Friday, August 31, 2012

Freezer Stretch - Day 2

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We made it through day 1 and I know we will do well for the next few days but I worry about the weekend when I admit I hate to cook and I enjoy going out but we are going to did it especially since we are not going to be around much the following weekend so no cooking will be happening.

Day 2 led me to think what we have in there. I thought about making some panini's and tomato soup though I can't seem to remember where I stuck my panini maker in the house. I think it is in the one cabinet but I have been to lazy to actually look.

As I started working on the tomato soup, I thought I really don't feel like this and those panini's would make a nice lunch on Saturday for us, so I than decided on some homemade spaghetti sauce. I am so the person to just buy a jar and maybe add somethings to wow it up but today, I had everything.

I took one large of pureed tomatoes, one small can of tomato paste left over from my hubby who likes it with his mac and cheese (yeah I know how it sounds). I also diced some onions, tomatoes, zucchini and green peppers up as well. I had diced carrots as well and minced garlic.

I took some olive oil and sautéed the onions and than added in the peppers. As that was cooking, I realized I had thawed out a pound of ground beef, so I added that in and browned the meat. After the meat was browned I added in everything else as well as about 1 cup of vegetable stock and a can of mushrooms. I let this simmer on low for about two hours. I did add also some italian seasoning and garlic salt. I added a lot of garlic because I liked it. I also added some pepper as well but that is up to you. I served it over some thin spaghetti because that was what i had on hand but i thought that those big noodles would be good with it because this was more of a Bolognese sauce. If my cream wasn't bad, I would have added that in to to add some richness to the sauce.

It was really good. My daughter had to servings of it. Now I will need to come pack to this post in the future to remember what I did. The other good thing was that it was cheap. I used all store brands in making it which I find as good as the name brands but way cheaper.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Freezer Stretch Challenge- Day 1

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My freezer and pantry are so full right now and I need to downsize so much. I have been finding it hard to put new stuff in or even find stuff in there to make. I do have my freezer list on the outside telling me but I admit I haven't been that good in updating it as needed.

So i was reading a story the other day about a woman who hasn't bought anything new in five years. I was impressed by how she worked the thrift stores, barters, and finds things. I honestly can't do that myself but I do want to use less, waste less, and stretch things more. So I am setting  a challenge for the next few weeks to empty to the freezer and use the food we have. I am only going to buy staples like milk, and butter as needed. I will still be getting fresh veggies from my co-op every other week which will help with that as well.

So here I am starting out on Day 1 making a pork tenderloin, crockpot cheesy potatoes and some carrots. I like to have the basics with dinner a meat, starch and veggie so this meal had it all. I had  basic pork tenderloin that I seasoned with garlic salt and italian seasoning. These are a stable I use all the time and I buy in the larger containers.

The cheesy potatoes were another super easy thing to make with minimal effort and they turned out great. I used one bag of frozen souther style potatoes which I let thaw for about an hour. I than took one can of cheese soup, mushroom soup, half a can of milk, and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I mixed it all together in the crock pot and topped it off with another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I set it on low for about six hours. They were awesome and actually better than if I had stuck them in the oven.

I also had a can of carrots in the pantry which my daughter hated. She told me they tasted like olives and that wasn't a taste she wanted with her carrots. I thought they tasted fine and were a name brand but to each their own with preferred tastes.

So let's see how this go and se how long we last on it. I was also hoping to maybe go a month without buying craft items and use what I have on hand. I have lots of projects so I might fidge a little and buy a few things so I can finish some of them but than no buying. We will see how that goes as well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sneak Peek-Halloween Quilt

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So this is a sneak peek at the Halloween tabletop quilt I am working on. Once I have it done and the in place I will be taking lots of pictures. I plan on it being a big part of my Halloween decorations. Have I said how much  I love Halloween and have been getting ready for weeks with all of my fun projects I am making. I am so ghoulishly giddy with all the fun things I am planning. Stay tuned but for now a peek!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sharpie Mug- My take

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On Pinterest I keep seeing the Sharpie Mug- here is a version. I thought what a cute and SIMPLE idea. I love simple ideas by the way. So I bought a $1 mug from the Dollar store and went to town decorating it. I tried many designs and they easily wiped off and I restarted it. I wrote on them with just words and drew a flower as well but nothing looked right until I did a bee which I did twice on it. I finally settled on this design with the cute Bee and wrote Bee Happy! on it. I think it turned out really cute and I think my Girl Scouts could easily do this and this would be a cute Xmas present with some tea or coffee stuck in it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homemade Carnita Burrito Bowls

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Taco Bell and I have become friends the last few weeks with their new Cantina Bowls. I have had my fair share of them more due to the fact Taco Bell is like two minutes of the road but I know they can't be good for you. So I got a recipe off Relish Relish for Shredded Beef Tacos. I started out with that intent to make that but well one thing after another and well I didn't even come close to that but instead took a pork roast and made some of the best shredded pork. The key here is slow cooking (got to love the crock pot).

I took one 3lb pork roast and threw that along with 2 cups of water and a quarter cup of taco seasoning (one packet would work to) into the crock pot with it set to low for 8 hours.

At about 5 hours of cooking I did cut it up and start shredding but that could wait till the end as well.

So that is all you need to do with the meat- isn't that easy. You could use the same idea and make shredded BBQ Pork (take out the taco seasoning and add BBQ sauce the last three hours). I made that as well and just as good.

So the meat is so simple and well most of everything else is as well.

I took some brown rice (boil in the bag kind) and made per the directions. I did add about two teaspoons of dry chicken stock into the water. I than chopped up cilantro and one the rice was done added that in as well as some garlic salt and lime juice (about a teaspoon of each).

Homemade Guacamole- two medium avocados that are very ripe peeled, cored and diced up. One small Roma tomato diced up, cilantro, garlic salt, and some regular salt. I mashed that all together and let it macerate for a few minutes.

I than moved on some Homemade Pico De Gall which was two diced tomatoes, one quarter diced onion, one half of jalapeño (deseeded and diced), garlic salt and regular salt. I let that macerate as well.

Finally I took one can of black beans and added 1/4 cup of chunky salsa. I microwaved for three minutes or until it is hot.

Now I know that sounds like a lot of work but it was all really quick. You just need to chop and divide the items as you go.

I than took the rice layered with the beans, carnitas, cheese, guacamole, pico, and sour cream. Oh my was it good. I wish I would have taken a picture but honestly it would have looked like a clump of stuff on a plate. I guess if I ever write a cook book that I can have my food "designed".

Well home you enjoy and by the way it wasn't spicy at all (when I seeded the peppers, that took a bunch of the heat away from it).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Supergirl to the Rescue

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Miss O had a birthday party to attend a few weeks ago and it was a Superhero party. The only superhero shirt she has is a Spiderman one that is way to small and has already found its way into little bro's closet. So I told her she could go pick out a shirt at the store to wear, The problem was their were no girly super hero shirts. We went lots of places to look for it.

So she found this red superman shirt and that was what she wanted.

I said okay and than she asked knowing full wellI would do it to girl it up for her. So we went to the fabric store and picked out some fabric that coordinated with the shirt. I than went to work trimming the bottom and adding on a two tiered hello and black skirt to it.

She was over the moon when it was done and loved it so much. She told me it was so cool (lucky she is 6 and I am still cool). The morning of the party, she came running into our room and asked if she could get dressed right away so of course we did.

The outfit was a hit at the party for her special friend who is super sweet (he wore a tie to her party because he wanted to look nice for her)!

So here she is in her Supergirl Dress!

Isn't she sassy looking!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Repurposed Desk

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Miss O has been asking for a desk for awhile now. She wants a quiet place to do her school work, color, and create her masterpieces. I have been pushing it off because I thought where the heck would I stick a desk in her room which is already packed with so much. But than driving past a garage sale Saturday morning a red desk spoke to to me. I got out with a friend and took a look. For ten bucks I snapped it up right away.

When I got it home, I noticed it was from World Market so it wasn't cheap when it was first purchased and I suspect that it had been painted that red color from a white at some point. I got some neat pink paint that I knew she was going to love and started to work on it when I realized that I never took a before picture of it. So believe me it was red and scuffed up a great deal.

So with about 4 coast of pink paint (I used the stuff with primer in it) and sore arms, it was transformed to this pink color. She loves it and couldn't wait to find a place for it in her room. I rearranged a bunch of stuff (finding a new location for the Dream House) and set it up for her. She has one of the extra kitchen table chairs right now to use until I find her a different chair. She used it with in ten minutes of me putting it in there and was so happy. Now she is wondering when her computer is going to arrive to put on it (that isn't happening anytime soon though).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Special- Simple Life Tips

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I try and lead a simple life but I also admit I use lots of things to help make my life simple and well I am hoping easy (though that is never the case). I have been seeing lots of great ideas out there on other blogs as well as Pinterest in creating ways to make ones life easier and more simple, so it got me to thinking about what I do in my life in order to make my household run smoothly.

I live in a clean house, laundry is mostly done every day, meals are made (mostly three per day), and I usually have time to craft. I have been asked many times how I do it all. Some of it is just my personality and some of it is that I am one of those highly organized and efficient people. My Mom always says I do things so fast but I do get the job done when I am doing it. Granted I might miss something along the way but honestly that doesn't happen that often.

These tips today are ones I have found make it easier to get the house in order and let us do the things we enjoy doing. This works well for us but i know that it won't work for everyone like it is does for us. It also was something that has evolved over time and isn't something I would tell people to instantly start all of it but do suggest trying them and seeing how they work for us.

Being home all day I was worried at first I would get bored but that is far from the truth. I also worried that I would watch lots of television which is not something I do at all (just look at our DVR which is full of all the things I haven't watched). I did decide in the beginning to have some sort of plan for my day and I have gone as far of actually charting it out. For me it works for while but I have my schedule down so much at this point, it isn't something I use every day.

I also try and keep a clean house and I find when the house is in order, we all seem to feel in order.

Every single day (there are occasionally days this doesn't happen):

-Everyone's bed is made daily. I don't have a set time but I like to usually have them all done by 10 am. I do make the six year old make her bed every day and I work with the two year old as well in making the bed. I also make sure they pick up their rooms every day. I feel that it should be the kids job to help around the house. They tend to feel better pride int themselves when they know they did it plus they also work at not making such huge messes in the first place when they know they have to clean it up.

- I do daily loads of laundry (I even did this when I worked full time). I usually put a load in the morning, switch out around lunch, and than again late afternoon. I have found this really helps to keep the laundry in check. I hate laundry but folding one basket  every day instead of having a mammoth folding session one day a week is so much easier.

- We start the day early meaning we are all usually up (even in the summer) by 7:30 am and are done with breakfast by 8 ish. We also try and shower by 9 am as well so if we need to go out for the day we are ready. I find this to be the best time to get things done. I know it isn't for everyone but studies have shown early risers are more productive.  This is an earlier schedule once school is in session.

-  I clean a little bit every day. I usually sweep and vacuum the house every day. I also do the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. I find this makes my life easier when I do the big cleaning days once a week. This goes along with making the beds and laundry. I spend about 15-30 minutes a day doing all of these things which in the end cuts down the overall big cleaning time (I usually get the house cleaned top to bottom in about 2 hours each week). I also wipe down the bathroom shower and the sinks.


- I do big cleaning where I wipe up the floors, wipe down sinks, toilets and whatever else needs to get down. I also might do a simple wipe down mid week as well. I like the house to smell clean and I hate to smell the pets which I work hard at keeping on top of that Two dogs and one cat plus my thick head of hair leaves lots of hair around the house. I actually have a checklist I created for this (we will talk later about that).

- I plan my meals so than I can plan my groceries. I have found when I plan, I spend less and get the right things. I also created a menu board where I right down the meals so when it comes to dinner time, I don't worry about it. It also helps to pull things out of the freezer to thaw out (I have been guilty of forgetting and than frantically defrosting or changing meal plans). I also love the site Relish Relish for meal planning

- I plan my week out so I know what are down days (ones where we are home) and days where we have things on our schedule. I don't over schedule us at all. I feel that if we were all running around all the time, we would be way less productive. I know those days I run from the moment I am up to the moment I drop are not my best days. I admit I plan for those days in advance. Just the other day we did all of our shopping, errands and such. We all crashed early that night because it took a toll on us. This also includes my blogging as well. I have certain days where I do certain things for the blog. I work really hard at not cramming it all in at one time though I have been guilty of it.


- Have a Family center in the house- that place where bills go, information, and anything else that might affect the family. I created a Family Management Binder. I keep all of our bills, calendars, grocery lists, and act in there. It is all in one access for us.  I have found this to be a wonderful thing to have. Everyone knows to go there if they have a question on schedules or if we need something from the grocery store.

-I also once a month pick an area to tackle like a closet that is upside down (usually the kids) or cabinets. I admit I need to be better in downsizing stuff. I go in spurts and will do it and than I avoid it.

Overall I try hard to not complicate our lives. I limit how much we are scheduled, I work at keeping a steady schedule in the household but also one where the kids can enjoy themselves. We work at keeping our television watching lower but that doesn't always happen.

I hope that this gives you some insight into me as well as why my house runs the way it does. I notice with structure all around we all seem to function better. The kids know what is coming most of the time, they have the freedom to have fun and I get to as well!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homemade Caesar Dressing

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So I had a recipe off of Relish Relish for a homemade Caesar Salad which sounded so good.  I put the dressing together and was worried that when I added the anchovies that Miss O would be grossed out but oh no, she asked to stick it in herself and than proceeded to eat all of the left over salad that we didn't eat. She has been asking for more of it and I had to tell her to wait for dinner again.

It was so cute to see her help make it and than devour it like it was candy. I find it important to teach kids good eating habits and have them see where and how their food comes from.

Basic Dressing recipe (my own)

1 cup of oil (olive, canola- whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (shredded)
1 dash of Worstashire (horrible spelling) sauce
1teaspoon of minced garlic
1 Sardine fillet

Blend it all together and pour over Romaine lettuce, tomatoes,  Parmesan Cheese, and croutons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Upcycle a shirt

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I had this really cute tealish color shirt but with weight loss, it has gotten to big. So i was thinking about what could I do to it to make it work for me in my wardrobe and than watching t.v. the other day, it hit me and I decided to create a cute coat with it plus I than added one of those adorable fire work pins I love making. The whole top and pin looked so cute with a pair of khaki capris and white tank top.

Here is the top. It is from Kohls and I think I got it on the clearance rack last year.

I cut it it down the front and sewed up each side. 

I added on the pin n the front to act as a closure for it. 

Plus I made a matching headband for it. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School Owl Wreath

11:21 AM 0 Comments
I got it in my head that I wanted a Back To School Wreath for the front door. I saw this wreath on Pinterest and of course I thought I need to make have my own twist on it.

I was at the store when I spotted on the Dollar Spot rack this adorable owl cork board. She instantly made it into the cart and I knew this would be the front of the wreath. After wandering around the school supply section, I finally found pencils. I grabbed a wreath from the dollar store and well started hot gluing like crazy so much so that if I was on Craft Wars, I would be scolded for how much.

I have had to play a few times with getting the wreath to stick right and still am but this was  the cutest version of it thus far.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fabric Basket

11:30 AM 0 Comments
I love to troll for cute ideas and this one totally was up my alley this week. I created a fabric box to stick the odds and ends in on my desk like loose cords. I only wish it was stiffer and next time I plan on using stiffer stuff inside.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Flour less Cookies

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I saw a really great Pin the other day making Peanut Butter cookies with no flour. It was 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of Peanut butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. They were fantastic and so easy to make.

I made them again and decreased the sugar to 2/3 and upped the baking powder to 1 tablespoon. They came out a bit better. So I was thinking of taking the basic idea of that recipe and creating my own granola cookies or I guess they could be bars as well.

I took 2 and half cups of granola, a 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, 2 eggs,  1tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I mixed it all together and baked for about ten to twelve minutes at 350 degrees.

The Peanut butter cookies were baked at the same temp as well for the same amount of time. At the ten minute mark, make sure to check them to see if they are done. All ovens work differently.

These were great to make and being without flour, lower carbs and calories which we like around here. Nice to have a sweet treat that is not full of junk!