool operated--class schedules, fundraisers, rules, etc. My girlfriend and I had to laugh when the director started talking about attendance and tardiness. She explained that if your child is late they would have to sit outside the classroom and wait until the morning circle time was over so as to not disrupt the students and teachers that had arrived on time (and not to lose the kids' focus). The reason we wanted to bust out laughing is because there is a mom with twins that is notoriously late on library day every week and of course she and her kids were late on the first day of class.

After orientation I went home for a couple of hours then it was time to go back and pick up my little girl. I really liked how they released the children from class--one at a time and only after the parent has signed the child out. No opening the door and a dozen 3 year olds running out trying to find their mom or dad.

When she got out of the classroom she began to tell me all about her day....somewhat! Sometimes it's like trying to pry information out of a spy! She told me that they played inside, then sang some songs, went outside on the playground with the other preschool class, then came inside and had some story time before it was time to go. As each of the children left they were given a banana for a snack and a little postcard from the teachers expressing their excitement to have them in their class.

We decided to stop and have lunch with her friends after school, and then it was time to go home for a nap. She had a great first day and is so excited to go back on Thursday!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Movie Night -- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

I do not give away anything in this "review" about the movie so do not be afraid to read it :-)

Ever since I saw the preview for this movie during the Super Bowl this year I have been geeking out and so excited to see GI Joe. And when I say geeking out I mean immediately looking up to see the release date of the movie and going online and watching any and all trailers about the movie.

I know that GI Joe was around back when my parents were kids, but they didn't have the cartoon show like we did when my husband and I were kids, and that was a cool show! All summer long I've been looking forward to seeing this movie and tonight my wait was finally over.

For those of you that grew up watching GI Joe on TV and playing with the action figures, you will not be disappointed. This movie is without a doubt awesome! The characters were well cast and the things they did in the movie (such as the action scenes with those amazing power suits) were just so cool to watch. I don't want to give anything away because I want you to be able to enjoy the movie as much as I did.

If there are any of you with young kids that are on the fence about whether or not you want to take them, as long as you don't mind some of the fighting sequences, I say go for it! Now I loved the Transformers movies, but one thing about the second Transformers movie that I thought they could have done without was some of the bad language. I think if you're making a movie that a younger audience is going to want to see as well, you can do without a lot of the language. With the GI Joe movie, you don't have to worry about any bad language. This is a great movie for the entire family to go see.

If you like action....if you have fond memories of GI Joe as a kid....if you're like my girlfriend and just want to see it because of the cute guy in the movie....go see it!!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lisa's Weekly Recipe -- Grandma's Sweet Potato Casserole

This recipe from my Grandma Ruth and is a holiday favorite in our family. There are times however that I get a craving and make it regardless if there is a holiday coming up or not!

**Special note! If you have someone in your family that is gluten intolerant, I have a fix for this recipe and it will still taste awesome.

Ingredients for casserole:

3 Cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 Cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1/2 stick melted butter

Directions for casserole:

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into small chunks and boil in water until fork tender, then drain. You can either mash the sweet potatoes by hand or use a mixer or even a food processor. I personally prefer the food processor because it is quicker and makes a smoother consistency. Combine the sweet potatoes with the other ingredients for the casserole and mix well. Place the casserole mixture into a baking dish.

Ingredients for topping:

1/2 stick butter
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup flour*
1 Cup coconut (optional)

*For gluten intolerant people, replace flour with corn flakes--think popular breakfast cereal (may have to use more corn flakes, just eyeball it)

Directions for topping:

Mix together all the ingredients for the topping in a separate bowl. After they are combined well spoon it over the top of the sweet potato mixture in your baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then serve!

Additional side notes: I do not like nuts in this recipe so I always omit them, but feel free to add them or even substitute with another nut should you not like pecans--walnuts would be good too. My husband does not like coconut, but the rest of us do, so we always make the topping half and half--one side has coconut on it while the other side doesn't. Win win!