Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Meal Planning Success

I have fond memories of my mom jotting down her weekly meal plans and making her grocery list accordingly. When I was first married I was always at a loss for what to make for dinner. Thankfully I knew how to cook; not only am I good at cooking but I love to do it. Unfortunately, when you’re standing in the kitchen an hour or more before dinner and unsure of what to make - it’s very frustrating!

Making a weekly meal plan has been one of the single most helpful tasks I do every week. If I don’t, I’m always scrambling to make something and oftentimes find myself missing key ingredients. I thought I would share my tips...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Extreme Flash Giveaway!

We all know I love giveaways - but I also love sponsoring giveaways too! I've teamed up with several bloggers to offer you an Extreme Flash Giveaway! We will be giving away:

(3) $60 Amazon gift certificates

(1) $50 Live Nation gift code

Winners will be announced on March 3rd. It just might be you!

Giveaway beings February 29th and ends March 2nd (11:59pm EST).

Recipe: Homemade Pizza!

Due to popular Facebook demand, I'm posting my Homemade {Veggie} Pizza recipe... this is a time consuming process, but totally worth it, in my opinion!

Dough Ingredients

4 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 T. instant yeast (or active dry yeast)
1 1/4 T. kosher salt (or 1 T. table salt if you don’t use kosher salt)
1 T. sugar
1 T. olive oil
2 3/4 cups hot water (no hotter than 110-115˚F - use an instant read thermometer for accuracy)

Corn meal {used as a baker’s peel}

Monday, February 27, 2012

Muslim Monday: Islam vs. Muslims

I believe the entire world, at this point, has heard about Islam and Muslims... While there has been a lot of good, bad, and ugly things said in the media or even displayed by Muslims - I felt it was important to make the following distinction...

Islam and Muslim are not synonymous!

Ummm, wait a second.... don’t Muslims follow Islam as their religion? Yes and no - a complicated answer, but an honest one.

GIVEAWAY: Make a Rainy Day Shine!

I'm not sure where you are - but it's raining here in the usually sunny San Diego, California where I live...

I've joined a few fellow bloggers to bring you a short and sweet giveaway, Make a Rainy Day Shine!

Enter to win $110 CASH (via PayPal)... I'm confident that will make your day just a little brighter!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The 99’er Meme - Part Three

Sunday Stealing: The 99’er Meme - Part Three

51) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?
Yes. Yes, I do! Although I grow out of the grudges over time...

52) What is your astrological sign?
I don’t believe in all that stuff - but I’m a Libra.

53) Do you save money for anything? What?
I do save money - but not for anything in particular. I’m a spend-thrift - so I buy what suits my fancy in the moment.

54) What's the last thing you purchased?
Yesterday I bought a new skillet at Costco... I almost bought an enamel cast iron skillet - but the model on display had lots of chips in the enamel and I didn’t want to buy something that was going to eventually get chips all over.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 02/25

This was a tough week. Not for staying on track - in fact I was really great this week. Unfortunately we had an unwanted house guest; the flu! Yesterday I hardly ate at all. Partly because I didn't have much of an appetite and partly because I was incredibly busy taking care of 3 sick kids, 1 of whom was VERY ill (you can read about it here).

You might notice something new in my weigh in photo... Yes, it's a new scale! The last couple weeks I've noticed some major inconsistencies with my "old" scale (which is actually less than a year old). If I didn't weigh in the exact same spot every time - then I would have huge discrepancies with my weight (as much as 4 pounds heavier than I am). I used to weigh myself in the garage - but decided I would start weighing myself in the kitchen. Even then, I still found the inaccuracies if I weighed myself in a different spot only inches away.

Flashback Friday: 2006

My Flashback Friday post this week is late. The flu decided to pay our home a visit and has been an unwanted guest all week. All 3 kids have had their fair share of colds - but this was the first time they've ever had the flu; a pretty good track record considering the girls are 7 and 6! Unfortunately, my girls were the most affected (high fevers, chills, head/body aches, nausea, vomiting, congestion, & cough - the works, essentially).

Friday, February 24, 2012

ATTENTION BLOGGERS: Sign up for the March Extreme Cash Giveaway!

Can you believe February is almost over? Wow, the time is surely flying by this year!

Are you interested in sponsoring a giveaway on your blog? Sign-ups for the March Extreme Cash Giveaway are available now!

Click here for more details! Please indicated Surviving Madness referred you...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Recipe: Loaded Veggie Lasagna


1 24 oz. jar pasta sauce (if using jarred - choose one with 6g or less sugar per serving. I typically make my own sauce but for time purposes I’m recommending a jarred sauce)

1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 bunch spinach, washed
1 small-medium eggplant, sliced to 1//8 inch thick
2 average zucchini, sliced to 1//8 inch thick
2 average crooked yellow squash, sliced to 1//8 inch thick
2 carrots, shredded
1 1/2 cups roasted or steamed pumpkin (doesn't have to be pureed - it’s okay if it’s shredded or chunky)

3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I use fat free Greek yogurt)
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

4 oz. shredded mozzarella
3/4 oz. shredded parmesan

No bake lasagna noodles (Optional - I only use noodles for two layers for the kids sake. Without noodles it tastes the same to me)

Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, & Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400˚F

In a large skillet heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped green & red bell pepper and red onions. Sauté until tender but still crisp; then add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add pasta sauce to the skillet, season with pepper and Italian seasoning, to taste. Stir well, cook until sauce is heated through.

Combine cottage cheese, yogurt, and parsley in a bowl and stir until well combined.

Place 3/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a baking dish (I use the half-sized aluminum foil pans because I typically double the batch and make an extra tray to freeze). If using the no bake lasagna noodles, layer them on top of the pasta sauce (do not overlap - they expand while cooking).

If you’re not using the noodles, layer the eggplant on the sauce. Add small teaspoon sized drops of the cottage cheese mixture on top of the noodles (or eggplant if skipping the noodles). Layer the zucchini, then sprinkle some grated carrot evenly over the zucchini; next layer the yellow crooked squash, then add the pumpkin. Lightly sprinkle with a little mozzarella and Italian seasoning, then add just enough sauce to cover the entire layer; repeat the process until you run out of vegetables to layer (about 3 layers - depending on the size of your pan). Before adding the final layer of pasta sauce - sprinkle half of the shredded parmesan on the vegetable layer; cover with sauce then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 400˚F. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or just until the cheese begins to take on a little color.

NOTE: The best part about veggie lasagna is you can use pretty much any vegetables you want. I usually add broccoli and/or peas if I have them on hand. The pumpkin can easily be substituted for spaghetti squash or acorn squash. Use the cheese sparingly, but load up on the veggies - you'll have a colorful, delicious and satisfyingly healthy meal!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ATTENTION BLOGGERS: Sign up for the iPad Frenzy Giveaway!

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The February Frenzy iPad2 & Cash giveaway was such a success that we’re going to have another one in April!


- Event Dates: April 1 – 21, 2012

- Prize: iPad or $550 Cash (Winner’s choice)

- Signup Fee: $11 for Facebook & Twitter (+ $2 for each additional link)

- $10 will go towards the prize and $1 admin fee will be used to cover advertising and the blogger referral prize

- Isis of Bay Area Mommy will be randomly selecting blogs where follow tasks will be hosted (excellent opportunity for page views!)

- Giveaway will be open world wide!

To sign up:

- Send your $11 (+$2/addl link) signup fee to AS A GIFT or add $0.60 if sending as a service. Please write your blog’s name on the notes.

- Fill out the signup form HERE and be sure to say that Surviving Madness referred you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Product Review: KitchenAid Rotor Slicer/Shredder Attachment

After several frustrating cleaning attempts with my top of the line Cuisinart food processor, I decided to go ahead and buy the KitchenAid rotor slicer/shredder attachment for my stand mixer. I truly wish I would have bought one years ago!

The rotor slicer/shredder attachment comes with 4 large, sturdy cones - 2 slicing cones (thin & thick) and 2 shredding cones (fine & coarse), a durable plastic "housing" unit and a shaft. After taking everything out of the box my first reaction was, "WOW! This is a LOT bigger than I imagined." That's the problem with basic online pictures - it's really hard to get an idea of just how big (or small) things are.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity: Extreme Flash Giveaway

Do you have a blog? Do you want to get more followers? Sign up to help sponsor the {Leap Day} Extreme Flash Giveaway hosted by Oh My Gosh Beck!

Only $3.50 for your Facebook and Twitter links... Excellent way to gain some new followers.

Be sure to say that I, Surviving Madness, referred you!

Readers, stay tuned for the giveaway next week!

Muslim Monday: Why Do I Wear Hijab?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a year but never got around to it. There are so many questions people have about hijab and why Muslim women cover. I’m going to start with the easiest question to address: Why do I wear hijab?

The word hijab is literally translated from Arabic as a curtain, veil or cover. However, it has been used to define the dress code for Muslims. Notice I said Muslims, not Muslim women. The dress code applies to men too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The 99’er Meme - Part Two

Sunday Stealing: The 99’er Meme - Part Two

26) Are you happy with the person you've become?
Yes and no. I’ve definitely come a long way from the loud mouth witch I used to be back in my teenager years... I’m still fairly loud, but thankfully the attitude is under control (for the most part). However, I’m not completely happy with who I am - I know I could be better.

27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love?
Hate: My kids whining or fighting - drives me INSANE!
Love: My kids laughing - I can’t help but smile or laugh with them.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 02/18

I haven't decided how often I want to weigh in yet. In the past I used to weigh in weekly. Unfortunately if I had a week where I didn't lose anything (despite eating really good and working out hard) I would get depressed, upset, and downright angry. I'd cry and lose focus and ultimately drown my frustration in a trip to the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet and an Ikea cinnamon bun (or two)!

I refuse to be a slave to the numbers on the scale... if I have been exercising, eating healthy, tracking everything I eat, and I haven't gone over my points for the week - but didn't lose any weight... then I know the scale is just a big fat liar!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flashback Friday: 2010

Last week my sister's 15 year old cat Thomas (aka Tommy or Tom-Tom) passed away.

A couple days before he passed the kids and I were visiting my parents. My sister's husband is allergic to cats so she had to leave them at home with my parents when she got married. My kids were petting the cats, mostly my 3 year old little man who isn't the most gentle when it comes to "pet softly."

Thomas was a very calm, gentle, but anti-social cat... usually when we come over he goes into hiding. However, this time he just laid there oddly and allowed my son to pet him.

I warned my sister I thought the cat might be dying and it broke her heart. She was very upset and I felt terrible for saying it - but I wanted her to be aware that even I noticed something wasn't right and to prepare... Sadly, he passed away two days later.

It is in Thomas' honor that I dedicate today's Flashback Friday post; thank you for being part of my sisters (and our) lives!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GIVEAWAY: February Extreme Cash!

I've teamed up with a group of amazing bloggers to bring you the February Extreme Cash Giveaway!

This time we’re bringing you MORE PRIZES which means MORE CHANCES for you to win!

Following are the prizes:

1- $300 Paypal Cash prize
1- $200 Paypal Cash prize
1- $100 Paypal Cash prize
1- $50 Paypal Cash prize
and 1- Kodak Easyshare Sport Camera

Enter on the Rafflecopter form below - it's fairly quick and easy. The more entries you submit the greater your chance of winning. Do them all at once, or come back every day and do a little at a time - you have an entire month to submit your entries!

Giveaway ends 3/15 at 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. Best wishes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

GIVEAWAY: What Would You Do With $1000?

The Grand Event Cash Giveaway gives you the opportunity to enter to win $1000! What would you do with the $1000 if you won?

Would you squirrel the cash into your savings? Pay a few bills? Go on a much needed/deserved shopping spree?

I have a mini family vacation in mind (maybe San Francisco - then swing by Stockton to visit a dear friend). I'd also like to get some really great pictures taken of the kids!

You can't win if you don't enter - so head on over and enter today!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme - Part One

I got a little behind with the Sunday Stealing posts - but here’s for trying to get back on track... This week’s Sunday Stealing: The 99’er Meme - Part One

1) Put your iTunes on shuffle. Give me the first 6 songs that pop up.
Tala’a Badru Alaina - Yusuf Islam
Qur’an Surat 80 (Chapter 80 of the Qur’an)
Arabic ABC’s song
Whisper of Peace - Dawud Wharsnby Ali
First Molimo Fire Dance Song - (this is from my daughter’s homeschooling history CD)
God is The Light - Yusuf Islam

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 02/11

I'm one week in on my long (but fully accepted) journey to getting physically healthy. This week was amazingly successful! While I don't want to downplay my success this week, I feel the need to, if only a little.

The first week always comes with a dramatic loss. I think the biggest loss I've personally had was 7 (or maybe it was 8) pounds. That's a lot to lose in one week. For those of you who don't know - the initial weight loss (in excess of 3 pounds) the first couple weeks is mostly "water weight."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flashback Friday: 2006

My second oldest child, who I fondly nicknamed Chubby Wubby Bumble Bee (which turned into Little Bee once she lost all her baby fat), turned 6 years old today! It is in her honor that I post today's Flashback Friday!

I love you my Little Bee!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Word Riddle!

There is a seven letter word that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters...

Have you figured out the word yet?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My 4 Minute Nightmare!

My kids really wanted to go on a bike/scooter ride; I wanted to go for a walk. Rather than venture far from home, especially with all the hills in our neighborhood, I planned to only make laps around our block. After the first lap I really had to go potty (I drank a LOT of water at breakfast) - so I left the garage open and told the kids to wait inside (putting my oldest in charge of keeping an eye on her sister and brother) while I ran inside the house. The kids are usually great about staying next to the house (and the bathroom window opens to the front of the house I can hear the kids and every other possible noise)...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Funniest Super Bowl Commercial...

We don't have a TV - but every year I log onto Hulu Ad Zone to see the Super Bowl commercials.

Here are my three favorites (The first two are cute the last one is really funny)...

Volkswagen: The Bark

Volkswagen: The Dog Strikes Back

M&M: It's That Kind of Party
All three of my kids were laughing hysterically when I watched this commercial... they asked me to play it over and over again and started doing the "moves." This was my favorite out of all the commercials - too funny!

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle YEAH!

Saying Goodbye...

As adults we often forget how hard it is being a kid. A couple weeks ago my oldest daughter said, “It’s so hard to be a kid! You’re not a kid anymore, you don’t know what it’s like.” I laughed. Having someone cook and clean for you, in addition to being able to play most of the day. Yeah, it’s hard being a kid, I thought sarcastically. In fact, I thought it was so funny I wrote down what she said and shared it with my mom; I was surprised by her response.

“You clearly don’t remember, but it IS hard being a kid.”

After giving it more thought she was right. It’s hard understanding and accepting things when you’re little. Learning to control your emotions, frustrations, expressing yourself, and regularly being told no, etc...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The Never Ending Meme - Ends

Sorry I've missed a couple weeks of Sunday Stealing - I'm picking up where I left off...

Sunday Stealing: The Never Ending Meme - Ends

36. Have you watched American Horror Story?

37. Baseball hat or toque?
Toque - they tend to fit better

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Ugly Truth

I’m {morbidly} obese. There, I said it. Have you ever made yourself speechless? I just did. Ten entire minutes of watching the little cursor on the screen blink as I desperately tried to strangle the tears and emotions of the stark reality I'm about to admit this openly, online!

I truly have no excuses... sure, there have been some contributing health factors which exacerbated my weight problem, but deep down I know there were things I could have done to curtail the effect. In the last three years I attempted to lose weight about 5 times. Each time weighing more than the last time I started. A few times my Bipolar disorder botched my most successful attempts.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Flashback Friday: 1982

As I previously mentioned last week - I have very few photos from prior to 2004. Unfortunately my family didn't take very many photos as we were growing up. However, there are a couple gems I've found over the years. Here I am, circa 1982 at 4 years old. I loved riding this horse.

Truly a Flashback Friday, eh?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Sparkling Reviews Does it Again!

Sparkling Reviews has done it again with another great giveaway!

Head on over and enter to win 1 of 8 prizes. The Grand Prize is amazing and includes a $1500 Amazon Gift Card, a Sony Blu-Ray Player, an iPod Touch and MORE!

You can't win if you don't ENTER!

GIVEAWAY: $100 Amazon Gift Card - Facebook Blast!


Are you ready to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card? Entering to win is super easy with the Rafflecopter form below... just LIKE the participating Facebook pages on the form, make a little wish and wait for the winner to be announced. Here's to hoping it's you!