Sunday, December 7, 2008

FREE Christmas MP3 Downloads!

I read about Amazon.com's free Christmas mp3 downloads on this Houston frugal blog and was so excited to have access to free AND legal downloads! Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Book/Activity Advent

Call me crazy, but I am going to try to do this Christmas Book/Craft Advent with the kids this year. Luckily, our library system has most of the titles. For the others, I have requested them through the interlibrary loan system. I just hope they get here in time!

Edited to add:

Thanks to The Crafty Crow for bringing the Christmas Book/Craft Advent to light.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I saw Twilight!

Okay - I did it. I went to a movie at midnight on the opening day, something I don't think I've ever done. I'd like to say it was for my 15 year old's sake, but actually she backed out and I still wanted to go! Then, at the last minute, she changed her mind. (I wasn't gonna let her miss school to do so, so it was a tough decision--we came to a compromise, she is sleeping through first period and off to school after that!) Here's some background, and here's some reviews. Like one reviewer said, don't go into it comparing it to the book--you might be disappointed. And, overlook a few corny (IMHO) scenes. Then, you just might enjoy it!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Buyer Beware!

Homeschooling and Frugal has a great article posted here about how product prices aren't necessarily changing, but the amount of product you are paying for is. I always shop by the price per unit--this is one way to catch them in the act! In fact, by doing so, I realized this weekend that the Walmart brand of lemon juice concentrate is now more expensive than buying the name brand in bluk at my local Sam's Club. A few months ago it was just the opposite (by a large margin).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Letting It Go

It's been real, and it's been fun...lately, though, it's not been real fun. I enjoy posting about great deals and how to save money, but I've found an even more rewarding blog theme--my family! I've started a new blog to chronicle the lives of my favorite people, and, well...something has to go. I will post here now and again when I see something really worthwhile, or if I decide to enter one of Scribbit's Write Away contests. Most of my blogging, however, will be reserved for my family. Thanks to everyone who stops by to comment--I'll still be here, but probably not nearly as often. See you 'round the blogosphere!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Freebie Friday: FREE Mason Jars

Now that the big harvest is over, Mason jars are hard to come by. When you do find them, they are a bit more pricey than when you bought them back in the summer (unless, of course, you got them at clearance prices at the end of the summer or from a garage sale or friend). In any event, you can obtain jars for FREE from the grocery store by scouting for goods sold in these gems. Okay, so they aren't free, but it's like getting them for free if you have a need for the goods sold inside of them anyway. For example, at Walmart the store brand salsa is bottled in a Mason jar that accepts a regular size canning lid (but not the ring). After you empty the contents, you can use these jars to vacuum seal your leftover Halloween candy! Or maybe store some rice, pasta, or raisins. The possibilities are limitless! Note: The threads do not line up correctly with the rings to use them for traditional canning (water bath or pressure).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How Many Cups in a Pound of...

Check out this helpful website that lists a variety of goods sold by the pound and approximately how many cups are in a pound of that product. I found it very useful when planning menus and calculating how much I needed of something. It's also good when trying to compare prices.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Get Real Edition

I'm trying to mostly use what we've got on hand this week, and I'm "getting real." You know what they say about the best laid plans. My menu is no different. There are many do overs this week....again.

On to this week's menu:

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Cheese Grits

Dinner: Tomato Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: Triple Berry Muffins

Dinner:
Steak Pitas with green peppers and onions (not a do over--we just really like these!)

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Eggs and salsa

Dinner: BLTs, baked beans, salad (do over from last week)

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning): Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Baked Donuts (Totally forgot about Halloween! Definitely a do over this week.)

Dinner:

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Tacos (No, I'm not kidding--we still haven't had tacos)

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
Absolutely Delicious Bran Muffins (another do over)

Dinner: Roast, carrots, potatoes, salad, rolls (another do over)

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Four Reasons to Vote on Nov. 4th

Of course there are more than just four reasons, but here are some I have noted*:

1) Free milkshake at our local Chic - fil - A (not sure if this is nationwide - I've also read some are giving a free chicken sandwich - YMMV).
2) Free cup of coffee from Starbucks (if you're into that sort of thing - personally, I don't drink it.)
3) Free scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry's between 5pm-8pm on Nov. 4th.
4) Krispy Kreme is giving away a free donut.

Seriously, vote because it is the responsible thing to do! As the famous shoe maker says, "Just do it!"

*More offers advertised all over the Internet--Google it for a more complete list applicable to your area.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Freebie Friday: Doctor's Orders

There are those among us with an unhealthy addiction. That addiction is Dr Pepper soda. Feed your addiction for FREE on November 23, 2008! Click here to find out more thanks to Budget Help$!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Peeling a Banana

I recently read somewhere that if you peel a banana from the bottom up, you don't have to pull off those little strings that some folks find annoying. Well, I just tried it--it works!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Do Over Menu Plan Monday

Ugh! I was so sick this past week. In fact, five (of the six) of us got a nasty bug. The menu plan went out the window. However, I did get a whole wheat brownie recipe tested.

On to this week's menu:

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Potato Soup

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: Cheese grits

Dinner:
Steak Riders with peppers/onions in a pita (do over from last week)

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Omelets

Dinner: BLTs, baked beans, salad

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning): Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Baked Donuts (definitely did not make it into the menu last week with all of the sickness...do over)

Dinner: Dinner will be at church right before the Trunk or Treat activity!

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Tacos (and another do over)

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
Absolutely Delicious Bran Muffins (do over)

Dinner: Roast, carrots, potatoes, salad, rolls (do over)

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

The Caregivers Marketplace

Are you the caregiver for a child under 5? Are you the caregiver for a parent? If not, perhaps you at least take care of yourself by purchasing vitamins, natural supplements, or a number of other health-related items. If so, head on over to The Caregivers Marketplace and sign up for a FREE account. Once you purchase at least five items from diapers to pain relievers and a bunch of stuff in between, you can submit the receipts for a rebate on your purchases. While I haven't actually participated yet myself (I just recently learned about it), I have read about the program all over the blogosphere. It seems to be legit. So, click the above link, read the FAQs, and start saving. Oh, happy day!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Energy Saving Opportunities Defined

I first saw this link about appliance energy usage posted on The Crock Pot Lady's website. And now, I share it with you. Because it is awesome. Now I have proof (without having to defend my own calculations) that it is far cheaper to iron the wrinkles out of clothes. And, here's a bonus savings idea (for you, that is): set up a jar for your teenager to deposit loose change when choosing to use the dryer instead of the iron. :)

Thank you, Crock Pot Lady. Thank you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Freebie Friday: Absurdly Cool Edition

Pick your own freebie on this Freebie Friday by checking out the AburdlyCool Freebie Frinder.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Woot Off!

I hear there is another Woot Off today (Wednesday, 10/22)! Click here to check out the goods.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I am so sad....I typed up my entire post and then accidentally hit the delete key somehow!!! :( So, here it is without all of the original wit and entertainment that you would have loved and appreciated....really....you would have. :)

(P.S. I know I still owe a whole wheat brownie recipe...I'm working on it!)

On to this week's menu:

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Eggs with salsa

Dinner: Grilled cheese and Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Dinner:
Steak Riders with peppers/onions in a pita

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Hamburger Soup, cornbread

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning): Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Baked Donuts (what can I say?....I'm feeling ambitious this week!)

Dinner: Herbed Chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, rolls

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Tacos (I know, I know...I think this is the fifth week we'll try to have those dang tacos!)

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
Absolutely Delicious Bran Muffins (I've got some Fiber One cereal I bought on sale to use up! It's questionably fit for consumption as a morning cereal.)

Dinner: Roast, carrots, potatoes, salad, rolls (repeat from last week)

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Freebie Friday: FREE Haircut!

Another freebie offer from Herbal Essences. Click here to see how you can receive a FREE haircut!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Having recently acquired an electric wheat grinder, I've been experimenting with whole wheat recipes this weekend. Of course, one of the first recipes I tried was a dessert....whole wheat brownies! I adapted it from the tried and true brownie recipe I posted about here. Since I'd like to ensure reliable results, however, I am going to test it once more this week before I post it on my recipe blog. So, check back mid-week if you're looking to justify your brownie intake like me.

On to this week's menu...

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with jam

Dinner: Hummus with toasted pita bread, fruit salad

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: French Toast

Dinner:
BLTs, fries, cinnamon apples

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Pizza and salad

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning)

Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Southern Cheese Grits (cooked in the crockpot!)

Dinner: Mexican Corn and Bean Soup, cornbread

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Yogurt with mix-ins

Dinner: Tacos, refried beans (honestly...we've tried for a month to have tacos...for Delta's sake, I hope it happens this week!)

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
Blueberry Muffins

Dinner: Roast, carrots, potatoes, salad, rolls

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: Inexpensive and Easy Window Treatments

I saw this idea posted and wanted to scream with delight! I've been looking for an easy way to dress the girls' bedroom window. I think this will do nicely!

Family Rules

Our preschooler's class was discussing family rules at school this week. She brought home a list yesterday of her idea of our "Home Rules" as told to her teacher. They are:

1) Go outside with a grown up.
2) Don't go in the street.
3) Don't bother Santa.

I might add "until after Thanksgiving" to that third one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Feeling Fallishly Productive

Did you sign up for the free holiday countdown e-course? I'm thrilled to report that we have: 1) planned costumes (except for one hold out), 2) decorated the interior windows and some doorways with homemade garland (see picture), 3) calendared some exciting activities such as a trip to the Butterflyfest and a local "haunted" history tour (age appropriate, of course), and 4) bought treats to hand out at our church's Trunk or Treat. Whew...I'm feeling very productive, indeed! Amazing what a little e-course will do to get your fall holiday spirit going. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wish Bone Bountifuls Salad Dressing Coupon

Woohoo! Click here to print a coupon for the tasty dressing I mentioned in my Menu Plan Monday post!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Looking for my menu? You might skip down a paragraph, unless you want to hear my opinion of a fairly new product on the market that we used (unplanned, of course) in our menu last week. I typically don't do "reviews" on this site, and I'm not getting any kickback for this one, but my mom gave us a three-pack of salad dressings from the Wish-Bone Bountifuls line, and hubby and I really liked it! Just as I was about to pound out the chicken to make Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu, he informed me he wanted his without the ham and cheese. WHAT?! That's the whole point! So, I reached into the cupboard determined to try something new and placed my hands on a bottle of Wish-Bone Bountifuls Tuscan Romano Basil dressing (for my recipe, which is embarrasingly easy, click here). It was delicious and sooo simple. :) And, now that I've visited the Wish-Bone website, I see they have recipes listed for each flavor; I'm adding one to this week's menu plan (see First Time Friday below)!

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Cuban Black Bean Soup

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggs with salsa

Dinner: Easy From-Scratch Chicken Pot Pie

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Grilled Cheese sandwiches, oven fries, Easy Fruit Smoothie

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning)

Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Easy Granola Bars (tried these for the first time last week as a snack--YUM YUM!)

Dinner: Italian Pasta Salad with Chicken

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Tacos, refried beans (repeat - got bumped)

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
Cheese grits

Dinner: BBQ Riblets, BBQ beans, salad, garlic bread

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Freebie Friday - Nearly FREE Halloween Decorations

I LOVE this post about budget decorating for Halloween. Most of the ideas use things you already have around the house (such as milk jugs, egg cartons, and black markers) and are very easy to pull together. Long live the frugal decorator!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm tired. No fluff this week...just a menu!

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Cheese omelets

Dinner: Potato Soup

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: Grits

Dinner: Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Pizza

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning)

Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Honey Syrup (repeat - got bumped AGAIN)

Dinner: Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Grits

Dinner: Tacos, refried beans

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
Cereal

Dinner: Pork roast, carrots, mashed potatoes, green beans

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Riddle For You...

What's yellow, encased in glass, and juicy all over? Why, home-canned chicken, of course! So, you may think this looks pretty disgusting, but it is much more appetizing-looking in person. With the help of some friends, I had a go at some canning today. I'm much too tired to go into detail this evening, but another post at a later date with instructions and more pictures is a definite possibility.

While I was packing these jars and watching the pressure gauge today (for what seemed like several hours), I had lots of time to ponder. In particular, I was thinking of how wonderful it will be to use these gems some time in the future. It's like once-a-month-cooking (OAMC) without needing a freezer! The possibilities are limitless....chicken salad, chicken and rice, chicken soup, chicken casserole, [insert your own favorite chicken recipe here]...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Freebie Friday: FREE Holiday Countdown E-Course

I recently learned from the Orgjunkie that Cara from The Household Helper is offering a free e-course that will get us through the holidays with our sanity in tact! Given how organized I will (hopefully) be, I'm guessing it will save me some money, too. No last minute trips to the store or overlooked gifting. And, it's FREE. So, mosey on over to The Household Helper's Holiday Countdown and sign yourself up!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Backpacks 75% off at Target

I noticed backpacks are finally 75% off at Target today. This is a great deal, especially if you pick up a Jansport backpack since they carry a lifetime warranty. I know of at least two people who had a minor problem (such as a zipper break or a rip in the bag), and the company made good on it by sending them a replacement that was as good or better than the original item. Even if you are set for school, think of using them for emergency preparedness--every family member should have his or her own 72-hour kit! Safely Gathered In has a great series right now on 72-hour kits. They are in week 7 or so of the series, but it's never too late to jump in and get started.

Woot Are You Waiting For?...

It's another Woot-Off! A new item is available for sale as soon as the previous item sells out. Don't miss all the great deals. Check it out here.

If you don't know what Woot! is, click here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'll apologize from the start; I just had to do a follow-up on the French Toast Sticks (again) we first ate a couple of weeks ago. I prepared them last week without slicing the bread first and the whole process went a lot faster. The kids love them either way.

On to this week's menu, which includes a family favorite as suggested by Orgjunkie.com:

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Amish Friendship Bread (with a bit of chocolate pudding and peanut butter chips mixed in!)

Dinner: Real Mac and Cheese -- baked in the oven -- made with elbow macaroni, butter, grated cheddar, eggs and milk (our family favorite!...some day I'll measure while I cook at put together the recipe)

Tried and True Tuesday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Chili

Work less on Wednesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Lemon pepper salmon, baked potato, salad

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning)

Leftovers!

First Time Friday

Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Honey Syrup (repeat - got bumped last week)

Dinner: On my own...everyone has something to do....

Simple Saturday

Breakfast: Grits

Dinner: Chicken and Rice, green beans, rolls

Slow Cooker Sunday

Breakfast:
French Toast Casserole

Dinner: Bachelor's Roast

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Target Haul

I have been working on my couponing skills the last several months, trying to stretch our dollars. I had an excellent day at Target, thanks to 75% off select school supplies and 18 (count 'em! 18!!!) peelies (coupons found on the shelf) I found in combination with clearance prices on Garnier Fructis styling products and shampoo/conditioner. Woohoo! This is what I got for a total of $31.73 (after coupons and clearance prices)--I should mention, the Yoplait Yogurt was consumed by a certain 4 year old before we even made it home. So, it's not pictured. The loot includes:

36 bottles of Garnier Fructis styling products, shampoo, and conditioner ($1.08 for each two bottle pack after coupons)
4 poly three-prong folders w/pockets (.07 each)
1 cute puppy 3-ring binder (oh how I wish they'd had 3...the little ones will fight over this for sure!) (.74)
3 small plastic school boxes (.17 each)
3 puppy and kitten folders (.12 each)
40 three-prong two-pocket portfolios (4 pks of 10 at .25/pk)
4 large plastic school boxes (.67 each)
10 70-page spiral notebooks (2 pks of 5 at .12 each)
1 Physician's Formula Bronzer/Eye Shadow/Liner ($2.74)
1 Yoplait Yogurt (.52)

I had an even better haul from Walgreens, but I was tired Saturday evening from two shopping trips and so many bags I couldn't lay it all out to take a photo! On those trips, my total before rebates and coupons was $84....I ended up paying $23 (once I receive the Easy Saver rebates in a few weeks).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a side note, I was driving our 6 year-old home from dance class today, listening to talk radio. The reporter kept mentioning McCain over and over. After a few minutes, "Charlie" hollered, "ALL THEY TALK ABOUT IS HURRICANES!" "No, sweetie," I replied, "they are talking about Mc-Cain....not hurricanes!" Although, both have been in the news a lot lately!

And, on a sad note, I had several other cute things the kiddos have said over the past several weeks that I have been saving, but as I went to download the sound files from my PDA (because I can't possibly remember them all), I discovered the mic is not working. All I hear is static! So, while I thought I had the 4 year-old's ("Delta") reaction to her first day of preschool on my handy dandy mobile recording device...alas, I have nothing! Thank goodness I made a couple of notes in my journal.

Isn't modern technology wonderful?
....WHEN IT WORKS!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday & Three Recipe Reviews

I have been remiss in publishing the results of our new recipes that we try during the week. I'll try to catch up, beginning with the French Toast Sticks we intended to have for breakfast a couple of weeks ago (we had them for dinner instead). Mmm, mmm good! My only gripe: I had to make another batch of the egg mixture for the amount of bread suggested. And, I think I'll slice the bread after I cook it next time. Seems like this would cut down on the prep time.

As for the Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing...it didn't turn out as I had hoped. The stuffing turned to mush in the bottom of the crockpot and never recovered. It tasted like salty stuffing soup. My husband was mortified. I ate it anyway, because I can't stand to waste food. The chicken, however, was quite tasty, as it was very moist and fork-tender. I was told on more than one occasion that it was reminiscent of chicken pot pie chicken. Is there a difference between chicken pot pie chicken and chicken and stuffing chicken? I guess some people think so.

Finally, the last review for this post is on the Greek Penne and Pasta dish. The kids didn't care for it....I thought it was okay. A friend of mine was simply delighted when I delivered the rejects to her home.

On to this week's menu...

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Grilled Cheese, fries

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Cheese Omelets with salsa

Dinner: Hamburger Stew

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast, mandarin oranges

Dinner: Cheese ravioli or pasta with butter and Parmesan, salad

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Honey Syrup

Dinner: Favorite White Chicken Chili (from last week--it got bumped)

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Cheese Grits, Bacon

Dinner: Tacos, refried beans (do-over from last week...again!)

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
Oatmeal

Dinner: BBQ riblets, green beans, slaw, garlic bread

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WFMW: What To Do With ALL THOSE Coloring Pages!

My kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to color. I didn't like throwing their creations in the trash, so I started saving their works of art in a binder. When it's time for thank you cards (such as following birthdays or play dates), I pull out a generic piece (i.e, one without "I Love You, Mom! or something similar) and allow them to choose which work of art to pass along to the thank you card recipient. All we have to do is have them sign their names and add a sentiment such as "Thank you for the birthday gift!"

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday & Mr. Breakfast

School is in full swing. Our 15 year old, "Alpha," has resumed her piano lessons, and the 8 year old, "Beta," has joined the band. The 6 year old, "Charlie," is taking dance, and the 4 year old, "Delta," is also taking dance, though her class takes place at the preschool during the day. Thank goodness! I now find myself taking children to classes every day of the school week except Monday. Now, I LOVE Mondays! This makes menu planning even more critical to my week since hubby's schedule doesn't allow him to take on some of the burden.

Before moving on to the menu, I had to tell you about Mr. Breakfast. I've only just discovered his web site this evening, but I think I'll be visiting often. Check it out. As the name suggests, it's totally devoted to breakfast ideas!

On to this week's menu...

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Broccoli Cheese Soup

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Eggs with salsa

Dinner: Sausage & Rice Casserole (scroll down for the recipe--it's at the bottom of the post)

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Pizza, corn on the cob

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: Spinach Quiche

Dinner: Favorite White Chicken Chili

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Tacos, refried beans (do-over from last week)

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
Cheese grits

Dinner: Crockpot Chicken BBQ, rolls, slaw, green beans

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Friday, September 5, 2008

How Did I Do This Before?

I returned to work last week, though I never really left. Sort of. You may recall that I left a full-time job about four years ago to spend more time with my husband and children and start up a part-time resume writing business. And then, early this year, I stumbled on the perfect-for-me position in my field at one of my favorite places to find legitimate virtual opportunities, Work At Home Mom. With the youngest now in school for several hours each day a few days a week, it was a match made in heaven! But, MAN, am I exhausted! And I only worked for 10 hours last week and about 13 this week! Actually, I worked far more than that trying to get my systems/checks and balances in place. I did a lot of reading, too, learning about the company, the clients, and the policies and procedures. And more procedures. And more policies. On top of that, I shopped for a new computer since my dear Dell is on its last leg. How I'll miss her so. (We just can't stand to part ways permanently yet, so she'll have a special place in the house where the kids can easily access her until she croaks for good. If nothing else, I won't be competing with requests for coloring pages and pbskids.org when I need to get something done. How did we become a two-computer family? I never thought I'd see the day.)

This brings me to my thought that got me writing again this week...HOW DID I DO THIS BEFORE working three times as many hours in one week? I suppose we rise to meet the challenge, whatever it may be, and adjust ourselves accordingly. Lots of people ask me how I did it, working full-time (and then some!) with a hubby who worked nights and four children (three under the age of 5 at the time). Funny, since I look around and see families with 5, 6, or even more children, and some single parents, and ask myself (or their parents), HOW DO YOU DO IT? My burdens seem small compared to what I imagine theirs to be. It's all relative. And It's All the Same to the Clam.*

While I've REALLY missed the blogging this week, I can already see the silver lining in my working-class cloud: a few hours each day to do something I enjoy (I think of it as a hobby and a job since I relish what I'm doing so much) and an excuse for a new computer to boot (literally)!


*
Note: I do not know the owner of the Etsy shop associated with the link above, but I do like the clam poem by Shel Silverstein she printed there. And now I don't have to type it for you to read. :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I bought several pounds of peaches last week on sale and was planning to come home and can them. Having never canned fruit, jam, or anything like it before, I got out my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. Within a few minutes I put it back on the shelf and decided "today isn't the day!" I know it's supposedly very easy, but I just didn't have the energy to try. So, I baked instead; and, boy, am I glad! I have a couple of peach recipes to share with you this week.

On to this week's menu...

Meaty Monday (we're cooking out, so Meatless Monday changes to Meaty Monday this week only!)

Breakfast: Peach Loaves--(pictured above) the kiddos couldn't stop eating!

Dinner: Hot dogs, fries, veggies and dip

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Cheese grits

Dinner: Spaghetti, garlic toast

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried fruit

Dinner: Easy Chicken Enchiladas (repeat from last week)

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: French Toast Sticks (OAMC)

Dinner: Easy Lemon-Peppered Blackened Salmon, couscous, green beans

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Tacos, refried beans

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
Orange Julius (substituting powdered sugar for the granulated sugar is more yummy!)

Dinner: Crock Pot Chicken and Rice, roasted carrots, rolls, Peach Crisp

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

And the Winner is....

Thanks to those who visited and entered my first giveaway! The winner of the $10 Bath and Body Works gift card is....

CHRISTIAN AND JENNIFER

according to the Math Goodies Custom Random Number Generator. Christian and Jennifer, forward your address and we'll be in business!

Have a great Labor Day everyone. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where's Wild Squirrel?

I've been in the trenches this week with a new project and haven't been able to post or comment much. Once I get things situated here, I'll be more regular in my posting. I'm guessing a week or so. I'm also in the market for a new PC....my little guy just can't take it any more. We've been together for 8 years now...I'd say it's time! I welcome any suggestions. (I'm already checking out Consumer Reports.) Just wishing Woot would put up a great deal!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WFMW: Reusable Worksheets or Checklists

When the little ones are practicing handwriting, addition & subtractions facts, or multiplication tables, print out a worksheet (such as these math worksheets or these handwriting worksheets), or create your own. Then, slide the paper into a page protector and give your kiddos a dry erase marker or grease pencil. You can easily wipe the page protector clean using a dry erase eraser or soft cloth once they are done and reuse it over and over! (They could also use a Sharpie and wipe clean with a bit of alcohol, but I'm not brave enough to allow my little ones to use Sharpies!) This is also a good way to reuse a shopping list or to-do list.

Visit Rocks In My Dryer for me Works for Me Wednesday ideas!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday & Blueberry Oat Bread

The first week of school came and went with very little school and a lot of rain. Tropical Storm Fay kept the kiddos out of school for THREE days! Just when we were getting back into the groove of things.

Speaking of groovy things, I deviated from the menu plan quite a bit last week. In the process, I came across a couple of yummy recipes, one of which (according to my dad) should be called Blueberry Oat Cake instead of Blueberry Oat Bread. You can see the recipe here or by clicking on the recipe title below (under Tried and True Tuesday).

On to this week's menu...

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Eggs with salsa and juice

Dinner: Grilled cheese with pickle, sliced apples

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Blueberry Oat Bread (planning to bake them into muffins instead of a loaf this go 'round), milk

Dinner: Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Cheese grits, milk or juice

Dinner: BLTs, baked fries

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: Purple Cow, toast

Dinner: Greek Penne and Chicken

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Blackened salmon, mixed greens, and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

Dinner: Bachelor's Roast (after clicking the link, scroll down to bottom to see recipe), salad, rice, biscuits

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Celebration Time: 100th Post & Giveaway!

  1. I like traditions.

    So I figured I would celebrate my 100th post with the traditional list of 100 things about me and a giveaway! Since the first of my one hundred facts is covered above, I'll just keep going....

  2. We have a few family traditions. One of them is eating breakfast together with my side of the family on Christmas morning. Another is eating dinner with hubby's side on Christmas Eve.
  3. Speaking of family, we have four beautiful children.
  4. They are all girls (known here as Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta).
  5. Growing up, I only had boy names picked out.
  6. I think our family is complete at six. But I'll never say never. :)
  7. Speaking of never, I never thought I would be able to be a full-time at-home mom after a decade in the corporate world.
  8. But I am, thanks to a supportive hubby and a lot of faith!
  9. I do work from home part-time as a resume writer/recruiter.
  10. I also like to write.
  11. I sold my first article as a freelance writer earlier this year. Oh, happy day!
  12. My children teach me that I do not know nearly as much as I would like about parenting.
  13. Sometimes I read self-help books about parenting.
  14. However, I do not read parenting books in front of my kids once they can spell/read. When my oldest was in about 3rd grade, she asked me if I was trying to use the stuff on her that I read in "that book."
  15. Actually, I love to read all kinds of books, especially historical fiction.
  16. I've never read a Jane Austen novel, though I started Pride and Prejudice this past week. So far, I'm loving it.
  17. I loved The Work and the Glory series so much I read all nine volumes in about six weeks; book in one hand and newborn in the other!
  18. As a child, I was fascinated with unicorns. I saw "The Living Unicorn" at the Barnum and Bailey Circus and, well, this article sums it up. So does this word: anti-climactic.
  19. I have naturally curly hair.
  20. Unlike Frieda, I was never too fond of it.
  21. I appreciate it more now than I once did.
  22. I may spend more on hair products than I do on make up.
  23. Speaking of spending, I would rather save than spend.
  24. I married a man who is just the opposite.This gives our marriage some spark! :)
  25. In the last 16 years, we've found a happy medium in our finances. (But I still like saving more than he does!)
  26. I find great pleasure in bargain-hunting. The day I discovered ECBs and RRs was simply glorious.
  27. I rarely pay full price for anything, especially movie rentals.
  28. I know how to clog dance.
  29. I once wrote a clogging routine to Who's Johnny? by El DeBarge.
  30. I don't remember it.
  31. I would have graduated from college with a 4.0 but I made a B in bowling my senior year.
  32. I'm not bitter about it...really...I'm not... :/
  33. I still like to bowl, occasionally.
  34. I am not very athletic, but...
  35. I lettered in Cross Country and Track in high school.
  36. I once held up a track meet because I was the last person to finish the two-mile run and they couldn't start the next event until I cleared the inside lane.
  37. In college I majored in Psychology.
  38. I minored in HR Management.
  39. For a senior project I conducted a study about the effects of dressing down (i.e., casual dress at work) on employee productivity. Obviously, nobody read it.
  40. I took Latin for my foreign language in high school. (Maybe there is some truth to that rumor about me wanting to be a doctor.) I remember one sentence from those days: Puella est in villa.
  41. I enjoy baking.
  42. I also enjoy tackling projects like this baby shower cake.
  43. I like taking photographs, but being in photographs...not as much.
  44. I have some gray hairs, but...
  45. I have no intentions of hiding them; I've earned every one.
  46. I would like to vacation at every state park in Florida that rents cabins. So far, I've been to two. My favorite was St. Joseph's Peninsula State Park. We're going back again next year!
  47. I also like to vacation in the mountains of North Carolina.
  48. I've never been out of the country.
  49. The term "sheeple" makes me giggle.
  50. Speaking of giggling, my husband makes me laugh a lot with his unusual sense of humor and perspective.
  51. I like playing Scrabble but I rarely win (unless I'm playing my 8 or 6 yr old).
  52. I never owned a dog as a kid.
  53. I had a cat named Smokey. He was a cast off of a neighbor who moved.
  54. Speaking of my childhood, my nickname as a kid was Tigger (I bounced a lot).
  55. My 8th grade English teacher taught me that "a lot" is two words.
  56. My favorite color was once purple; now I really don't have a favorite color.
  57. I memorized Jabberwocky in the 5th grade and I can still recite it.
  58. I memorized the Preamble to the Constitution in the 7th grade and, let's just say, I don't remember it nearly as well. :(
  59. I've had the same cell phone number and plan for over 12 years.
  60. All of my kids' (real) names begin and end with a vowel. On purpose.
  61. I own a vehicle that requires premium gasoline (and when I need to replace it, hubby will be invited to remain at home so as not to influence me to buy the supercharged V-6); at least it's paid for. :)
  62. I do not mind admitting when I am wrong.
  63. I love a good Orange Julius.
  64. I don't mind drinking reconstituted powdered milk and I sneak it into my family's diet whenever I can.
  65. I have been told I make a mean chocolate cupcake.
  66. My cookies, on the other hand, never seem to spread correctly.
  67. I refuse to use Silpat (or a similar accessory) to improve my cookie baking. I prefer parchment paper.
  68. I've never tried pinto bean fudge. But I might.
  69. I got my $1.50 piece of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory on National Cheesecake Day. I think we waited about two hours AFTER being seated to receive it. The wait, however, wasn't so bad. I was with friends. :)
  70. I have yet to receive my first spice blend. I don't think it's coming. Anyone else gotten one?
  71. I relish a good talk/sermon. I know it's an especially good one if it inspires me to read more on the topic.
  72. I have been called resourceful.
  73. I like pens, pencils, and other school and office supplies. When I was a kid my dad had a roll out fishing lure storage thing full of pens. I always wanted it for myself. I never got it. Hmph.
  74. I like to organize and label things. By looking at my closets, you wouldn't necessarily know this.
  75. I won the fifth grade spelling bee.
  76. I still call my mom and dad almost every day just to talk.
  77. I married my high school sweetheart. :)
  78. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE hot chocolate, but I've never had a Starbucks hot chocolate. If only I could have won Scribbit's August Write Away Contest, I would be sipping one now. My entry didn't cut the mustard--or the whipped cream for that matter. :( There's always next month! :)
  79. I prefer chocolate and peanut butter candy combinations.
  80. Dark chocolate is my absolute favorite.
  81. I saw Batman Begins for the first time last month. Why? Because hubby and I had a date to see The Dark Knight at the IMAX and I MUST watch movies in sequential order. (BTW, it was awesome!)
  82. I rode my first roller coaster at Lagoon when I was a tween while visiting my oldest sister who (briefly) moved to Utah. Her friend called me a chicken (in so many words), so I felt compelled to prove him wrong. Glad I did. It was fun!
  83. My kids and I have had some of the same elementary school teachers! My oldest had my 2nd grade teacher, my second oldest had my kindergarten teacher (a year before she retired), and my first grader now has the teacher I had in fifth grade!
  84. My second oldest sister wanted to "send [me] back to Heavenly Father" when I was born. How do I know this? My father has proof on a cassette tape!
  85. I am one of four children: three girls and one boy.
  86. I am the youngest.
  87. My sense of smell isn't very good. However, it once was. My parents put a box of KFC in the trunk before they picked me up from day care one day. When I got in the car, I immediately detected the aroma in the air and exclaimed, "You can't hide chicken from me!"
  88. My first fender-bender involved my mom's Oldsmobile and a BMW in the parking lot of the high school during a Friday night football game. I found out Monday when I went to English class that the owner of the BMW was the cousin of the girl who sat in front of me. Ugh. How embarrassing.
  89. I recently saved 48% on my car insurance. And it wasn't by switching to Geico.
  90. One day I would like to learn to play the piano. I'd also like to be able to sing well, but the latter is less likely than the former.
  91. I saw Star Wars for the first time at a drive-in when I was about 3.
  92. My favorite ice cream is homemade, but Breyer's Natural Vanilla with the little vanilla bean specks is an excellent substitute.
  93. I use my crock pot at least once per week.
  94. Alton Brown is my favorite chef.
  95. Though I watch very little television and follow no prime time shows, I would have to say that Good Eats is my favorite program when I do have a few minutes to veg. (pun intended)
  96. I don't mind folding laundry, but I do NOT like putting it away.
  97. Like Eddie Rabbit, I love a rainy night. Though I can't say I'm a country music fan.
  98. Topping my list of beloved children's stories is The Giant Carrot. I think I'm the only one who feels this way.
  99. One day, I would like to have a house with a wrap-around porch.
  100. Finally, I am hosting my first ever blog giveaway today. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me something about yourself by midnight ET on August 31, 2008. I will use a random number generator thingie to pick a winner to receive a $10 Bath and Body Works gift card! Be sure to check back on September 1st to see if you won!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Grade Rites of Passage

The girls made it through their first day back at school unscathed. Of the three who started back this week (Alpha, Beta, and Charlie), Charlie, the first grader, had the most life-altering experience of all...

At Charlie's school, kindergartners are not permitted to play on the biggest, fastest, most intimidating slide in the school yard. So, after school that first day, she got in the car, lifted her chin just a bit, dramatically closed her eyes as if to relive the moment in her mind and spoke deliberately, "I rode {short dramatic pause} THE SILVER BULLET!"

Had I known this rite of passage would come so soon, I would have hidden behind the bushes until recess and snapped a photo of the momentous occasion.* I'll have to remember to capture this moment when Delta is in first grade a couple of years from now!

*(And, I would have at least had a picture of The Silver Bullet to show you all had Fay not caused school to be canceled for two days this week!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Baby Shower Cupcakes


I had the privilege of preparing the cupcakes for a friend's baby shower recently. The thought of working with fondant again made my stomach turn, so of course I Googled "baby shower cupcakes" and came across the idea for these cuties! So much easier and fun to make. I added bonnets at the last minute by cutting the edges off of paper cupcake liners and pressing them into the top of the cupcake. You can see my inspiration here. (There was one other site, but of course I can't seem to locate it now!)


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm making this week as easy as possible since the kids return to school...TOMORROW! But first, I thought I would do a quick review of one of the new recipes we tried last week, Chili Non Carne. I followed the recipe with the exception of adding the cumin since I ran out and forgot to restock. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal since the chili powder has cumin in it. Maybe I was wrong, because the chili tasted pretty bland. Then again, is it because the meaty version I am more accustomed to adds additional flavor? In any event, I threw in some basil (it was the closest thing to me!) and a teaspoon or so of sugar. I liked it better at this point. And, my 8 yr old loved it. She asked for seconds. None of the rest of the kids were interested in trying it. I think they ate bread for dinner (at least it was homemade)!

On to this week's menu...

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Spaghetti with butter or marinara and Parmesan, salad, garlic bread

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Yogurt with mix-ins

Dinner: Individual Meat Loaves, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Cheese toast, sliced fruit

Dinner: Fried Rice (saw this one at Polka Spot Farm and thought it sounded yummy!)

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: All American Apple Pie (MeatlessMonday.com says it's okay to have apple pie for breakfast...who am I to argue??)

Dinner: Slow Cooker Pepper Steak (repeat from last week since we had take-out pizza instead)

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Salad and Baked Potato

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
Rice Pudding with Berries

Dinner: Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

For more menus, visit Orgjunkie.com!

Frugal Dilemma: Toilet Paper Wasters

Never in my life have I seen such waste in the bathroom (except lengthy showers...but that's another post). Our three youngest (known here as Beta-8, Charlie-6, and Delta-4) are toilet paper superusers! I have implemented a number of strategies to get this problem under control from squishing the toilet paper roll so that it doesn't spin easily on the holder to being the human toilet paper dispenser. The former doesn't work for us and the latter is rather time consuming. Maybe I should install one of those folded/square toilet paper dispensers like they do at school...and then not fill it, like they do at school...

I did find a few ideas here. Suggestions anyone?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My First Real KISS

This post is my inaugural entry into Scribbit's August Write Away contest. The month's topic is "first kiss." Enjoy!

I had my first real KISS when I was 30. Yep, 30. Not the wet, sloppy, slip-of-the-tongue kind of kiss, though my stomach churned as if it was making butter and I wrung my hands like a washcloth. This was the kind of KISS that slaps you into reality, the what's-important-in-life kind of kiss...the "Keep It Simple, Sister" kind of kiss.

Apparently, I told everyone I was going to be a doctor or maybe a lawyer. (Never mind that I don't remember doing this.) I was on the right path, what with a full scholarship to attend University and a degree in three years instead of four. Marriage and a baby didn't slow me down as I reached out for the next higher rung on the corporate ladder, working long hours and volunteering for extra committees and special projects. Seven years later, the blessing of another baby was thrilling, yet I felt the tiniest twinge, like a massive vessel being pulled by a couple of tugboats in the direction opposite of its chartered course. I returned to work three months after her birth renewed yet determined to "have it all."

Two years later I found myself at home again, taking leave to nuzzle up to another little miracle. Now, we were outnumbered with three beautiful princesses! The twelve weeks of leave flew by like hurricane winds in the tropics. The tug was more pronounced this time and I resented that I couldn't tarry a bit longer. An additional two years passed, and I could hardly believe it when daughter number four was in my arms. Holding her, I was a distressed ship being drug back to port, willingly. My condition was not fatal--it was fantastic! I decided I could "have it all," but not in the way I originally thought. In my mind, "all" became a successful career as a stay-at-home mom balancing a tighter budget instead of babysitters and executive briefings. I knew I needed to simplify. "Keep It Simple, Sister" became my mantra.

Returning to work the last time was dreadful. Leaving my girls was unspeakably difficult, but so was the thought of leaving my second family with whom I had spent more waking hours in the last eight years than my own flesh and blood! However, I gave my two weeks' notice within a month and I've been docking in port ever since, raising our four lovely daughters on a significantly reduced income. Not sure how long we'll manage to live this simpler life (note I didn't say "simple" life!), but I'm enjoying the extended stay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Freebie Friday - Notebook Travel Kit

I heard about this freebie from Money Saving Mom--it's a Nexxtech Notebook Travel Kit that is free after a $40 mail-in rebate. Hurry, 'cause the offer ends on 8/16/08. This might make another good Christmas gift for someone on your list.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WANTED: Fearless Driving Instructor


If you recognize this face, please don't tell her I posted her picture on my blog! I just had to tell the world to WATCH OUT if you see this young lady driving on the streets, as she received her learner's permit today. :)

We had our first lesson this evening (though there are rumors dad has given her a few private lessons on the sly before this day), and it was....WEIRD! Weird, I tell you! Where has the time gone? I won't get all mushy, but I will say I did not see this day coming even though I've had over 15 years to prepare! I think I'll need the next seven years between her and the next oldest to get used to this. By then, she could be married with child! Now I'm feeling faint...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Giant Carrot

How can this be? Click on The Giant Carrot in my profile (listed as one of my favorite books), and you will find that (as of today) I am
THE ONLY PERSON IN ALL OF BLOGGER-LAND that has fallen in love with this whimsical book by Jan Peck. Maybe it's the southerner in me that gets into the twangy dialect as I read this out loud to my adoring fans this summer (and that includes the 15 yr old who overheard as I was reading to her younger siblings). Or, could be that the star of the book is a fun-loving little girl, of which we have four! It's most likely NOT the recipe at the end of the book. That's probably not fair to say, though, since I haven't tried it yet. Bottom line-I feel it is my moral obligation to introduce you to this adorable book! You might find a copy at the local library--ours has 13 copies, all of which are currently on the shelf. Go figure.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

One week left before school starts here, and I'm still trying to get used to the old school routine. We're doing better with getting to bed at a decent hour. And, I started the week out with a bang making about 3 dozen of my favorite Vegan Blueberry Muffins; by Wednesday, however, we slipped back into our old routine of cold cereal. I'm back in the saddle, though, to try again!

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Cheese Omelets

Dinner: Chili Non Carne

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Yogurt with mix-ins

Dinner: Mac and cheese, peas, sliced fruit (repeat from last week since we didn't get to have it)

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Even Better Orange Julius (recipe below) and buttered toast

Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: Banana Blueberry Smoothies

Dinner: Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Hot dogs, slaw, baked beans, chips

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
French Toast

Dinner: Crockpot Chicken and Rice, green beans, garlic bread

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Remember my post about one of my favorite drinks?....the Orange Julius? Well, I've found another recipe that I have tweaked a bit that I like even better!

Even Better Orange Julius

2 cups of OJ
1/2 c powdered milk
1/4 powdered sugar (less if you want)
1 tsp vanilla
8-10 cubes of ice

Add the first four ingredients to the blender and mix. Add ice cubes one or two at a time until totally crushed. Serve immediately. Makes 3-4 servings in our house.

Freebie: GeoTrax Children's DVD

I just couldn't wait until Friday (again!) to tell you about this freebie. It comes to you courtesy of Sarah who posts at Blissfully Domestic. Order this GeoTrax DVD for FREE, including the shipping! Although I've never heard of this Fisher-Price toy line (sniff, sniff--my kids must be growing up!), it might make a great Christmas present for the little ones in your life since the shipping is 12-14 weeks (while supplies last, of course!). Thanks, Sarah!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thrifty Thursday - Make-A-Note

Have you heard of Make-A-Note? It's a great little newsletter that you can subscribe to by sending an email to subscribe-make-a-note@hub.thedollarstretcher.com. While the website doesn't appear up-to-date (when I clicked Current Issue it actually displayed a very old issue), the newsletters are distributed faithfully (once or twice a month) and are chock full of tips: money saving tips, time saving tips, recipes, etc...it's a good mix. This week, however, the one snippet that caught my eye included a link to this article: 10 Cool and Creamy Desserts Under 300 Calories, posted at MyRecipes.com. YUM, YUM!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Freebie Monday?...Free Film Developing

I couldn't wait until Friday to talk about Walgreens' free film developing that will take place THIS WEDNESDAY, so I'm posting my Freebie Friday on Monday. I hope that made sense! Even if it doesn't, click the link above to snag your coupon then head on over to Walgreens on August 6th to unload one of the one-time use cameras that you have piled up in your cabinet that you've been meaning to develop for the past 5 years. I think I only need about eight more of these freebies to clean out my stockpile. :)

Edited to add: The coupon is good for all types of film (not just one-use cameras). Read the fine print for more details!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: Breakfast and Dinner Edition

We're counting down the days until the return to school, so I'm going to add a breakfast item to my menu beginning this week (we have gotten too attached to cold cereal and milk!). I'm easing myself into more hardy breakfasts so that I'm sending my kiddos off to school with a healthy start and full tummy come August 18th. Where I can, I'll make double or triple batches and freeze it so that there are leftovers for the first week or two of school when things start to get a little more busy around here.

As far as last week's menu, we had a few changes, but I was able to make the Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup. It was delish with a dollop (or two, or three...) of sour cream. And, I let mine simmer quite a while since I like it to thicken up a bit. Mmm, mmm good! I highly recommend it if you like tomatoes. On with the menu so that I can cozy up with my newest book, Breaking Dawn (can't wait to read it...the reviews on Amazon have been very mixed!).

Meatless Monday

Breakfast: Vegan Blueberry Muffins (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!)

Dinner: Ravioli, salad, crusty bread

Tried and True Tuesday:

Breakfast: Cereal

Dinner: Sausage and Rice Casserole (scroll down for the recipe once you click the link)

Work less on Wednesday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried fruit

Dinner: Mac and Cheese, peas, sliced fruit

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning):

Leftovers!

First Time Friday:

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Blender Bread with jam

Dinner: Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

Simple Saturday:

Breakfast: Grits (It's a southern thing!) and eggs

Dinner: Hamburgers, fries, green beans, fruit salad

Slow Cooker Sunday:

Breakfast:
Cereal

Dinner: BBQ Riblets, corn, baked beans, garlic bread

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Visit Orgjunkie.com for more menu plans!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Freebie Friday: Potty Training Kit

Thanks to Money Saving Mom, I bring you a link to this free potty training kit from Pampers. Go here to claim your gift!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thrifty Thursday - MagicJack

Is anyone using MagicJack? I heard about it from my sister. It is a USB plug-in device that eliminates the traditional monthly land-line phone bill. For around $40, you receive the device and phone service that enables you to make and receive all of the long distance and local calls you want for one year. Thereafter, it is only $20 per year. Sounds pretty good to me! But, I'd love to hear if anyone is using it and their experience with the service.

BTW, that little diddy on the site that says the Free Trial expires on today's date has been changed each day for the last three days. I believe it is coded to display the current day's date. I don't much care for this marketing tactic.

WFMW: Saving Water

Although Rocks In My Dryer is not hosting Works For Me Wednesday this week, I thought I would pass along a little tip anyway for all two of you (thanks Mom and Dad!) who visit this blog. So, here it goes.

Sometimes I need to be motivated to make major changes. I am quite frugal by nature, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a long hot shower. To nip this non-frugal habit, I allow the tub to fill up while I am showering so that I can SEE how much water I am wasting. When the water level reaches a certain point, I tell myself enough is enough! Works for me. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Woot are you waiting for????

Looks like today will be a Woot-Off Day! Check out Woot.com all day long for stuff you probably don't need but really want. :) If you are new to Wooting, click the first link above for a crash course in all things Woot. Oh, and skim it our you'll miss out on all the great deals. Go. Now. HURRY!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It's the end of the month and I'm putting off a major trip to the grocery store, trying to use what's in the freezer and pantry. So, we're having:

Meatless Monday: Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup (take a look at the reviews...might want to add the hot sauce and Dijon mustard one reviewer suggested), homemade bread

Tried and True Tuesday: PB&J (on leftover homemade bread), cinnamon raisin apples with fresh whipped cream

Work less on Wednesday: BLTs, mixed veggies, sliced oranges and a slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory :)

Thanksgiving Thursday (named after traditional post-Thanksgiving menu planning): Leftovers

First Time Friday: Original Cheeseburger Soup OR Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Simple Saturday: Brats with peppers and onions, baked beans, slaw

Slow Cooker Sunday: Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken, rice, green beans

Visit the Orgjunkie.com for more menu plans!