Better than Olive Garden

Alright, alright…. I realize the title of this post sounds a bit presumptuous.  However, I’m not kidding when I say I would rather eat my noodle dish than any of the white sauce ones I’ve tried at Olive Garden (I’ll admit, we eat out very rarely and the only two I’ve tried were Chicken Alfredo and Shrimp Mezzaluna).  I came up with this delicious meal when we were craving Olive Garden last week and couldn’t go since they had ended their 2 for $25 deal (Did I mention we’re cheap and even spending $25 – plus a tip! – at a restaurant makes us squirm?).  I think I’ll call it what it is, “Creamy Garlic & Parmesan Noodles with Sauteed Shrimp.”  While it leaves little to the imagination, it is an excellent way for me to remember how to recreate it!

Creamy Garlic & Parmesan Noodles with Sauteed Shrimp


  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 10-12 ounces thin whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3/4-1 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • 1 lb fully cooked medium shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

“Heavy Cream”

  • 3/4 cup milk (I used whole)
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Sauté garlic in olive oil and butter for a couple minutes or until butter is melted.  Add pepper, oregano and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook the directed amount of time.

While pasta is cooking, rinse your thawed shrimp and start sauteing in a pan with olive oil and seasonings. At this point, I also made my “heavy cream.”  Just whisk milk and flour together in a sauce pan until smooth and stir over medium heat until it thickens.

Once pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and immediately mix in your parmesan and “heavy cream.”  Toss with shrimp and please serve with some kind of cheesy biscuit/bread!

It may not have included all you can eat of the delicious Zuppa Toscana soup, but we still had to leave the table on all fours.


Do you hear me?

The other day, I was shopping at good ol’ Wally World with my busy little tot.  I was trying to make a life altering decision between white-grape peach and white-grape juice when I noticed she was cheerfully tearing open packages in the cart. *sigh*  I promptly gave her a speech on why that isn’t something we do in the store and followed it up by asking, “Do you hear me?”  She quickly responded with an obedient, “yup!”  However, my sigh of relief turned to embarrassment as she proceeded to loudly yelp, “Hee me?  HEE ME?” for the entire rest of our shopping excursion.

Lovely Letters – matching upper and lower case

Eureka Tub of LettersFile folder games are a recent obsession of mine, mostly because they are cute, fun to make and easy to store.  I have found so many awesome ideas off of the File Folder Fun website and this one was one of those pins I had to actually complete!  Although I thought the heart matching was cute, I didn’t necessarily want Abby depending on the colors to match upper case to lower case.  In addition, trying to place the paper heart letters without them constantly sliding off would probably just end up frustrating her perfectionist little soul.  My edit for these potential problems was to purchase the Eureka Tub Of Letter Tiles off Amazon.

*Quick plug…..I have quite a few gift cards on Amazon, thanks to Swagbucks.  It’s a little slow adding up, but I’ve earned well over $400.00 (in Amazon gift cards) for free since joining!  I enjoy using the extra money to buy preschool supplies I probably would otherwise be too cheap to get.  If you’re interested in trying it out, please use my referral link and earn me some more!*Upper and Lower Case Matching 4

The tub of letters works amazingly for this activity.  Since Abby easily recognizes all of her upper case letters, I made those the fixated ones in her folder.  Then I sorted out 26 lower case tiles to keep with the game.  The tub of letters doesn’t have a great little “q” (aka… no tail, which drives me crazy), so I used a permanent marker to add one on shortly after I took my pictures.  The plastic tiles stay in place MUCH better than laminated paper hearts would – I know from experience with similar activities I’ve made.  Overall, I think this will continue to be a great way for Abby to work on her upper to lower case pairing.  At the moment, she mostly just needs to figure out little “b,” “d,” and “p” since those tend to confuse her.  I’m pretty impressed with our sweet little tot!  Upper and Lower Case Matching 3