Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My New Favorite Card Store

Has anyone ever heard of CardStore.com? I have to say, its my new favorite place to order our Christmas cards and I am sure I will be using them for other purchases as well.

Tolar and I love sending personalized Christmas cards/pictures each year and recently discovered the "year in review" cards that are available on a few sites. We love this option because its a simple way to tell your loved ones the latest news with you in a cute and clever way. Plus it saves me time writing a huge letter and trying to remember everything that happened in the year.

During our search for our Christmas card this year, we happened upon CardStore.com on Cyber Monday. I honestly didn't even realize it was Cyber Monday when we were looking, but I am extremely happy it was! They were having an incredible deal on their cards and one of their options just happened to be a year in review card. We were hooked! So around 10 p.m. on Cyber Monday we decided to order our cards. The only problem, a lot of other people were also trying to score the Cyber Monday deal and the site was really slow. We couldn't even upload our adorable photo of Baby K; the site just kept loading.

I sat there for a long time just waiting on everything to work and watched the clock creep closer and closer to midnight, when the Cyber Monday deal would be over. The cuteness of the cards had me hooked, but the amazing price made me crazy. I DID NOT want to miss this deal. So in an attempt to get some last minute help, I logged onto to CardStore.com's facebook page and saw that a lot of other people were having the same problem (everyone wanted that deal!). And the coolest thing about it, CardStore was responding to each and every comment about the site not working. So I entered in our problem and immediately got a response telling us to e-mail them our info and someone would contact us the next day. And they stuck to their word! They contacted us, apologized for the site malfunction and sent us a coupon code allowing us to cash in their Cyber Monday deal even after the day was over! Talk about amazing customer service!!! I was so impressed with their prompt social media response and completely amazed that they actually contacted us the next day like they said they would.

We saved a TON of money by scoring their Cyber Monday deal, in fact we ordered more cards this year and maybe only spent about 1/3 of what we spent last year. There was even an option to have our return address printed on the envelopes for free! That saved me a step - super score!

And the quality - one word, AMAZING! I love the paper that was used, very thick and sleek. The colors were great, very true to what I saw on my computer screen. I am extremely happy with our final product and know that I will absolutely be using CardStore again. Just go check out their site, there are so many cute products, I know you will love it too.

Please note, CardStore has no clue I am writing this post. These opinions are completely my own, they are just an amazing company that deserves to have their praises blasted all over the internet!

Monday, December 30, 2013

There's Rock Bottom, 50 Feet of Crap, Then Me

Ok, the title of this post might be just a little dramatic, but I couldn't resist a good Friends quote.

To say that the last 11 days have been tough is quite the understatement. As I mentioned on Friday, we lost my Mimi one week and then our dog JoJo the next. And I was/still am heartbroken. In fact, returning to our house without JoJo was so tough. I still find myself thinking about letting him outside and then remember that he's not here, or I'll go upstairs and expect to find him waiting for me at the top of the stairs. Its tough, but each day gets a little easier. I wasn't prepared to hurt as much as I am over a pet, but as I'm sure many of you know, pets are family. Losing JoJo was tough because he was like a child to me; he needed me. I miss him like crazy. So yeah, I've been super emotional over losing Mimi and JoJo, death is just tough.

And then yesterday, another blow happened. Baby K and I were rear ended as we were on our way to church. Luckily we both are just fine, but it was extremely scary to get in a car accident with a six month old baby. She started crying on impact because I'm sure she was scared (I sure was), but calmed down after a few minutes. Tolar and I took her to the hospital to get her checked out just to be safe and luckily they said she was just fine. There are a few scrapes on my car and we will take it to an auto body shop today for a full inspection. I'm fine, just have a very sore back and neck. We were definitely protected during the crash - it could have been a lot worse. We were traveling on the highway, not stopped. I keep going over "what could have happened" scenarios in my head and just cry out in praise that Baby K and I are both ok.

I still have no clue why my family is under attack and why we have had to endure so much pain in the past few days, but I will not let our situations get the better of me. I know God is with me every step of the way, His hands are protecting me just like He did during the car accident. I'm expecting great things to come of this! Through our trials, He makes us stronger. I'm choosing to believe that He is making me a stronger person so I can be a shining example for my daughter. To show my daughter that through everything, even sadness and multiple bad situations God is still supreme. I am choosing to remember fun memories with my Mimi full of laughter, cute JoJo turning in circles and realizing that today's car accident was just a blip in the road we call life. Things could be worse, I know that. I certainly won't list the possible ways they could be worse, but I know that through it all I'm still lucky.

I don't want to say that I wish 2013 would hurry up and end because 2013 hasn't been a bad year. I mean, Baby K was born - that is amazing! But the last 2 weeks of December have been pretty crappy. So January, hurry up and come on! I sure hope you are bringing some amazing things my way.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Radio Silence

I'm sorry for the radio silence around these parts yesterday, but this has been an incredibly tough week and I desperately needed a break. Last Thursday I lost my sweet Mimi and yesterday we lost our adored JoJo.
I can't fully put into words what I am feeling right now. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year for so many reasons and I was very much looking forward to this year's Christmas as it was Baby K's first.
But my heart aches and I am so sad. I hate that the celebration of the birth of our Savior was shadowed with sadness. I know there are reasons for the despair we are experiencing, but for now all I can simply be is just that...sad.

If you are the praying kind, say a prayer for Tolar as JoJo was his sweet pup for 13 1/2 of his 15 years of life. They were buds, singing partners, playmates and partners in crime.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! May this day be filled with joy, loved ones and plenty of cheer. I'm so thankful for you all and wish you the greatest holiday ever!

I'm enjoying the holiday with my side of the family; celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, sharing laughs about all of the good times we have had, remembering the wonderful person that my Mimi was, smiling at my precious nephew who always keeps us on our toes and savoring every moment of Baby K's first Christmas.

Cheers to you! Happy Birthday Jesus!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fun Christmas Photos

Do you remember my maternity photos that I blogged about in this post? Well, I told you to be on the lookout for Shannon Moholland Photography and I was right!

When I ran into Shannon after not seeing her for awhile, she asked me if I was going to take Christmas photos of Baby K and honestly I hadn’t even thought of it! There was so much else happening, that Christmas photos totally slipped my mind. But Shannon came to my rescue. She said that she was available and interested in photographing our little angel and after our amazing maternity shoot; I knew I trusted her completely.

Shannon arrived with a backdrop and lots of ideas and we got to work transforming Tolar’s mancave into a winter-esque wonderland.  And I am so pleased with the shots. One thing I really loved about how Shannon worked with Baby K (and us for that matter!) was that she let her be. Shannon didn’t want to force anything, she just let Baby K move and react as she wanted. Which worked like a charm – just look at these cute photos.

Yes, Shannon is a dear friend, but she is also a very talented photographer starting out in the business. You can check out some more of Shannon’s amazing work on her facebook page. Be sure to check out her frozen album – so amazing! And if you are in the D.C. area, I highly suggest you get in contact with her and see if she can shoot some photos for you.

Monday, December 23, 2013

My New Favorite Hair Dryer

You guys, I have been using the wrong hair dryer for years and I didn’t even know it! I have pretty thin hair which dries very fast, so I never put much thought into a hair dryer because really, what’s the point? Or so I thought.

When we visited Tolar’s family at the beginning of December I left my hair dryer at home in hopes of saving a little bit of space in my suitcase. While there, I used my mother in law’s hair dryer and couldn’t believe the power that came from her dryer. She has the Conair Infiniti Pro which is a very sleek product and quite a powerful machine! I thought my hair dried fast before, oh no this new dryer slashed all previous records!

I truly feel like this is a salon quality product and even find that my hair is very silky and shiny afterwards. I love how fast my hair dries with the Conair Infiniti Pro; it cuts down on the amount of heat styling my hair needs which means healthier hair in the end. And being a good southern girl, you know I like my heat styling tools. And the best part? It’s not really expensive at all. Nope, this fab dryer will keep your wallet nice and fat. And we can all use a fat wallet this time of year, am I right? I found the Conair Infiniti Pro here. Click that link and you can order your own.

I’m writing this post all because I love the product, Conair has no clue who I am. I just thought it was my duty to tell you all about it because I couldn’t believe how wonderful my hair looked after using it. In fact, upon returning home and using my old hair dryer, I was extremely unhappy with the results. So I got online and ordered myself a Conair Infiniti Pro right away and I couldn’t be happier.

Friday, December 20, 2013

High Five For Friday

Woohoo! This is the Friday I have been waiting for since I returned to work from maternity leave – Christmas Break! I am taking the next week and a half off of work so I can spend the holiday with my family and snuggle my precious baby girl. I’m so excited!

Even though I have a lot of excitement leading into next week, I still had some pretty awesome moments this week. Here you go:

1.) We did a Secret Santa type of deal at work (it was actually called Secret Snowperson) and I received two of the prettiest Essie nail polishes. I love the glitter one especially! A girl can never have too many nail polishes. Thanks Joe!

2.) Baby K met Santa! I was the ONLY parent in line hoping that my child would scream and cry when she met Santa. I know its awful, but those pictures of Santa cheesing it up with a crying kid are just hilarious. But of course, my daughter was her perfect self and smiled for the camera. Hey, there’s always next year when she is more aware!

3.) I actually had some free time this week. Seriously, I never have time to just sit and read a magazine, but I suddenly found myself being able to do that earlier this week. And I loved it! Ahh the peace and quiet was amazing.

4.) These two make me smile on the regular. My heart explodes seeing them together.

5.) This next event isn't happy, but the memories and this photo are. My precious Mimi passed away yesterday and I'm incredibly sad. But I'm also rejoicing that she is no longer having to deal with dementia and that she is reunited with my PawPaw in heaven. I'm incredibly thankful that Baby K got to meet her Great Grandmother before she passed. Mimi was a one of a kind lady, with an incredibly giving heart. She is missed so greatly!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for this High Five For Friday post.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Holiday Hairstyle

I decided on a holiday hairstyle and I have to say, it is super easy.

Seriously, the hairstyle I chose took all of three bobby pins to pull off! Can you believe that? Just three! And my hair felt very secure too. Thank goodness for the awesome Extra Hold Hairspray from Pantene (you know I love me some hairspray!). I chose a swept to the side look and I know I will be trying this hairstyle again for other occasions since it was so easy to create.  The main reason I decided on this look was so I could rock a headband that added a bit of festive flair to my outfit. And I must admit that I really wanted a swept to the side look for my wedding, but my hair wasn’t quite long enough at the time. So my wedding dreams will now come true when I have a holiday party to attend, I can deal with that!

To achieve the swept to the side look, I completed the following (simple) steps:

1.) Washed my hair using Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Shampoo and Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Conditioner.

2.) After towel drying and combing my hair, I applied Pantene Pro-V Volume Root Lifting Spray Gel to the roots of my hair and massaged into my scalp.

3.) To make sure and keep some shine in my hair, I also used Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Heat Potion Serum. I squirted two pumps into my palm and lightly raked my fingers through the bottom of my damp hair. No need to apply this serum all over your hair, it will just weigh you roots down (and I need all of the lift I can get – I’ve got such fine, limp hair).

4.) I blow dried and curled my hair as usual. (Maybe one day I will think about filming a tutorial on how I curl my hair – it takes all of 10 minutes to complete. But then you’d hear my accent and I don’t think I’m ready for that yet!)

5.) After curling, I watched this tutorial to achieve the swept to the side style.

6.) To finish, I sprayed my hair VERY generously with Pantene Pro-V Stylers Shaping Extra Strong Hold Hairspray.

I will continue to use a lot of hairspray daily for the rest of my life – it’s my favorite hair product. But I must say, with this Extra Strong Hold option, you really don’t need a lot. The Extra Strong Hold gets the job done with just a few sprays (Great job Pantene!). Sign me up for Hairspray Users Anonymous, although I just told you that I use it, so I guess I’m not anonymous anymore.

The Pantene products I used to create this hairstyle will become regular products in my daily hair care routine. The Root Lifting Spray Gel is amazing, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of gunk in my hair and I could definitely tell that I had some lift (again, my limp hair needs all the help it can get!). And I simply adore the Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Heat Potion Serum; my hair was so silky and shiny! These products definitely delivered on Pantene’s promise: to keeping every woman's hair healthy, shiny and beautiful.

And now, I have a great surprise for you. Pantene is giving one lucky reader the exact same package that I received. That is 9 brand new hair care products, shipped straight to your door! What an awesome giveaway!

As a refresher, here are all of the products that I received and that one lucky winner will also receive:
-Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Shampoo
-Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Conditioner
-Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Heat Potion Serum
-Pantene Advanced+ Keratin Repair KERAGLOSS Oil Mist
-Pantene Pro-V Stylers Heat Protection Spray
-Pantene Pro-V Stylers Shaping Extra Strong Hold Hairspray
-Pantene Pro-V Stylers Maximum Hold Mousse
-Pantene Pro-V Volume Root Lifting Spray Gel
-Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip

To enter, all you have to do is leave me a blog post comment below, telling me what your favorite hair care product currently is. Simple as that!!!! The winner will be chosen completely at random. (Must have a U.S. mailing address to enter)

So go ahead, tell me your favorite product. And who knows, maybe one of these new products will be added to your list of favorites very soon.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wore: Polka Dot Tights

First, let me just tell you one more time that leopard is definitely a neutral. It goes with so many things; you can dress it up or down. I simply adore leopard.

And in addition to leopard, I love printed tights.  If the print on the tights just happens to be polka dots, then you better order me five pairs. Printed tights add just an extra bit of sass to your outfit and that’s just what every girl needs around the holidays, right? Instead of wearing just plain black tights, these polka dots make my outfit more exciting. And that’s always a win in my book.

I’m just saying, if you are still looking for some stocking stuffers for that special girl in your life, a pair of printed tights would be perfect. I picked these up at Target, but you can find cute tights just about anywhere.

Skirt: LOFT (similar).
Leopard top: JCPenney.
Cardigan: LOFT.
Tights: Target.
Shoes: DSW.
Bracelet: Very Jane.
Earrings: Silpada.

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday, Because Shanna Said So for Random Wednesday and Style Elixir for Style Sessions.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Beauty Box 5

Beauty Box 5 has provided me with a complimentary subscription for review purposes. All opinions in this post are my own.

I have made no secret of it; I simply adore Beauty Box 5. I love that the products fit perfectly into my current beauty care routine. This is my third Beauty Box 5 that I have received and I simply adore everything that has been included.

Before I talk about the great products that were in my December box, let’s talk about how you can get your own. Beauty Box 5 is a beauty subscription service that sends a box with five different beauty samples to your mailbox each month for just $12. All you have to do is click this link, sign up and your box will be on its way to your mailbox. Any last minute shoppers out there? Why not send a Beauty Box 5 subscription to someone, I KNOW it will make their day each month when they see the cute little box arrive in the mail.

The December box was called naughty and nice, because the modern woman is many things. Here are the great products that I received:

1.) NYX Cosmetics, Love in Rio Eyeshadow Palette – I was just thinking the other day that I wanted to add some more colors to my eyeshadows, it’s always fun experimenting. And this palette gives me an opportunity to play around and try out some new eyeshadow looks. One thing I love about this brand is that their shadows are very matte, with just the slightest bit of shimmer. That is a little different than the other types I have in my makeup bag, so I’m excited to break out of my normal beauty routine and try something different.

2.) Body Drench Daily Moisturizing Lotion – During the winter, a girl can never have too much lotion (its one of my winter must haves!). This lotion absorbs in the skin fast letting me know that it is working as soon as I rub it on.

3.) Ofra Cosmetics Sultry Lipgloss Plumper – I love the darker color of this lipgloss as a lot of glosses tend to come in hot pinks and reds - this is the perfect shade for winter. And this one has a touch of plumper built in, so anyone needing to add a little bit of oompf to their lips, then this product is for you!

4.) Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer – Oh this is a great face product! It is perfect for all skin types (how often do you find that?), it feels very light yet keeps your skin from drying out. Just like with moisturizing body lotion, your face needs a good moisturizer during the winter too. I love the size of this sample, its perfect for travel (and the screw top lid keeps everything from leaking out in my suitcase).

5.) Every Beauty Flexible Foot Smoother – Even though its winter, our feet still need some pampering. This is a great foot smoother that you can use either dry or wet.  You can rub away rough spots on your feet in just a few seconds. I might have to do an in home pedicure tonight!

So there you go, great beauty products delivered right to my door. And I can use every single one of them! That’s an awesome thing. To sign up for your own Beauty Box 5, just click this link. And if you have any questions about the products or the subscription, let me know in the comments section below.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Hair, Here's Hoping

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year for many reasons and one of those just happens to be all of the dressing up people do for Christmas parties. I am a true girl in that I love to do my makeup and fix my hair and get all dressed up. It’s so much fun!

But my everyday look doesn’t work for a Christmas party, I always feel the need to glam it up a bit more. I mean, Christmas only comes once a year – why not get festive and max it out, right?

When Pantene sent me all of these amazing hair products, I immediately got excited about trying a new hairdo for the holiday season. If you’ve been around these parts you know that I am a sucker for trying out beauty products, so I am dreaming up all kinds of ways to test out these products.

To find the perfect holiday hairstyle, I went straight to my favorite hair blog: The Small Things Blog. Kate has amazing tutorials for any kind of hairstyle and here are a few I am excited to try to recreate for some Christmas parties:
Tutorial found here.

Tutorial found here.

Tutorial found here.

I’ve used Pantene shampoo and conditioner for quite some time, but never really tried out the other hair care products they offer. However, I’m so interested in trying them, especially after reading that Pantene is dedicated to keeping every woman's hair healthy, shiny and beautiful. I mean, isn’t that the ultimate goal that we as women have when fixing our hair? Sign me up!

I was sent the Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Collection to try out and these are products that couldn’t arrive at my doorstep soon enough. I mean, I use my hair dryer every. single. day. And I use my curling iron or flat iron almost daily, occasionally I’ll give my hair a break. To say that my use of heat styling tools is excessive is a bit of an understatement. Also, I have very fine and thin hair that needs some lift at the roots. I can’t wait to try out their volumizing products to achieve some extra height in my hair.  So I am ready to give these products a try and see the magic they create!

Here are all of the products that I was sent:

-Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Shampoo
-Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Conditioner
-Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Heat Potion Serum
-Pantene Advanced+ Keratin Repair KERAGLOSS Oil Mist
-Pantene Pro-V Stylers Heat Protection Spray
-Pantene Pro-V Stylers Shaping Extra Strong Hold Hairspray
-Pantene Pro-V Stylers Maximum Hold Mousse
-Pantene Pro-V Volume Root Lifting Spray Gel
-Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip

My hair is ready for some protection from all of my heat styling, because let’s facing – that ain’t changing! This girl has to look good and be happy with her hair and Pantene is getting ready to be my partner in crime!

Check back later this week to see how my holiday hair styling went. I’ll be sharing the reveal of which hairstyle I decided to try and which Pantene products I used. Plus, I will be hosting a giveaway where you can win your very own collection of Pantene products just like I received. You don’t want to miss that!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, December 13, 2013

High Five For Friday

I need this weekend very badly since I haven’t been able to catch up on life all week! We didn’t get back into town until 6 p.m. on Monday and then it was back to work and busy life first thing Tuesday morning. There is so much to do with Christmas just around the corner; I seriously need the weekend to feel like I can breathe again! But through it all, I still had some pretty good moments.

1.) Baby K had her first try at playing the piano/keyboard. She really liked it! Tolar and I can’t wait for her to play all sorts of instruments. I really hope she gets her Daddy’s musical talents.

2.) We took some photos of Baby K while visiting Tolar’s family; this is what it takes to get her to smile!

3.) The over 60 generation is so cute. We were given this handwritten bio at work to use for our electronically printed program. All we could do was smile.

4.) This is exactly how to get my heart to melt into a huge puddle on the floor.

5.) I got a great treat this week! My fab friend Ricardo returned to town and surprised me at lunch and my fab friend Eric set the whole thing up. I had no clue and was totally surprised!

I hope you had a great week! I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for this High Five For Friday.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Winter Essentials

The snow that arrived this week definitely reminded me that winter is almost here! With changing seasons, I always like to be prepared with essentials to help get me through the days. Winter usually requires a little more to keep me smiling and happy since I'm not the biggest fan of freezing cold temps. So here are the items I like to keep in my arsenal.

1.) Tissues - As I said in this post, I keep tissues everywhere because you never know when a sneezing fit will come on. And winter colds are bound to happen so tissues are always a necessity and thankfully Kleenex Pocket Packs are easy to keep around.

2.) Moisturizing Lotion - The winter months always leave my hands and elbows extra dry. I apply lotion likes its my job!

3.) A chunky scarf - I love scarves, in fact I kind of have an obsession. My co-workers and I were talking one day about how many we each own and I realized that I own exactly 30! Anyways, I love scarves to help keep me warm while walking outside in freezing cold temps and this chunky scarf from Old Navy is my favorite. I already own this in hunter green and grey and I'm thinking I need to buy it in pink too. (Christmas present Tolar!)

4.) Boots - I love wearing boots to help keep my feet and legs warm. And if I can stuff my jeans down inside my boots, well that's a bonus.

5.) Lip Balm - It actually doesn't matter what the season is, I can never get enough lip balm. I keep some by my bed to apply every night.

6.) Fun coffee mug - Drinking my morning cup of coffee is seriously one of my favorite parts of the day. I love to sit and sip while the house is still quiet. And drinking out of a cute mug, that just makes it even better (well that and using Coffeemate Peppermint Mocha Creamer).

7.) Books - Something about the days getting shorter and it getting dark around 5 p.m., it just makes me want to curl up in bed with a good book. Currently I'm reading through Blog Inc.

8.) Gloves - All of my winter coats have a pair of gloves in the pockets as I cannot stand to have cold hands. Gloves are an absolute necessity.

What are your essentials for surviving the winter?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Recipe: Yummy Lasagna

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.

Just in time for the holidays and all of your family gatherings, I bring you my absolute favorite food…lasagna. And not just any lasagna, but my Mimi’s lasagna. When I was a child, anytime we would visit my Mimi’s house she would always let my sister and I select what we wanted for one of our dinners. And I ALWAYS asked for lasagna. I can’t even think of a time when I didn’t ask for it, because I absolutely LOVE it (in case you are wondering, my sister always requested fried chicken).

Just thinking about the holidays makes me think of my Mimi and how I wish I got to spend more time with her. So I decided to whip up her yummy lasagna the other night so I could feel close to her. And with Tolar and I being the only two people eating it, we got to have lasagna for a more than one dinner – super score!

To make this fab meal, I ran to Safeway to grab all of my necessary ingredients. I know that there are lots of recipes out there for lasagna that have varying ingredients, but there are two ingredients that are constant: sauce and noodles. I have come to love Barilla Lasagna Noodles and Barilla Sauce, so those two items were the first to make it into my cart. One thing that I love about my Mimi’s recipe is the cheese. She would use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese because she knew I thought ricotta was just too rich. And also, instead of using shredded mozzarella cheese on top, she would use huge pieces of mozzarella cheese that would melt into a piece of cheesy heaven. In my opinion you can never have too much cheese. I do still use shredded mozzarella cheese within the layers, but topping the lasagna with sheets of mozzarella cheese is what really makes this meal.

And ohhh the sauce!!! I’m a huge sauce girl and Barilla Sauce is where it’s at. I honestly don’t remember if my Mimi made her own sauce or if she purchased sauce, but if she did purchase it I am sure she would love Barilla Sauce. It’s so flavorful and yummy.

Just making this meal has me very excited for the holidays because it means I will be surrounded by my family and we will even get to visit my Mimi. I’ll have to tell her that I am carrying on her recipe, she’ll love that.

So here is everything I used to make the lasagna:
1 package of Barilla Lasagna Noodles
2 jars of Barilla Sauce (I used the traditional flavor, you can use whatever you prefer)
1 pound of ground beef
1 16 oz. container of cottage cheese
1 16 oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package of sliced mozzarella cheese

First you start by boiling your Barilla Lasagna Noodles. In the past, I have tried to boil my noodles in a small pot and ended up not getting the entire noodle cooked. So I didn’t even give myself a chance to fail and boiled my noodles in the biggest pot I have.

While your noodles boil, go ahead and brown your ground beef. I like to doctor up my beef by adding spices and garlic to it. You can add whatever you prefer. Once the meat is brown, stir in the Barilla Sauce. Since I love sauce, I used two jars.

In a greased glass dish, spread some of your meat sauce onto the bottom. Then top with sheets of cooked lasagna noodles.

Next, scoop out some cottage cheese and spread a thin layer over the noodles. Top the cottage cheese with a layer of meat sauce.

Then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat until you reach the top of your baking dish. Once you place your last layer on, top with sheets of sliced mozzarella cheese. I then finish by sprinkling just a bit more shredded mozz over the top. You can never have too much cheese (sorry for those that are lactose intolerant!).

Once everything is complete, bake it in the oven for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it the night before and bake it whenever you like, no need to bake it immediately. I call that time saving! I like to make this meal after I put Baby K down for the night then bake it the next day while I play with her. That way I get all of the quality time with her that I want instead of having to be away from her while I cook. And don’t be intimidated by lasagna, this is seriously one super easy recipe that shouldn’t take you long to make at all.

For those of you who want to make this yummy dish and have a Safeway brand store nearby, they are running a promotion right now: $1 off the purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce. And if you are like me and love to find all the deals you can, be sure to visit Barilla’s facebook page for deals, recipes and coupons.

Happy comfort food eating! I’ll be sure to tell my Mimi that you love her recipe.

Linking up with Because Shanna Said So for Random Wednesday.