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

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

DIY children fun, batch cooking and etc:

Hello everyone,
school is back in session for all our grands that go to school and our grown children that work in education.   We are settling into a new schedule and so far,  everything is going pretty smooth.

I am still helping with childcare for some of the grands but I don't have a single grand that is here for any full weekdays,  this is a big change for me as I've been caring for different combinations of grands for the last 8 years while their parents worked.
Whatever will I do with all my free time?
So far,  I haven't seen that much extra free time but I am sure I will stay busy no matter who is here.

Here a few things our grands had end of summer fun with.

This was homemade chalk paint.  Each muffin cup held 2 T of cornstarch, 2 T water and 5 drops of food coloring.
Stir it up well and then paint.  Please look on Pinterest if you want more instructions but that is truly all we did
The grands had a great time stirring it and painting with it.  
It didn't really show up so well on the driveway but it was still lots of fun.  
It also completely washed away  when it rained.

All the grands like to pour and this 2 year old is having a great time with just water and a plastic tea set on a tray covered with a kitchen towel.
The towel controlled most of the spills and it was just water so it wasn't much a mess.

When the bigger grands wanted to have a tea party,  I got out a tea set my mom found at a yardsale years ago.  It is pottery and looks a lot like Fiesta ware.
My parents were here for this tea party.  They had some lemonade for pouring and some Ninja Turtle cookies the grands baked with a mix from Dollar Tree.
They all had a very sweet time and I know the tea sets will be used often when grands are here.

Children love to cook and help in the kitchen.  This 5 year old was helping me roll out noodles.
It costs nothing to have them help and they enjoy it so much.

Today I did some big batch cooking.  
I made a recipe of Energy Balls.  It is based loosely on a YouTube video by Keep Calm and Clean

I make them a little differently.  I mix up the peanut butter, honey and vanilla and then I add the quick oats and either mini chocolate chips or mini M&Ms.  Once mixed,  I use a little scoop and make balls,  chill until ready to eat.  In the video,  she also adds brown sugar but I think these are plenty sweet like this.
These are a favorite of the grands and they are quite filling and hunger satisfying.
If you look for other Energy balls or protein balls recipes,  most have a lot more ingredients.   We really like this simple recipe just fine.

I made a triple recipe of  Freezer Biscuits I've made this recipe many times and they are always good.  They are freezing and will get bagged up with frozen solid.
I also baked a triple recipe of banana bread/muffins and a double batch of chocolate chip muffins.

When everything was cool,  I put it in plastic containers for the freezer and in sandwich bags for school lunches.  We are having company this weekend and will probably serve some of the banana bread and chocolate chip muffins.
I also packaged up some to take to my parents at their retirement home.

I want to mix up a new recipe for a Cajun seasoning but I was out of onion powder.  I did have a couple quarts of the dried onion flakes.  I tried grinding them up a  little coffee grinder,,,,,
and it worked just fine!  I will be using this homemade onion powder for the Cajun seasoning as well as when I make more Taco Seasoning and Rub for smoked meat.
It always a win when you can use what you have instead of adding things to a shopping list, right?

Keeping it real though....
All that baking and cooking used lots of dishes.  The dishwasher was full and running as well as all the dishes I hand washed and have air drying.  (hmmm,  I'm not sure that is a complete and proper  sentence but you get the picture)

I'm still doing bargain shopping in small amounts  This was last week at Dollar General.  
I used just digital coupons on the Dollar General app and website.  
After deducting all the coupons as well as a $5 off $30 coupon for buying Gain products,  I spent $12.71
Before coupons, it was about $35.

I'm still walking everyday and keeping track of my steps with a Fitbit.
They sent me this badge last week.

Way back in 2009,  we canceled out satellite TV.  We've lived just fine without pay tv all these years and got most of my shows through a rooftop antenna.
But the weather has really been blowing that antenna around, and to adjust it,  someone had to go up on the roof.  My husband has no business being a roof anymore and our sons are helpful but all have busy lives.
So I pretty much insisted we get cable tv.   It is through the same company we have had our internet and landline phone with so the TV gets bundled in and the price was not bad at all.
Also,  there is no contract and we can cancel anytime if needed.

My husband really likes TV but I don't watch it much.  I did finally watch my first episode ever of "Fixer Upper"  It was OK but I haven't watched any more.  I thought I might of been really missing something and the show is nice but it turns out  I wasn't really missing anything.

I have only sewed for 3 days since I last posted about the 100 Day sewing challenge
I did finish a new top and have 2 more garments for me cut out.  Hopefully I will show those to you all soon.  

 That's the homemaking that's been going on here- thank you for visiting.  


  1. I will be interested to see exactly how you keep busy without all those little people there to take care of. ;) I thought the tea party with your parents and the grandkids was the sweetest thing. I'll bet your parents enjoyed it just as much as the grandkids did. :)

    Be blessed!

  2. i have reduced the amount of outside work I do and I still can't get done what needs to be done.

  3. Wow! You have been busy. Thanks for sharing all of those recipes especially the chalk paint. I am always looking for something new to do with my grandson. It looks like your grands had so much fun. Enjoy your free time when you have it.

  4. We've been cable-free since Oct. 2014. I don't miss it but I do like having that $70 back in my pocket. ;-)
    We caught some shows while on our road trip while staying in motels and no, I am not missing much still. lolz
    Nice shop at the DG.
    I really need to get a plan together for how to fill my Fall days here....

  5. You have been busy and productive! I am going to try those peanut butter energy balls today. The sad thing is, I know we will eat them up so fast!!! Lots of good ideas in your post!

  6. I love your posts. I will be trying just about everything you mentioned today, especially the energy balls. My son and I often walk into town (about 3 miles away), and back home, so it will be nice to have a fairly healthy snack to keep up our energy. We haven't had TV since digital came in, because I am way too cheap to pay for it. We have discussed getting an antenna, but again it's not that high a priority. We have a TV and a blu ray player, and we try out shows from the library. if we decided we like them, we buy them when they drop in price. We found it's cheaper to buy a season than to pay a month of cable or satellite. Enjoy your free time!

  7. Hi Rhonda! loved seeing a new post today.I will be making freezer biscuits this weekend,its so nice having "fast" food.Great job with your walking,that is something I need to get back on.Our grandkids were here most of the summer,lots of company,which we loved.We miss them,but I am looking forward to getting to some sewing and crafts that got put on the back burner.have to get ready for christmas lol.love reading your blog,you always have an inspiration for me. Thanks!

  8. It was great to see a new post from you! Busy busy! All that cooking and prepping- wow! I loved the pile of food you prepared, but had to wrinkle my nose at the idea of doing ALL those dishes!! I used to do a looooong baking day of Christmas stuff back in my 20's. Oh, how I dreaded all the dishes!!!

    My husband does a lot of driving for his job so I'm going to make up a big batch of those energy balls and hope it keeps him from *needing* to buy a candy bar or two. I'm going to add some dark chocolate bits and dried fruit instead of just all the candy to health it up even more lol. Thanks for posting that!!

    I hope you'll share what you do with all that spare time you're going to have, wink wink!!!

  9. I always enjoy reading about your ideas and projects! =) Your recipes look so delicious!

  10. I'm adding cream to my shopping list so I can try out the biscuits. I'm trying to cut out purchasing some things to lower the grocery budget. That seems to be an on going battle! We've tried the cornstarch paint before and found it to be fun. I liked how easy it was to clean up. I imagine you'll find plenty to keep you busy in your spare time!

  11. I feel the same way about Fixer Upper. I think there is just a small club of us who don't feel compelled to watch it.

  12. I agree with Debby in KS...I enjoyed catching up with you via the blog though I knew you'd been busy aplenty lately. "Energy Bites" seem to be the 'thing' these days. Katie shared one she'd made with me and I thought it quite good. Her recipe had peanut butter, chocolate chips (so far so good right?) and chia seeds....

  13. I think with your little bit of extra free time now, you should finally spend some time on yourself! You are such a wonderful mother and grandmother, but now you can spend some needed time on Rhonda! I've made energy bites before; similar recipe to your except I had flax or chia seeds to mine to make them a little more healthy. I also like using pure organic maple syrup sometimes instead of honey; switch it up a bit. I hardly ever watch TV either. There's only a few shows I watch in the winter. You aren't missing anything with Fixer Upper - the shows are all pretty much the same. We actually just cancelled our cable because it was a waste of money for us since we hardly ever watched TV...but mainly because AT&T kept raising the price. We instead subscribed to Hulu, which gives us all the same channels as cable for only $40/month. The picture is so much clearer than cable, too.

  14. I need to make energy bites =the grand kids would love them. They would also love helping me make them! Seems they to like things better when they help. Thanks for the recipe. You are so good about keeping the grandkids busy. You are definitely and inspiration to me in that part.

  15. Looks like kids had a great summer, we still have a week before school starts. I have to try youtr energy balls they look so yummy.

  16. Rhonda, you and your husband are wise to assess your wants, needs and capabilities. We are doing the same sort of thing here. Loving the photos of your grandchildren. What a gorgeous bunch! As for Fixer Upper...well, I like it...but it is really just the same thing over and over. Nice if you like that style of décor, for sure. We don't watch much TV at all, but we do love our Netflix which only costs us $17 a month here in Australia. Well worthwhile to be able to sit back and enjoy a movie or really good TV series when we want to indulge. Hoping your have a great week. Mimi xxx

  17. We have a rotor on our antenna so we can turn it from the living room. It takes one on the couch and one running the rotor until the picture is good and shouting stop. AT this point the person running the rotor does not react quite fast enough so it has to be tweeked but it does work.

  18. One of the things that always inspires me is the great job you do with pre-planning your food. Batch cooking is something I love doing, when I get the time. I love all your mixes, and feel like I should try some soon.

    I don't dare make energy bites. I know I would feel the need for "energy" about every minute until they were gone:) They look wonderful.

  19. We cancelled our cable earlier this year and have been just fine without it. We have a subscription to CBS All Access that allows us to watch our favorite shows there and see the local CBS news which is our favorite station anyway. In addition, we have Amazon Prime so we take advantage of the free shows on that service and our girls have Netflix so we all share the same log in for that service as well. We also have an Apple TV so we can watch YouTube videos on our tv too. Sounds like you got a good deal! Just watch the prices closely - we had a great deal too and then a year into it they upped our price because the initial deal expired. So we just said no thanks.

  20. Wow...8 yrs babysitting. I've been watching my one grandson for 3 years & I struggle with my attitude about it at times. I think the schedule is part of my struggle....getting up between 4:30 & 6 to drive to town & sit with him . But my son just went to days so my hours have dropped from 5 to 3 days a week Your comments will help me adjust my attitude for sure.

    We watch tv through Roku. Once you buy the player you can watch a lot of channels for free. We pay for a few channels & we have Amazon Prime which has a channel as well. We also have an outdoor antenna we use to watch local storm watches.


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