Monday, April 11, 2011

Saying Goodbye Is Hard

God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there,
I believe he'll be there” - Billy Graham

This weekend we said goodbye to our sweet dog, Gabby.
I hope she is having fun running through heaven and enjoying a never-ending bowl of treats.
Miss You, Gab!

Go to fullsize image

We'll be utilizing our grill a lot this week and eating lots of fresh produce.  Here's a peek at plans for this week.

Monday...grilled chicken  fajitas with peppers and onions, fresh fruit
Tuesday...burgers on whole wheat buns, pasta salad with veggies
Wednesday...Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, salad
Thursday...Sweet BBQ Chicken Kabobs, citrus rice, fresh green beans
Friday...homemade pizza and salad

Sweet Treat...Almost Fat-Free Key Lime Pie  (I'll share this recipe tomorrow!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Thanks to all who entered my Cookie Giveaway.  The winner chosen via is #1 Stephanie!  I apologize for not knowing how to post the box showing the winner.  I have emailed the winner.  If I have not heard back within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.

Stay tuned for another giveaway coming soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Time...

It's time for me to start taking better care of myself.  It's time I lose some weight and start to get in better shape.  I tend to focus my attention on taking care of others and not so much on myself.  Do you do that too? That needs to change. 

I've been feeling like this for awhile but it's time to start doing something about it. 

Next month I will turn 39.  So you know what next year is...ugh.  I can hardly believe I will be 40 years old.  I really want to look and feel better by then.

View Image
(photo credit
 So, where do I start?

I am not signing on with any weight loss program.  And I am not doing any special diet.  I want it to be a lifestyle change and not a quick fix.  It took me a while to get to this point and it will take a while to improve it. 

I need to make better food choices and incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet. 
I need to drink more water.
 I need to cut out the Cokes. 
I need to get out and walk. 

I've been entering everything I am eating and drinking this week in My Fitness Pal.  I actually downloaded the app to my phone but you can also access it on your computer.  I have a friend who has told me numerous times to keep a food diary so I can really see what I am eating and where the calories are coming from.  I never listened...until now. 

I can drink more water even though I don't really like to.  But thanks to lemons and Crystal Light On The Go I can do it.  The Raspberry Lemonade is my favorite! 

Giving up my Cokes?  Oh that's gonna be a tough one.  I only drink 1 a day and I like it at lunch time.  But at 140 calories do I really need it?  Some days I think I do!!!  See, I told you it was gonna be a tough one for me. 

View Image  As for walking, I can do that.  It's free and it's a great way to enjoy these pretty days. Walgreens rolled out a new Walk With Walgreens program.  In an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle and help save you money they've developed this program.  Basically you log in your walking minutes and you are rewarded with coupons.  Did someone say coupon???  You know I love my coupons :)  Go HERE to learn more about this program and get started.  And I can play Just Dance with my kids.  I did the other night and really danced my heart out.  I was huffing and puffing after about 3 songs.  But it is a fun way to work out so I'll be doing it again.

I won't be posting about this all the time but from time to time I will post my progress.  I need the accountablity.

Are you in the same place I am?  Maybe we can help each other.  Or maybe you've already been here and can share your tips and tricks.  Help is always appreciated.

I'm sharing this at Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading party today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If You Read My Post About The Extreme Couponing Show...

I just read what Tara, the Deal Seeking Mom, posted about why she won't be watching the Extreme Couponing show tonight.  It is a great post and so well written.  I agree whole-heartedly with what she wrote although I will be tuning in to see the show out of curiosity.  Go HERE to read her post.

Deal Seeking Mom Tara's site is one of my very favorites.  I highly recommend that you check it out.  Subscribe to her daily emails or "like" her on Facebook. 

Extreme Couponing

Tonight TLC will air a show called Extreme Couponing.  Did you see the first one a couple of months ago?  It was a huge hit and now TLC is starting a series of 12 half-hour episodes. 

Yes, I am a couponer and love that I can get items for free or for pennies.  I have learned to shop smart and on average save at least 50% on my food bill and some weeks save more like 80%. 

Will I watch this show?  Yes.  Will I love it?  I'm not sure.

I felt like the first episode gave couponers a bad name, especially to those who don't do it at all.  Most of the people the show featured came across a little crazed and like hoarders.  I mean who needs 1500+ sticks of deodorant piled up in their garage?  One lady even has a separate insurance policy for her massive grocery stockpile!
I've read a couple of blog posts about the two ladies being featured in tonight's episode.  Both stated that they received special permission from the stores to do this and were given advanced copies of the store ad, had items special ordered in advance, etc.  I have also read another story about a coupon blogger who was passed over for the show because she was more of a "normal" couponer and not extreme enough. 

coupon use
 Coupons are already changing and I worry that they will change even more and stores will begin changing their policies to where it will be harder to find the good deals.  I am fortunate to live in an area where the grocery store market share is a big competition and we have a few stores that double coupons everyday and occasionally offer promotions like Super Doubles or Triple Coupons.  It is nice to be able to take advantage of these things to keep the pantry stocked at a fraction of the normal cost.   

So go ahead and watch the show but know that these people were given special permission and had rules bent all for the sake of "reality" tv. 

And if you want to learn how to get started shopping smarter and saving on your grocery bill I will be starting a series on Couponing Basics next Monday.  Nothing too extreme, just basic coupon and shopping strategies to get you started on saving.  I hope you'll join me!

*I just saw that the original first episode airs at 8pm EST tonight on TLC if you want to watch the first one I keep referring to.  The new one starts at 9pm EST tonight.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cookies & A Giveaway

I love making homemade cookies.  I love eating them too :)

But sometimes when you are short on time and still want a little treat the break & bake cookies are just what you need. 

I recently tried some Chocolate Chunk cookies from Immaculate Baking Company.  First of all, it's chocolate chunk.  How can that be anything but good, right?  And these were good! 

The two things I liked best were that they are all natural and do not contain any high fructose corn syrup so they're not as bad for you as they could be AND I loved the cute little size of the cookies.  I could eat one or two or ten and not feel too guilty about it.  I believe you can enjoy treats in moderation :)

Another thing that makes me happy about the Immaculate Baking Company is their support of Cookies for Kid's Cancer.  I am a survivor of childhood cancer so things like this always get my attention.  Go here to learn more about Cookies for Kid's Cancer.

Back to these cookies...Have you tried cookies from Immaculate Baking Company?  Locally I have found these at Harris Teeter and Earth Fare.  You can go HERE to find a store near you that carries these yummy treats and to learn more about the company, including information on their gluten & dairy free products. 

Want to try some of these yummy cookies?  I am giving away a coupon to try some Immaculate Baking Company cookies for FREE, plus a cute oven mit & potholder set to use while baking these treats. 

Here's how to enter...

**Leave me a comment with your favorite kind of cookie
(I'll be sharing my favorite homemade cookie with you next week!)

Additional Entry...

**Follow Home Matters via Google Friend Connect, subscribe to emails or "like" Home Matters on our new Facebook page.  Leave a seperate comment for this so it counts as a second entry.

The giveaway ends this Friday, April 8th at 11:59pm.  The winner will be announced on Saturday and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.  The winner will be chosen via

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a coupon from Immaculate Baking Company.  All opinions expressed are truthful and 100% my own.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oregano Chicken & Rice

This has always been one of my go-to recipes.  It is so quick and easy to throw together and I always have the ingredients on hand.  To be honest for a while it seemed like I was going-to this one a little too often so I took a break from it.  I decided to make it again a few nights ago and it was so good.  This has always been a family favorite but it tasted even better after not having it lately.  Hope you enjoy it too!
Oregano Chicken

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 large clove garlic, crushed (I usually use minced garlic in a jar since I always have it on hand)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Hot cooked rice

Combine first 6 ingredients; stir well. Place chicken in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Pour butter mixture over chicken. Cover and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.
Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

I'm adding this recipe to...
Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make ahead Meals For Busy Moms
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Feasting In Fellowship Friday at Comfy In The Kitchen

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Freebies

Here are some good freebies to take advantage of today...

 GO HERE to request a  Free Sample of Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl
(site is having issues so keep checking back).

Free IHOP kid's meal
For the whole month of April kids eat FREE at IHOP from 4pm to 10pm.  You'll receive a free kid's meal with the purchase of any adult meal (for kids 12 and under).  You may want to call to be sure your local IHOP is participating. 

Welcome...Join The Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

It's party time around blog land and I'm ready to join in!  Starting today and all next week it's the 5th Annual Ultimate Blog Party happening at 5 Minutes For Mom.  Go check it tons of new blogs and there's prizes too!

So, let's get this started...
(photo by Odd Dog Design & Photography)
Welcome to Home Matters.  I'm so glad you came by for a visit!

My name is Jennifer.  I'm married and have 2 sweet children, ages 10 and 7.  I'm an at-home mom and feel blessed that I can do that right now.  We're from North Carolina (I'm native but my hubby is originally from PA).  I love making our house a real home...not a perfect magazine-worthy home...but a real one with toys on the floor and fingerprints on the fridge.  And in the midst of all of that some nice stuff too :)

I love to cook and believe sitting down to dinner together is such an important part of the day.  I'm definitely not a gourmet chef and don't make anything fancy.  I love good food that is quick, easy and family friendly.  Sharing recipes is one of my favorite things to do with my blog. 

I also love to coupon and shop for deals.  And I like to share that with others.  That is actually why I originally started my blog.  But over time it has changed to reflect more about recipes and home stuff.  I do still add in some deal stuff too and am planning a couponing series to begin in a few weeks. 

My blog is all about real stuff, nothing fancy here.  Cooking, cleaning, deals and I'll be posting more about home stuff in the days to come.  And, once I find the right words, I will share about my son's Alopecia, which explains the cute little bald boy in my photo :)

I hope you'll come back and visit again soon.  You can keep up with what's going on here at Home Matters by becoming a "follower" through Google Friend Connect (that sounds like stalking...wish they'd change that wording), by subscribing to receive email updates or you can "Like" me on my new Facebook page

Thanks for stopping by.  I'd love it if you'd leave me a little "hello" in the comments :)
Hope to visit with you again soon!