Life in the Real World

Real life experiences after college

24 days & counting… October 27, 2008

Filed under: Blogging,Family,Fun stuff,pregnancy — jenncollins @ 12:17 pm

Hello blog world, I know it’s been a while. I have been busy with birthday parties, weddings and baby showers non-stop for the entire month of October! It’s been a lot of fun.

We’re 24 days away from the predicted due date! I can’t believe how fast the pregnancy has been. I can’t believe she will be here in just 3 weeks or so! Here’s some pics to enjoy from October.


A bit of family history August 26, 2008

Filed under: Family,Food,Random — jenncollins @ 9:40 am

I don’t know a ton about my ancestors but I do know that my great grandmother arrived at Ellis Island at 14 years old. She didn’t know any English and was put in a kindergarten class. She met my great grandfather later, who had also arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden (not sure of dates).

On another side of the family, my great grandfather came to the U.S. from Sicily (hence my maiden name, Rizzo) and met my great grandmother later who had come over from Lithouania.

Other family members came from England, France and there’s even some Cherokee Indian in me somewhere. Most of my family either settled in Chicago, Miami and Alabama. I’m a melting pot in and of myself.

All of these wonderful people were in the U.S. at the time of the Great Depression. I’ve heard many stories about the way they lived. They were all broke. It’s funny to see now how their kids (my grandparents) are still affected by the Depression. For the most part, they are very conservative. They wash plastic plates and utensils. No food goes to waste; even if it’s one piece of bread left over. Food never gets thrown away. They had to be creative. It’s admirable.

I almost feel like I could be like them sometimes with the economy the way it is. I often wonder if history will repeat itself in our generation or the next.

What do you know about your great grandparents? I love hearing family histories and how people survived the Depression. Share it in a comment!


Mighty to Save August 12, 2008

Filed under: Church,Family,Music,pregnancy,Worship — jenncollins @ 9:47 am

I sing on the worship team every weekend at my church and last weekend I felt worship went especially well. Not sure what it was but people seemed to be more into it. It was awesome to watch.

For me personally, it was an amazing time of worship. I was moved to tears a couple of times. We did some great songs that fit our current teaching series perfectly. At the end, we sang a song called “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong. This is my new favorite. The first time we sang it, the words of the song didn’t really sink in till about the 2nd or 3rd service. It’s been a few weeks since then. This past weekend, the words came alive and they mean more to me than ever.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever, author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

It hit me how strong those words are. If I sing them, I really need to believe that God is indeed mighty to save. Without going into a lot of detail, “he can move the mountains” is huge in my life. I believe God moved a mountain when he decided we were going to have a baby this year. He’s currently moving a mountain by allowing my Grandmother to live through her terminal cancer, but not only live, she is thriving. And, when I sing those lines, I always pray that he will move a mountain in some extremely important people in my life. People who, it seems, won’t ever be moved. Is God really mighty to save? It takes all the courage and strength inside me to sing those words. I trust Him to do what He says He will do.

After all, he rose and conquered the grave.


Randoms August 7, 2008

Filed under: Church,Family,Fun stuff,Life,pregnancy,Random — jenncollins @ 12:50 pm
  • Well my bro moved to Athens this week. I already miss him so much. I’m possibly planning a trip up there (it will be Sadie’s first road trip!) late January for a friend’s wedding nearby.
  • Anyone tried my recipes yet? Let me know!
  • I’m 25 weeks preggo today! Sadie is the size of a rutabaga. Have you ever seen one? Here’s what one looks like. She’s constantly kicking…I know I say that every time I update about her, but she really does kick A LOT! Soccer player?
  • I’m going to see the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 tomorrow! I loved the first one and I’ve read all the books. If you’re a girl, grab your Mom or girlfriend(s) and see it together.
  • I saw Mamma Mia! last weekend with my Mom to celebrate her birthday. That’s another definite “girlfriend” movie. My pastor saw it…pink panties with lace and all! Haha, not really…go read his post about it to see what he said.
  • I forgot to mention that I have a new nephew! His name is Anson Charles and he is adorable…I just hate that he lives all the way in Louisville. Hopefully we’ll get to meet him soon and he can meet his cousin!
  • I promise to post some pics soon of the nursery and my baby bump! Just gotta coordinate getting a camera.
  • I’d love to get a new design for this blog…anybody wanna design me one? 🙂
  • Have a great weekend!

Rizzo chicken parm and spaghetti sauce July 28, 2008

Filed under: Family,Food,Fun stuff — jenncollins @ 11:42 am

I feel like the recipe needs a better name…oh well. Let me give you a few disclaimers before I share the recipe:

  • the sauce is an all-day thing. you can either let it simmer all day on the stove top if you are home or make it in your crock pot. both ways will have the same result: DELICIOUS!
  • the sauce is very thick and a little sweet. it’s not always everyone’s favorite. i prefer thicker, less chunky sauce as opposed to thin and chunky. to each his/her own!
  • you will see that i don’t have any measurements for the spices. that’s because it’s really hard to make measure what i put in. you want a lot of oregano and basil for flavor but don’t go overboard. pepper also helps. if, after stirring, you can see the flakes of the spices, that’s usually a good sign that you have enough. just keep stirring, tasting and adding to your liking!
  • you must promise to think of family and friends when making this sauce. it is one of my comfort foods, therefore, a lot of love goes into this recipe. i only make it for special people…:)
  • tell me what you think after you make it…the good, the bad and the ugly…I can take it!

Spaghetti sauce:

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 onion (as large or small as you want…I like a lot of onion) chopped or finely minced
3-4 garlic cloves minced
2 14 oz cans of tomato puree (any brand will do…even Publix)
2 cartons of Pomi Strained tomatoes (you can find this in Publix on the spaghetti sauce aisle…usually toward the bottom…make sure you get strained, not chopped…unless you want chopped)
Lots of oregano
Lots of basil
Salt & pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (I like my sauce with a little kick)
1 T sugar (you may need to add more…taste it later in the day and see if it’s too acidic…if so, add more sugar)

Saute onions & garlic in olive oil in a small pan until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, pour containers of sauce into a dutch oven or crockpot. Add onions, garlic and the oil you cooked it in. Add all seasonings and stir until combined. Bring to a light boil then simmer for at least 5-6 hours. Taste about halfway through to see if it’s too acidic. If so, add some more sugar until it tastes good to you.

This recipe makes a lot of sauce…could feed up to 6 people. If you’re making it for a small crowd, this freezes wonderfully and tastes even better when you thaw it out and use it again!

Chicken Parmiagiana

4 chicken breasts (butterflied or pounded very thin)
1 box of Progresso Panko bread crumbs (this is a new product I found in Publix and I love it for the crust on the chicken)
1 egg
Flour (for dusting the chicken)
Spaghetti sauce (see above recipe)
Mozzarella cheese

This is pretty basic chicken parm. Pre-heat the oven to 350 (if you don’t want to bake it, then use a large pan to pan fry it…either way is delicious). Lightly grease a 9 x 13 dish. Lay 3 dishes out; flour, egg (with a splash of water) and bread crumbs. Place chicken in flour and lightly coat, shaking off any excess. Then dip into egg & water on both sides. Place into bread crumbs and make sure it is liberally coated; press it into the chicken. Lay the chicken in the dish and place in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. Check it to make sure it is cooked through. Take out of the oven and spoon some sauce over the top of each chicken breast (don’t overdo it or the chicken coating will be soggy!). Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over each chicken breast. Place back in oven until cheese is melted.

Serves 4. Serve with any type of pasta, the spaghetti sauce, your favorite garlic bread and a Caesar salad! Enjoy!


What’s up with me July 21, 2008

Filed under: Blogging,Family,Food,Life,pregnancy,Random — jenncollins @ 9:47 am

It’s been a while since I posted so I though I’d do a list of stuff that’s happening with me to catch you all up!

  • I’m 22 weeks preggo now (5 1/2 months!!) and Sadie is kicking much harder and more frequently now. Anyone can feel her kick now!!
  • We painted our nursery (pics to come…don’t have a camera right now) mint green and light pink. It’s super cute!
  • I’m showing a little more (again, pics to come).
  • My brother and his wife are moving in 2 weeks to GA where my bro will get his doctorate at UGA. I’m gonna miss them…like, A LOT.
  • My Mom’s turning 50 this week!
  • Joel surprised me on Friday with new maternity jeans and a pink maternity tank top that says “Kicking 24/7”. It was so sweet of him…my pants are beginning to feel tight around my waistline now!
  • I’ve been finding 2 for $5 Coldstone coupons in the paper recently. We’ve been twice already and it’s a great little date! The baby LOVES ice cream…especially Coldstone…she told me.
  • I forget everything now…EVERYTHING. It seems to be accurate that pregnant woman are more clumsy and forgetful than their former non-preggo selves.
  • I ordered this book on last night. I want to buy this, this and this, but I’ve gotta wait for the $$$.
  • We are getting FREE furniture for Sadie’s room from our dear friends…words can’t even express our gratitude!! Along with their generoisty, many other family and friends have given us clothes, bottles, socks! and much more. My cup runneth over (I’ve never said that in my life but that’s how I feel!).

Later in the week I’m going to post my family’s secret spaghetti sauce recipe with Chicken Parmigiana. Consider yourselves lucky…very lucky.


It has consumed me! June 11, 2008

Filed under: Family,pregnancy — jenncollins @ 10:55 am

Life has been busy lately! My in-laws were in town for 5 days so I haven’t had much time to update this thing. Of course the great news we found out while they were here is that we’re having a girl! I want to upload the sonogram pictures but for some reason WP isn’t letting me do it. I’ll figure it out.

Anyway, we have two frontrunners right now for names. I don’t want to reveal them yet, but it’s coming! I still can’t believe we’re having a girl. I thought it was going to be a boy for sure. But to say I’m excited is the understatement of the year!

I’ll be 17 weeks this week. Still not showing tremendously. I have the beginnings of the pooch but not much to talk about! Still can’t feel the baby. But it’s still early!

I’m pretty obsessed with picking out cribs, furniture, bedding, etc. I didn’t realize how consumed I would be with it all. I always thought those women were crazy…and now I’m one of them! I guess that’s how it goes. Pictures to come!