Monday, June 30, 2008

Brownies!

Friday it was time for our monthly Family Fun Night. I decided it was a good time to try out Monica's brownies. Megan and my niece Jamie headed into the kitchen.

Here are the cooks ready for action!


What fun they had measuring,


and stirring.


I decided to bake the brownies in muffins tins.


I added a touch of chocolate frosting and the girls put on the sprinkles.



They had a blast and keep saying they were making them for Papaw. By the way everyone thought the brownies were delicious!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Fun!

We have been enjoying our wonderful summer weather! We have been grilling out and enjoying dinner on our back porch.


What says summer more than ice cream or as Megan likes to say "i keem?"


Playing in the water is so much fun!

I hope you are all getting out and enjoying your summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Garden Woes

Here is my little garden patch.


Isn't it sad?! We had a cold spring and then had difficulty getting the tiller. This resulted in getting the garden out late. The day after I planted we had a massive amount of rain. I was very worried that nothing would survive. I have four tomato plants, one zucchini and one cucumber plant. That is it. No green beans or corn made it. Although I am sad I know that I can re-plant and have late beans.

The good news is that Mom's garden looks great and I am sure she will share some goodies with us. I hope your veggies are doing better than mine!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scrap Paper

I am not sure if this is nationwide, but monthly we receive an envelope full of local coupons and advertisements. After going though the coupons there were always many pages that went into the recycle bin.

The pages are all uniform size, printed on one side and on good quality paper. I don't know why I never thought of re-purposing the pages before!


The pages are the perfect size for little ones to color on. I have started a box just outside the kitchen door so this paper will be handy. I also cut some pages down to fix into my paper cube. Obviously it is not as pretty as the original paper, but so much more economical.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Conserving Staples

When fixing pork chops I prefer my to be Shake 'n Bake. Unfortunately I am the only one in my home who likes them this way. That made for lots of waste. I cringed everytime I made them and threw out all of the unused Shake 'n Bake. Here is my solution.


I am able to spoon out just the right amount for my serving. Not only am saving money by doing this but I also think it makes my pantry more attractive! I added a metal rimmed tag to the jar with the ingredient listed and the oven temperature and bake time on the back. Just in case you are curious I was able to put almost three, two pouch boxes into a quart jar. Perfect, since three boxes is what I recently purchased on sale!

I am working on making my pantry more attractive and will share once it is complete.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Do List


I wish I could say there was nothing on our to do list! We have a to do list that never seems to end, but I guess that goes along with home ownership. Chuck is on vacation for the rest of the week and we plan to stay close to home and tackle the list.

We know that we won't get everything done, but we are hoping to mark a few things off of the list. Today the plan is to fix the doors on our shed, power wash the shed, back fence and swing set. In my down time I plan to mark items for an upcoming garage sale. Hope you have a productive, enjoyable day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sleep Over!

Megan hosted her first sleep over! Her cousins Kayla and Lauren joined us for the fun!

The girls had a blast playing outside and collecting pine cones. They they came in and settled down with a snack a little TV time.



They were watching America's Funniest Videos and really cracking up. After that Megan had to leave the fun and retire to her bed for the night. I don't even want to imagine the "fun" I would have had if she had stayed in the living room!

It was lots of fun for everyone and I am sure it is something we will be doing again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Night at the Zoo

This weekend we were able to attend a special Night at the Zoo. It was so much fun! Our local zoo closes at 6pm and we were able to attend from 4-9. It was so nice to be there as the heat of the day ended and not to have to deal with the normal crowd.

Here is Megan ready to go on an adventure!

There was an area where you could pet the sharks. I opted not to try. Megan and Daddy tried but were unsuccessful. That was fine with Megan because playing in the water was just as fun.


The elephants were a big hit. We had been reading a Sesame Street book At The Zoo and as soon as Megan saw the elephants she started to use her hand to make a trunk and the elephant sound. Something we had been doing everyday during story time.


We were fortunate to have free access to the roller coaster, a private dolphin show and as many carousel rides as we wanted.


The first go around Megan wasn't sure she liked the carousel. She wanted off of the horse and for me to hold her. The second time she went she liked it and even asked for more. We finished off the night with a shared ice cream cone and then it was home to bed. Thanks Mom and Dad for inviting us along for the fun!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Popcorn!

I won a wonderful popcorn package from my friend Magi @ Kaffee Klatsch. I had the pleasure of meeting Magi while in China. We used the same adoption agency and traveled at the same time to meet our daughters.

She had a give-away from Orville Redenbacher. Yum! This is what I received.


A wonderful popcorn bowl with four packages of popcorn and coupons!


We have already enjoyed some of the popcorn. Movie night wouldn't be quite right without a little Orville. Thanks Magi!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sidewalk Paint

While browsing around I found a recipe for homemade sidewalk paint. I loved that it was made with items from my kitchen. As you know with some toddlers there is always the risk of it ending up in their mouth.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
food coloring

Mix cornstarch and water together. Add food coloring for desired color.


The girls loved this! They painted for almost half an hour. They also loved that my niece Katie was here to play with them. She and her sister are my summer help. On afternoons when I have all of my daycare kids (5 of them) one of them will be helping me out. It allows them to earn some pocket change and for me to keep my sanity! When they were done all I had to do to clean up the back porch was to hose it off.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Deals


With coupons and sales I was able to get some good deals at Meijer.

Here is what I purchased:

6 boxes Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
4 containers Chocolate Icing
2 Bisquick
4 Bath Buddies
2 boxes taco shells
2 taco seasoning packets
7 bags of Chex Mix
1 box M&M ice cream sandwiches

My total spent was $32.01 - $17.20 in coupons = $17.09

I am working on stocking my pantry. The Chex Mix (which I got for Free) will be my contribution to pool snacks at my parents.

Most of my coupons were printed from a link at MoneySavingMom.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Story Time Seat

I am a huge fan of reading to children. It is something that I have been doing with Megan since the day she was placed in my arms. I can tell that it has had a big impact on her. She loves her books!

The problem I have been having is that Megan is use to sitting on my lap while I read. With additional children in the house this poses a problem. If I turn the book so those sitting on floor can see then Megan can not, and if I make it so Megan can see the book then it is difficult for the others. It was getting to the point that our morning story time was stressful!

My solution was to make everyone a story time seat.


I gave everyone a piece of scrapbook paper to color on. I then cut the paper into a circle. I used Word and made the first initial of every ones name and then attached it to the circle. I then used contact paper to make the seat durable.

It is working out great!

Now if someone is getting up during story time all I have to do is remind them that during story time their bottom stays on their story time seat. Less stress for all of us and the bonus to all of this is that it is helping the kids with letter recognition for their first name!


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We've Been Having Fun!

Okay, not really. Megan has been one sick little girl. It started on Friday afternoon. She was just off. On Saturday I noticed that she is cutting a molar. So I thought that was the reason Miss Cranky Pants had replaced my sweet natured little girl.

Not so. On Monday morning she started throwing up. Oh the joys of parenthood! I sent home my full day childcare kids and call off the afternoon kids. Poor little thing! She continued to be sick until Tuesday evening. All she wanted to do was be held or sleep. She ended up taking five naps on Tuesday.

Today was better. She has not gotten sick. She only cried and cried for about an hour this afternoon. She wanted me to stand up and hold her, then she wanted me to sit down and hold her, then she wanted to go bye, bye, then she wanted me to put her down. None of these things made her happy.

Finally I was able to spoon feed her some chicken noodle soup broth. She then fell asleep. After waking up she actually got down to play!, asked for oatmeal and took a couple bites of a banana.

So, that is how I have spent my week. The one good thing is that I have gotten lots of snuggles the past few days. It looks like she is on the mend. Thank goodness!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sundae

I had some whipping cream left over from this weekend. I couldn't let it go to waste so I mixed up some whipped cream. Since we are having some warm summer days I decided to use some of it up by making sundaes.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Whip cream until it just starts to peak. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix until it completely peaks.


I had never made whip cream from scratch. Now that I have tasted it I can't see store bought in my future. Thanks to my Kitchen Aid mixer it was so easy. Can you imagine how much work it was for Grandma to whip it up by hand!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma

We had the pleasure of celebrating Grandma's 80th birthday over the weekend. She is so funny. I didn't hear the entire conversation so I don't know what lead up to this answer, but this is what Grandma had to say about being 80... "it took a long time to reach eighty."

I love this picture. It represents four generations. Chuck's mom, Megan, Chuck and Grandma.



Grandma is not a woman of many words. She is the kind of woman that when she speaks you need to be listening. She was born in log cabin in Kentucky in 1928 to a farming family. I have heard her talk of waking up in the loft and being covered by snow. Today she told us that when she became a young adult that gas was .12 cents a gallon and postage stamps were .03 cents. Someone commented that cars were inexpensive in her youth. She agreed but said still no one could afford a car.

When we talk about how complicated life is and how much we wish for "the good old days" she always shakes her head and says she does not want to go back in time. She says that although times were simple it was lots of work.

Life has not always been easy for Grandma. She raised seven children, lost her husband when her youngest child was 7 years old and survived open heart surgery six years ago. Although life may not have been easy she is always positive and just keeps moving on.

Happy Birthday Grandma!