How I survived my Cabin Adventure with NO HOME INTERNET for a month!

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This post is sponsored by Wilson Electronics / WeBoost.  All comments and opinions are my own.
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Last year, my husband and I purchased a small “fixer upper” cabin in Kentucky!  This was a dream that we had worked towards for many many years.  It is a simple little place tucked on a mountainside on the Cumberland River.   It is livable but in need of a full renovation to make it work for our needs in the years to come.  I will be blogging on the experience and sharing all of the fun stories and adventures that we encounter along the way here
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One of the most important things on our “must have list” when looking for a place was internet service since we work from home and I am online at least 12 hours per day.  With an extremely limited budget and our desire to have our own piece of heaven in a very rural area, we found that to be a major issue.  After researching every option available, we were told that we would be able to have satellite internet and scheduled the installation for the day after we arrived at our property.  It was going to be pricey but it was our only choice so we bit the bullet, paid the fees and were ready to get it going.
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Our drive to Kentucky is 10+ loooooooooong hours from our home in Florida.  We timed our trip between work responsibilities and I gave myself a day or two just to get the installation done and me back online seamlessly. Unfortunately, as soon as the satellite internet guy got to our property and took one look around at the 200 ft trees in every direction and elevation on a mountain side he said there was NO WAY we would get service there.  I could not believe it.  I had called no less than 10 times to confirm that service would definitely be available prior to closing on the property and spoke to the technician before leaving Florida to confirm again.  He got out his gauges and walked around from every angle and no signal was strong enough to do an installation.

EEEK! WHAT THE HECK?!

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Rosco keeping an eye on the satellite guy from his porch swing
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I was in a complete state of panic.  Before leaving Florida, my backup plan was to use my cell phone service and “tether” to my laptop if absolutely necessary, but once we arrived I found that my cell service was only strong enough to send or receive VERY SLOW text messages outside (and down the hill a bit) but was not strong enough to make calls or connect to the internet.  For the next few days I would make multiple trips up the hill to the top of the mountain until I found a strong enough signal and would work from my car to get things done.  As you can imagine, this was not an ideal situation and was extremely stressful since as you guys know I am in the facebook chat group and on social media most of the day and night answering questions, getting excited about your haul photos or posting deals. 

WeBoost to the rescue!

I decided to start asking everyone that I came into contact with how they were able to access the internet to see if there were any options that I may have missed.   Most people laughed when I asked about internet in our area or just said good luck with that (how do you live without internet?!).

Fortunately, I ended up getting some AMAZING information from a lady that owns a campground in the area and provides free wifi for her visitors.  She told me about a company called Wilson Electronics and their product line called WeBoost!

Basically, what a WeBoost unit does is connect to a cell tower to access voice and data signals.  It then BOOSTS that signal 32x and sends it to an inside antenna, the INSIDE antenna then broadcasts the signal to all devices in your home.  Sounds amazing right?!  At this point I was DESPERATE so I sat in my car with my laptop connected at her campground and I literally ordered a WeBoost Home 3G unit right then and there with next day delivery.  We had to travel to the nearest UPS station to pick it up due to our location, but it arrived the following day.  It was seriously my ONLY hope and my fingers & toes were crossed while my husband installed it hoping that it would work.

IT DID! IT WORKED!

We went from NO PHONE or TEXT ABILITY inside our cabin to FULL Phone, Text and DATA!  I was able to connect to my laptop via my Verizon Mifi hotspot and was able to work just like normal with no issues!  I could not believe it!  Fortunately, I am on the Verizon unlimited data plan so it didn’t cost me anymore on my cell phone bill to work for the entire month!

I was SO EXCITED about it that when we got back home I decided to try out the unit at my house here in Florida and was able to cancel my home internet service which was costing me almost $100 per month!  At my home in Florida, I literally had to pay for internet service monthly THEN had to get what they called a MicroCell unit to boost my cell phone service on my phone just so that my cell phone would work, it was ridiculous.  If the internet went out for any reason I would also lose cell phone service.   Now with the WeBoost installed I ALWAYS have service since it is not dependent upon the internet at all, it is boosting straight from the cell tower!

The WeBoost unit is AWESOME and they have a BUNCH of other products too!

We will be heading back to Kentucky very soon to start our next round of repairs and improvements and I will be doing some live streaming from there and I feel confident that I will have no issues at all!  The customer service at WeBoost is AMAZING as well.  I have spoken with them a few times to see what all of my options are with the wide range of products they offer.  They have products for your car, RV, home, office, etc that will boost your service wherever you are! I seriously feel like this is the future of how we will connect to the internet.   Why should we have to pay for cell phone data AND home internet too right?!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT ALL OF THE WEBOOST PRODUCTS

I am super excited that the fine folks over at Wilson Electronics / WeBoost sent me the Whole House Connect 4G-X unit to bring with me on my next trip and to try it out! I am very thankful!  I was using the Home 3G unit and it met my needs so I can only imagine how fast and amazing the Connect 4G-X will be!  I will keep you all posted!!

Once we were able to get our internet situation resolved it allowed us to relax and enjoy the area and explore around a bit when we weren’t working.  We have a BIG JOB ahead of us working on the cabin but would LOVE to share our adventure with those of you that are interested in following along.  I have created a facebook page HERE for this and will be posting all of the things that we learn along the way!

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Rosco and Moozy enjoying an afternoon of hiking

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Finally able to relax and explore once I had my internet working!

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Make sure you check out our new  Simple Cabin Living Facebook page about our new cabin adventure!  We will be blogging on our DIY projects, renovations and all of the calamities we are sure to encounter!

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Weekend Family Fun: DIY Dinosaur Garden

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Are fairy gardens not your thing? No worries at all! Today I am going to show you a fun and frugal alternative to the fairy garden. All you need is about $5 worth of supplies and you will be enjoying endless fun in no time. This dinosaur garden is perfect for the dino lover in your household. It is a great way to teach children about dinosaurs, gardening, and even how to care for a living thing while having lots of fun at the same time. Take a peek below at how to make your own DIY Dinosaur Garden so you can be enjoying this prehistoric fun this weekend!

Dinosaur Garden

Supplies needed:
Planter or tin box
Potting soil
Prehistoric looking plants such as aloe and succulents
Plastic dino toys

We found everything we needed for around $5 at our local dollar store and greenhouse. You can find these plants for about $1 each, and most dollar stores sell the toys dinos as well as the planters and soil even for $1 each. As you can see, this is some fun you can enjoy on a dime!

Directions:
1. Begin by filling the container of your choice with soil.
2. Plant the plants of your choosing. As mentioned, succulents and aloe look great!
3. Add in your dinosaurs and other props such as rocks for caves.

Tend to your dinosaur garden with a little water every few days. You can also move your dinosaurs around for some fun if you wish!

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See how cute this dinosaur garden turned out? If you think your kids would enjoy this, give one a try. It is a perfect substitute for someone not quite into fairy gardens. When you are done, share your project with us on the Facebook page or Community chat page!

Happy weekend, friends!

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Cheesy Cajun Sausage & Tator Casserole! Yummy!!

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Cheesy Cajun Sausage & Tator Casserole MCE

OH MY LAWD!  You are going to LOVE this dish!

Many of you have asked for recipes using the Eckrich Sausage that we just scored super cheap at Publix.  I have a really tasty option that is really easy to make that the whole family will love!

Smoked Sausage and Kielbasa is delicious when cooked together with potatoes.  There is something about the mix of flavors that is wonderful on the taste buds!  My mother is from Louisiana, so I have a lot of cajun influences in my cooking and I love my food well seasoned.  The combination of ingredients and seasoning in this dish are just perfect to me, it is not spicy, but extremely flavorful.

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Prep time:  10 minutes max

Preparing this dish was really easy for me.  In all fairness though, I want to mention that I use a Vidalia Chop Wizard for my potatoes and onions.  If you haven’t ever seen one of these, you should really check it out.  I have used mine for YEARS and can’t imagine having to chop up potatoes or veggies for soup or stews by hand.  Basically, you peel the veggies that you are going to use, put on the chopper and press down.  It quickly cuts the veggie into perfect size pieces.   I am not sure if it is designed for potatoes since it is called a “Vidalia Chopper” but I have used it for years on potatoes and every other kind of veggie out there.  I also use it for eggs when making egg salad and cheese for bite size chunks.  You can pick these up on Amazon for $19.50 with free prime shipping.  It is worth it to buy the original, the copy cat doesn’t get great reviews.  This is what mine looks like, you will see it in one of my prep photos as well:

Ingredients

  • FIVE Medium Size Potatoes
  • One Package of Eckrich Smoked or Kielbasa Sausage
  • One Medium Onion
  • Weber N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning ($.15 at Publix now)
  • Olive Oil (or vegetable oil if necessary)
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Directions

Cheesy Cajun in process

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Peel Potatoes and cut into bite size pieces (not too big)
  • Peel onion and cut into similar size pieces
  • Slice Sausage into small bite size pieces.  I have found that if the sausage is almost frozen it is easiest to slice into small pieces.
  • For easy cleanup it is best to line your pan with aluminum foil or use a disposable pan, spray or rub bottom of pan with olive or vegetable oil (I use olive oil personally but either will work).
  • Mix all ingredients together by hand in pan and sprinkle generously with Weber N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning.  I personally like to see the seasoning throughout the mixture like this:

 

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  • Place in oven and cook for 75 minutes uncovered, I stirred it once at about 40 minutes to make sure that it was cooking evenly.  We like ours to be well cooked with the onions cooked down and the potatoes nice and soft with a little crispy edge on the sausage and potatoes which is why I go 75 minutes.

REMOVE FROM OVEN

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  • After 75 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the oven on HIGH BROIL.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top and place back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  You can use more cheese, but I find that about a half of a cup to one cup is more than enough for this dish.

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Let cool for just a few minutes before serving to allow the cheese to settle and ENJOY!

Be sure to share a recipe with us on our Facebook page or Chat page.  Get inspired to craft and cook frugally on our Pinterest page too!!

Enjoy!

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15 Scrumptious Chili, Stew, and Soup Recipes for your Crockpot

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15 Scrumptious Chili, Stew, and Soup Recipes for your Crockpot

As the Fall weather starts to get a little colder, I love to have a great warm and hearty dinner! Soup, Chili, and Stew are always a great idea to warm you up and keep you full! If you need some new scrumptious ideas to add to your menu, you are going to enjoy this! Check out these 15 Scrumptious Chili, Stew, and Soup Recipes for your crockpot! These are wonderful ways to save time and still keep your family happy! Drop by and let me know which one is your new family favorite!

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1. Crockpot Cheddar, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Soup | Source: Hot Eats and Cool Reads

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2. Crockpot Potato Soup | Source: Juggling Act Mama

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3. Crockpot Chunky Tomato Soup | Source: A Mom’s Take

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4. Crockpot Beef Stew | Source: The Mom Creative

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5. Hearty Crockpot Chili | Source: Grinning Like an Idiot

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6. Crockpot Black Bean Chili | Source: Practically Functional

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7. Crockpot Chicken Corn Chowder | Source: Kooky Carol’s Kitchen Concoctions

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8. Crockpot Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili | Source: Juggling Act Mama

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9. Crockpot Lasagna Soup | Source: Food Done Light

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10. Crockpot Veal Stew with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Rosemary | Source: The Harried Mom

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11. Crockpot Cabbage Roll Soup | Simply Stacie

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12. Crockpot French Onion Beef Stew | Source: One Creative Mommy

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13. Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup | Source: Mom Vs The Boys

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14. Crockpot Italian Vegetarian Bean Soup | Around My Family Table

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15. Crockpot Italian Style Chicken Sausage Soup | Source: Juggling Act Mama

Make sure you check in on our facebook fan page or our facebook chat page to say hi and hang out with all of your coupon freak friends! We are having a blast over there!
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Thrifty Recipe Idea: Caramel Apple Pudding Parfait

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You are going to LOVE this Fall Desert Idea!!

 

Caramel Apple Parfait

Caramel Apple Pudding Parfait

Another delightful dish for the pudding deal.  If you don’t already have some on hand from that you will want to grab a box of pudding.  This is sooo Delish! This Caramel Apple Parfait tastes like fall!   To me nothing tastes quite as yummy as fall foods.  Don’t you agree?   Layered in a mason jar this dessert has plenty of eye appeal.  Hey, cheap can be pretty too!  The following recipe makes 3 quart sized jars or 6 pint jars. This would also be beautiful to layer in a glass bowl to bring as your contribution to a fall party. Just double or triple the following recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1- 4.6 oz. box vanilla pudding

¼- ½ cup of peanuts, salted or honey roasted

1  oz can apple pie filling

Caramel ice cream topping

Mix pudding according to package directions.  Chop peanuts or leave them whole if you prefer.

In a quart sized Mason jar layer; pudding, apple pie filling, caramel sauce, and peanuts. Repeat for 2 or 3 more layers. Top with a remaining drizzle of caramel and sprinkle of peanuts.

For yummy variations switch peanuts for your favorite caramel apple covering- cashews, pecans, mini chocolate chips, chopped candy corn, or toffee bits. You’re only limited by your imagination and your own taste buds!

OH EM GEE now I’m hungry for this tasty treat!!

Do you have a thrifty recipe that you would like to share with your coupon friends?  Message me and I will add it to the page and give you credit!   Also, make sure you check in on our facebook fan page or our facebook chat page to say hi and hang out with all of your coupon freak friends! We are having a blast over there!

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Parmesan Panko Chicken, a Coupon and a GIVEAWAY!

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parmesan Panko Chicken MCE

OH.MY.GOSH.
You are going to LOVE THIS easy recipe, it is SO GOOD!

 

My family has used Progresso Bread Crumbs for years and we love it.  It is the only brand in my opinion that cooks consistently well and has the best flavor.   I thought I would share one of my families favorite “chicken concoctions” that I make that I think you will really enjoy!

My husband loves the taste of my Parmesan Panko Chicken Breast so much, that he uses the left overs to make a yummy  toasted sandwich the day after having this for dinner!

Before we get started on the recipe, make SURE you
CLICK HERE and grab your coupon for $1.00 off two Progresso Bread Crumbs, you will need it for the recipe!
I picked up one box of Panko AND one box of Italian Crumbs at Publix, they are both super tasty!

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Parmesan Panko Chicken Breast

Parmesa Panko ingredients

Directions

  • You want to start out with your boneless skinless chicken breast.  For the best result you want a thin flat piece of chicken.   Cut off any excess fat or skin, then using a sharp knife, hold the breast down and cut it in half horizontally to give you two flatter pieces of chicken.

 

  • Now for the fun part, you get to beat out your frustrations!   Place two or three pieces of chicken in a big ziplock baggie and use a meat mallet (or hammer if you are country like me) and pound it until it is no more than 1/4 inch thick!  Chicken will break down pretty easily so you don’t have to whack it too hard to get the job done 😉

(Pounding it breaks down the meat / muscle fibers to make it super tender so it is  a must)

  • Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder (you can use other seasonings you like to taste.  The breading will hold in the flavors and make it delicious so season generously.

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Have your prep stations ready to go
(fancy way of saying plates with your stuff on it)

Parmesan Panko in progress

  • After seasoning both sides of each piece of chicken, dip each side in plain flour.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.  You might feel like you can skip this step, but don’t, the flour will give the egg something to stick to and will make sure that you have a complete crispy crust that is not falling off the chicken.  It is important and super easy to do.
    Just press each side of the seasoned chicken in the flour and keep on going!
  • Next, dip the floured chicken in the raw egg that has been beaten thoroughly.  I used two eggs for four large pieces, but you can add more egg if you need it.  Make sure that each side is covered in egg then immediately move to the next station.
  • Your last station should be a plate with Progresso Panko Bread Crumbs and Shredded Parmesan Cheese combined.  It won’t seem like it is coating evenly, but trust me, it will all come together when it starts to cook.   Press the chicken down on each side and make sure it is fully covered.  I pull some from the sides and smush into the top as I am coating it to make sure it is fully covered.

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Get ready to cook!

Have a large skillet ready with about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil (any type of oil will work, I prefer vegetable or canola for this recipe but have used others).   Your heat should be set between medium and high and already heated up before you start the process of coating your chicken.

  • When the oil is hot, carefully add each piece of chicken.  The oil should be hot enough that it immediately starts to sizzle when you place the chicken in the oil.   I like my food well seasoned, so I go ahead and sprinkle a little salt, pepper, garlic & onion on the top of it while cooking too!

 

  • Do not flip the chicken multiple times.  Carefully lift the chicken when you start to see browning around the edges to check and flip only once when the chicken breast is golden in color.  It should lift easily and the breading will stay with the chicken.  If it is browning too fast turn down the temperature of the oil just a bit.  If it cooks too fast the chicken will not be thoroughly cooked through and the outside will be over cooked, if the oil is not hot enough it will be too oily.  I found that on my stove it works best on level 7 or 8 for heat.

 

  • Once you have cooked both sides, remove from oil and drain on a plate with folded paper towels to absorb any excess oil.  By now your chicken should look like this:

 

parmesan panko chicken piece

I paired mine with some broccoli, cauliflower and green beans and it was DELICIOUS!

panko plate

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What about left overs??

My husband enjoyed his SO MUCH that he wanted to have a replay the following day.  Instead of just heating up the chicken, he toasted a piece of bread, then placed the chicken on the bread, covered it with some Sargento’s Tasting Cheese (remember that cheap coupon deal we got?) and broiled it on low in the oven for 5 minutes.  This was the result and it was SOOOO GOOD!

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I can honestly say that the Progresso Panko Bread Crumbs make all the difference in the world with this recipe.  Nothing else compares.  I do a similar recipe without the parmesan using the Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs and it is always a huge hit too.  I personally love the light crunchy breading of Panko though, if you haven’t ever tried it you are really missing out!

Make sure you CLICK HERE TO PRINT a $1.00/2 Progresso Bread Crumbs coupon before you head out to Publix to pick up your supplies to make this dish.  The small containers of bread crumbs are priced under $2 at Publix so this is a nice inexpensive but super flavorful way to cook chicken that you are going to LOVE!

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HOW ABOUT A GIVEAWAY??

Who wants to win a $15 Paypal Cash Giveaway??

FIRST, grab your coupon now to save on Progresso Bread Crumbs.
You can Save $1.00 off any two Progresso Bread Crumb varieties.

Make sure you print your coupon above to save for the recipe then follow the instructions below:

Open to US residents only, 18 years or older, ends 5/31/15

Good Luck!!

Note:  MyCouponExpert.com will notify randomly selected winner by email.  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram and other social media is not associated with this giveaway.  If you have any questions, please contact the host of this giveaway Caroline@MyCouponExpert.com
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Make sure you check in on our facebook fan page or our facebook chat page to say hi and hang out with all of your coupon freak friends! We are having a blast over there!
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20 Fabulous French Toast Recipes

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20 Fabulous French Toast Recipes

If you are looking for some quick breakfast ideas for your family, french toast is a great option! There are SO many delicious ways that you can make french toast that your family will never get sick of it! French Toast is a very simple thing to make and everyone loves it! I’ve got 20 Fabulous French Toast Recipes here for you to check out today! Check these out and let me know which one is your favorite!

Fabulous French Toast Recipes

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1. Pumpkin French Toast | Source: The View from Great Island

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2. Cranberry Apple French Toast | Source: Andrea’s Recipes

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3. Overnight French Toast Casserole | Source: Sincerely Mindy

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4. Cinnamon French Toast Casserole | Source: Today’s Creative Blog

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5. French Toast Cups | Simply Stacie

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6. Cinnamon French Toast Bake | Source: Oh My! Sugar High

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7. Cream Cheese Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast | Source: Baby Loving Mama

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8. Overnight Praline French Toast | Source: The Kitchen is My Playground

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9. Pumpkin Pie French Toast Casserole | Source: Just Us Four Blog

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10. Baked Cinnamon Swirl French Toast | Source: Our Table for Seven

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11. Berry Infused French Toast Casserole | Source: Baking Beauty

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12. Caramel Apple French Toast Bake | Source: 365 Days of Baking and More

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13. Overnight Vanilla Chai French Toast Bake | Source: Home Cooking Memories

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14. Eggnog French Toast | Source: Living Better Together

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15. Christmas Tree French Toast | Source: The Joy of Boys

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16. Cranberry Orange French Toast Casserole | Source: Savvy Saving Couple

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17. Make Ahead French Toast Casserole | Source: Really, Are You Serious?

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18. Easy French Toast Casserole | Source: Future Expat

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19. Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole | Source: Centsless Deals

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20. Cinnamon Apple Bagel French Toast | Source: Nibbles by Nic

Make sure you check in on our facebook fan page or our facebook chat page to say hi and hang out with all of your coupon freak friends! We are having a blast over there!

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Monday Inspiration: 10 Minutes to an Amazing Day

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amazingday

Did you know that the first few minutes after you wake up can dictate the rest of your day?  It is important to start the day off right by using those first few minutes after you open your eyes as positive, energizing time.  If you aren’t sure how, you have come to the right place.  Today, let’s talk about taking 10 minutes to an amazing day.  By taking these steps those first ten minutes of your day, you will find that the rest of your day is more positive, upbeat, and productive. Let’s get started.

10 Minutes to an Amazing Day

1. Give thanks.
Before you even get out of bed, give thanks for a new day.  You can say a prayer, write down a quick note of thanks in a journal, or just appreciate yourself for a moment.  By being awake, alive, and being able to get out of bed, you are already ahead of the game.  Acknowledge it and give thanks for 1-2 minutes.

2. Stretch.
Don’t just fly out of bed.  Take a moment to stretch your limbs. Roll your neck, stretch your legs and arms, and arch your back.  Warm your body up this way, make it come alive, and send it the message that it is time to get moving. 2-3 minutes is adequate.

3. Drink some water.
We seem to forget how much our body needs water.  Start the day with a glass or water, cold or warm, to nourish your body and rev up your metabolism.  Doing this daily can help you achieve better health and get your body functioning better, 1-2 minutes is all this takes.

4. Make your goals.
Don’t spend those precious morning minutes playing on your phone or texting.  Instead, use them to evaluate your day. Jot down a brief plan for the day and at least three tasks you wish to accomplish.  This will help you feel motivated and organized, all in under a 2-3 minutes.

Your ten minutes is now up, and in that time you have given thanks, woke your body up, nourished it, and organized a few tasks for the day.  You are now ready to roll! See how easy that was? And, it hardly took any time!

When you wake up tomorrow, forget playing around on your phone or staring at the television.  Instead, give these steps a try and experience the best morning you could imagine.  You are only ten minutes away from it!

Be inspired today, friends!

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Daily Dose of Inspiration: Discovering What Matters

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Have you ever found yourself deeply involved in a task only to step back and say, “Why does this even matter?”

It seems as though we all come to that point in our lives from time to time.  The truth is, we often find ourselves so deeply involved in routines that we carry out tasks that in the long run, really aren’t that important.  These tasks can rob us from time with family and friends, and in the end even take a piece of our happiness. So what is the solution? Well that is what we are exploring today. Today, let’s talk about discovering what matters.

First, take a look at your day. I mean REALLY take a look at your day. Journal for a day if you need to, writing down your tasks as you complete them. Take special note of any task that takes you more than a few minutes.  When you find those “hot spots” re-evaluate them.  How important are these tasks?  How do they benefit you and your family? How do they make you feel?  At the end of this questioning, you should be able to see how much the task matters.

Let’s look at an example: Suppose after breakfast each day you load the dishwasher. It takes about 5 minutes and you can do it while the kids get dressed.  It helps you keep the area prepped for dinner later, and you feel more organized.  Is it worth taking the time to do this each day? I would venture and say yes.

Example two.  After dinner you fill the sink and prepare to wash dishes.  It will take about 20 minutes.  Your child on the other hand wants to read a book to you or your spouse wants you to sit down with them and talk about your day.  Sure you could read the book or sit down and chill out, but then your dishwater goes cold and you still have a mess on your hands. So what do you do?  These are the situations where you need to ask yourself what matters.  Your children are only young once, your spouse needs some together time.  Reading with your child is valuable and there will come a time (before you are ready) that they won’t want to read to you.  Bonding with your spouse is important. Final ruling?  Set the dish towel down and walk away, fill the sink back up later and start again. Now is a great time to see that taking the time to bond matters more than making sure the dishes get washed at that moment.

Life gets really busy and time passes before we know it.  Trust me, I know this first hand.  My children are now fully grown and I look back and wish that I could experience many things again.  During those years we were so busy trying to work, make it to the after school activities on time, get baths and get to bed at a reasonable hour that we could barely keep up.  Let’s face it, life is intense when you are in the midst of it all!

If I could go back, I would make a conscious effort to set aside time to really be “present in the moment”.  To stop the madness and really focus on those around me.  Although it is impossible to go back and have a re-do, the good news is that we can make those changes starting now.   Putting down the cell phone, laptop or tablet and goofing around with your spouse matters.  Sitting on the porch drinking a cold glass of ice tea and talking about your big dreams or what you would do if you won the lottery matters and might be just what the doctor ordered!

Reconnecting with those we love, listening to their dreams and ideas no matter how goofy or crazy or out of reach they may seem is an amazing way to bond.   A mentor of mine told me many years ago “never tell your children that their grand ideas or crazy dreams are silly our outlandish, what a shame it would be if they believed you.”  How true that is and it goes for all of us, not just children.  Why not dream?  Why not have outlandish crazy ideas of what you might want to do in your life or things you want to experience?  What a shame it would be if you believed that it was silly our outlandish! Dream Big!

So what really matters to you? In a perfect world how would your life look?

When you are in the process of discovering what matters, you may find out a few things.  You may find that eating dinner as a family matters more than what is being served on the plate.  You might find that letting your kids have fun in the mud on a rainy day matters more than the stains they are setting into their clothing that you will have to soak to clean.  You may even discover that you have some crazy dreams that you have tucked away since you were a little kid that some day could become a reality!

At the end of the day, when we are up in years and quietly sitting in our rocker reminiscing about our life, keeping up with the dishes or what is happening on social media will be the last thing on our mind.  The thoughts that will come to mind are the memories that  we made with those we love.  The giggling in the rain, the fun we had singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs with our best friends, the little moments, the big moments, the moments that we thought we wouldn’t make it through but somehow did.  Those are the things that I have discovered really matter.

So how will you find what matters this weekend? When you sit back do you have any fun memories that come to mind that you will cherish when you are old and grey?  Lets talk about it on our Facebook Chat page!

Be inspired today, friends!

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Cheesy Sausage & Tator Casserole! Yummy!!

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You are going to LOVE this dish!

I have a really tasty and EASY recipe using Hillshire Farms Sausage that the whole family will love!

Smoked Sausage and Kielbasa is delicious when cooked together with potatoes.  There is something about the mix of flavors that is wonderful on the taste buds!  My mother is from Louisiana, so I have a lot of cajun influences in my cooking and I love my food well seasoned.  The combination of ingredients and seasoning in this dish are just perfect to me, it is not spicy, but extremely flavorful.

 

NOTE:
This is an simplified version of my Cheesy Cajun Sausage Tator Casserole that I previously posted.  Hillshire Farms came out with a Cajun Smoked Sausage and PictSweet has a wonderful seasoning veggie blend which made it even easier to make!!  In this recipe I used half Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Sausage and Half Beef Smoked sausage for the flavoring but you can use regular Keilbasa, Turkey Sausage or any other type you like, it is all good!  By using the seasoned sausage I was able to eliminate the need to use any additional seasoning.  The PictSweet Onion / Pepper blend adds a nice twist too.  If you only want to use onions as in the original recipe they also have bagged chopped onion which makes it super fast to add to the dish as well, try it, you will love their products!

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Prep time:  10 minutes max

Preparing this dish was really easy for me.  In all fairness though, I want to mention that I use a Vidalia Chop Wizard for my potatoes.  If you haven’t ever seen one of these, you should really check it out.  I have used mine for YEARS and can’t imagine having to chop up potatoes or veggies for soup or stews by hand.  Basically, you peel the veggies that you are going to use, put on the chopper and press down.  It quickly cuts the veggie into perfect size pieces.   I am not sure if it is designed for potatoes since it is called a “Vidalia Chopper” but I have used it for years on potatoes and every other kind of veggie out there.  I also use it for eggs when making egg salad and cheese for bite size chunks.  You can pick these up on Amazon for $19.50 with free prime shipping.  It is worth it to buy the original, the copy cat doesn’t get great reviews.  This is what mine looks like, you will see it in one of my prep photos as well:

Ingredients

  • FIVE Medium Size Potatoes
  • One Package of Hillshire Farm Smoked or Kielbasa Sausage
  • One package of PictSweet Seasoning Blend
    If you don’t like peppers and other seasoning vegetables they also have a chopped onion blend that works great too!
  • Olive Oil (or vegetable oil if necessary)
  • Salt & Pepper to season
  • ONE and a half cup Shredded Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Peel Potatoes and cut into bite size pieces (not too big)
  • Add PictSweet Seasoning Blend to taste, I use approx 3/4 cup
  • Salt & Pepper generously to taste
  • Slice Hillshire Farm Sausage into small bite size pieces.  I have found that if the sausage is almost frozen it is easiest to slice into small pieces or use kitchen shears to cut up.
  • For easy cleanup I coat the pan with a little olive oil before adding ingredients.
  • Mix all ingredients together by hand in pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil

 

  • Place in oven and cook for 60 minutes uncovered.  We like ours to be well cooked with the onions cooked down and the potatoes nice and soft with a little crispy edge on the sausage and potatoes so make sure that your potatoes are fully cooked.  It may take a little more or a little less depending on the type and texture of the potatoes that you use as well as the size that you cut them.

 

  • After 60 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the oven on HIGH BROIL.  Sprinkle the cheese on top and place back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  You can use more cheese if you prefer, I find that a cup and a half is more than enough for this dish for my family.

 

Let cool for just a few minutes before serving to allow the cheese to settle and ENJOY!

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Enjoy!

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