Friday, September 30, 2011

Designate Bags for Activities

My son is in several extra curricular activities, so keeping track of all his stuff is not an easy task.

I have a separate bag for each has a sporty backpack with his cleats, shin guards, and jersey.  His cub scouts bag is smaller and just holds a binder that carries his book and all the information he needs. He has an organizer/bible zipper bag that has everything he needs for Sunday school.  His hip hop/dance backpack has his clothes and shoes inside.

I have a coat closet by the front door that I keep the bags in...I hang them on hangers so they are packed and ready to go!!  Same goes for my little girl...her bags are packed too!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Juicing Experience

I have been wanting a juicer ever since reading Matt Terry's blog.  I started researching friend, April got one and showed me hers..the grapefruit juice was sooo yummy!  I just had to have one!  We bought a Jack La Lanne Juicer and it worked great...the kids loved the juice and immediately started requesting favorites!  That made me sooo happy :)

So far, they love apple juice, orange juice, strawberry-pear, and really anything with fruit in it...we mix alot of flavors together, so yummy!

We even poured the strawberry juice in Popsicle trays!
We only had our juicer for 4 days...we kept wishing we weren't throwing out ALL THAT PULP!!!  I know there are recipes to use it, but since we mix fruits, it wasn't usable.  I couldn't stand it...a whole fruit goes in, a quarter cup of juice comes out and the rest goes down the disposal...I started researching again and found Montel Williams blender/juicer.  It emulsifies the entire fruit and vegetable using everything!  I wanted it, but with a $200+ price tag, I just couldn't do it.  I found the perfect machine for us...It is the...

This machine has the same 1100 watt motor as the Health master. It pulverizes whole fruits and vegetables, ice, and anything you want to within moments!  It came with a regular container and a huge 72oz pitcher/bowl.  You can mix bread dough (can't wait to mix up some whole wheat pizza crust!), use it as a mixer for baking and whipping, juicing, blender for smoothies and frozen drinks, soups, chopping/food processing (yay for my salsa!) and even real ice cream within 2 minutes!!  I have used this since Monday and absolutely LOVE it!!  The kids do too! 

The strawberry ice cream is all gone!! 

I started to shred carrots and bell peppers for my rice, then remembered
my new machine, 4 seconds later I had them all chopped perfectly!

Super Healthy berry smoothies for dessert!
This appliance will replace several of my others and with a price tag of only $25 more than my will definitely save me MONEY by using ALL my fruits and veggies!  Check this system out if you are thinking about juicing!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reuse Birthday Cards

Make all those adorable Birthday Cards into special bookmarks. FamilyFun Magazine  had a great way to repurpose them. Cut our a long strip of the card, leave the fold so that you can apply self-adhesive magnetic tape to fold it over and save the exact place you are!  What a great way to preserve those momentos!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Mealtime Tips

Get the whole family involved!! 

Let them take turns choosing the meal, even if a child chooses an "unhealthy" option, make it healthy by adding veggies and whole grains...let's face it, many kids are gonna pick PIZZA as their fave...make it with whole wheat flour and then let them choose toppings (they have to pick one veggie). 

Let them help you grocery shop and pick out the fruits and veggies to use for the meal.  After all, the produce isle is the most colorful area of the store! 

Everyone can help somehow...setting table, measuring ingredients, reading directions, pouring the drinks...just let them know how important their job is! 

Create THEME nights, like Dinner & a Movie night, or Outdoor Dinner on the Deck, or Taco Night

Talking to each other over dinner is the best thing a family can do together.  We never have trouble finding stuff to talk about, but every once in a while I'll pull out the "Dinner TALK Cards".  They are just note cards with questions or interesting facts on them.  Some of the questions are super simple like, "What would be your dream job?", "If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?", or "Where would you go for a vacation?"  Some of the facts are about Space, Science, Animals, and History.  We pass it around and talk about them!

We made Mexican pizzas

pump out the soap & save

My son is in second grade and takes a shower all on his own each morning.  I wonder how much shampoo or bodywash he make sure he uses the correct amount, I switched his shampoo/bodywash to pump-style bottles.  He knows now that he gets ONE pump of each and that it IS enough! 

Suave makes one with a pump for kids OR you can just reuse one of your empty soap dispensers, I used a dish soap pump bottle, filled it with shampoo, and then let him decorate it! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

USDA's MyPLATE is super helpful

The  USDA'S new MyPlate  makes it easier for us parents to create a more balanced meal for our kiddos! 
Visit their website for links on : Healthy eating on a Budget, getting your own personalized diet plan, weight loss options, ways to prepare fruits and vegetables, and countless other informative pages to access.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Packing a Healthy Lunch

Trying to make sure to pack healthy, nutritious food for my son's lunch, but let's be honest...when I look up healthy school lunchbox choices online, I get all these veggie based sammies & gourmet looking cuisines.  My kid just wants super simple foods that are easy to eat.  So far, this is what I send him.

I send him with one Main food item, a fruit, a veggie, a whole grain (if the main doesn't include one), a yogurt and a small treat.  Water to drink.

Turkey (sliced rotisserie or Healthy Ones), cheese on whole wheat
Organic peanut butter & honey on whole wheat (sometimes fruit spread)
Ham and Cheese on wheat
Baked beans with Beef franks....this is his fave, but higher in sugar than I like.
I also do  inside out turkey/ham roll ups...roll meat around a cheese stick, no bread
Or roll ups with whole wheat tortilla, meat, and shredded cheese

Apples (sometimes w/peanut butter for dipping)
baby carrots (sometimes with yogurt ranch dip)
celery w/peanut butter
natural applesauce ( sometimes i add cinnamon)
Mandarin orange slices
Wheat pretzel twists
yogurt (plain w/honey or Dannon smoothie)

Fiber One 90 calorie brownie
graham cracker with peanut butter
       "                with strawberry cream cheese
       "                with nutella chocolate spread
almonds to dip in a tablespoon of nutella
granola bar

Monday, September 19, 2011

Selling stuff on Craigslist!

Today, I listed some stuff to sell on Craigslist.  I usually try to sell stuff on Craigslist before anywhere else.  I get to keep ALL of the money from the sale and they come and pick it up, so I don't even have to haul it anywhere! 

We had a yard sale last Friday and anything that didn't sell, I either sacked up to be donated or listed on craigslist.  I just sold a birdcage for $75, they just picked it up!  I sold a ride on battery operated toy for $40...I couldn't even sell it for $20 at the yard sale!  YAY!!  I listed about 10 other things, I'll give it a few days before I load the stuff up and take it to my local consignment shop.  I'll only get 50% of the selling price, but that's better than nothing!

Take a look around your house, if something is just sitting there, not being used...LIST IT!!!  It may be the exact thing that someone else is looking for!  It's FREE so there's nothing to lose!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cheap Eats

Super Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

Made this soup because the weather is cool and rainy, plus my little girl has a cold...what better dinner to make than...  Chicken Noodle Soup

All you need is: Bone-In Chicken
                        Egg Noodles
                        Salt & Pepper

I use whatever bone-in chicken I have on hand for this soup, this time I used two leg quarters, but a whole chicken is great too! (I like to cook extra and save for an easy meal the next day!)

I placed my frozen chicken in a soup pan, covered with water, let it get to a rapid boil, cover and then turn down to just a bubble and cook until done. 

Remove chicken and let it cool so you can debone it.  Meanwhile, chop up some peeled carrots and celery (leafy part too, it adds tons of flavor, you can even leave it in big pieces and remove it later if ya want).  Add the carrots, then 5 minutes later add the celery and a bag of egg noodles, boil 7-10 minutes, put chicken back in and you are ready to serve.  Salt and pepper to taste! Yummy!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

FREE HGTV fall home decor book

Free HGTV fall home idea book with the purchase of any 2 SC Johnson home cleaning products.  Visit The RightAtHome website to see details and sign up for great organizational ideas, decorating, coupons, and family tips!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The best banana pudding EVER!!!

WARNING:  This is NOT a money-saving recipe, but since we all splurge for a special occasion....THIS is what you should impress with!!  It is the most scrumptious banana pudding I've ever had.  My friend, Karen kept raving about this pudding.     It's a Paula Deen recipe called,    "Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding"  .  I'm not a huge banana pudding fan, so I didn't plan on making it, but then I hurt my neck and almost magically (with the help of the banana pudding pusher) a sampling of this wonderful dessert ended up on  my doorstep...I could exagerate and tell you that it immediately healed my twisted neck, but it didn't...however, every second that I was enjoying this mind couldn't possible think about pain...just yummy, smooth, rich, delicious banana pudding!!!  So here goes:   
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced (I only had 4 small ones, worked fine)
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding (buy two, save remained for next time)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

I divided mine into 2 smaller bowls, serve one and
keep one for yourself or to send home with
your guests!!!!!!
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Beautiful masterpiece!!

It has 1822 FIVE star reviews...guess we aren't the only fans!!  It might not be good for you, but you only need a small serving to satisfy that sweet tooth!  Thank you to Paula AND KAREN (the pudding pusher) lol!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I need my Grabbers!!!

My friends laugh at me when I grab my silicone coated tongs to grab the wine glasses on the very top shelf in my kitchen!!!  I'm tellin ya, they work for grabbing anything!  I especially use them to grab spices that are up high and in the back of the spice cabinet.  They can lift pretty heavy items our coffee grinder! No more pulling out the step stool or stepping on my chairs...they are a life saver!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cheap Eats

This dinner on a budget is super simple...
Kielbasa & Cabbage! 

I bought turkey sausage in a two pack for $1.87, you can buy kielbasa or polish sausage, then slice thin (so it goes a long way), brown real well in large crock or pan.  Remove and set aside. Chop up fresh cabbage (i paid $3.44 for a large head), place in pan that you used for your sausage (all the bits from the browning will give lots of flavor!)  I drizzle a bit of olive oil and saute my cabbage. (thanks to my sis, who talked me into frying it!  Yummiest thing ever!)   You can also add water and boil it with salt and pepper.  You can add diced potatoes to make it stretch further too!  When the cabbage is done to your likeness....dinner is served!! 

Usually this is way more than one meal, save the leftovers for a side dish!