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Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Halloween/Reformation Day!

Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches x3
  • PB&J x3
  • Egg Salad
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Beans, Cheese, Tortillas
  • Corn Dog Muffins
  • Leftovers x2
  • Muffin Tin Lunch
  • Asian Chicken Salad (we got a small head of cabbage at the Farmer's Market, so we'll have some shredded chicken and carrots and soy sauce with that)
Dinners:
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday/Wednesday: Slow Cooker White Bean & Sausage Stew (this has become one of our favorites)
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Eggs, Bacon, & Hashbrowns (I had a coupon for free hashbrowns)
Saturday: Stewed White Beans with Spinach and Bacon
Sunday: Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
Monday/Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo Lasagna (since Jonah can't have tomatoes, I'm going to try to make up a white sauce version of lasagna)
Wednesday: Curried Lentil & Chickpea Stew
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon - we're cooking!
Friday: Chicken Quesadillas
Saturday: Chicken Stir Fry
Sunday: Pizza - Canadian bacon, sausage, and mushroom

I'm linking this post up to I'm An Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday, where there are a ton of menu ideas!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What I'm Reading...

High Tech Progress vs. Vintage Values: Do We Have to Choose? I like baking things from scratch, but if I had to sew clothes for my family we'd all be wearing crooked sacks. (The Happiest Mom)

Taking Control of Your Holiday Decorations. I like the idea of limiting holiday decorations, but I also like the idea of having a nativity collection like my mom's, and I anticipate that that will be an ever-growing thing. (I'm an Organizing Junkie)

Hate Junk Mail? Make Mail Art!
These are pretty nifty. (Dollar Store Crafts)

8 Ways to Use Cardboard Scrap at Home
. (Offbeat Home)

10 Things I Learned from My First Attempt at Freezer Cooking. I do freezer prep - chop and freeze veggies, cook and freeze chicken, etc. That way making dinner is a matter of dumping, seasoning, and cooking/warming up. And that's it. (Money Saving Mom)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Ghosts

Ghosts are one of the easiest Halloween creatures. All of these seem like really simple, but fun ideas.

First, ghost strawberries. I love white chocolate!

If that's not your flavor, how about these ghost milkshakes?


My fridge is too full of magnets and pictures for this decorating idea, but it's simple with a big impact.

And finally, these spooky glowing ghosts (or maybe they're aliens?) look much more complicated than they are. I'll give you a hint: glowsticks...


For more creepy, and not-so-creepy, check out my Halloween board!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Saving Money on Greeting Cards. I like to get the 99 cent cards, or make my own, or take advantage of free online deals. (Northern Cheapskate)

The Upstairs Neighbors Walk so Loudly I Suspect They May Wear Concrete Shoes
. I feel like this some days. (Offbeat Home)

Getting an Additional Job to Pay Off Debt Is Actually Worth More Than the Salary. This is why I'm considering working a shift or two a week and putting the money toward our student loans. (Nicole and Maggie)

Opening Our Homes Means Risk. I feel like this, not only about having people over, but also about going out and getting together with people, but I always enjoy myself when I do it. (Simple Mom)

10 Reasons You'll Actually Be Happier in a Smaller Home. (Life Your Way)

Sickness Related Syndromes. This post literally made me laugh out loud. (Jason Good)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Pumpkins

One of the fall staples that I like best is the pumpkin. Here are some pumpkin inspired crafts:

These pumpkin favors would be simple to make, and lots of fun to break into!

Here's a use for a roll of toilet paper I bet you never thought of: a pumpkin decoration!

If you like funny pumpkins, you'll love these fanged vampire pumpkins.


Or, if pretty is more your style, these scrapbook paper pumpkins are lovely.

Last, but not least, this pumpkin caterpillar is sure to please the kiddos.


For more pumpkins, and more fall fun, check out my board!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I can't decide if shopping only every other week is a money saver or not. I'm not the biggest fan of planning that many meals at once, because things change, and I end up doing more produce to freeze and pull out later than to use fresh. Which I guess is okay. It just means no salads for lunch during the second week. Things like that...

Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches x3
  • PB & J x3
  • Macaroni and Cheese x2
  • Leftovers x2 (at least)
  • Beans, Cheese, Tortillas
  • Egg Salad
  • 2 TBD, which will probably end up being sandwiches at home (or maybe once from Subway)
Dinners:

Monday: Slow Cooker Jamaican Red Bean Stew. (We were going to have this last night, but I realized I had never bought the coconut milk and I had used the tomatoes, so it had to wait)
Tuesday/Wednesday: Chicken Commercials (I have potatoes to use up)
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Breakfast Burritos (from last week - we ended up going out to eat instead)
Saturday: Chicken Quesadillas
Sunday: Broccoli Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo (cheating and using store bought sauce)

Monday: Minestrone Soup
Tuesday: Chicken Noodle Casserole
Wednesday: Tacos
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Chicken Mushroom Pizza
Saturday: Waffles
Sunday: Stir Fry

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What I'm Reading...

How to Peel and Dice a Butternut Squash. I'm posting this because while I now know how to do it with no problem, I used to be completely confused as to how this worked, and this post explains it really well with lots of pictures. Don't fear the squash! They're really yummy! (Home Ec 101)

14 Things I Never Thought I Would Say. I've really been meaning to start a list of these somewhere. I've posted a few on Facebook, but there are just so many good things that come out of a parent's mouth when trying to deal with young children. (Jason Good)

Auto Pilot. I recently found this blog, and I have dreams/lofty goals of sometime in the future getting us to a far-less-waste home (because I don't realistically think we'll ever be zero-waste). Here she describes her grocery/errands trip. I think it's pretty neat to hear how she fills jars with bulk goods and takes home her freshly made baguettes in a pillowcase. (The Zero Waste Home)

How to Use Repetition as a Fun and Effective Tool to Teach Our Children
. (Life Your Way)

A Dose of Financial Reality
. I always find these comparisons interesting. (The Simple Dollar)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

T-Shirt Headband and Bracelet

My niece's birthday is on Saturday. She will be turning 5. I don't know about you, but when I was five, I loved pink and anything girly. So I decided to make a t-shirt headband and bracelet with flowers out of an old shirt that I hadn't worn in ages.

You can find the tutorial for the headband here. It's a little tricky to figure out the 5-strand braid at first, but once you get that, it's easy. You can find the tutorial for the flowers here. These flowers were super easy and took less than 5 minutes to make.

I think they turned out great! I know she'll love them, and they cost nothing to make!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Candy Corn

Candy corn is one of those things you either love or you hate. I love it, at least until I'm about halfway through a bag of it each fall. Here are some fun candy corn ideas (mostly desserts, because yum! they look tasty).

I have no idea what purpose this would serve beyond a normal orange cone, but you can make candy corn cones by dipping both ends of an orange cone in paint.

You can make candy corn cookies by dipping the ends in frosting...

...or by actually coloring the dough to resemble a piece of candy corn.

I would personally make these candy corn puddings with pumpkin pudding as the orange layer, and vanilla for the other two, but that's just me.

Candy corn krispie treats! Easy enough.

This candy corn cheesecake makes me happy, because it uses the same Wilton checkerboard pan that I use to make a lot of my cakes. Nifty!

So, even if you hate how candy corn tastes, you can still make a bunch of yummy things (or some random cones) that look like candy corn. For more Halloween-y treats, check out my Halloween/Thanksgiving board!

I fell a bit behind over the past two weeks, but I finally have the Crafty Link-Ups posted. I backdated them so they're where they're supposed to be, but click if you want to see Crafty Link-Up: Toilet Paper Rolls or Crafty Link-Up: Homemade Costumes. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Harvest How-To: How to Bake a Pumpkin (Northern Cheapskate) and My Crock-pot and Oven Pumpkin Cooking Experiment (Money Saving Mom). Making my own pumpkin puree is something I've wanted to try, but haven't gotten to it yet. Maybe if I find some reasonably priced baking pumpkins in the next few weeks...

Day 269: Alone Time. This is how I feel after even a little bit away from the kiddos. Sometimes they annoy me, but I love them. (Jason Good)

Improving Your Score. About more than just credit. (The Simple Dollar)

8 Ways to Be a Better Mom to Young Children
. (Money Saving Mom)

Sometimes Staying at Home Is Good Enough. (The Happiest Mom)

Saving Pennies or Dollars? Vinegar
. I'm constantly amazed at all the uses for this and baking soda. (The Simple Dollar)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall Wreath: A Naptime Project

Naptime projects are quick, easy projects that can be done in less than an hour while the little one(s) are asleep.

Since summer is about over here in our neck of the woods, I figured it might be time to take down the mini umbrella wreath and put up something for fall. I have been seeing a lot of these yarn wrapped wreaths on Pinterest lately, and I wanted to try one. It didn't hurt that I had a wreath form and a ton of yarn on hand. A wreath form that was covered with diapers and given to me at my baby shower TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO and has been sitting in my craft pile ever since. Pretty sure it was more than time to use it.

Wrapping the wreath form took me about 40 minutes. I did it while catching up on an episode of CSI. Adding the red and yellow accent colors took less than 10 minutes (and that long only because I was using up some scrap pieces, so I had to keep tying them on in the back). I added some pretty ribbon and voila! Fall wreath.


It's simple, but pretty. I like it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Homemade Costumes

Halloween is coming! I still haven't figured out what we're doing for costumes for the boys yet.

Like the toilet paper roll crafts I posted last week, this Easy Mac costume uses toilet paper rolls for the noodles.


This homeless toddler is too cute!


These crayola crayons are cute. All you need is a box or posterboard and some time for coloring.

This Price Is Right costume made me laugh.

And finally, one of the cutest kids' costume ideas I've seen this year, an animal attack costume.

I'll be posting from my Halloween/Thanksgiving board throughout the month of October, but if you just can't wait, go see it now!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

We have decided to revert back to grocery shopping every other week to see if that saves us any money in the grocery department. For our family of four, we have a budget of $200/month for food, toiletries, and diapers. I haven't bought any toiletries (except toilet paper) for probably almost 2 months because we have enough of a stockpile of those. I do feel like I've bought a lot of diapers lately though. So, for each 2 week meal plan, that gives me $100, taking into account that I will need to buy diapers too.

Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches x3
  • PB&J x3
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • Macaroni and Cheese x2
  • Corn Dog Muffins
  • Beans, Cheese, Tortillas
  • Leftovers x2
  • Extra Squash and Other Random Bits for Muffin Tin Lunch
Dinners:

Monday: Chicken Spinach Mushroom Pizza
Tuesday/Wednesday: Chicken and Bean Enchiladas
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Sausage Mushroom Quiche
Saturday: Hot Dogs and Baked Beans
Sunday: Grilled Cheese and Homemade Tomato Soup

Monday: Black Bean Burgers and Squash Fries
Tuesday: Ham and Split Pea Soup
Wednesday: Veggie Pot Pie
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Breakfast Burritos
Saturday: Orange Chicken
Sunday: Slow Cooker Jamaican Red Bean Stew

Altogether, I spent around $60 on groceries, leaving me some wiggle room to buy diapers, as well as take advantage of a deal on oatmeal canisters (for $1 each!) and some other baking goods, and corn for $0.39/can. It's these little things that make me happy. Were also trying to save on gas money by taking less trips into town, so hopefully this will help.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Make an End Table Out of Cardboard - ENTIRELY Out of Cardboard! Cool. (Offbeat Home)

What Do You Really Need?
If I'm being honest, there are things in my life that are not needs. But they make ignoring some of the other wants easier. (Northern Cheapskate)

Why Rushing Doesn't "Save" Time - And How to Slow Down
. I've read that multi-tasking actually makes things take longer with less quality results. I still do it, though. (The Happiest Mom)

Are We Protecting Our Kids from the Right Things?
I'm trying really hard not to be overprotective. But it's hard. (Offbeat Mama)

A Budget Is Only What You Make of It
. Our budget is forever a work in progress, but it's getting closer to working for us. (The Simple Dollar)
Some Thoughts on Bank of America's Debit Card Fee Plan. If our bank decides to go the fee route, we've already decided we'll fully switch to credit card and cash only. We do the majority of our purchases that way anyways. (The Simple Dollar)