Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - August 31st

My kids have been absolutely driving me crazy lately with their fighting.  I remember fighting with my sister and brothers, so I know that fighting among siblings is normal but I really don't know how much more I can take of this.  The other day they were fighting so much I forbid them to speak to each other, be in the same room, play with each other, or even look at each other.  After about half an hour they were begging to play with each other.  So hopefully we are on the right track to getting them to get along.

 Until then I am going to be remebering the few moments this summer when they weren't fighting

See they really do LOVE each other!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Frugal Recipe: Roast Beef and Gravy

This Roast Beef and Gravy recipe is what I consider to be one of my frugal recipes, and is one that I use often when I can get Roast Beef marked down.

I was able to find these packs of Hillshire Farm Roast Beef lunchmeat marked down to $1.49 each.  I had coupons that made them just $0.49 each when doubled.  so I spent a total of $2.50 on the Roast Beef.  My local grocery store marks these down all of the time.  If you find these on sale and are not going to use them right away they do freeze well.

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Take the Roast Beef out of the package and place in the bottom of a glas pan.

3.  Depending on how much Roast Beef you will be using will depend on how many packages of brown gravy you need.  I used 2 packs of Brown Gravy Mix for 5 packs of Roast Beef.  Our Sam's Club sells 6 packs of these in a box for $3.  Making them just $0.50 each.  I mixed the Brown Gavy mix pack with one cup of water.  I did not prepare it the way the package says on the back.

4.  Pour the gravy mixture over the top of the Roast Beef.

5.  Place in oven for thirty minutes.

This provided enough for the five of us to eat with second servings, and leftovers for the next day.  My total cost for the Roast Beef and Gravy was $3.50.  Paired with a can of corn, and mashed potatoes this meal can easily be put on the table for less than $5. 

I do the same thing with turkey, using turkey lunch meat and turkey gravy. 

I am linking this post up to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Luau Birthday Party

Our Sunshine turns 11 tommorow but we celebrated her birthday this weekend with two different parties, a party for friends on Friday Night and a party for family on Saturday afternoon.  It was a lot of work to host these two parties and we are wore out but it was so worth it in the end.  I incorporated a lot of handmade items into the party so I started working on some of the items a couple of weeks ago.  Also, I did these parties on a budget and managed to do both parties for just $53 out of pocket, inluding food.  I managed to keep it to this price due to the fact that I used a lot of what I had on hand.

Sunshine told us a couple of months ago that she wanted a sunshine cake for her birthday.  So that is what she got.

So from the beginning we knew whatever theme we chose for her party we would need to build it around the sun cake.  I knew I had some leftover decorations from my son's luau party the year before last.  This included a box of leis, a box of parasoils, two table cloths, some palm tree centerpieces, a couple of packs of napkins, and a couple of packs of plates.  Enough to cover another party for sure, and the best part is that I wouldn't have to spend any money out of pocket for these items (which by the way were on clearance when I bought them).  The Luau theme would work great with the Sunshine cake so there we had it - a Luau party! 

In addition to the cake I knew I wanted to have cupcakes for the birthday party for her friends, just because they are easier to manage with kids than a cake.  I googled "luau cupcakes" and browsed through the image results.  I found several variations of a sandy beach cupcake that I liked and decided to make.

I had no idea how to display all of the cupcakes I would need and had been looking at cupcake stands in the stores.  I find it ridiculous to pay $8 for a cardboard, character themed cupcake stand you will throw away and refuse to pay $40 for a nicer stand that only holds about a dozen or so cupcakes.  So my hubby helped me to make this cupcake stand.

It was made for under $20.  I will be posting a tutorial this week of how it was made.

 Another decoration that I made myself were these tissue paper pom-poms.  Some turned out better than others but they were incredibly easy to make.  I spent $4 on tissue paper and was able to make 15 of these with that tissue paper.  I used this tutorial from Martha Stewart to make these.

After the party we hung a few of these in the girls room since the colors matched.  The others I folded up and put in a box to try to use again later.

I had some red and green chocolate melts leftover from Christmas that I used to make these flower suckers for the goody bags.  This was one of those items that didn't cost anything since I used items that I already had at home.

The table is set ready to party!  See the yellow flowers in the middle of the leis?  Those are the hair barettes that I made for the girls to wear during the party and they were able to take them home as party favors.  I spent $2 on flowers from the Dollar Tree, and $1 on hair barrettes.  I was able to make twelve with these supplies so they averaged out to a cost of $0.25 each.

We played several games, and music for the games was provided by a Kid's Luau CD that I found at Party City for $2.50. 

Obviously we played limbo (what luau would be complete without a game of limbo?), as well as Musical Beach Towels, Pass the Beach Ball, and Luau Bingo.  I wasn't sure how well the games would go over because I wasn't sure if the girls would think they were "too big" for them or not.  They actually all had a blast playing them, and all commented on how much fun they were. 

Musical Beach Towels is the same thing as Musical Chairs only we used beach towels instead of chairs. 

Pass The Beach Ball is just basically the same thing as Hot Potato.  The girls passed the beach ball around the circle, and whoever was the last one to touch the ball when the music stopped was out.  The game continued until only one person remained.

I printed out these Luau Bingo Cards from Fantasy Jr.  Since there are four free spaces we required the girls to have two full lines before yelling Bingo.  I cut up pieces of scrapbook paper to use as markers for the cards. 

For prizes for the game winners I bought card games from the Dollar Tree.  The card games came in packs of 3, so I bought 3 packs for a total of 9 prizes for $3.  The card games included Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Go Fish, Rummy, and Hearts.

For drinks I made a pitcher of Pink Lemonade and a pitcher of Strawberry Lemonade flavored Kool-Aid.  I had the Kool-Aid on hand so no cost for the drinks. 

For cups I found plastic water bottles (which were BPA free) on clearance for $0.30 each.  I had planned to paint each girls names on the water bottles but decided against it.  I bought all of the girls pink water bottles, so to tell them apart I cut out 4" flower cutouts using my Cricut.  I had the girls write their name on the flowers using a sharpie marker, and then attached them to the cups using packaging tape.  They took their water bottles home as another party favor as well.

I used my Cricut and some scrapbook paper I had on hand to make a Luau sign for the cupcake stand, and a Happy Birthday banner. I used materials I already had on hand to make these so they were another no cost decoration. 

If you look real close at the above picture you can see the goody boxes we made the girls on the bottom shelf of the cupcake stand behind the Luau sign.  The goody boxes were bought on clearance at Wal-Mart.  They were in a pack of 8 for $1.  The goody boxes were filled with Luau themed silly bands found on clearance for $0.39 (which I bought 3 packs of and split between the boxes), 2 necklaces each which were bought in two packs of 10 for $0.49 each, the chocolate suckers, and candy that was bought at the Dollar Tree costing $3. 

Menu Plan Monday August 29th to September 4th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

It is soo hard to believe that it's already the last week of August.  Menu planning has been especially hard for me because of all of the after school activities we have going on.  I am going to be using my crockpot a lot over the next few weeks.  It also means that I am going to have to be creative in looking for meals that are quick and easy while not eating the same thing every week. 

Another thing that is going to put my menu planning juices to the test this coming month is the fact that last month we had to dip into our savings.  With the holidays coming up I really want to replace that money.  So, we are going to be using some money from our fun budget, as well as shave a little money off of our food budget ($25 to $40 each week) to accomplish this.  I will still have some money for grocery shopping this month, just not as much.  This is one of the reasons that I stockpile.  This month we can easily scale back our grocery shopping and still not have any problems putting dinner on the table.

So here is what I have planned for this week:
links to recipes are in red

Monday - Leftover Redo - BBQ chicken made from leftover chicken breasts from Sunshine's birthday party, Scalloped Potatoes, Baked Beans

Tuesday - Pork Piperade served over white rice

Wednesday (our only weeknight where we all are at home) - Turkey Potpie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Thursday -  White Bean  and Ham Soup (this has been on the menu the last two weeks and skipped both times)

Friday - Pizza Braid (Can you believe this hasn't been on my menu since November 2009?)

Saturday - Eating Out Before Church

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 22nd to 28th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

It's going to be a busy week here at our house, we have soccer starting this week that takes up three nights this week, my husband has physical therapy three days this week with a doctors appointment on another, Bubbles has marching band practice this week along with performing in her first high school football game on the same night as Sunshine's birthday party for her friends, and then on Saturday we are having Sunshine's family birthday party.  On top of all of that I still have a ton of writing to do, decorations to make for the party, cupcakes to make, and a gazillion other things to get done.  Whoa!  I am tired just typing it all out!  So needless to say this week is going to be full of some EASY suppers. 

Here's what I have planned for this week:
links to recipes are in red

Monday - Cheeseburger Pasta (at the request of my son)

Tuesday - Papa John's fundraiser so we will be eating pizza

Wednesday - Shake and Bake Pork Chops (at the request of my husband), scalloped potatoes, My Grandmother's Green Beans, Crescent Rolls

Thursday - White Bean and Ham Soup (left over from last week)

Friday - Sunshine's Friend Birthday Party - cooking hot dogs on the grill for the girls

Saturday - Sunshine's Family Birthday Party - Dry Rub Chicken With Honey Barbecue Sauce, Seasoned Potatoes, Baked Beans, Mexican Corn, Pasta Vegetable Salad (recipe to come next week), Yummy Dinner Rolls

Sunday - Eating Out After Church

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August Friday Night Sew-In Results

I have been battling a huge headache this week, and have not been able to get done a lot of what I needed to get done.  So last night when it came time for the Friday Night Sew In I wasn't sure if I should take some time to sew or if I should try to catch up on some work.  I decided that crocheting sounded so much better than working!

I feel  like I got a lot done even with my headache.

I managed to crochet two baby hats for my new neice, an iPod holder for my daughter, and a dish cloth for me!  Yay!

links to patterns are in red

I am in desperate need of new dish cloths.  All of the ones that I crocheted a year or so ago are starting to show their wear and I figure that if I sew a couple of new ones each week I can replace them easily.   

I used this Nubbie Scrubbies pattern from Simple Sweet Yarns.  It was the first time I had used this pattern, and it was also the first time I had made a dish cloth with the "nubs" on it for scrubbing.  I usually just make basic square dish cloths.  So I will see how well I like it before making too many more.

I made this cute little flapper girl hat using this pattern from Anna Virginia Fashion.  It was incredibly easy to make, but I do still have to add the ribbon around the bottom.  My sister is not a girly-girl and absolutely despises pink so I am trying to stay away from the pinks for my niece.  I thought this cute lime green color would look girly but not be too over the top girly for my sister. 

And although my sister says "no pink" you just can't sew for a little girl and not make something pink so I did make this cute little beanie for my niece using pink.  I couldn't help myself.  I love how it turned out, it is soo much cuter in person.  I used this Shell Stitch Beanie pattern from The Dainty Daisy.

I made this iPod cozy up for my daughter without a pattern and I am not 100% happy with it.  I think I am going to give it another try.  Although I don't think it turned out completely horrible considering it is the first one I have ever made, and I did it without a pattern.  I was going to make her a purple one but loved the look of the pink and green together when I was crocheting the hats. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Get $25 Worth of Jewelry From Inspired Silver for only $2!!!

Today's Daily Deal at Save More is $25 worth of jewelry from Inspired Silver for $12.  If you are new to Save More you will receive a $10 credit which you can use towards this deal making it only $2!  Click here to get today's deal.

Bubbles will be turning 14 in October and it looks like she will be getting some cute jewelry for her birthday!

Wordless Wednesday

I have been mourning the end of our summer fun around here ever since the kids headed back to school.  So I thought it would be fun to share just a few pictures of our summer fun this year for Wordless Wednesday.

What an awesome summer!

Friday Night Sew-In

Handmade by Heidi
It's that time of the month again!  Time for the Friday Night Sew-In from Handmade by Heidi and I am going to be participating this month.  The Friday Night Sew-In will be this Friday the 19th.  I have a ton of projects that I need to work on so I am not quite sure what I will be doing.  
I am planning to maybe start selling some handmade items at craft shows this winter so I am working on some projects for that.  My daughter's birthday party is next Friday and I need to work on some decorations for that.  She is also getting an I-Pod for her birthday and I want to make her a pouch for it.  On top of that I am already looking ahead to Christmas and have a ton of projects that I want to make for Christmas.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday, August 15th to 21st

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

This week has been a little challenging for me when it comes to menu planning.  It seems the meat sales have been few and far between lately, which means the meat supply in my freezer is getting low.  It's not that I don't have the money to buy more meat, it's just that I can't bring myself to pay what the meat prices are right now.  Although I must admit that my resolve is getting worn down, and I think I am going to end up having to give in but for right now I will stick to making due with what I have on hand.

Right now I have two very large Tom turkeys in my freezer.  I am planning on cooking one of them for dinner this week, and hope to save the leftovers for use later. 

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Links to recipes are in red.

Monday - Roast Beef and Gravy, Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

Wednesday - Turkey, Stuffing, My Grandmother's Green Beans

Thursday - Potato Soup,  Rosemary Breadstick Twist (didn't get to try these last week)

Friday - BBQ Pork Chops, Scalloped Potatoes, Corn

Saturday - Turkey Pot Pie Using this recipe and substituting turkey for chicken

Sunday - Eating Out After Church

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mystery Plant

We moved in January, and this is our first summer in this house. 

This past week we noticed this interesting little vine growing next to the front porch in the flower bed and decided to let it grow.

I am almost 100% sure it is a pumpkin plant.  It has blooms on it so I guess we will just have to wait and see!  It does seem so strange that it waited until the beginning of August to start growing though!

Vegetable Beef Soup

I am linking this post up to the following blogs:

It has been a while since I have made a Cooking Thursday post, let's be honest I haven't been writing many posts at all lately but I promise you that is going to change now that school is back in session.  I am also joining up with Keli at Feeding Four for the first time for her What's Cooking Thursday?  

My birthday was a couple of weekends ago, and instead of going out to eat we decided to cook some steaks on the grill.  We bought sirloins, and as I figured we had too many.  My husband cooked large steaks for my little ones who ususally only eat half of one, and we ended up somehow with an extra one on top of that.  So I decided to put the leftover steaks in a pot of vegetable soup and it turned out yummy.  I made it in the crockpot which made it very easy!

My steaks were cooked medium-rare when I put them in the soup, but you can use uncooked steaks as they will cook as the soup cooks. 

  • About 1 pound of Sirloin Steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 cans of mixed vegetables
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, basil, and oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups water
Add all ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 8th to 14th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

It's that time of week again!  I can't believe how fast this week has flown by.  My husband's surgery went well but he still needs a lot of help to get around.   Plus the kids start school tommorow!  I can't believe it!  We had a great summer but we still didn't get to do everything that we wanted to.  Oh well.  I am however looking forward to school starting and getting into our normal routine.  Summer has no routine around here, we end up running a lot, eating out way too much, and when we do eat at home we eat all of the wrong things.  Plus school starting means Fall is on it's way and I absolutely love Fall.

Here's what I have planned for us to eat this week:
links to recipes are in red

Monday - Eating Out (Parent Night at School)

Tuesday - Slow Cooked Chili (first day of school and husband has post-op doctor's appt)

Thursday - Potato Soup, Rosemary Breadstick Twists (new recipe - going to try to make in bread machine)

Friday - Leftover Night (Parent Night at School for older kid)

Saturday - Eating Out Before Church

Sunday - Chicken Pot Pie With Biscuit Topping (New and GF Recipe)