Thursday, April 30, 2009

Holly's Kitchen - Tater Tot Casserole

Another post regarding the Lopez Family Eating on a Budget!!! Today's edition is from Holly's Kitchen--Tator Tot Casserole. Sounds divine, right? Tator Tot's incorporated into a family meal? Heavenly...

Ground Beef ($3.88)
Tater Tots (2/3 bag) ($1.52)
Onion ($0.89)
Cream of Chicken (1 can) ($1.44)
Mozzerella Cheese (1/2 bag) ($0.75)

Total Cost: $8.48

We were able to make six meals out of this which amounts to $1.41/meal. We didn't need a side for this meal, as it was pretty filling. Also, this meal has been the easiest to prepare so far…just layer the ingredients! Thank you, Holly!!!

Couple of side notes:
1. The prices of the ingredients above are based on the amount used. We have used the remaining ingredients in other meals that we have made.

2. Since our last paycheck, we have saved another great amount of money by not eating out…I was able to apply more to my car payment because of it…it is WONDERFUL!!!

Next up: A Pot Roast from Kelly's Kitchen!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Marathon Cherry

I popped my marathon cherry this morning when my sister and I did the Half Marathon (13.2 miles) walk for the OKC Memorial Marathon. I finished in 3:49:08 which makes me so happy because I was going for 4.5 hours!!!

You may see walking and think 'oh, that is easy peasy...anyone can do it'. No. You would be wrong about this. It was hard and extremely brutal on my poor feet that have blisters forming in more than one area!!!

I lost my sister at mile 10 where my husband picked her up after his volunteering job...and I trekked on alone...which wasn't so bad until I got to the finish line and walked front of thousands of people. I got over the awkward feeling as soon as I saw my husband, sister and daughter's smiling faces cheering me on!!!

I even got a medal -- Hooray!

So...although this is an experience that I will soon not forget...I don't think I will tackle such a big marathon again...unless I've put in the proper amount of training.

Looking forward to our May 9th 5K! Woot!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

O.D.D. - Checkpoint #2 turns out that Operation Dumbo Drop is really working. Fo' Shizzle! I have been working really effing hard [see side bar]...and have lost a little over 5 pounds at this point...I'm super amazed--it has been about 2 weeks since I started. From experience, hard work [for me] in the gym doesn't pay off and I get really discouraged and quit. This time around, though, Hubs has really been encouraging me with this whole racquetball playing.

Interesting fact: Racquetball will burn 600 - 700 calories/hour depending on intensity. We play I am probably at the higher end of that spectrum.

Racquetball mixed with the running I am doing in order to train for a 5K that we are participating in on May 9th is proving top notch results...gotta keep up the hard work!!!

Side Note: The endurance I have built up for running is fantastic...however, climbing a flight of stairs will leave me winded for a few minutes...Interesting, Interesting...

As London Tipton says on The Suite Life of Zak and Cody [keep in mind I have an eight year old daughter...and even if I didn't, I can't promise that I wouldn't watch the Disney Channel!]: YAY ME!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Arts Festival Friday

Our firm gave each person an extra hour for lunch to take any day this week to spend lingering around the Arts Festival...which happens to be across the street from our building. I am not a huge fan of art [don't hate, Neo], but I am a fan of fair food and spending an extra hour of lunch away from the office, paid--even if it scorching hot outside with a thousand people in a tiny area. Today was the day that my friend, Monica, and I decided to go on over.

I spent my art viewing time looking for that I could display OKC's biggest cock downtown...but we only found one. One rooster in that whole festival and it was a painting:

The picture was taken with the iphone...and you might notice a glare from the glass...can see the tent on the other side of the area we were in and if you look really really really hard, you might see our silhouettes, but it's doubful.

We focused mainly on the food. It was pretty good...we shared an upside down pizza [which quite honestly I was disappointed in because I actually expected it to be upside looked like a pizza to me]...and then I had a Double Chocolate Cobbler w/ Framboise Reduction. Sounds delectable, right? It was a freaking brownie and ice cream. I can't tell you how my heart sank when I saw this dessert that I have been craving for days. Literally...days.
Here is my dessert...right before it was tossed in the trash [aka bin, for you English]:

Well...that was my 2009 Arts Festival experience. Not really worth sharing, but I did anyway!!!

Update: Below is Monica's dessert. It was, as she quoted, "not a let down". It was a Banana Royal...and she loved it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Last night marked the first two games of our second kickball season. We lost a few players this time around [Oh how we shall miss you, Jennifer!] and we gained three new peeps [Welcome Stephanie, Kit and Brandon!].

Our team name: Balls to the Wall. Everyone has a cute name that has to do with Balls and I just have a cute name in general: Snappyberrie. Berries are technically balls...of sweet yummy goodness, but according to the team, it isn't dirty enough. But I'm not a dirtygirl, so I will stay sweet and innocent with Snappyberrie! heh heh.

Back from my tangent...we lost our first game last night by one run due to a bad call on the ump's part--but that was the first time our entire team had gotten together and played [plus SOMEONE didn't know a leading off rule that totally would have scored us another run!] that was our warm up game.

We dominated the other team during the second game--actually, we run-ruled them in the fifth inning [Boom Boom Pow!]. It was great, although we had to stop the game early because of it. We were run-ruled at least one time last season and it wasn't the best feeling it's nice to be on this side of the equation!

Here's a snapshot of the shirt I will be wearing every Tuesday night for our games [unless we get cute little tanks which were discussed and therefore will post at a later date because I know the excitement of it all is overwhelming!]. Yes, this picture is recycled from last October, but I didn't take any pictures last night...bad, Lopez!!!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Decisions, Decisions...

So...should I, or should I not take this elevator down when I leave work this evening? [Keep in mind, I am on the top floor of an office building downtown]

I'm going with a big, fat NOT.

Bonnie's Kitchen - Lasagna

Yay! Another post on the Lopez Family Eating on a Budget!!! Today's segment has to do with an idea from Bonnie's Kitchen--make a large meal [or numerous meals] on Sunday and eat it throughout the week. We chose Andy's super yummy lasagna, which not only tasted fantastic, but was also dinero-saving!

Ground Sirloin ($4.18)
Onion ($0.89)
Crushed Tomatoes ($1.00)
Tomato Paste ($0.58)
Lasagna Noodles ($1.48)
Ricotta Cheese ($1.62)
1 egg ($.10)
1 bag Mozzerella ($1.78)
Mushrooms ($0.62) x 2 cans

Total Cost: $12.87

We were able to make eleven meals out of this which amounts to $1.17/meal. Since each meal was pretty hearty, there was no need for a side. I can hardly wait to try the next recipe/idea!!! Thank you, Bonnie!!!

As a side note, in the two weeks [measured from paycheck to paycheck] that we have been eating on a budget and not going out/picking up lunches and dinners, we have saved roughly $200.00! Holy Wow!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday's Stupid Situation

Today my sister and I thought that it would be a great idea to walk around the lake in order to train for our 13 mile walking marathon. Those of you that know the lay of our city, Lake Hefner is roughly 9.5 miles around and this isn't the best way to start training for a marathon--especially if you started the morning with 55 minutes of racquetball followed by a 20 minute run. In addition to working out this morning, I sat through an hour and a half of pure sun at the soccer field, so I soaked up some rays sans sunscreen...then walked around the lake. Needless to say, I am now a human lobster, skin burning as I write this AND my feet have blisters, blisters and more blisters. I can't walk. I can barely move and I will be lucky to be able to get out of bed in the morning.

How are we going to make it through 13 miles in two weeks? We aren't spring chickens anymore at 27 and 28 years old!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

*Operation Dumbo Drop*

As you can see on the right hand column of this site, I have started working out. Between reading Reese's blog as well as Sarah's, I have initiated a Lopez Operation Dumbo Drop. There is no chunk of change waiting at the end of the tunnel this time, just results [and fitting into the majority of the clothes in my closet!]'s to wishing myself *Good Luck*...I'm hoping that if I keep status updates with my ODD column, motivation for success will follow!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Peter Griffin Sings

Help! I can't get this song out of my head!!! It is my all-time favorite Family Guy episode...and my favorite part in the song is when Peter is sitting at the table reading the paper...

I can't get it out of my head and my co-workers are probably coming up with a plan to murder me!

Who Made Cuppie Cakes?

Me! Me! I did! I did!

...and they actually taste good!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sarah's Kitchen - Easy Chili

A few days ago, I posted a blog about the Lopez Family Eating on a Budget. I got an incredible response via comments and email [and one facebook!] and now I will be posting follow-up posts intermittently, with one recipe from each that I have tried! The first recipe [chosen by Andy] was from Ms. Sarah. It was super *delish* and easy on the pocket book!

Ground Sirloin ($4.18)
Bell Pepper ($0.78)
Hunt's Tomato Sauce ($0.82) x2 cans
Onion ($0.89)
Bush's Chili Magic ($1.80)
[Our side was steamed Corn Niblets ($1.00/bag)]

Total Cost: $10.29

We were able to make four meals out of this [three for dinner and one for lunch], which amounts to $2.57/meal. We were fortunate enough to have the spices [chili powder, garlic powder] at home already, so we didn't need to purchase those items.

It was great that we didn't have to forego taste to eat on a budget! I can hardly wait to try our next recipe!

Below is the comment from Ms. Sarah that led to this delectable meal:

Easy Chili that is (in my opinion) Award-Winning

Chop up one green pepper and one onion.

Put chopped green pepper and onion along with about 1 to 1 1/2 lb of ground sirloin (sirloin makes it a bit healthier)altogether into a frying pan and brown meat.

2 - 15 oz cans of regular tomato sauce into approx. 8 qt pot on stove. Mix meat and veggies into tomato sauce, place on low heat.

Put in chili powder, garlic powder (about 2 tsp), onion powder (about 1 tsp), and black pepper to taste. You will use LOTS of chili pepper (about 4 - 5 tablespoons, maybe) and kind of a lot of black pepper. I usually cover the top of the ingredients with chili powder quite a few times while cooking. I throw a tsp of fresh garlic in when I have it.

Simmer/Low for 1.75 to 2 hours. Stirring every 15-20 mins. Do not boil.

Put in Bush's Chili Magic - Chili Beans Mild about 15 minutes before serving.

Voila! It's fab. Usually makes enough for a few nights. Heats up even better.

*Don't forget to drain the meat and veggies to remove extra fat!*

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bonus Commode Story!

I was just telling my friend this story and decided I had to put it up here, too...b/c it was cracking me up as I wrote it to her.

When my stepson was 5 and my daughter was 3, she saw him going to the bathroom. Daughter then proceeded to point at Stepson and said to her father: "I wanna pee out of my belly button like Ethan!"

Good Times...

Queen of Commodes

Every parent has at least one story revolving around the commode. Here is one of ours.

When Jadyn was two and a half [May 2003], she would spend the evenings quietly entertaining herself in the playroom by watching a movie or playing with one of her thousands of toys. On this particular night, Andy and I watched Jadyn go in and out of the playroom, and we assumed she was going to her bedroom. The only room between her playroom and her bedroom is the bathroom, but we kept the door shut so she couldn't play in there. [We all see where this is going...]

As I went back to go check on Jadyn, I found her just in time to see her drop a large block into the toilet and flush...and then heard her say "uh-oh", when instead of going down, the water started to rise.

Turns out, Jadyn had been going in and out of her playroom to get blocks and flushing them down. Andy decided to take the toilet off the floor to fix it...and this is what he found:

The first picture is the pipe in the ground, filled with blocks and the second picture is the actual toilet...and yes, that is a little Kelly doll sticking out of the bottom of it!!!

Jadyn's situation also allowed us to realize how nasty the people who lived in our house before us were [we had only been living there four months at the time], and due to this episode, we went out and got a new toilet and floor!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

...Another One Bites the Dust...

Daughter leaves the room to take a shower. She comes back, so overcome with emotion that she doesn't realize she's stark naked, and says:

'Well, you got your wish. Clover's dead. Happy Birthday, Mom'

It was no secret that I openly loathed the rodent. I hated how she smelled, how she did her business in her wheel [leaving it in a constant state of wet], and most of all, I hated how she stayed up all night long, trying to escape from her cage, waking me up in the process...every. hour.

So now, the Lopez *fam* lives in a stink-free, pet-free home and it's lovely. We were clearly not meant to have hamsters as [you will remember] three died in less than a month and a half. First Hammy, then Rosalina and now Clover. That has certainly got to be a record of sorts!

R.I.P. Clover, you little stinky critter.