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One-Pan Chicken Spaghetti Bake

The thing is, I don't do these things for recognition, being a good teammate, being a positive member of the community. I do them because those things make me whole and complete.

Dwyane Wade

When I was younger I was the editor of the school newspaper. 

Anybody surprised? Lol 

I remember we had a section called Beefs and Bouquets. I have noticed in the past sometimes  I like to get my "beef" on :) well today I would like to get my "bouquet" on! 

Sometimes we just have to give some shout outs to the people or things that deserve some recognition. 

Now this one's kind of a funny one, I remember in University I took a course called the History of Consumerism. Loved that class. I remember for the final paper we had to write about someone that made a major impact in consumerism today. I did mine on Sam Walton. Sam Walton is the founder of the Sam's Club and Walmart. 

Before I even took out one book I had my judgment of Sam Walton and Walmart. Obviously he was a bad man that started a big store that took down Mom-and-Pop businesses everywhere. 

Yes... there was that. But after reading many, many, many books, I realized that Sam Walton was pretty much a genius. I mean, he made a store that carried all goods at pretty much discounted prices. He had his own delivery companies, he controlled all of the heat and electricity for every store and he optimized every aspect of his company to squeeze every penny out of it for himself. 

Although my heart is not with Sam Walton to be sure, my brain realized that his impact on consumerism, as we know it, was so profound that it changed the way people did their shopping. 

I remember getting that essay back and seeing a C-. 

The note attached said "I don't think you really got it. Walmart destroyed small businesses and Sam Walton is not someone that we should be looking up to!" 

Agreed. But that wasn't the assignment. I was very disappointed that my professor graded me on an emotional level rather than what this assignment called for. 

I tell you the story because my first bouquet goes to Walmart. 


I know, I know, I know. 

Actually, this starts off as a beef LOL 

I bought Ninja a very special Christmas gift from the girls using Walmart photo studio. If you put your order in before December 14 it was guaranteed by Christmas. Luckily I put my order in on December 11. 

It is now January 14 and I still haven't received my item. 

In the 9 times I've been to the store I have been told that they no longer do their own photo studio items, they now get sent away. The customer service has actually been very good and the other day I received an email letting me know that I had already been refunded, I also had 100 free 4 x 6's waiting for me and 3 8 x 10 pictures free too. They also gave me $25 credit for any other photo gifts that I would like to buy in the future. 

Again, I am not the biggest Walmart fan but they rectified their mistake and without me even having to write letters, they gave me free stuff. No, I did not get my guaranteed item before Christmas but I will use them again because I like free stuff :)

Bouquet to the Walmart photo studio!

School Volunteers.

Big bouquet to those parents that volunteer their precious time for their children. As some of you know I am the secretary of HBear's school PAC. Lately, I'have been very disappointed to see the fighting that goes on behind-the-scenes. 

It takes a certain person to volunteer their time to work with children. It requires patience, compassion, and an ability to support others. 

We all want to do what's best for the kids and there is no right way to volunteer your time. Some people do it better than others, some people are quick to criticize, some people are passive, some people are passive aggressive, and some people are just aggressive. 

I don't think that anybody on the PAC reads my blog LOL that's okay I'm really just wanting to throw a shout out there to any parent that volunteers. 

There are rarely any thank you's.

Someone is gonna talk about how you're doing it behind your back, some might even talk about how you're doing it right to your face, but you're doing it! You're out there allowing the children to have field trips, accelerated reading programs, hot lunch, and everything else that would not go to your children without YOU. 

Without a PAC you don't get your Grants, without fundraisers the school doesn't get field trips, without parents helping in class the children don't get to learn how to cook or do that special painting for Father's Day. 

We all need to remember, including myself, that the people volunteering are in it for the right reasons... they get nothing back. Let's all be kind to each other.

Plus we still have many more years of being school parents together lol. 

So, to put the kibosh on that thankless job I am here to say... thank you!

A big Bouquet to you!

And my last bouquet goes out to someone very, very special. 

My WinnipegBesty. 

She's been dealt a shitty hand. 

And, for the most part, she has come out better despite it. I say for the most part because her hair doesn't have quite the luster it once did way back when things were easy... you know in kindergarten.  lol. 

Just over year ago her beautiful daughter was diagnosed with ASD. 

In the past little while I have learned so much about this spectrum that we really know so little about. 

She found out right after my mom died. They were very close.

She found out right after her dad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. 

Some people would've thrown in the towel and some of them would've said "oh woe is me." Some of them would've spent years in denial to the detriment of their own children. 

Did she? Not a freaking chance. 

I would say I'm surprised but I'm not.

She is one of the most compassionate people I've ever met. She comes off a bit tough lol because she really has had a lot thrown at her throughout her life.

After her brother passed a few weeks after his 18th birthday of Ewing's Sarcoma, she became a children's oncology nurse. She helps people cope with learning the worst news of their lives on the same floor her brother died on. 

I would say I'm surprised but I'm not one bit surprised actually. She is a doer. Her little one was diagnosed at barely 3. She is a mother that SAW her child... saw the signs and took early action. 

I am so immensely proud of the mother that she has become, words really can't describe it. 

Her and her husband have completely stepped up their game lol. They attend classes, speech therapy, they've changed the way they teach their children, they have raised an older daughter to love unconditionally and be considerate and kind. 

It kills me when she tells me her fears about her daughter's future.  I get ANGRY when her daughter gets kicked out of daycare because they can't deal with an autistic child.  I am broken hearted for her when she tells me that when she talks to other parents and she, naturally, compares her daughter to their children... she sees the looks on their faces, the shock as if saying "Wait a second your child is AUTISTIC! You can't possibly compare your child to my normal child!!!"

The fear that her little girl's life is going to be so much more difficult in this world that is already pretty damn fucking hard. 

And you know what she tells me? 

Life is good. She says she has just learned to appreciate the good days all the more better. Someone that has every right to be cynical and hard has a half glass full kind of mentality through it all.

Well... as long as that glass isn't full of Labatt Light LOL because that is half empty and you better be getting her another one!

Lol. Seriously though I've never been prouder to be her friend and I have never admired her more than I do at this point in our lives.

Nobody ever gives her credit for the everyday great Mom she is. Well, her hubby for sure does :) but she never asks for recognition and she totally deserves some!

So, here's a BIG bouquet to you my dear. You are a great Mom. A wonderful doer and a loving person. I see you baby... 

shaking that ass.

Yes I know I am a loser Dana. 

L. O. V. E

So tonight we're having chicken. You see Dad leaves for Mexico on Friday and while he's gone will be eating a lot of things that he doesn't like LOL like beef. And lots more beef :)

On that note, I actually DO have a beef tonight rather than a bouquet...

I HATED this dinner.

Dad liked it and HBear ate it all up. Ninja had ideas on how it could be better, so take that for what you will lol

I didn't think the noodles were cooked fully. Maybe more liquid was needed. I used a real chunky marinara. Perhaps 1 marinara and 1 tomato sauce would have been better???

UPDATE*** All the leftovers are GONE! Maybe it was just me because Ninja and Dad ate it all up today for lunch and that NEVER happens!!! LOL

One-Pan Chicken Spaghetti Bake
Adapted from Bev Cooks

1 box dried spaghetti, broken in half
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I didn't have mushrooms so I left them out :)
1 onion, diced 
1 cup corn
1 pepper, diced
3 chicken breasts, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
2 jars of your favorite marinara
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pinch salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350.

Season the diced chicken with the oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

Pour about half of a jar of marinara in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

Layer half of the spaghetti along the bottom of the dish. Layer with half the sliced mushrooms, peppers, onion, corn, half the chicken, the other half of marinara and half the spinach. 

Arrange a few more dried noodles on top, then follow with the rest of the mushrooms, peppers, corn, onion, chicken, ½ of a jar of marinara and spinach. Layer the remaining broken spaghetti on top and cover the entire dish with the remaining marinara. Make sure every noodle is covered with sauce. Sprinkle the dish with the mozzarella cheese.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


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