Sunday, July 26, 2009

Link Love

I never thought of making Homemade Chocolate Syrup, but I really think I'm going to have to try it (@ Small Notebook).

I love this Porch Make-over by Inspired Room.

What a yummy idea for a Chinese Buffet at Home by Blog Chef.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Frugal Friday

We were blessed to move into our first home at the beginning of June. Yeah! Our first home. It's cute, perfect, and ours.

Along with the new house, we interited some wonderful neighbors who were always friendly. Just a short while after moving in, we found out that after some sneaky dealing from their landlord, the house they were renting was in foreclosure. Unfortunately, less than a month after we moved in, they were moving out.

The day they moved out, our neighbor came to us and asked if we would like some vegetables that she had been growing in the front yard. What could I say? Of course, I'd love them. She left two huge tomato plants and one huge cucumber plant growing in the front. Since they were so large and spreading, I've been afraid to move them and put them in shock.

So each night, the kids and I make the trek over to their yard to water and gather what's ripe. We haven't been able to harvest much yet, but we have gotten two tomatoes. There are also mutliple tomatoes, cucumbers, and blossoms, on the vines. I can't imagine what we could get out of such a sweet gift.

I guess this isn't much of a frugal post so much as a grateful, thankful post. It's a simple thing, summer rippened tomatoes, fresh veggies, and all for just a little time.

For more Frugal Friday posts, check out Life as Mom.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ultimate Recipe Swap

Life as Mom asked to see our birthday creations this week. While I'm not a great cake decorator, I wanted to brag on my mom for a moment and show off some of the great cakes she's made for my kids.

These are the two Bear cakes my mom made for Baby Girl's first (Teddy Bear Picnic) birthday:
The smaller one was a smash cake.

This is the Frog cake my mom made (using the bear pan) for Big Boy's 3rd birthday:

This is the Lion cake that she made (again using the bear pan) for Big Boy's 2nd birthday:

She also made a duck cake for Big Boy's 1st birthday as a smash cake then positioned it on a sheet cake decorated as a farm scene. Such cute, just can't find the picture right now.

For more cake ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rice a Roni Dish

This is my quick and only semi-nutritious meal idea. This is my quick, go to meal when time is tight and so are finances. The sodium is high, but it fits several of the basic food groups and when paired with a fruit, it's a complete meal. We love our little rice a roni dish and it saved us a ton of time this evening, once again.

1. Brown some hamburger. I usually use 1/2 pound for 3-4 people.

2. Push the burger aside and add some butter to the same pan. Brown rice as directed.

3. Finish cooking rice a roni according to the directions on the package. As you are bringing it to a boil, add a large helping of frozen vegetables.

4. Serve with a green salad or summer fruit.

For more Works for Me ideas, check out We Are That Family.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

As always our summer hits July and we're in full gear. Last weekend was 4th of July company and this past weekend was church camping, and the rest of the summer isn't looking any slower. Camping was fun, restful, incredible,... and a heck of a lot of work getting out the door and getting back home. These are just some of the things we tackled and some of the things that got us through the weekend:

1. Being on a tight budget, I couldn't just go out and buy a ton of prepared food. Although it would have made life easier, it certainly wouldn't have worked out in the long run. I did a ton of prep work before hand: egg salad, pattyed hamburgers, cubed potatoes, portioned snacks and (my personal favorite) homemade frozen hashbrowns.

2. We didn't buy paper plates. Instead we packed a dish rag, some soap, and our kids' dollar store plastic plates. We ate off Noah's ark, a frog, Tigger, and an array of other characters for the weekend. Saved a little bit of money.

3. I shopped the dollar store and adjusted my menu as I came across deals. The hashbrowns were a question mark in my mind, but at 10 lbs/ $1, potatoes were quickly added to the menu. As well as bagged lettuce for $1.

4. I first looked at what we had before even hitting that dollar store. We already had hamburger, some leftover bagged lettuce, buns, bread, and eggs, to name a few. That became the basis of our planning.

5. We took a crib for our 1 1/2 yr old. She's pretty adaptable, but she does better sleeping in crib than a sleeping bag. Took up more room, but for the peace of mind, it was well worth it.

6. We also took some toys to play with: bat and ball, kickball, fishing pole, and a few others.

7. And finally, we let a few rules relax for the weekend. Naps were shorter, bedtime was later, Big Boy had a longer leash then usual.

All in all, we had a great weekend. We met some new people, ate some great food, slept in late, stayed up way too late, and over all had a great weekend.

For more Tackle it Tuesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Check out this great giveaway

Here's a great giveaway for a Casio Digital Camera. Good Luck to all the entrants.

Menu Monday 7/13-7/19

Oatmeal and fruit
Eggs and toast
Cereal and fruit

Peanut butter and Jelly sammies
Cheese sammies
Egg Salad sammies
Carrot/ Celery sticks
Cut apples
Cheese slices

Monday: Lentil Tacos
Tuesday: Black Bean Enchiladas
Wednesday: Hamburger Skillet
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday-Sunday: Out of town

Packing for the road: ???

I'll update the packing for the road later in the week. We're going to the coast this weekend with my mom, grandma, and cousin. So we plan on eating in the room part of the time and going out part of the time. I'll have some extra food to prep for that, but we haven't planned what we're doing yet. So I'm on hold.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Planning for 4th of July Works for Me

Planning ahead works for me. From my post yesterday, you'll read that I hosted nine people in our little 3 bedroom/ 1 bath 1,000 sq ft home for the holiday weekend. It was quite a feat and at times leading up to it, I wasn't sure we could pull it off. But it ended up working out well and was actually enjoyable at times. But it didn't come without some planning. These are just a few of the things we planned to make the weekend work:

I planned out several meals ahead of time. Not only did I plan our meals, but I also make some of the items ahead. We did simple lunches, one of which was egg salad sandwiches and fruit. Eggs can easily be boiled ahead and made into the spread. Yummy, economical, and time efficient. Besides egg salad, I also made ice cream, cake, and waffle batter. Waffles on Saturday morning where a huge hit and so easy as it was made ahead. To make this meal even easier, I could have cooked the waffles ahead and stuck them in the freezer for reheating. But I wasn't quite that organized. Other easy prep meals include: baked spaghetti, pizza dough, cookie dough, etc.

Sleeping arrangements:
Our house was a little expanded as my in-laws brought their small trailer with them. So they and my sister-in-law slept out there. We had planned to put Baby Girl in the portacrib in Big Boy's room and put my brother and sister-in-law on an air mattress in her room. They decided to be adventurous and sleep on the trampoline, but still the plan was in place to house them.

A lot of the time we just go with the flow. However, it can get complicated when no one wants to make a decision, which some time happens. So we did a little planning for that area as well. We knew we'd have some time on Saturday morning and afternoon as we all waited for the fireworks, as well as some time on Sunday afternoon. We broke out the board game and actually had a really good time. We spent several hours playing Taboo and Sequence. Additionally, since it was a holiday weekend, we had purposefully planned on eating at the Convention Center and going to the fireworks on the 4th.

So all in all it was a full weekend, but went so much smoother with a few preparations and some thinking ahead.

Planning... definately Works For Me.

For more Works For Me, check out We Are That Family.

Tackle it Tuesday

Oh, we had quite a tackle this week. I had NINE... yes NINE... people in my little house this weekend. The four of us, plus Nana and Papa, plus 2 aunties and one uncle, along with the cat. Knowing that we were going to have such a houseful and trying to keep my kids on a somewhat normal schedule, I did some planning and cooking ahead so we could eat meals on time. So besides cleaning house and arranging beds, this is what I was cooking ahead...
*2 quarts of homemade ice cream
*1 homemade cake, decorated for uncle's graduation
*homemade potato salad
*egg salad for sandwiches
*gingerbread waffle batter

also picking up hamburgers, buns, watermelon,
hang drying laundry
checking the time for the local fireworks display
and generally trying to keep everything going....

What a weekend!

We had fun, but I'm glad to be able to breathe again. At least for a few days. We're going camping this weekend so back to planning meals. Let's see what we come up with.

For more Tackle it Tuesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Monday 7/6-7/12

Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly, oranges
Dinner: Going Away BBQ, taking burgers

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Cereal and fruit
Lunch: Out for hubby's birthday
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Soup and salads
Dinner: Vegetarian Pizza

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly, fruit
Dinner: Spaghetti, green salad, bread

Breakfast: Eggs and potato patties
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches, fruit
Dinner: Burgers, fried potatoes, salad

Breakfast: Eggs and potato patties
Lunch: Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner: Stir-fry

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Hope ya'll have a great day with friends and family. My kids are down for a nap and after that, we're off the Freedom Festival and fireworks. Be safe and enjoy some watermelon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tomato Basil Chicken Salad

This week I want to share a great recipe I found at Frugal Granola. It's so yummy, light, and perfect for summer. This Tomato Basil Chicken Salad is super yummy. A couple of weeks ago, we made a huge batch of them and ate it with fresh fruit for dinner. Both my 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 yr old loved it. You've gotta try it.

For more Works for Me, check out We Are That Family.
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