Wednesday, December 30, 2009


AHHH, the fruit of my labor. I spent all morning organizing our toy closet. I had to make room for the new toys we got for Christmas and I definitely needed to purge some old toys. In addition to toys and games, I had two bins of my crafts that I went through and emptyed the bins. Into these bins went legos and the kids' craft supplies. I should still go through all of the puzzles and discard any that are missing pieces. I also want to go through the two bins of stuffed animals and weed out the ones no one wants. But those are jobs for another day. Today I will enjoy actually opening the closet without worrying that something is going to fall out on me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year again! I think this year I will set some resolutions that has to do with these various aspects of my life; health, family, finances, personal growth. The financial aspect is easy to think of - I want to pay off my students loans and our car loan. I also want us to be able to purchase a car for my husband. Three is good for the area. On the family front - definitely want to practice more patience with my children and be better at holding the children accountable for chores. I also want to spend more quality time with each of them. As for my health area - as usual exercise and eating healthy but I want to add running a 5K! The personal growth area will be fun - I want to make at least 3 quilts this year, read 40 books, and continue to create!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sledding Birthday Party

My youngest son's birthday is two days after Christmas. Every year, I feel I forget about planning his party with all of the craziness of Christmas. This year, I started planning early! He is four this year and ready for a "Friend" party. Instead of knocking myself out trying to plan a complicated shin-dig, I thought I would utilize mother nature. We had a sledding party! We have a nice hill in our front yard and we also have snow so it makes for a great sledding hill. After the sledding was done, we moved indoors for hot cocoa, snacks and cake. All of the decorations and paper products I picked up yesterday half off. My birthday boy and I made muffin crayons from our old broken crayons last week. Check out how to make these easy crayons here. We bought everyone coloring books and gave them out with the crayons as party favors. Very low-key, frugal but tons of FUN!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas gifts for Teachers

I had a hard time thinking of gifts for my sons' teachers this year. I have given gift cards in the past but that can really start to add up especially now that all 3 are in school. The boys and I made up homemade hot cocoa mix for each of their primary teachers (go here for the recipe)and adorned it with an applesauce and cinnamon ornament. (for the recipe go here) For the 2 teaching assistants in my youngest's preschool classroom and the special area teachers in my oldest two sons' schools, I am making homemade treats for them. My youngest son's babysitter is getting a week's pay (I couldn't have made it the last 8 years without her, she deserves it!) and a prayer plaque for her newly remodeled kitchen. I may also give her a change purse, if I can part with one. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Crafts Part I

I have been crafting up a storm this season. My newest craft that is very addicting are bows made from old magazines or really any paper. I used fliers from the paper. I almost don't want to use them because I don't want them to be just thrown away! For a tutorial on how to make them yourself, go here.

Hot Coccoa Mix

I decided to try my hand at making my own hot cocoa mix. After trying many different recipes and having a great night of hot cocoa tasting with the kids, we have finally settled on our favorite! Here it is:

4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 4 oz package instant chocolate fudge pudding

Mix all ingredients in a large ziploc bag. (great for your little helpers!) Add 1/4 -1/2 cup of mix to 8 oz boiling water. Enjoy with a candy cane stick or mini marshmallows! Store mix in an airtight container.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Applesauce and Cinnamon Ornaments

I love making applesauce and cinnamon ornaments! Not only do they smell good, they are very inexpensive to make. I am using them to adorn Christmas gifts for my sons' teachers this year. They are super easy to make and my kids loved helping me make them this year. Here's my recipe:

Mix together equal parts applesauce and cinnamon. The mixture should come together as you mix with a spoon but you can get your hands right in there to mix it up! The mixture should be similar in texture to sugar cookie dough. If it seems "wet" add more cinnamon, a little at a time. I then use cinnamon to dust the table and rolling pin. Roll out the dough about 1/2 thick - the thicker you roll it out - the less chance your ornament has of breaking. I use Christmas cookie cutters or you could cut out a shape free hand. Carefully place the cut out ornament on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Poke a roll through the ornament - I used a straw. Let ornament dry - turning over a least once a day. Drying time could vary, based on how thick you rolled out the dough, from 2-5 days. When ornament is dry, use left over fabric, yarn ribbon or string to tie the ornament to a gift!

Enjoy! Visit Life As Mom to find more Frugal gift giving ideas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Gift

I finally made my Christmas gift for my brother and his new wife. I had the supplies and the idea about a month ago but kept putting off making it. I heard on the radio that Friday is the last day to mail stuff and still have it arrive in time for Christmas. So tonight, I just went at it. I am happy with it - it is actually one of two of my favorite pictures from their wedding. Now I just have to wrap it and get to the Post Office by Friday! Merry Christmas Nathan and Juniper!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Target & CVS Trip

Target has some great sales this week. For a complete list of their sales, go here. I made a trip today after work to pick up a few things. I am planning on making some of these for the cookie swap at work. It worked out well that Target has Cheez-Its on sale this week! Here is what I got:

3 boxes Cheez-Its - $2.00 a box and used 2 .75c coupons per box

7 boxes Keebler Cookies $2.00 a box and used 2 $1.00 off 2 boxes and 1 $1.00 off 3 boxes

Total out of Pocket - $15.50 plus I got $10 gift card back that I turned around and used on some Christmas goodies! Basically each box cookies and Cheez-Its cost me .55c. Can't beat that!

Next up was a CVS trip! They are having a promotion - spend $50 in iTune cards, get $10 in ECB. I got 2 $25 iTune cards for my nephews for Christmas. I used the $10 ECB towards Pull Ups - on sale for 8.97 plus $1.00 coupon, and 3 large candy canes for stocking that were .99c each. Out of pocket - a little over a $1.00 (not including the itune cards).

I also did a Price Chopper run this evening and did quite well there too. Not to bore you with specifics - I did score some good deals and spent $97.00. Add that to my Sunday weekend run and the Target and CVS trip, I am over my $125 target but I feel we are pretty stocked up and unless the stores have great deals this weekend, we will only need some basics.

Recipes and ramblings

I have been trying out some recipes on the family lately, much to their horror! I tried 2 different homemade macaroni and cheese recipes last week. I felt both were delicious, my husband only liked the first one and my kids thought I was trying to poison them! They actually requested the "Orange kind"! Here are the links for the recipes:
Macaroni and Cheese Recipe 1
Macaroni and Cheese Recipe 2

I also cooked up some brown sugar twists. Again, my husband and I thought they were fabulous - my kids not so much! I found a recipe for breakfast hot pockets. My oldest son loves eggs and I thought this would make a great, healthy, fast breakfast. I presented the idea to him, even suggested he help make them with me, his answer... a big NO THANK YOU MOMMY.

Whenever I read the various money saving, frugal living blogs, it never amazes me what these kids eat! Beans and rice, vegetables, stews, baked potato bars,foods my kids would never take a "no thank you" bite of. Are my kids the only kids like this? I make every effort to serve some different foods every few days and we insist the kids take a "No thank you" bite before they decided they aren't going to eat it. It drives me crazy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Night

It is Friday night, the boys and daddy are enthralled with a movie, so what's a mom to do? Craft of course!I just finished up a bunch of these little babies and they are CUTE! I am planning on giving them away for Christmas gifts. I think I have just enough but... I don't think I can stop, they are just too easy to make!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I finally found two websites that compile the sales at Price Chopper and Hannaford. For the Price Chopper deals, go here and for the Hannaford deals go here. So happy to have found these two sites. When I first started this blog, I had grandiose ideas of compiling the weekly deals at both Price Chopper and Hannaford. Once I started, I realized what a time consuming job that would be. Now I don't have to do it AND I don't have to feel guilty about not doing it!

Speaking of grocery stores, I ran out to the store tonight, it is a new month, and got our groceries for the week. I brought my oldest son with me and what a help he was! we kept a running tally on a calculator and he got so into it. I told him our budget was $125 and he really was very conscience about it. When we were done and at $120, I told him he could pick out one snack for himself for the week and one for his brothers. He made sure that the two snacks did not add up to more than $5. With coupons, we brought it in at $123. I think I need to bring him with me every week. He definitely kept me to our budget. That leaves me with $527 for the rest of the month. I do have some baking to do this weekend to help us stay away from the store bought ready made foods that are over priced. I think I will have each boy help me again with a recipe. It worked out really well the last time and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! Now time to marinate those chicken breast and get them in the freezer!