Sunday, May 29, 2011

Teacher gifts

The kids were upset at me for not making something for their teachers for the last day of school. I felt kinda bad for neglecting them also! After all we had two of the best teachers this year!!Since the last day of school is an exemption day for the students with good grades and attendance, both of my kids were home. I scoured the blog world for a quick an easy craft they could do while we made bread and decorated a few jars of apple butter.
I came across these HERE
I had all the materials, and the kids were in a good mood to help (they even drilled most of the wholes themselves). These took very little time to put together, yet they are adorable!

I found it rather suiting since my sensitive child's teacher was named teacher of the year!
As she should be with all the crazy boys in her class. She had a knack for knowing how to encourage and challenge the kids. My son just loved to learn from her!
My Flittering butterfly's teacher was #1 in my books! This years teacher knew each student on a more personal level rather than a test score level. Our daughter went from barely passing last year to honor roll this year! She taught her students in such a way that they respected her and loved her without loosing control of the class. We love you Mrs D!! Our Flittering butterfly will forever be comparing her future teachers to you!
Thank you teachers for all you do!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Potato Porcupines

I saw these on Pinterest the other day while checking things out.
(I can't remember what they called them but my sensitive child said they look like Porcupines)
The kids loved them- Granted they were all sick and these weren't ready for dinner in time (fish only takes 20min to bake, potatoes take 45min- DUH!). However, they did pick at them befor bed and asked if I would make them again tomorrow for dinner.
Such a different twist on the baked potato! (or sweet potatoes)

Just slice your potato/sweet potato into thin slices just not all the way thru. Leave a good 1/4" at the bottom to keep it all intact. You don't have to be at all precise! I sprayed mine with Olive oil spray and lightly salted (the sweet potato I sprinkled a bit of cumin on). I baked them at 400F for about 45min (the longer you bake them the crispier they are, I wanted mine to still be soft).
We just tore them off and ate them!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meal planning

With the price of gas, and the cost of groceries skyrocketing it seems there is less and less of a budget these days. I have been asked by several friends to post how we stretch our grocery $$$. I, by no means am an expert in the matter but I can offer my two cents on how we manage the grocery budget.

I DON'T do coupons! I would clip them and then forget them. I never found $100+ of savings on things I use. I don't find it worth my while to clip coupons and spend money on things I don't usually buy or use, so I just avoid it.

I also LIKE food! I don't want to eat like I am on a budget, no ramen sandwiches, and tuna potato chip casseroles. I like nice tasty food. I like to try new recipes. I like to eat healthier. We eat a lot of fruit, veggies, and yogurt and still pinch our pennies.

While my mother inlaw was here over Christmas she got me started on freezer meals. In February I started eating healthier. SO between reading up on these two subjects I started to realize I needed a plan.
With these two things in mind, I planned. I planned every meal for the pay period. In so doing I created a shopping list. I then add what I need to replenish and to restock our food storage closet to my grocery list (I take a quick inventory every pay period). This takes me about 20-30 minutes, now that I have compiled my recipes in one place, and now that I am familiar with my storage closet and kitchen contents.

As general budget crunching ideas go, I try to do
1. one spaghetti meal
2. have the kids eat oatmeal a few times a week for breakfast
3. we have laying hens so we eat eggs once a week
4. try to make a few meals with the same type of meat in them beef/pork/chicken so you can buy in bulk
5. make some lunch snacks from scratch cookies/muffins/brownies and freeze them
6. find something you are good at cooking/baking that you can do from scratch to cut costs (I make bread. It costs me appr. $1.50/whole wheat loaf bread, over the $3 I pay for the good stuff we liked at the grocery store. You can soak dried beans instead of using canned beans, make your own soup stock, make your own ice cream, grow a garden and freeze produce to last all year. What ever your niche is!)
7. I make 2-3 of the exact same meal at one time and freeze the extra portions on a few meals. This gives me the option for a quick meal if I don't want to cook, I just remove from the freezer, defrost and bake. No pizza or trip to McDonald's required!
8. Don't go shopping hungry. I always eat befor heading into town for groceries. Then we usually start our trip to Walmart with a quick stop for something to munch while shopping getting a popcorn chicken at the deli (I know not so healthy!). For the extra $2 it works for us!

I have borrowed several recipe books from friends and the library. I have stalked several food blogs. I have complied a good variety of recipes my family likes. Now, I am slowly learning what recipes freeze well and others that don't.

This recipe from a previous entry is a great freezer meal! My husbands and the boys favorite!
Here are three other families favorites. I'll try to add three more later this week.
I always add more veggies than the recipe requires, and less meat. Not for the economical reasons but because I like veggies more.

Feel free to send me your family's favorite recipes!

Friday, May 20, 2011

In complete SHOCK!

A big shout out to all those who have featured my last blog entry (my pocket cabinet). Everyday since Sunday I have had someone tell me of a different site or two that has picked it up and featured my post. SUPER SURPRISED!!
Last night while checking my stats I was blown away, then again this morning when I saw yesterdays final numbers 2257 hits!! Up to this point my highest was in the 500s for three days when this post was featured on a home and garden blog for my trellis.

A big shout out to all those who have featured me Thank you!! And to all you who have dropped by and left a comment. I am flattered!