Monday, September 27, 2010

Kids Say the Darnest Things

I have 3 kids and work with a lot kids during my Recess Monitor job, so I hear a bunch of funny things in the course of a day. Here are a few I hear the past week.

- "There's a moron sale???"  - My 10 yr old heard there was "more on sale" on the radio and misunderstood.

- "It's like winter in my mouth" - My 6 yr old said after eating an ice cream.


- Two girls were playing at recess. There were running around acting silly. One came up to me and said don't worry we're just playing. "I'm pretending to have a brain disease." The other girl said "Yea, we have issues."

- "You smell so good  - just like bubble gum."

These were just a couple of the cute things kids say. They are so honest.

Just a note to the moms and dads out there - kids share all sorts of details with anyone who will listen. You may want to be careful because your kids are always listening and watching.  I hear all kinds of stories from the kids where I work.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Pokemon Cake

My little guy is really and I mean REALLY into Pokemon, so when his birthday rolled around this year he asked for a Pokemon cake. Well, I thought for all of 2 seconds about making one of the actual figures like Pikachu, Charmander, or Dialga.  Then I came back to my senses and decided I would just make a Pokeball.

This was make using a large 14" cake pan and colored icing. The black outlining is a little squeeze tube of icing/decorating gel. To make the cake I used a Devil's Food flavor boxed mix that was on sale for $1.

If you're not particularly crafty, want something quick and easy or just don't want to worry about it there are links to a couple really neat Pokemon cake decorations and even a kit below. Enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Be A Star Birthday Cake

My youngest had her birthday party last Saturday. Her party theme was Toy Story, so I decided to buy a Wilton star shaped cake pan.

I had intended to decorate the cake as a sheriff badge, like "Sheriff Woody" only "Sheriff Jenny". The only problem was the birthday girl insisted on having chocolate icing.

We ended up using a yellow confetti cake mix and chocolate icing with confetti sprinkles around the edges. It tasted delicious, but was a little awkward to cut. I also took a piece of cardboard the comes under pizzas, cleaned it and covered it with aluminum foil to put the cake on.

We had 8 cute little kids over last weekend and plan to have 5 little guys over this weekend. Stay tuned next week for my son's Pokemon Ball Cake.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Strap Perfect Saved My Night

I've seen these on television and to be honest never actually considered buying them. I'm strickly a t-shirt kind of gal. The only time I ever dress up is each June when my hubby and I go to a graduation for his students.  This year I found the most beautiful dress, but couldn't find a bra that fit and wouldn't show. I had picked out a Mock Halter dress from JCPennys like this one only black. I searched for about a month with no luck.

In talking with my sister one day, she happened to mention she had 2 packages of these that her friend had given her. She offered one set to me - which I gladly accepted. I didn't really think much of them at first. They are little plastic clips.

Boy was I surprised. I tried on my dress with one of my normal bras and the clear clip. It worked great. Plus I couldn't even tell it was there. I wore it all evening long (sitting and standing) and it stayed put and was pretty comfortable. I'm telling everyone because I like to share when something I buy works for me. Many people are skeptical buying off the television - I know I am.


So anyways, I have to say this is a really great invention. Congrats to the person who created them. I would definitely recommend  buying the Strap Perfect. They are small, affordable, and they work.

* By the way, I was in no way compensated for my opinion or for purchasing this product or any other product. I freely share my own experiences to help others make better, more informed shopping decisions.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Ways Moms Can Volunteer

As a stay-at-home-mom living on one income I find it hard to help out my fellow man. I don't make any money to donate to my favorite charities. I don't have a lot of time free (without kids) to volunteer places. So here are a couple ways we as stay-at-home-moms can help out.

1. Volunteer at schools - this is of course once your kids are in school or preschool. You can help out coping forms, help the teacher with individual work, not to mention field trips.

2. Volunteer at church - I don't just mean in the nursery. Fundraisers, soup kitchens, etc.

3. Help out the elderly in your community - Run errands for them such as picking up items from the grocery store or pharmacy. Visiting with them is another way to help out by making sure they are healthy or just having someone to talk with can make all the difference.

4. Of course there is babysitting. This is something you can do with your children present. We call them playdates.

5. Pitch in at sporting events - agree to bring in the team snack or drinks, help with fundraising ideas, or even sign up to wash the uniforms.

There are lots of ways moms can help give back to a community. Can you think of any others?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Loving Fridays - Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken Review


This week I fixed the new Wanchai Ferry Frozen Dinners for my family. We tried the Orange Chicken. I bought it because a.) I had a coupon and (b.) we love, love, love the boxed dinner version by Wanchai Ferry.

To start out with I have to say the package states it's a meal for 2 people. We are a family of 5 - two adults and three kids 10 and under.

Okay for the pros:
* It has the same great sauce as the boxed dinner kits. YUMMY!
* Chicken tastes really good. 
* There are lots of great coupons out right now to bring the cost down.
* It is quite easy to prepare and only requires one pan. Bonus for the quick clean-up.

 Now for the cons:
* The portions are very small.
* The chicken is breaded  -  which isn't the most healthy.
* It has quite a few calories - 610 calories prepared and 22 grams of fat prepared. 13WW points.

Overall, I'm not sure we would buy again. The reason is the serving sizes are too small - you get way more at any local Chinese restaurant. Plus, this is not a family friendly meal in that to feed our family of 5 we would need to buy 3 packages. Ouch - even with coupons that's pricey.

This would be perfect for a single person or two people who don't eat very much. Otherwise, skip the frozen section and visit your local Chinese restaurant for hot food your don't have to cook or clean up after. ;-)


* By the way - I was not paid or compensated in any way for this post.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Target Deals - Back to School Shopping

I ventured out to my local Target Store on Friday and found a great deal on my favorite pens.


 They were on sale for $.60 a pack. That right there was awesome! Two packs of pens for $1.20, but I had a coupon for $1 off 2/Bic products.  That brings to total for 2 packs of pens down to $0.20  Yeah  :-) Here's the proof:

 
In addition to my great find on pens. I bought my kiddies lunch boxes. I bought 2 really cute boxes - one was a frog and one a ladybug.  Here's the frog isn't it cute?!!


Well inside the boxes were a postcard saying with the purchase of the lunchbox I received a 6 month membership to Parents Magazine plus coupons. Then, if you don't want the membership you can fill out the postcard, send a copy of your receipt and get a refund for $4.97. Limit 1 per household.

Yeah, buy the lunchbox for $9 on sale and get $4.97 back.

Find more great deals at Target by clicking below :-)

Target's Printable Coupons

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

UPS Cheating Customers

I don't usually do rant posts, but this one has really got me upset. I occasionally sell on eBay and every once in a while I ship them out via my local UPS.

Last time I was at my local store I noticed the size was off. The box was 14" X 14" X 14" and they said the package was 15" X 15" X 15". I figured I didn't close it enough and they rounded it up an inch.

Well today I had another package so prior to going to UPS bought a box at my local office supply store. The box had printed on it 14" X 14" X 14". I even sealed it and measured it at home with 2 tape measures. It was 14" X 14" X 14". I got to my local UPS store and they charged me as 15" X 15" X 15". I called them on it. The young man working there showed how he measured it with his tape measure. I noticed that the end piece was bent in. There was no way they could start measuring at 0 because the bent piece pushed it away from the edge a good 1/4". They are cheating their customers  - charging them for a larger box than they actually have.

Now in my case it was only a couple cents or a dollar, but those who ship out items more frequently could be out significantly more.


Just a word of warning to those who use UPS. Make sure you aren't getting scammed. Watch them when they are measuring your boxes. Ask them to measure starting at 1" and deduct 1" from the end number. Otherwise, you could be charged more than you should.  I hope for everyone's sake this is only happening at my local shop.

They even had past issues with problems such as this. UPS was accused of cheating their franchise, now it appears the franchise owners could be cheating us. See below:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lawsuit-accuses-ups-of-cheating-franchise-owners-57870252.html

Tidy Tuesdays - Clean in a Snap

As a stay at home mom, my focus is on taking care of my family. I'm always looking for ways to save time doing what I HAVE to do, so I can have more time doing what I WANT to do. Spend more time with my family.  I've mentioned it before, but the way I keep my house clean is by using a schedule. To show you what I mean here is what I do each week:

Mondays
Clean the kitchen - besides the usual tidying up after meals like doing the dishes, taking out the trash, wipe down the appliances, and cleaning up any spills.
  * clean and disinfect the counter tops
  * wipe down the cabinets
  * mop the floor - scrub if necessary
  * clean the oven

Tuesdays
Bathrooms
  * Clean the toilet
  * Scrub the bathtub and shower walls
  * Scrub the tile floor
  * Clean the vanity and mirror
  * Empty the trash can
Wednesdays
Bedrooms
  * Change the bed linens
  * Tidy up/de-clutter/put stuff away - the kids can help with this one
  * Dust
  * Vacuum floors
  * Wipe down walls (usually once a month)

Thursdays
Living Room/Dining Room/Halls
  * Vacuum floors
  * Mop floors
  * Dust
  * Wipe down walls of finger prints, etc.
Pet Areas
  * Change kitty litter - scooping daily
  * Wash pet bedding

Fridays
Laundry
  * Wash all clothing
  * Wash bed linens
Outside
  * Cut the grass

Saturdays/Sundays
  * Weed the flowerbeds
  * Tend the garden

My tasks each day only take me 15-30 minutes. By doing these things each week it makes it much quicker and easier. For example, weeding the flowerbeds each week only takes 5 minutes because it's only a week's worth of weeds and not 2 months worth.

My schedule isn't set in stone either. If I have time, I can vacuum the whole house and not just one room while I've already got the machine out. Same goes for wiping down the walls. Some weeks I really don't have time or the energy to wipe down the walls.

So there you have my weekly cleaning schedule. Feel free to share yours.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mom, It's Too Hot Outside!

On days like these, when the temperature is pushing 100 degrees, you're likely to hear "It's too hot!" or "I'm all sweaty!" or "I'm dying!".  To help keep mom from going crazy here are a couple fun kids activities you can do.

* Fill a bucket with cold water and put it in the middle of your yard. Then arm your kids with squirt guns and let them have a blast squirting each other. They can use the bucket of water to refill their squirt guns.

* Turn on a sprinkler. While I don't care for this because it wastes water and makes your yard (and kids) muddy. It is really fun to run through the sprinkler for a couple minutes.

* Movie theater - no I don't mean go to an actual theater. I mean close all your curtains, turn off the lights and pretend you're at the movies. Break out the flashlights to see where you're going and pop some popcorn. For an added bonus, this will help keep your home cooler, by blocking out some of the sun.

* Have a picnic in your living room. Pack a basket lunch. Spread a blanket on the floor and eat your lunch right there.

* Make a fort. Using blankets, sofa cushions or even a table. Create a fun play fort where kids can play board games or pretend to defend their fort against evil invaders.

* Get crafty - Try your hand at painting a bowl of fruit or your fave vacation spot. Make a t-shirt pillow out of an old t-shirt.  You can also, create bowls, people, or animals with clay. There are tons to fun and interesting crafts to do.

As you can see there are loads of fun kids activities to do when it's too hot outside.

Check out these great games and books containing games and activities for kids.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Food Lovin' Friday - Sweet Corn Tomalito

Sweet Corn Tomalito Recipe

Each time my family is in the mood for mexican food we visit Chevy's Tex Mex Restaurant which is a couple times a year. Each time we go there I love getting the Sweet Corn Tomalito on the side. It's a little bit like corn bread.

Just a note - I had trouble figuring out what Masa Harina was so I used masa flour from my grocery store's Mexican food section. It turned out great.

Well I found this recipe online for it and it tastes almost identical to the one at Chevy's.

Ingredients:
5 Tbl. margarine, softened
1/4 cup masa harina
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. plus 1 tsp. milk

In a small bowl mix the margarine, masa harina and sugar using an electric mixer for about 1 minute until it is light and fluffy.

In a blender, blend half the corn kernels and the water until smooth.

Combine the corn mixture and the margarine mixture, stirring well. Add the rest of the corn kernels, corn meal, baking powder, salt, and milk and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a 8" square baking pan.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Beware if you use plastic wrap to keep it away from the bottom pan as it will melt.

Steam by placing the square baking pan on top of a medium sauce pan of water on top of the stove.

Bring water to a boil and steam corn mixture for 50 minutes to one hour or until a toothpick comes out dry. Make sure to add water to the saucepan if the pan boils dry.

Makes 9-12 portions.

Enjoy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crafts - Avoid the Chaos

I'm a craft supplies lover. I love buying yarn, scrapbooking paper, fabric, you name it. The only problem, well one of the problems is that I can't remember what I bought. I go into my room and find that I have 3 of the exact same thing.  Do you have the same problem?

The first thing to do is to take an inventory of all the craft supplies you have on hand. Then look it over prior to going into a craft or fabric store.

Next, organize all the different items - by project or with like items.  Whichever is easiest for you.

Well I do both and that's what works for me. I like seeing all the possible projects that got me inspired enough to buy the items in the first place. I store fabric projects together. For example: quilts, purses, pillows, etc.


As for scrapbooking I store all my supplies together. There are just too many bits and pieces to sort into projects. Too many projects that use the same items for example scissors and brads.

My point is to figure out what works for you. You need a solution that will help you find and remember what you have on hand and also inspire you to create.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Easiest Way to Save Money

Being frugal and saving money is very popular right now. There is talk about using coupons when items are on sale and stockpiling and while there are good ways to save money you still are putting out money.  The problem is not many people are talking about the easiest way to save money which is to stop or cut back on spending. Spending needlessly.

Cut spending. Yes it's simple in concept, but it's not easy for everyone to actually do.

There are many reasons why people shop and spend money. Some are perfectly legitimate reasons such as groceries, bills, housing, auto payments and maintenance. We're talking about the trips through the drive thru, the coffee shops, all the extras that end up in the shopping cart during routine trips for groceries, and food delivery when you're too tired or busy to cook.

Simple things you can cut from your spending.
* Movies - Rent for free from library instead of rental places or expensive pay-per-view fees
* Cut Premium Channels - speaking of movies if you happen to have cable or satellite choose a package without the premium channels. Those channels are usually full of older movies and they play the same ones over and over again. If there is a movie you really want to watch - rent it for a RedBox for $1 plus tax a night.
* Gym Memberships - Take up walking or running, use free weights and do calisthenics such as sit ups, push ups, and jumping jacks.
* Shop with a list - Plan ahead and buy only what's on your list. Look at your week ahead and plan meals, activities, etc. to avoid eating on the run, trips to the stores for 1-2 things and impulse purchases.
* Organize a carpool - Gasoline is constantly rising so split the cost between everyone in the carpool.
* Bag Lunches - Pack lunches for yourself and your family to avoid buying lunch at school or fast food restaurants. This could save you a lot over the course of a month.

Here are a couple easy ways to use what you have.
* Instead of renting a new movie watch one of your all time favorites - that's why you bought it, right?
* Go through your cabinets and refrigerator and make your meals from those foods. Search online for recipes containing the foods you have on hand.
* Cut out extra trips to the store for missing ingredients, try to find substitutions or make another recipe.

The best way to save money is to not spend at all. Try to find little ways to cut costs that won't make much of an impact on your day-to-day life.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Broaden Your Horizons


Have some fun this summer and broaden your horizons. Just like the movie "The Bucket List" create a list of all the things you want to do before you die (or at least over the summer). Be adventurous! Get out of your comfort zone.

There are millions of things you can add to your list. Here are a couple suggestions:
* Go para-sailing.
* Learn a new language
* Swim with the dolphins
* Ride in a boat
* Travel outside the county

Just think, if you were to die tomorrow or in say six month - what would you do in that time? Be bold and have a blast. Live life to the fullest!

Here are just 5 of my Bucket List item
  1. Write a book and publish it
  2. Get down to my ideal weight
  3. Wear a 2 piece bathing suit again and look great in it.
  4. Visit each of the 50 states in the USA.
  5. Visit another country.
What are your's?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Summers Almost Here - Need Kids Activities?

Well summer is almost here and you know what that means. Kids will be home on summer vacation. Then you'll hear those dreaded words "Mom, I'm bored" or "There's nothing to do."

It's all about planning ahead. Make a list of all the things you want to do this summer and then plug them into a calendar. For example: visit a different playground each week on Thursday or go watch a free kids movie on Wednesday morning.

If you don't have time to plan or just don't have the patience then I can help. I've just started another blog called "12 Weeks of Summer Fun" at http://www.12WeeksofSummerFun.com. This site is a day-by-day journal covering 12 weeks of activities that I'm doing with my kids. It includes printables, crafts, sites to visit, activities and more.  I've done all the work for you, so feel free to follow along and use some or all the activities with your kids. 

Have a great, fun, adventurous summer. Thanks for reading  :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - It's All In Who You Know

It really does matter who you know. My hubby and I know a lot of people and we try to help out as many people as we can. We always try to find out what our friends and family want and need. Then we keep an ear open for someone giving away or selling what they are looking for.

Well, two months ago, a good friend of my hubby knew someone who was selling his boat. The gentleman was trying to downsize because him and his wife were getting up their in age. This boat had been sitting in his yard for a couple years unused and uncared for. The engine was started each year, but other than that it was untouched.

My hubby is a boat lover and started saving up for it. He worked overtime and took on extra teaching opportunities to earn enough money to pay cash for it. It took a couple months, but he diligently kept savings to reach his goal.

Well, last weekend he brought the boat home. Boy was it dirty. Apparently one of the side windows was left cracked open and let moisture get inside. All the fabric inside will need to be replace because of mildew. Yuck. However, after it's cleaned, he will be able to take his friends and family out fishing. His dream.

Is there something you've always wanted or something you need? Is there something you're trying to sell or giveaway? Mention it briefly to those you know. You never know who may be able to help.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Bring on Summer Foods

On the east coast of the US we've been very blessed to have nice warm weather lately. When the weather is warm my family starts craving "summer time foods".

We can't wait to start cooking on the grill and eating hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, BBQ chicken, fresh fruits and lots more. Foods just seem to taste better when it's cooked on the grill.


What's your favorite summer time food? Feel free to share it by leaving a comment below.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sorry for My Absense

Sorry I didn't post anything for a couple weeks. I really felt I was getting out of balance. My family were starting to feel forgotten and home were becoming neglected. I spent some time getting unfinished projects done around my home, spending lots of quality time with my family and worked out a schedule so I can balance all my responsibilities. It's a dilemma many people face - balancing work and home.

Some really fun things that happened when I slowed my life down the past couple weeks was I found a 4-leaf clover patch in my yard. Just look at all the clovers I found - all the same day.  Then I found a 5-leaf clover in another spot in my yard. I told my hubby that we were going to fertilize that area so they keep growing back.

These haven't been altered in any way - they are REAL clovers.

On another note, I mentioned in previous posts that I am trying to lose weight and I just wanted to update my progress. I started Weight Watchers on 1/21/10 and as of yesterday I'm down 31 lb. That's the most I've ever lost and I'm not done yet.

Just a little note to update everyone - if anyone's even listening :(

Thrifty Thursday - This Week's Find

Thanks to the one of my favorite magazines "All You" I got a coupon for a free Rimmel London product valued $5 or less for fre*e from Wal-Mart. I could choose from eye shadow, lip stick, mascara or one other product (I forgot what). I chose the eye shadow only because I was about to run out of my current one. I love the All You magazine because it always has lots of useful coupons throughout each month's copy. This coupon was included in April's copy I believe. Don't quote me on that.

By the way, I was not paid to publish this post. I just wanted to share my cool coupon deal and my fave magazine.

Feel free to share your thrifty finds. I'd love to celebrate your success with you.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Sticking to Your Planned Meals

I'm a big fan of meal planning or planning your meals ahead of time. Normally people plan a week ahead of time. This helps you figure out what to buy at the grocery store and saves you money. AS LONG AS YOU STICK TO THE PLAN.

That's the hard part for our family - sticking to the plan. To help us stick to our plan we usually build in a take-out day. That's a day when we're too tired/too busy/too whatever to cook, so we go out to eat or order delivery. We also mix and match our meals. What I mean by that is we come up with 6 meals and they are fixed on whatever day we want. Let's face it you may not feel like eating spaghetti on Tuesday but you're craving it on Thursday.

Sticking to the menu planned is important because everyone knows what happens when you go to the grocery store to get a week's worth of meals and then order take out or eat out a lot that week. You waste a lot of food and spend more money than you probably planned.

To make our lives a little easier we almost always have pizza on Fridays. That's our Pizza and a movie night. It's a little tradition and it helps to make meal planning and grocery shopping easier. Try to automate as much as you can. Come up with a couple meals that your family really likes and rotate them over the course of a month.

Be flexible when planning the daily meals. Automate as much as you can. Remember, by sticking to the meals you have planned you will save time and money.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Cleaning Up the Yard

This winter was a bear! There's no disputing that one. 

Here on the East Coast we had A LOT of snow.  All that snow piled on top of everything - trees, shrubs, bushes, cars, houses, everything.  It left a lot of mess long after the snow was gone. There were gutters to be repaired. There were fallen trees that need to be cut up and taken away. Plus landscaping to repair all the damage done by the much needed snowplows.

This is all on top of the normal landscaping like cutting the grass, weeding flowerbeds, planting flowers and planning a garden. 

Tackling one project at a time is the easiest way to get it all done. Create a list and break projects into smaller chunks is helpful. Then when you have a little free time, like on the weekends, work on one of the smaller chunk projects at a time.

Here is an example. This is part of my list:
* Move landscaping rocks back into place in front flowerbed (moved by snowplow) - ask hubby to help
* Plan and start planting my garden - buy seeds, turn over dirt, plant seeds, water garden
* Rake up our yard - front and back, bag and take to dump
* Plant gladiolus bulbs on side of house
* Remove remaining dead tree branches - cut them up and take to dump

Some quick and easy tricks to clean up your yard in a hurry.
  1. Rake leaves and twigs into piles all around your yard. Bag up. It's saves a lot of energy as opposed to raking from one edge to the other - dragging the leaves over the entire yard.
  2. Enlist the help of others - kids and hubby, siblings or neighbor kids.
  3. Rent a chipper, mulcher, cultivator, etc. from your local hardware store or rental shop.
 Hopefully these little tips will help you finish your yardwork quickly so you can enjoy the warmer weather of Spring.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Cool Uses for Plastic Bags

What do you do with all those plastic grocery and shopping bags? Do you reuse them? What about recycle them?  Why not make something out of them?

Here's a fun craft project!


Learn how to make a really cool recycled bag. Here is one really incredible tutorial on Etsy.com

http://etsylabs.blogspot.com/2007/05/long-overdue-fusing-plastic-bag.html


Here's another great tutorial using plastic bags from an amazing blogger. She shows you how to make iron-on decals for t-shirts, bags, etc. all from plastic bags. The possibilities are endless. 
http://www.filthwizardry.com/2010/03/iron-on-decals-from-plastic-shopping.html

There are lots of ways to use this project. Here are just a few ideas:
* Mother's Day
* Party favors (goody bags or t-shirts)
* Green Recycled shopping bag
* Cute decals for everyday clothes
* Decorations for curtains in children's rooms or for the holidays
 

Friday, April 02, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Snickers Pie


This recipe I found on http://www.thatsmyhome.com/healthy/weight-watchers/snickers-pie.htm

Obviously, I didn't make it into a pie - I made 24 mini cupcake size portions. Kind of like my own little bon bons :)

This is a really easy recipe to make and it takes delicious too!

Ingredients:

12 oz frozen fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 small box sugar-free instant chocolate pudding *
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup lite Cool Whip
3 oz Grape Nuts cereal

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together and pour into 8" dish and freeze.

* Note do not prepare pudding according to box directions - simply pour the pudding mix in with the other ingredients.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Frugal Easter Basket Ideas

If you look forward to giving Easter baskets to your children each year but don't enjoy the high price of expensive pre-made baskets, here are some simple ideas for saving money on this fun holiday tradition. Like anything else you buy, it helps to set a spending limit - maybe $5 per Easter basket. Then have fun being creative and trying to keep within your basket budget.
Our family usually reserves Easter baskets and Easter Egg Hunts for the Saturday just before Easter - saving Sunday for church and family celebrations.

I try to shop for Easter basket fillers in advance (I use the same principle for Christmas stocking stuffers, too). You can keep a basket in the corner of a closet for storing these types of items found throughout the year. Keep an eye out for small games and toys in clearance bins at the grocery store, at dollar stores, and during any stops to thrift stores or yard sales.

In the days immediately following Halloween, bags of candy often go on sale for half price (or less), so I'll sometimes purchase several bags of family favorites and stick them in the freezer. Frozen candy will keep quite nicely until Easter.

Small, fun items that you'll probably need to purchase for your children during the course of the year can be saved to include in their Easter baskets: crayons, felt pens, glue stick, glitter glue, novelty toothbrushes, fun-flavored toothpastes, hair ribbons, barrettes, a new hair brush, bubble bath in fun containers.

Ideas for the Basket Itself:

* Wicker baskets can be reused year after year (a nice tradition in itself). These can be used other times during the year for decoration or for storing small items. You can also reuse the decorative grass from year to year.

* Paper bags decorated with bunnies, eggs, flowers, etc.

* Easter bonnets. If you're going to be purchasing an Easter bonnet for your daughter, turn it upside down and fill with goodies.

* Inexpensive colorful plastic sand pails. Include a shovel and sand mold.

* Plastic mesh storage containers. Reuse to store toys, games, socks, childhood treasures, etc. Lunch box.

* New novelty pillowcase.

* Flower pot (fill w/packet of seeds, soil, drainage rocks, gardening gloves, instructions for growing their own Spring flowers).

* For older kids/teens, try a make-up container (including sample sizes of soap, perfume, lip gloss, nail polish, etc.), a fishing tackle box (include a few lures), a personal popcorn bowl (containing a bag of gourmet popcorn), or a new purse.

* For teenagers or grown children, try a grocery bag filled with their favorite foods.


Filling ideas:

* Plastic eggs can be reused every year. Fill with jelly beans or small plastic toys of interest to the child. Bags full of fake bugs, dinosaurs, etc., can often be found at dollar stores for under a $1 per bag.

* Homemade candy and treats.

* Homemade frosted Easter-shaped cookies individually wrapped. You can also make cookie lollipops by adding a lollipop or ice cream stick before baking.

* Crispy Rice Treats or Popcorn Balls colored with pastel food coloring and shaped like eggs.

* Sidewalk Chalk Eggs: Mix 1 cup plaster, 1/2 cup water and several drops food coloring. Pour mixture into empty egg carton sections. When dry, peel away the carton and hot glue two sections together at the center to form a complete egg.

* Toys from fast food children's meals can be found in "like new" condition at thrift stores and yard sales for $0.25 or less.

* Rubber stamps and stamp pads.

* Homemade play dough.

* Crayons.

* Small bag of potato chips.

* Bubbles.

* A jump rope.

* Jacks.

* A frisbee.

* Chopsticks.

* Fancy shoelaces.

* Stickers.

* Books.

* Stationary, note cards, envelopes, stamps.

* Coloring books or coloring sheets. Find some simple Easter related clip-art and print the picture out in black and white for homemade coloring sheets, or print out several and staple them together for a custom made coloring book.

* Audio tapes you've made of yourself reading their favorite books aloud. Be sure to include a signal for them to turn the page if they'll be reading along with you.

* Look for small Dover Books at your local bookstore. These books are high quality and usually under $1 each. They have paper dolls, holiday activity books, coloring books, etc.


Happy Spring!


About the Author:
Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer and mother of three) is the author of several popular books including Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity. To subscribe to her free email newsletter, Simple Times, send an email to: subscribe-simple-times@hub.thedollarstretcher.com Visit Debi online and read more articles dealing with simple living, frugality, parenting and much more: http://thesimplemom.wordpress.com/

Article Source: The WAHM Shack Article Directory

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday - April Fool's Day Tricks

Since tomorrow is April Fool's Day I figured I'd share a couple of my favorite pranks with you along with some really funny hoaxes. Have a fun day!

  1. Put plastic wrap over the doorway - so the person walks right into it
  2. Put plastic wrap over the toilet bowl, but under the seat.
  3. Grease the doorknob with vegetable shortening, so they can't open the door.
  4. Hoaxes - here are the top 100  http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/
  5. Google Translate for Animals - Find out more about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I24bSteJpw 
  6. Serve your family fake food. Ice cream mashed potatoes, rice krispie meatloaf, etc. There are tons of recipes online.
  7. Get to work before your colleagues and turn their desktop display upside down through the display settings.
  8. If your kid/hubby/coworker/friend likes to store files on their desktop, create a new folder called “Trash” and move all of their desktop icons to it. This won't really trash them just put the inside a new folder.
  9. If your workstation is located really close to another person, unplug their mouse and plug your mouse into their computer. When they start up their computer and try to move their mouse cursor, move your mouse around instead. Try to keep a straight face! 
  10. Take a screenshot of your colleague’s computer desktop, set this image as the background and then move all of their desktop icons to a folder elsewhere. The image of those icons will still appear on their screen but they will be unable to click them. 
  11. Put a folded up sticky note over the ball of your friend's/coworker's mouse. Just make sure the sticky part of the note doesn't touch the ball. Fold the note small enough not to be seen when the mouse is lying flat on the desktop. The mouse won't work and they won't know why.


Here are a bunch of great practical joke ideas to try.
http://www.funmunch.com/events/april_fools_day/april_fools_day_pranks.shtml

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Spring Cleaning - DeClutter

It's spring time. Now is the time to clear out some of the stuff you've been accumulating over the winter.

Don't worry spring cleaning doesn't have to be done all in one day. Take an entire weekend or a week or two. To really clear out your stuff it will take you a little while. Just remember slow and steady wins the race and as long as you're making progress you'll be better off then you were.

First you will want to choose one room or section of a room. I suggest picking a closet or a commonly used room as a starting point.

Sort
Pull out everything and sort it with like items. For example: put all the shoes together, all the books together, all like toys together, etc. This will help you organize your stuff as you put it all away. It will also show you if you have 2 or more of the same thing.

Reuse/Recycle
Find a new way to use the something that's just been laying around. If there is something you really can't part with, but don't use find a new use for it. Maybe your grandmother left to you a beautiful bowl, but it just sits in your cabinet. Why not put some pretty fruit in it and set it on the counter?

Donate
The stuff you don't use or don't want anymore donate to someone else. Give it to Goodwill, list it on Freecycle, or give to a friend or family member who will actually use it.

We love receiving hand-me-downs. Kid's clothes cost a lot and to receive clothes her size or bigger to grow into is a great blessing. Once she outgrows them we pass them on down to my younger daughter and then give them away to someone else.

Trash
If it's broke (and no one wants it for parts). Try your best to reuse, recycle, or donate your unwanted things. Our landfills are already full.

Create piles or use boxes labeled "Recycle", "Donate", and "Trash".

Follow these simple steps and you home could be less cluttered in no time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Find Peace and Quiet at Home

Can you really find peace and quiet at home when you have kids running around?

Let's face it there are times when every one of us needs to get away from the kids. You just need 5 minutes to yourself. With no one asking you a million questions, complaining that their brother/sister is bothering them or that they're bored.

Here are a couple ways you can steal away for 5-20 minutes or more (depending on your child's age).

Let me explain - I'm not saying it's okay to leave your child unattended in an unsafe manner. Never leave your child in a car, in a infant walker or any other place where the child may become injured.

One of the first ways is to set the child up with their favorite movie/tv show. Another option is one they have never seen before and seem really interested in. This will give you 15-30 minutes or more to lay down on the sofa and relax and catch a few zzz's. You're still in the same room and would be able to hear your child if they needed you.

The second way you can get some peace and quiet is put your child down for a nap. Even kids 5 or 6 can still need a nap during the day. Just avoid the common trap of trying to get stuff done while they are sleeping. You should be resting also.

It may sound counter-productive but arrange a play date for older kids. Kids from age 5 and up are pretty good about playing with other kids. Especially ones that don't get to come over often. They are too busy showing off all their toys to come bug Mom.  Set the rules ahead of time and you shouldn't have much trouble.

Of course, there's always waiting until the kids have fallen asleep. However, sometimes you just can't wait that long.

Lastly, if you have an infant and need a couple minutes utilize the car seat or a play pen. Just make sure if you use a car seat that the child is fastened in and the handle is locked into position. Using the car seat is a wonderful way to take a shower or bath, because the baby is right there next to the tub.  You can carry them into the kitchen, so you can watch the baby while fixing dinner. Plus they can see you.

Just a couple ways you can get some peace and quiet while at home with your kids. Let's face it we all can use some down time.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Copycat Recipes

If you love eating out at restaurants, but don't like the cost - then you'll love all these wonderful sites full of copycat recipes. Learn how to make McDonald's secret sauce or even a Frosty from Wendy's. Yummy!

Top Secret Recipes
http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/recipes.asp

CD Kitchen
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/cat/510/

Top Secret Copycat Recipes
http://www.topsecretcopycatrecipes.com/

I'm sure there are tons more, but these are the ones I found most useful. Have fun and enjoy :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - All the Sales Ads At Your Fingertips

It's a well known fact that one way to save money is to plan out your meals ahead of time. It's not always necessary to plan out your week day by day such as: Monday - BBQ Chicken, Tuesday - Pizza, etc. Another way that I use is to simply plan 7 meals for the week and pick and choose which one to eat that day. This works great for us because I don't like being told what I need to eat each day. I like a little flexibility.

You can save even more money if you use foods that are on sale as part of your weekly menu. Look through the weekly sales ads for all your local grocery stores. If chicken is on sale - buy it and use it in a dish that week. If you have a coupon to go with the product even better.

To save you some time I've included a link that has almost all the grocery store ads listed. Just click on your local stores picture to see the current week's sales ad.

http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/weekly-ads-100-grocery-store-circulars/

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wild Card Wednesdays - Videos, Photos and Children Online

Are your children online? What about their pictures? Are they on Facebook? What about Flickr or YouTube? Those harmless photos and videos you have posted of your children may be online forever.

While they may look innocent to you - you never know who else may be looking at them.

Kids online are usually only thinking of kids their age accessing their profile or page. It's up to us as parents/adults to monitor what they are doing online. Yes, even teenagers. How many times do we have to hear about a teenager going to meet someone they met online only to find out they were a child predator?

While I personally don't recommend letting kids have their own Facebook, MySpace, etc. page online - they are your kids and you will do what you want.

My point is please monitor what your kids put online because any photo can be taken from any website. All you have to do is press the Print Screen button and paste it into a Paint program. There you have the photo to look at any time you wish or to illegally upload to another site. Would you really want some sleazy person looking at your son or daughter or posting it online?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - The Balancing Act

Anyone who has a checking account knows the importance of keeping it balanced.

Each month when you're bank statement arrives in the mail break out your check book register, a calculator and a pen or pencil.

Nowadays, most banks offer online access to your checking account, so you are able to view all the transactions every day, every week or whenever you wish.

To balance your account you will need a current list of all the transactions from the account, your check register, a calculator and a pen or pencil.

To start off go through your bank statement and check off everything in your check register that is listed on the statement making sure the amount of the transaction are the same.

After you've checked off everything you can. Go back and add in everything you forgot to add into the register that was on the statement. Everything the bank says came out of your account that you didn't already have in the check register.

Next, try to reconcile your account. Usually there is a form on the back of your statement to help you with this. If not, you list the ending balance or current balance of your account according to the bank. Now you add any deposits or credits the bank haven't included yet. Add the numbers together. Take the total and subtract any debits/payments that the bank hasn't taken or cleared yet. This would be any uncleared checks, debit payments that haven't been deducted or maybe even tips that weren't processed yet. Subtract and you should have the same total that is listed in your checkbook.

If your amounts don't match you will need to go back through your checkbook register to see if your addition/subtraction is correct. Also check to make sure everything was added and subtracted correctly when reconciling your bank statement.

It may not be a fun task, but I'm sure you would hate to have to pay over the limit fees. What's worse is getting up to the cash register only to find out you have no money left in your account. Ugh! It only takes a little while to keep your account up to date and it can save you a lot of headaches and embarrassment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Peer Pressure

We've all heard about peer pressure. It's talked about by counselors and teachers at most schools nowadays.

...but what about peer pressure felt by moms by other moms.

How many times have you been asked to volunteer at your kids school? Can you make the costumes for the school play? Can you help run the bake sale? What about all the fundraisers? Questioned about why you haven't volunteered in your child's class or at scouts?

We need to remember as women and moms that everyone is different. Not all moms enjoy the same things or can do the same things. Not everyone has the time to volunteer regularly.

We as women need to be more assertive. We need to pick and choose what is most important to us and our families.


As moms, we too, can feel pressured by our local schools and other parents to give up time and energy to help out in our children's schools. I urge you to help out your children's schools in ways that you feel comfortable with. That may mean making costumes, donating items to the bake sale, or if it's something you feel okay with volunteering in the classrooms. You may not have time to do any of those things and that's okay too. You need to do what's best for you and your family first and for most.

Just like we teach our children - don't give in to peer pressure.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Fat Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I found these yummy cookies on the web at www.angelfire.com/journal/wwrecipes/284.htm . Not only do taste good, but they are Fat Free and are chocolate!!! Yum.

Fat Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn syrup or golden syrup
3 egg whites

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in corn syrup and egg whites until blended. The dough will be thick and sticky. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of mixture onto cookie sheets. Bake in oven for 7-9 minutes or just until set. Cool on wire rack.

0 grams of fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 60 calories, 1 gram of protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 65 mg sodium

I love quick and easy recipes like this one. Hope you enjoy them like I do :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Shop for Christmas All Year Round

Whenever I go into a store I try to look at their clearance section for any deals. By shopping all year round I can spend a lot less overall on Christmas and birthday presents. Plus I don't have to come up with a big chunk of money all at one time.

This week I found all these Bakugan in the clearance at my local Target store. They were making room for all the newer ones that just came out. My little man is really into these so I plan to save them for his birthday and even for Christmas. At $1.11 for the single items and about $3 for the double or special ones. That was great compared to the $4/$8 regular price.


Please feel free to share your awesome deals, thrift store finds and bargain finds.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Help Organizing Your Kids Room

Are you sick and tired of cleaning up your kids' rooms? Tired of tripping over toys left on the floor? Are you always stepping on matchbox cars, doll shoes, or blocks?

Here is one really easy way to help your children clean up after themselves.

Storage totes - they are incredible organizing tools for many reasons. Here are just a few reasons to consider putting your child's toys inside clear, plastic, storage containers.

See through
When containers are see through children can  see what's inside. They are able to choose the container that has the blocks, cars, dolls, crayons, etc. instead of pulling them all out opening each one in search of the items they want.

Easy to get out and put away
Children are able to handle smaller containers about the size of a shoe box. Most boxes are easy for kids to open and close. Plus if the containers are put down lower kids can reach certain items unassisted. Just please consider keeping containers holding smaller pieces up higher because of the possible choking hazards for younger children.

Easy clean - up
Clean up is quicker when all the child has to do it put everything inside the storage box. Children can dump everything out of the box and quickly put everything back in.


Durable
Most are made of hard plastic. They last much longer than cardboard boxes or plastic shopping bags. They are also much easier to stack.

Sorting
Children can practice sorting their toys. When cleaning up their rooms they can sort the items according to the different containers. Make it a game.

Just a few ways to help children learn to keep their rooms clean. Using clear storage containers can help your child learn to put their own toys away, help keep their room a bit more organized, and maybe help save you a couple headaches. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Show Off Your Child's Work

Boy do kids make a lot of drawings when they are young. Aside from sticking them up on the refrigerator, making a book with them, or maybe turning your garage into an art gallery what are you supposed to do with all those wonderful pieces of art?


Using these really easy printable iron on sheets you can make almost anything. Here are just a few of the really neat things you can make:

  • Tote bags
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts for stuff animals or dolls
  • Aprons

Any of these would be perfect for:
  • Teacher's gift
  • Christmas presents
  • Baby shower favors
  • Bridal shower favors
  • Mother's Day/Father's Day, etc.
  • Get well gift
  • Birthday present
  • lots more.
It's really easy to do. I made this simple tote bag with a drawing my son did at school. I scanned the drawing into my computer, but places like Staples and Office Depot can do that for you.

Then simply print out the drawing onto the special printable iron on paper which is available at almost every craft store and even some major department stores. If there is writing on the drawing you will need to print out a mirror image of the drawing.

Take the newly printed image and place the image face down on the shirt, tote, etc. you want to personalize. Iron according to the direction on the package.

Let cool and peal off the paper. Your item is now done and ready to be used.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to Place Images on Mugs | eHow.com

I thought this was a really neat project and wanted to share it with you. Transferring images to mugs. It would be really neat as party favors, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or a gift for a teacher at the end of the year. Check it out.

How to Place Images on Mugs | eHow.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Hot Milk Cake Recipe

Hot Milk Cake

This is an absolutely delicious cake. It is moist and between a bread and cake in texture. This has been a long time favorite in my family.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 stick margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 dash salt
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp Margarine on top or spray butter for topping
cinnamon & sugar for topping

Spray bundt cake pan with cooking spray.  Heat milk and margarine stick together, do not boil. Mix other ingredients in a bowl until well blended with an electric mixer. Slowly add the heated milk mixture to the other ingredients in the bowl. Mix well. Pour into bundt cake pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Top should be golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. To remove the cake from the pan you will need to place a plate on top of the pan, hold firmly in place and then flip both over. Once the cake is removed from the pan spray with spray butter all over the top of the cake or rub with stick of margarine. Then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thrifty Thursdays - Buy Now for the Future

Well I one of my all time favorite things to do is to bargain hunt. I love find and hearing about finding great deals, so hear are some of my latest finds.

I found this really adorable dress at Macy's in their children's clearance department. While I don't normally shop here, my mother called this to my attention. As you can see on the price tag it was originally $85.00 and I got it for $9.99. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Actually it's quite beautiful. It is size 6/6X which is the size my daughter should be right around Christmas. This dress even has a couple layers of crinoline underneath.


I know it's March, but I found these Valentine's cards in my grocery store clearance rack for $.20. Yeah that's right $.20. They are pretty basic characters. I'm sure my boy will be fine with these next year - he will be in 3rd grade. My daughter I know will be fine with the Barbie because she will only be in 1st grade next year.

Please feel free to share your wonderful finds with me I love hearing about them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday - Weight Watchers Online

I decided to share with you how I am losing weight while still eating my fave foods. Just so you know, I am not getting paid to promote Weight Watchers or in any way compensated. The program is working for me  and that's why I'm sharing it. I hope it may encourage someone else to consider trying it now or in the future. I have always tried to share companies, links, and resources that I thought were helpful and good, so others could benefit like I have.

So anyways, I signed up for Weight Watchers Online on January 21, 2010. I do not attend meetings - it's a personal choice. I keep track of all the foods I eat online, and don't have time to attend meetings right now. I have my own family and friends as a support group and that is working for me. So far I have lost 17.9lb and I continue to eat all the same foods I did before.  The only difference is I'm learning about portion sizes, and surprising to me I don't feel the least bit hungry.

Another change I have decided to make is I cut out all sodas. This was not something required on the diet plan - it was a personal decision. I used to drink a  2ltr bottle of caffeine free diet soda every day or two. The big thing I noticed I was never full - NEVER. I could eat and eat and eat and never feel full. Since I've cut out the soda - I feel great and get full or satisfied pretty quickly. It's great. You, of course, could be totally difference. This is what I feel and has happened to me.

If you are considering losing weight please check out all the various programs and see what works best for you. Decide if it fits into your schedule, if it allows you to eat what you really love to eat (at least occasionally) and is something you can stick to and affords. Remember there is no one program that is right for every person.

It cost approximately $56 for the first 3 months when I signed up in January. At that time they were having a promotion. Once my 3 month promotion period is over I will need to pay $17 a month which to me is well worth it. I still have a ways to go in working toward my goal weight. Hope you will join me :)

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, want to share your success stories or just need some encouragement in your own weight loss journey - I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Dogs, Cats and Kids Oh My

My house is home to 2 adults, 3 kids, 2 medium to large sized dogs and 2 very furry cats. My home gets messy pretty quick.

The kids and dogs track in the dirt and sand from our backyard. The dogs and cats both shed no matter how many times we brush them. The kids and dogs both have toys all over the house.  I'm still working on training the dogs to pick up their own toys and put them away. When I do - I'll let you know ;-)

To help keep my home somewhat presentable here are some simple tasks I do routinely every month. If I didn't do these small jobs on a regular basis my home would get really dirty - really fast. Here they are:

Daily
* Sweep the floors and stairs
* Vacuum the floors and sofas
* Take out the garbage
* Wash the dishes
* Make the beds

Weekly
* Change the kitty litter
* Wash the bed linens
* Do laundry

Monthly
* Scrub the bathrooms
* Scrub the floors
* Wipe down commonly handled areas with bleach water - doorknobs, light switches, railings, and dirty spots I've missed throughout the month.

There are probably more, but I don't even notice anymore they are just second-nature. My point is taking the time to do these little chores on a regular basis - I have a nice looking home and it didn't take me long to clean it. :)  Do the same for your home by creating a routine that fits your lifestyle and stick to it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Are You Going to Have More Kids?

How many times have you been asked if you planned on having any more kids?

It seems like as soon as a couple gets married everyone starts asking them when they are going to have children. When you do decide to have children the questions seem to stop, but only while you are pregnant. It seems as soon as the baby arrives people start to question "When are you going to give this beautiful baby a brother or sister?" Sometimes the children themselves start asking if they can have a brother or sister.

Deciding to have a child or children is a highly personal decision that should be made by a husband and wife. Unfortunately, some people feel it is perfectly okay to ask the intimate details of others' personal relationships. They seem perfectly clueless that this issue is really none of their business.

While there is little you can do to completely stop all the very personal questions; you can stop them in their tracks politely from asking further questions.

Here are a couple things you can tell your nosy friends, family and acquaintances.

If you and your partner haven't decided whether to have children in the future you can say:
"Actually we are quite happy the way things are now."
"When and If we decide to have (more) children you will be the one of the first to know." This helps whomever is asking to feel in the loop.

If you feel the person was being overly personal or nosy you can tell them:
"Boy, that's a very personal question." and then change the subject.
Return with a question about them such as "How many kids do you have and why did you stop at that number?" Don't do this unless you really don't want to know the answer or you want to change the center of attention to them and off yourself.

The easiest way to show you are uncomfortable answering is to completely ignore the question. Just end the conversation or change the subject. It really is none of their business whether you and your partner decide to have a child.

Hopefully this will help stop the questions from the people you see most often.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Green Giant Just for One Review

 


I just tried these for the first time this week. I had the broccoli with cheese and I must say I absolutely love, love, love these!  I love broccoli with cheese and these are just the right size for me.  

I know many people aren't fond of the individual serving size and they are a bit pricey compared to making it from scratch. However, when you are cooking for one they are great. The added bonus is they fit right into the Weight Watchers diet plan using only 0 or 1 point per serving. Awesome! :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Great Thrift Store Find

I get all excited when I get to go treasure hunting (shopping at a thrift store), so I had to share my latest finds.  I went to a local thrift store with my kids and we found this completely wonderful horse. See it's a Webkinz in like new condition, and it even has the code. Kids can use the codes included with the Webkinz to go online and play games with the digital version of the toy. Anyways, Webkinz usually go for $12 and up for full sized toys. I got it for $1.91. Awesome!

Plus I love sparkly things and this cute candle holder was only $.99. Though I'm not fond of the brass color I love the sparkly crystal candle holder part.

Please feel free to share your thrift store finds by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday - My Final Weigh in at Work


Well today was my final weigh in - at work at least. My work was holding a Biggest Loser Contest and I participated along with about 20 coworkers. The contest lasted 8 weeks.

I entered this week with a little confidence because I was in first place. Narrowly passing the person in 2nd place by 1/10%. I had managed to lose 3 lb this week by sticking to my Weight Watchers diet for a total of almost 15lb in 8 weeks.

Well I must admit I am totally disappointed because I didn't win. A much slimmer lady in 2nd place managed to lose 5lb this week. So today I sit quite disappointed, but I've decided I'm absolutely going to stick to my diet.

Sorry, about the depressing mood of this post. I just needed to vent. Tomorrow I will be my normal cheerful self again I promise. :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Laundry Never Ends

Laundry is one of those that is never really done.

With a family of 5 to clothe I am always doing laundry. There's always towels, clothes, or linens that need washing. 

Here are a couple of my favorite tips regarding laundry.

1.  Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the washer during the rinse cycle  to remove smells. This works really great to get smoke smell out of your clothes.

2.  Spray stains ASAP with a pre-treater. It doesn't matter what kind you use as long as you spray one on the stain at the earliest convenience. Also, I use a spray bottle filled with hydrogen peroxide to spray on blood stains. I don't know the science as to why it works, but it does work as long as you wash it immediately. Washing without the hydrogen peroxide doesn't always work.

3.  Keep everything within reach. Keep your detergent, fabric softener and your laundry basket or container handy. You won't forget the fabric softener if it's sitting on the dry next to the timer or the on switch.

4.  Once the load is done in the dryer immediately take it out, fold the items up and them put them away. This way you won't have clothes piled up all over the house and clothes and linens don't get wrinkled.

5.  Either designate one day to do all the washing or do one or two loads each day.  Let's face it families with babies or small children will probably need to wash every day or every couple days because of spit ups or accidents. The point is not to get overwhelmed by the task. I usually do laundry on the weekends, but there always seems to be the need for a load done during the week.

These are just a few of the things I do every week to ensure my kids and hubby always have clean clothes and bed linens.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Get Everything You Want In Life

I attended a conference quite a few years ago where one of the speakers told me about a little trick to get everything you've every wanted in life. It's a very simple task. Almost too easy.

The presenter told me to break out a sheet of paper or a small notebook. On that piece of paper write down everything, and I mean everything, you want in life. Another option is to cut out photos of what you want and glue it all to a page. This works great for visual learners like myself.

Here are some things you may want to add to your list. A new mini-van, new floors for the dining room and living room, new windows for the whole house, new clothes, etc. Whatever you personally want.

Somehow I've managed to get almost everything that has ever been on my lists. I don't know how, it just works. It doesn't always happen immediately, but it does work. Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Feel free to share your comments, your lists and more.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Food Lovin Fridays - English Muffin Pizzas


This is a fun recipe I made when I was in junior high and senior high school and still love them to this day. It can be eaten as a snack or a meal.

These are the ingredients I use, but obviously you can choose whatever brand you wish - these are just my faves because they fit into my Weight Watchers Diet quite well.

Ingredients:
Thomas' English muffin - Better Start Light Multi-grain muffins cut open into 2 halves.
Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese 1/4 cup   
Chef Boyardee Pizza Sauce
various meats and veggies for toppings

This is extremely quick and easy to make. Use the english muffins as the pizza crust. Cover with pizza sauce and add the toppings of your choosing.

I prefer to toast the pizzas in a toaster oven so the crust is crunchy. Another option is to heat in the oven or microwave until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Do You Take Care of Your Neighbors

Do you take care of your neighbors? Do you help out whenever they need help? Do you check in on them to make sure they're doing okay?

Well I have to admit. My neighbors are awesome!!!

My neighbors in the photo helped us by snow blowing our driveway. Believe me, I tried to shovel it myself. After 2 hours I only made it half way around the cars. Plus I was completely exhausted. They had the entire driveway, piled with 26.5" of snow, cleared in 30 minutes. Wow! I told you they are awesome.

My point is what are you doing to help your neighbors? We are always watching their pets when our neighbors of out of town and checking in to see if they need anything from the store. Try to think of ways you can help others - it's easier than you may think.

Hope you are enjoying nice weather. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Enjoying Everday Life

I've spent a lot of time thinking lately and have come to the realization that I'm not enjoying my life. Don't get me wrong it's not bad - just not exciting or fun. I found myself constantly thinking of the future. Daydreaming about times in the future when life would be better, more fun, or less stressful. I was always waiting for those better times to come, but they rarely did. I needed a change! I needed to change my perspective - my outlook on life. I needed to focus on today and what I could do today to make my life better.


"Today is a gift that's why it's called the present."


My new motto is to enjoy the little things in life. Slow down. Enjoy everyday life.

Well today I had a lot of chores to do like washing the dishes and clean my house, so I turned on some music and danced and sang while I was cleaning. I had a blast and time flew by plus I even burned a couple calories!

Later on tonight I plan to take my kids to my oldest daughter's violin recital. Yes, I will be bringing the earplugs. Plus I will be bringing something quiet for my other kids to play with such as a doll, small toy, or book because I've learned from experience that kids get bored easily. This way everyone has a better time because the kids are busy and I can watch my daughter perform.

Join me. Slow down and focus on the small stuff today. Remember it won't last long. Kids grow up so fast, people leave, and situations change. Enjoy this moment.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Puppy Cleaned My Screen - Come Look


Help! I've got a little puppy in my computer. 
Take a look.



Special thanks for the link from the wonderful lady at
http://secret-agent-josephine.com/blog/

So Much Coughing

What a way to start off the year. Like many others, I've been a bit under the weather lately. Mostly a cough from post nasal drip. Yuck!  I finally broke down and went to the doctors this morning.

Anyways, my primary doctor told me about a neti pot about a month ago. He suggested I use it on my daughter who was having a really bad cough that just wouldn't go away. Well, we bought one at our local drug store and read all the directions. To sum it up, you fill up the container with distilled water and a special mix and pour it in your nose. (Make sure to follow the directions because otherwise it will burn). Need less to say, we were too afraid to try it.


Well I reached a point with my cough were I couldn't take it anymore. My stomach even hurt from coughing so much, so I got desperate and gave the neti pot a try.

To tell you the truth I was scared. Would it feel like I was drowning??? Actually no. It only felt weird as the water got to the back of my throat. ( I could have been holding my head wrong). That wasn't even back - my natural reflex was to swallow. No big deal. Afterward, my nose felt so clear. It was actually a good experience.

I didn't see anything come out except water (no mucus). I gotta say I would do this again.

You may have different results, based on your symptoms. Check with your doctor or a pharmacist. I'm simply a customer who tried out this product and wrote about my experiences. I hope it relieves some concerns others may have about using this product.

By the way, I was not compensated in any way for this post.