Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Fun With Bubble Wrap

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Frozen Chocolate Pudding Banana Popsicles

I'm a little disappointed. My husband dosn't even look at me like I am crazy anymore when I come home with things like a boatload of bananas. I miss the old days.

I couldn't help it! The bananas were $.25/lb! And I had high hopes and plans for these particular bananas!

Here's my math - we buy bananas every week + summer is here = fun healthy banana Popsicles for hot summer days! As an added bonus my compost pile is definitely going to be fat and happy by the time I am done!
I found 150 count Popsicles sticks at Family Dollar for $1.00 - not bad. I went to several different stores before I actually found them as I was determined NOT to go to Michael's where I knew they were. Why? Because it's nearly impossible for me to walk out of Michael's without spending $20 bucks I didn't mean to spend.

So anyways, here is what I did. First, I peeled and cut the bananas and stuck the Popsicle stick through the cut end. Then I placed them on a cookie sheet with wax paper (although later I learned I liked the plastic wrap better - although you could probably use parchment paper too). Make sure none of the bananas are touching. If they are touching when they are freezing and you pull them apart there is a good chance it will damage the banana.

(Hint: After they are made and already frozen you can store them touching - just not while they are freezing).
Go through your stockpile (if you have one) and look for some fun crunchy type coatings for your nanas. It's not a must to have a coating on your nana's but they do freeze (look) better. Without the coating all the pudding just runs down and pools around where the bananas are laying. Here are a few things I found in my stockpile to use for my coatings:

Okay - not the healthiest, I know but I was going with the whole chocolate/peanut butter thing.

Pour some of the Peanut Butter Capn' Crunch in a baggie and hire your 4 year old son to smash them up.

I also found some white chocolate chips that I thought would be a good match -

And this tiny sample bag that Blue Diamond sent me -
This was only enough to do one banana but since I was experimenting - what the heck. I thought the almonds and cinnamon brown sugar flavors would be interesting. My husband had suggested that peanuts would be good but I told him I didn't have any peanuts in my stockpile. You mean go out and actually (gasp) BUY peanuts? That kind of misses the whole point in trying to be creative - and stuff - by using things in my stockpile - don't ya think?

I also used cinnamon sugar graham crackers and if I had any pretzels I think I would have used those too...maybe.

For my pudding mix I used 2 1/2 cups of milk (instead of the suggested 2 cups). I didn't want the instant pudding to thicken up on me too much because it would be hard to dip/coat the nanas. Next, just take your nanna and swirl it around in your pudding like so...

Then roll it around in your coating like this...

And this....
Place them back on your cookie sheet and freeze them again until the topping is completely frozen - usually another hour or so.

And Wha La!

I think it was a huge hit! The white chocolate was definitely their favorite - of course it was. Now only 489 more banana pops to make...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - June 8 - 13

My meals this week are going to go something like this:


Lunch - Cucumbers with Ranch Dressing Dipping Sauce
Bologna and Cheese Roll Ups

Dinner - BBQ Ribs
Cucumber Salad
Baked Asparagus


Lunch - Cauliflower with Ranch Dressing Dipping Sauce
Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches

Dinner - Pot Roast with Carrots
Steamed Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
Crescent Rolls


Lunch - Peanut Butter, Apple, Banana Tacos

Dinner - Broiled Egg Plant with Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Salad from the Garden


Lunch - Creamy Oatmeal with Fresh Apples

Dinner - Egg Plant Parmesan
Fresh Salad from the Garden


Lunch - Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches
Fresh Carrots with Ranch Dressing for Dipping

Dinner - Fresh Salad from the Garden with Diced Chicken
Baked Potatoes



Monday, June 1, 2009

April/May Savings and Earnings


Spending & Savings

Retail Cost: $646.32
Store & Coupon Savings: $398.65
Extra Care Bucks: $29.95
Easy Saver Rebates: $20.05
Total Paid Out Of Pocket: $193.25

Incoming Money

Mail In Rebates: $11.06
Misc. Money Earned: $74.78
Total Incoming Money: $85.84


Spending & Savings

Retail Cost: $799.37
Store & Coupon Savings: $550.67
Easy Saver Rebates: $33.79
Total Paid Out Of Pocket: $218.91

Incoming Money

Mail In Rebates: $19.68
Misc. Money Earned: $223.55
Total Incoming Money: $243.23

California Rolls

I love California Rolls. Several years ago my husband and I attempted to make our own - needless to say that was a sticky messy disaster.

While visiting my husbands parents in California last summer my mother in law showed me how to make California Rolls - the right way. She made it look so easy so I was excited to attempt this on my own again.

It was a success. I am now a California Rolling Pro!

Now, I make these every few months and as an added bonus (almost) all my kids like these also!

You know what the best part about eating California Rolls? The Wasabi! There is just something thrilling about using a little too much wasabi, burning your nose and watching everyone's facial expressions. It's definitely a fun way of living life on the edge.

Money wise, buying all the ingredients for making California Rolls can be a little expensive. Especially because these are items that never go on sale and rarely have coupons. By the time you buy the sushi rice, seaweed, avocado, crab meat, cucumber, rice wine vinegar, wasabi and soy sauce you can easily spend $15 buck-a-roos - or more! However, you wont need to spend this each time you make them because not every time you will need to buy rice wine vinegar, wasabi, seaweed, or rice. Then if you wait until the other ingredients go on sale you can save money that way also.

Another way to save money on this expensive snack is by writing to Louis Kemp or Trans Ocean and request coupons. I've done this a few times and they have always been more than happy to send a few my way. The same for Kikkoman Soy Sauce.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I've been MIA

So, it's been awhile since I've written here, but I have (kind of) a good excuse.

Welcome to my madness.

Part of the reason was I went on a vacation. I mean a real vacation. As many of my readers know, us stay at home mom's never get the real vacation and time off we deserve. I've often said in the past I was going to take a day off and do absolutely nothing at all - but ya know, it never happens that way. There are still meals to be cooked, laundry to be done, someone always needing or wanting something. Why even dream of a day off?

The past month I had been very stressed. In attempt to get things ready for the busy summer I've been desperately trying to get my household in a certain order in hopes the summer would go smoothly. It seemed like a loosing battle. No matter how much I thought I had accomplished at the days end - my To Do List seemed to be twice as long. How can that be? You know how it is - the more laundry you wash the more laundry you have to do. Or something like that.

I was desperate to have everything caught up and organized - all at the same time. I thought if I could just get everything done - things would go smoother - easier. Even when I started staying up way past my bed time and getting up earlier - the more I worked the more needed to be done. It was almost like I was trapped in some crazy tornado - doomed forever to never ending laundry, multiplying coupons and dirty floors.

On April 4th was my oldest daughters (15th) birthday and she had gotten the Twilight movie from her grandparents - in which she made me watch with her. Before hand, I knew nothing about this movie - except that everyone, including my daughter - was crazy about it. I purposelessly try to stay away from the current fads - they drive me bonkers. So, much to my surprise, while watching the movie with my daughter, I was a little intrigued. It reminded me of a recent documentary I watched about a lion who befriends an antelope. It was very interesting - the documentary that is. For her birthday I had ordered her the Twilight Gift Set - all four books. She instantly began re-reading them and I mentioned to her that once she was done I might be interested in reading them. Now, I love reading, but it's not an activity I participate in often. I tend to get a bit obsessive when I start to read a book. It's enough to drive me insane along with anyone around me. I never understood how people could just read an hour a day or right before bed time. The 'need to know' with me is so great - I find it very difficult to minimize my reading - which becomes obsessive - which is why I don't read books very often.

So, anyways, my daughter bought down the first book of the series and laid it on my desk for me to read. It laid there for nearly a month. I picked it up a few times and thought about reading but then my To Do List started yelling at me so I put it back down. Then last Saturday, about midnight - past my bedtime - the mood struck. I picked up that book and started reading - and I didn't stop - until WAY past my bedtime. This was the beginning of my vacation because for the past week I had done nothing but read. I finished with Twilight and instantly picked up the next one in the series. I would read all day long, first thing in the morning - until lunch. During babies nap time - to dinner. After all the kids were in bed - to WAY past Mommy's bed time - I would read. After a few days my body was achy and stiff. But I kid you not - I did NOTHING but read that dang Twilight Series for a whole week - almost exactly. To let you know how much reading I did, I started on Saturday around midnight and finished the whole 4 book series by the next Saturday around 9 PM. That is over 2,444 pages in a week!

I was lucky my husband was laid off and home - he was so ------ understanding? Supportive? Patient? Or maybe he was just wanting me to hurry up, finish and get this obsession out of my system.

The thing is, I learned something. For the first time, in a very long time, I was doing something for ME! 100% Just Me! I can't remember that last time that happen.

Another thing, I remember thinking a few times during my vacation that I was going to 'pay for this'. When I finished I was going to have Soooo much work to do. But the strange thing was, I didn't. I mean, yes, there was still the house to upkeep and things that needed to be done. But they were the same things as before my vacation. Nothing more. Laundry - yes. Floors - yes. Dusting - yes. To Do List - yes - always. But it was no more or less than usual. And this made me think - if I can go on vacation for week and come back to no more or no less than the usual Mommy Duties - what am I getting so worked up over? It's never going to be all caught up. The To Do List is never going to be satisfied. The laundry is never going to be completely done and the floors and dishes and coupons and anything else is never going to be all done - all at once.

Which makes me wonder why I was striving for this in the first place....


All I know is right now, I feel better realizing that - it's never going to be all done. Just do what you can each day and stop driving yourself bonkers.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Got Me! Tagged With the 8 Tag

Nellie over at The Juggling Homemaker decided to make my day and tag me.

No pressure of course. (yeah right - ha ha! this thing is long!)

But I will live.

Here is my 8 Tag - Tag:

8 Things I am Looking Forward to:
1. My husband finding another job soon. (he was laid off 5 weeks ago.)
2. Warmer weather for sure!

3. Having a night out with my oldest daughter next weekend.
4. Having my Juicy Juice House Party - Party.
5. Starting a garden - hopefully soon.
6. Baskin Robbins $.31 scoop night on April 29th.

7. Going bowling with the kids.
8. The day I will be completely caught up with laundry, housework, coupons and everything else - all at one time. (Yeah, right.)

8 Things I did Yesterday:

1. Got up extra early to take my son to school to get his clarinet.
2. Took my son's clarinet to the city to be repaired.
3. My husband and I took the babies to an indoor playground at the mall.
4. Took my daughter back to the mall to return a bathing suit she bought last week.
(Parent Tip #502: Don't EVER let your 15 year old go to the mall to buy a bathing suit without seeing it first.)
5. Listened to my son play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on his new guitar. (He saved his own money to buy it and is teaching himself how to play.)
6. Took a nap. (shhhhh...)
7. Did 3 loads of laundry.
8. Filled out and mailed my rebates.

8 Things I wish I could do:

1. Take more time out for myself.
2. Sing. (I love to sing - but I'm completely tone deft.)
3. Dance. (I love to dance - but just know I shouldn't.)
4. Engage in small talk.
5. Not be so 'shy' around people I don't know.
6. Gain weight - and keep it. (just a few more pounds would be nice.)
7. Meet John Travolta in person. (maybe he could teach me how to dance - ha ha!)
8. See the Winchester Mansion.

8 Shows I watch:

1. Lost
2. Food Detectives
3. South Park
4. Deadliest Catch
5. Hell's Kitchen
6. Cops
7. Good Eats
8. Dirty Jobs

8 People I am tagging:
(hey, and no pressure if you don't do these things):

1. Michelle @ Little Moments
2. Tara @ Family Traditions
3. Erica @ Effortless Savings
4. Angela @ Nine More Months
5. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
6. Jen @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
7. Carol @ Frugal Finds
8. Jill @ Controlling My Chaos

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Think: Free Cheap Spring Pictures

Are you are planning on getting spring pictures of your family? Here are some a few free picture coupons you can print to help you save money on your spring pictures. (Thanks Karen for passing these along.)

JCPenney Portrait Studios
Free 8x10 portrait and save 50% on your portrait purchase. Offer expires 5/31/2009.
Print coupon at:

Target Portrait Studios
Free 8x10 portrait and save 50% on your portrait purchase. Offer expires 5/31/2009.
Print coupon at:

Flash Digital Portraits
Free portrait session and discounts on portrait purchases. Offer expires 4/25/2009.
Print coupons at:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - 4/13/09

I am a Menu Plan Monday newbie - but not new to menu planning. I usually prefer to do things on a larger scale so when I plan a menu - I usually do it for a month. Along with the cooking for a month. But seems how lately things haven't been going quiet as planned - imagine that.

Monday - Leftovers (Yes, I totally realize I am starting the week off with leftovers - but that's just the way life is in my fridge right now.)

Tuesday - Chicken Broccoli Salad (1 of the fresh broccoli's and 1 of the bagged salad I bought Sunday.)
Wednesday - Loaded Potatoes and Salad (2 of the fresh broccoli's and 2 of the bagged salad I bought Sunday. Tuesday I will cook extra chicken for the potatoes today. These potatoes are a meal in itself. I plan on loading them with chicken, cottage cheese and broccoli - and maybe anything else I find.)

Thursday - Lentils and Cornbread (Using 1/2 bag of the carrots bought Sunday)

Friday - Chicken Wild Rice Soup (This was made from scratch last month and frozen.)

One of the things I like to do when planning a menu is make notes and keep track of my fresh veggies I am using. Since I try and plan my menu around my fresh veggies I want to make sure I use them all. In this menu I will use 2 of the 3 broccoli's I bought yesterday and the 3rd one will be used during the week for the babies lunches, along with the other 1/2 bag of carrots. They love broccoli and carrots with ranch dressing.

Meijer Grocery Savings - 4/12/09

I went to Meijer today to pick up a few things. I don't need much this week - which is a good thing cause sales and deals really suck. Last week I stocked up on milk when it was $.88/ 1/2 gallon and the expiration date was 2 weeks long so I made sure I got enough on the last day of the sale to last 2 weeks. I did need bread and veggies though so here's my shop:

Daisy Cottage Cheese - $2.79
Raisin Bran Crunch Extra Cereal - $4.49
2 Loaves Nature's Pride Bread - $3.00

(Below was part of the 10/$10 Get 11th Free Sale)

2 Dole Bagged Salad - $2.00
Earthbound Farm Carrots - $1.00
2 Containers Blackberries - $2.00
Aunt Millies Hamburger Buns - $1.00
Aunt Millies Potato Bread - $1.00
3 Heads of Broccoli - $3.00
Mushrooms - $1.00

Saved: $23.65
Total Spent OOP: $13.86

I love it when I save more than I spend!

The Nature's Pride bread was on sale for $1.50 and had $.55 peelies on them. Since my Meijer rounds coupons over $.50 up to $1 - I got the loaves for $.50 each after coupons.

Plus - the Raisin Bran has a mail in rebate on the box - so I will get $4.49 back.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stampin' Up! Customer Panel

This is so cool! Did you know you can receive FREE Stampin' Up! products just for answering a few surveys?

There are only a few selected panel members - so, cross your fingers! I just filled mine out a few days ago and haven't heard anything yet - so we will see.

If you are one of the Lucky Ducks chosen, you will receive a Stampin' Up! goodie box in the mail. Every few weeks you will receive a short survey and as long as you answer the surveys and stay active in the panel you will receive a Stampin Up! goodie box every 3 months!

Stampin' Up! Customer Panel Sign Up

Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

March 2009 - Savings & Earnings

Spending & Savings

Retail Cost: $1,409.00
Store & Coupon Savings: $1,021.69
Extra Care Bucks: $94.00
Easy Saver Rebates: $67.26
Total Paid Out Of Pocket: $315.30

Incoming Money

Online Surveys: $57.00
Misc. Money Earned: $59.25
Mail In Rebates: $10.00
Total Incoming Money: $126.25

Candle Bay Candle Coins