If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Sunday, December 31, 2017

End of the year catch up

Hello everyone, I didn’t Blog much in December but that seems to be almost the norm for a lot of bloggers like me.  I’m still here and we’re all fine.  

I am still shopping at CVS.  In fact, one of my plans is to shop for everything a lot more carefully.  

This is what I bought early this Sunday morning, on our way to church....
Before the total was a lot, about $130 ish.  
I had a few coupons, some extracarebucks from previous weeks,  some coupons from the CVS red box and 2 emailed coupons, a $10/60 and 30% off non sale items.  

After all deductions, I paid $32 in cash and got back $32 in Extracarebucks (that was just a coincidence the amounts were the same. ) 

One very easy deal for every CVS card holder is to get the $3.99 toothpaste Coupon from the CVS app and load it to your CVS card.  It makes a tube 100% free. 

Some other careful shopping was how I spent $70 in birthday money.  (My Birthday was a few days before Christmas and I turned 60 ๐Ÿ˜ฑ) 
I shopped sales and used coupons as well as a military discount at Rack Room Shoes.  
The sandals and boots were both originally $69 a pair. 
At Bath and Body Works, the big candles were in sale for $10 and I used a $10/40 Coupon. 
The double wall water bottle is from Walmart and was just $4.94
And I have $5 left

We are having really cold weather right now,  like most of North America, and the boots are really keeping my feet warm and cozy.  

With the New Year,  I have plans to do several home projects, like organizing.  
These are before photos of my laundry room.  I cleaned it all up Wednesday but haven’t had a chance to take after photos yet because.......

......my husband was out of town, 2 grandsons came to stay for a couple days,  we had an impromptu birthday party for my dad and............

We adopted a new puppy.  A friend posts him on Facebook.  He was found in the country and his owners couldn’t be found.  We suspect he was dumped off. 
She told me he was a sweetheart, but her parents couldn’t keep him because they were getting ready to downsize to a motor home.  
So I got him because he looks like a perfect pup for our home.  
He’s been to the Vet.  He weighed 7 pounds, could  be 6 weeks to 9 weeks old,  may be schnauzer or wire hair terrior and some mutt. He had worms and was treated for those and for his first puppy shot like a trooper. 
He’s eating great and doing good with house training.  He was around 5 grandchildren at one time and their noise and noisy toys didn’t bother him a bit.    

 our new puppy Ducky 

So,  I’ll take the laundry room after photos soon and Hopefully lots other before and after was January goes on.  
I’ll update my 100 day sewing challenge too. 
Goodbye for the last time in 2017.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Very easy Faux Gingerbread houses

First, this is not my original idea.  I’ve seen variations of them in multiple places.     

I bought a box of Aldi graham crackers and broke them all to make squares.  
Each house uses 6 squares.  If you use every cracker in an Aldi box, there will be just enough for 9 houses. 
Then I made some Royal Icing with 4 cups powdered sugar, 3 egg whites and 1 teaspoon cream of tarter.  I used a hand mixer to beat it.  The recipe said for 5 minutes but mine was “right” after 30 seconds.  
Now,  take 6 cracker squares and shape your houses, using the icing to hold the pieces together,  you could use a bag but I used a knife for some and just dipped the edges for some.  You will have to hold the pieces for a few seconds while they set but mine set up fast.  
Each house was made on a disposable plate.  

Then I looked to see what candy was lingering in our pantry.  I found plenty.   I opened or unwrapped as needed and put the candy on divided dishes.  

Then I called in the 5 grands that were here.  
The houses are very simple but these were two were very excited about them.  

I sat with them and spread the icing on their houses so they could stick on candy.  

This was fun and much simpler than baking a gingerbread head from scratch.  
Any old candy is fine.  The kids didn’t are at all that they had a jumble of candy with no rhyme or reason,  they just like the hands on decorating part.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2- More Christmas things

There were 17 family members visiting today, 19 total counting me and my husband.  
The grands like to craft so we did 2 craft projects. 
One was painting wood ornaments from a kit that I bought on clearance after Christmas 2016.  

Serious painting going on..........

Great grandpa Richard with his namesake baby Richard James or RJ,  didn’t paint but they had fun being outside.  

The finished ornaments- a few by adults, others by 2, 4, 5 and 7 year olds.  

The other craft was inspired by Pinterest and craft supplies I had on hand.  I used wood popsicle stick, with 3 held together with hot glue.  Then I spray painted them silver. My first plan was to paint them white but I had silver paint on hand so silver is what I used.  I did this before kiddos arrived.  

The kiddos used white school glue, glitter and sequins to decorate them.  
I’m so glad it was warm and only a very light breeze blowing.  We did all the crafting outdoors so the glue, paint and glitter mess stayed outside.  

No photos, but lunch was chili in the big crockpot with corn chips, crackers, cheese and sour cream for toppings,  a fresh fruit tray and some raw veggies with dip.  Dessert was cookies made with a hello cake mix and mini M&Ms and brownies made from a Berry Crocker mix.  

After lunch,  I took a nap with this 2 year old cutie. ❤️ she is the easiest napped of all 8 grands.  

My daughter said the photos I posted yesterday left her a bit confused so here is a full length photo of the dining table.  

Merry Christmas again everyone.  
I may post more but it may be after Christmas.  Who Knows?  I’ll just play it by ear.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hello everyone,  we have had 3 busy weekends in a row and this weekend is also going to be busy
Life just gets busy this time of year, doesn’t it?  
I’ve had ideas for blog posts but just haven’t had the opportunity to actually do the posts.  
We did put out ours Christmas decorations this week so I’ll show them.  

We have 2  Nativity sets,  this one with tall ceramic figures made by a dear friend years ago.  

This plastic set was bought our first married Christmas at Kmart in Oceanside California.  The pieces are very durable as all our children played with it and it doesn’t look too worse for wear.  Son Bobby made the stand for the angel when he was about 10.  He cut and bent a clothes hanger to make it and I’ve used it ever since then.  

My brother makes us a fresh evergreen wreath every year and he delivered it yesterday.  

We rearranged the living room and I am so happy with how much roomier it seems.  
The white tree is new this year, purchased at Hobby Lobby.  

You know how women usually prefer clear white tree lights and men usually like colored lights? 
This tree has a big selling point——-

The lights are programable and can be clear or multicolor, they can be continuous or they can blink in several patterns.  

My mother in law’s thing has always been Christmas ornament collecting,  she’s done it so long and has several thousand.  Now,  she is starting to downsize a little.  She asked which ones we wanted and I chose the Campbell soup balls as my grandparents were Campbells.  
These balls are fragile and we decided to use them on this silver tree as a centerpiece.  This tree is very sturdy so I’m not worrying about them.  The limbs must be heavy wire under the tinsel and don’t sag at all when things are hung on them.  We bought the silver tree at Pier 1, maybe 10 years ago.  

The Campbell Soup Kids are different on every ball but they all seem happy, kind and of course cute.  

That’s the extent of our decorating this month.  

And if you don’t see any posts from me for awhile, maybe even until Christmas, it’s only because life is busy right now.  I’ll be back blogging when extra activities slow down.  

Merry Christmas everyone,  even if today is just December 1.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Baking with a souvenir and a thrifty tip

We didn’t really do any shopping on our recent trip except for a few groceries that we ate in our condo rental. 

We stopped at the College of the Ozarks as we left Branson.  We had their very fancy brunch buffet which was truly first rate and just delicious. 
In their gift shop area, we bought a bag of stone ground cornmeal.  They raise the corn and grind it there at the college.  
It’s even in a muslin bag.  

I wanted to try it so I baked cornbread muffins for our supper. 
I used our favorite recipe, this cornbread is just slightly sweet and perfect to eat with soup or stew.  

It was easy to find my recipe since I redid my recipes a month or so back.  
Most of the recipes are ones I’ve had a while.  I prefer recipes that just use ingredients, over recipes that call for a package of something or prepared storebought ingredients.  Basic recipes are usually the thriftiest and they are also best for homemakers like me that keep a pantry.   

 Below are the finished cornbread muffins and the pot of vegetable beef soup.  

Close up of the soup - I used some cooked roast beef from the freezer, onion, celery, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, corn, canned diced tomatoes and some beef bouillon.  

Thrifty tip - some produce is priced per pound and some is priced per item.  
Aldi’s cabbage was $1.19 a head.  It was very obvious that the heads were very different sizes so I picked out the biggest one I saw.   
My head was marked as weighing 2.5 pounds.  I knew it was bigger so I weighed it when I got home.  
It weighed almost 4 pounds!  
So when produce is priced per item,  look them over and pick out the biggest or heaviest one to get the most for your money.  

Almost Thanksgiving......

Good morning everyone.  My husband and I are back from a 4 day trip to Branson, Missouri.  We saw some beautiful fall foliage, ate some really good food and saw several Christmas music shows and 1 drama.  It really put us in a celebrating mood. 
Now I am getting ready to host Thanksgiving in our home.  

Since we were gone for a few days and I haven’t been to the grocery store,  our fridge is fairly empty.  It was empty enough that I could see it was truly in need of a good cleaning 
No before and just an after photo, but take my word that this fridge needed cleaning and now it looks so much better and white again.  We drink a lot of iced tea and it seems to somehow get dripped on every shelf in the fridge.  ๐Ÿค” 
I took everything out and washed all the shelves and drawers in the sink.  The inside was sprayed down and wiped down and I’m happy with the fruits of this labor.  

See that empty spot in the top shelf?  That’s where the turkey will be until my husband cooks it.  
And I have got to do a little shopping today,  especially to get a turkey.  

No pretty lists this week but below is my planning.......

Our menu plan- I don’t have a mountain of things to cook as family members have volunteered to help.  ๐Ÿ˜
We will have a traditional meal around noon and appetizers and snacks in the evening 
And probably desserts all day long. 

Shopping and housework list 

I’m guessing many of you are doing a lot of the same things this week that I am.  
Happy Thanksgiving ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿฆƒ 

I’ll be back blogging after this holiday weekend. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Meal prep for a crowd

Hello everyone. 
Last weekend was a big football game in our town.  Some of our family members went to the game and quite a few of them were at our home for entire day, and a few spent the night. 
I needed to have meals planned ahead because complicated cooking just doesn’t happen when 6 young kiddos are here and doing restaurant food is not an option on game day.  Our town is not big and when 70000 football fans come,  all the streets, stores and restaurants are just full to capacity.  

So, first thing I did was write out a plan.  
We used food we already had so I didn’t need to spend any time shopping.  

The day before,  I cooked the ground beef for the taco salad and the sausage patties for breakfast.  I stored them in the fridge in zipper bags so there would 2 less containers to wash as meal clean up time.  
I made extra ice 

I set out ingredients we would be using over the weekend

And the crockpots that would be used for heating. 
I had never used the crockpot liners but I’m so glad we had them,  the Velveeta Rotel tomato dip is a family favorite but it makes a cooked on mess.  I won’t use the liners everytime I crockpot cook but I plan to always use them for Rotel dip.  

I had older eggs and newer eggs.  
The older eggs were cracked into 1 container to make sheet pan eggs for Sunday, which were OK but I prefer Stovetop cooked eggs.  The rest of the older eggs were hard boiled and we enjoyed them this past week on salads.  

Fixings ready for the taco salads- stored in plastic dishes with lids keeps them fresh.  

Fresh fruit and carrot sticks- stored the same way.  
The top right container is grapefruit, which is not the ruby red grapefruit that I thought I was buying.  

Orange jello with mandarin oranges and plain cherry jello- made in 5 ounce portion cups I buy from Amazon

It took planning to get everything to fit in our fridge but I did it. 

We use throw away dishes only when we have a big group for a meal. 

On Saturday, before everyone got here,  I put the taco meat and Rotel dip in their crockpots with liners to heat. 

Unsweetened tea and lemonade were put in these dispensers with an assortment of cups right beside them 

I don’t have photos of the actual meals except for this one as it was getting set up. 
It was just too busy a time to set up photos.  

Granddaughter Elizabeth is always happy with fresh fruit.  

Here are the 4 littlest grands-  all enjoyed their meals and playing with their cousins. 

Granddaughters Elizabeth and Andie- eating their favorite food- fruit and nachos.  

I took a few photos of the adults but they were not good and I have a rule that I never post unflattering photos of anyone.  

I’ve been cooking big meals for a long time, first for my family and then at church and at the 2 fraternity houses I worked at while we had 2 children in college.  
My advice is plan ahead, when possible use what you already have, and then be flexible because no matter how much you prep and plan,  things can get a little crazy.