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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas done but still smiling!!!

Well we had to postpone Christmas until late last night, about 10pm. One of the unfortunate things about hubby working for the railroad..is you never know when he is going to be home, He is on call 24 hrs, 7 days. We had a really nice, non stressful night last night, Everyone seemed happy and content, It was really really nice. We had a ham and scalloped potato dinner with pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, spinach dip with veggie tray. I had all ingredients on hand so no running to the store......YEAH.
Today I spent cleaning up, I kicked everyone out ( Sent them to the bowling alley) and cleaned cleaned cleaned. OHHHH the house looks so nice, I had an extra hour before they got home to just enjoy the cleanliness. I was very happy to see they took extra care tonight to keep it clean for me. All in all this was the best Christmas thus far. Nothing really notable, Just quiet, content, laid back. I miss it already!!!!!! Hope you all had your best Christmas thus far too !!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting ready for christmas

I am getting ready for Christmas today, I want a very laid back no fuss Christmas this year. I have given myself permission to be free. I cleaned the house this morning, A shortened spring clean type clean. Scrubbed every little corner. I am done. I will not do much until December 27th. I have the last load in the dryer, all sheets and blankets have been washed too. I will spend tomorrow making up some of the food that can be made up ahead of time. Then just the big stuff will need to be done on Christmas eve and day. I really really want to enjoy this year and not be caught up in the fact that everything is perfectly perfect. I never live in perfectly perfect and this year I am gonna enjoy the mess. Of course, no one will see me on Dec. 27th, Cause I will be back in mode come 7am, And I will curse myself hourly for "letting this house go" ahhhhh, (sip of coffee) I know myself so well!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO MEEEEEEE

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is there anything better then goulash????

I make goulash atleast 6 times a month. We love it!!!! I make it on the stovetop, or sometimes I put it in the crockpot. It is really filling, So the only I ever serve with it is homemade applesauce, or tonight was homemade applesauce and throw those pears in that are gonna go bad sauce!!! I always feel complete when I make this, Maybe that is why I make it so much. Everyone gobbles up and wants seconds. It is so cheap and so easy, I love it love it love it.
Goulash (stove top recipe)
1 lb hamburger
1 can tomato paste( 1 large can or 2 small ones)
1 can tomato sauce(1 large can or 2 small ones)
water
celery
onion
salt pepper
macaroni noodles or any darn noodle you have on hand.
Sometimes If I remember a can of corn.
Fill up pot about 3/4 way with water ( I use a stockpot)
bring to boil, crumble hamburger into boiling water, add celery and onion. Boil until hamburger is no longer pink. Add tomato sauce and paste, Stir till dossolved. Add macaroni noodles, cook till done. Salt and pepper to taste. Right before you serve this you can add a can of corn, I add liquid and all.
I do sprinkle in a pinch of sugar in anything I serve with a tomato base, tomato sauces, spaghetti sauces give me acid, and the sugar cures that for me. It is not enough to taste, but does the trick for me.

What someone's waste would buy me

I was just reading emily's post over at www.under1000permonth.blogspot.com about wrapping paper ideas. I posted about seeing a woman spend $79 just on wrapping paper. Every time I see this type of spending, I can't help but think what that could buy for our family. I do this everytime I see something wasted, I can't help it, I have an illness, hahahaha. So let's take that $79 wrapping paper amount and see what we could buy that is actually useful......
$79 would buy our family
#1- 30 gallons of milk
#2- 5 huge boxes of powdered milk
#3- my amazon.com wish list-apple peeler corer, food dehydrator, root beer making kit, -my $20 gift cards from swagbucks, and I could add a bit more to that list.
#4- enough paint to paint every room in our 2500 sq. ft. house
#5- @.99 lb when on sale for pork chops, 79 lbs.
I sometimes don't even realize that I am doing this, I just see things and my mind thinks, maybe too much sometimes.
Wrapping paper to me is just wasteful spending. It is something that most just throw away. I just keep everything, and use it the next year. I have a huge bin full of bags, wrappings, ribbons etc., enough to last years, then I just keep adding to it. If by chance I used it all, I still would not buy new stuff, I would use newspaper or whatever I had that would work. I know my kids would rather have something else they needed then expensive wrapping, I took a poll, not one kid or hubby or I would want wrapping instead of something else we really wanted or needed, Well the 2 year old just stared at me but I took that as a no, :). What waste have you seen lately and what could you buy your family with that?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going to the store during the holiday's makes me sad.

I purposely get my stockpile at it's largest during the holiday season, To avoid the stores. Plus I do not have the same ability as my hubby does to go in, get only what is on the list and leave. He does not mind going and getting them for me, and this saves us money. Well he had to work today, and I had to get some milk, Been pumping out yogurt just as the kids are gobbling it up. It made me rather sad, I know this sounds crazy, But every year when I go to the store so close to Christmas it makes me sad. Sad for a lot of the people that are shopping. Sometimes I want to run up to them and tell them, I know I have been there, But you can't buy their love. Some of them, just seem to grab things randomly, piles and piles of STUFF. They seem in a trance, like not even realizing what they are buying. Am I nuts or does anyone else notice this and feel bad for them. The funniest part is they look at me in the express lane with my brood and probably think, How sad she can only afford milk!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day of reflection

I have been reflecting alot today, about the past year or more. I want to make some real big changes this next year or two. I love learning, I will never stop! There is nothing I don't want to do or learn, Well within reason and law. I have learned alot this year, I learned how to make my own yogurt, Which my family hated store bought yogurt but loves homemade. I make all my own breads. I cut my paper towel use down by more then half. I have tried to get more organized, This will take me longer! Lots of things I did. This next year, I want to learn better ways of dealing with my 5 year olds, (adhd), I want to recognize that having twins with it, seems at times like it is worse than it is. I want to enjoy them more, as much as I do the baby. I want to make amends with my 14 year old, if there is such a thing with 14 year olds. I want to be a better wife to my husband, I am critical, and after 15 years together this coming march, I need to recognize that he is safe. I brought alot of baggage into our relationship, two kids, Just coming out of an abusive marriage, Parents who were less then loving. I think that the hubby thing must be top priority and then maybe the rest will fall in place. This will be a year of letting go of that baggage, of letting myself go and be vulnerable. Surely if I can get milk to turn into yogurt, and dough to become bread, I can do this, Learn this. With god all things are possible, And I know he will be right there with me just like he always has, Even when I didn't know it. Yes a year of learning and changing and great things.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is this house ever clean????

Ever spend all day cleaning, Sit down maybe 5 minutes during the day and at the end of it all, Everything looks dirty!!!! Ugghhhh I had that day today. I cleaned and cleaned, Felt at times like I spring cleaned!!! I sat down tonight and everything just looked a mess to me, no different then when I started. I thought and thought and thought and then thought some more. Why? I started to look around and really notice things, Although I have been delving further and further into frugalness and wasting less, I have been trying to reuse-reuse-reuse, It seems like more is coming in then going out. It also does not help that I have been watching to new show on A&E Hoarders, Not that I am a hoarder, I am not emotionally attached to anything. My problem is that I am a great organizer, I really am, I have all the tools, all the knowledge to help me organize. My problem as I see it is I just move things around. So I am adding to my New years resolution list. Organize to reduce stress. I omit steps of organizing rules, even though I know I shouldn't. Like, having the boxes for donating and throw away and storage. I tend to always think I will use that some day I am sure, Or I will have a yard sale, Which I might add I have not had in 10 years, Because I hate having them. So I have my list ready, When the Christmas stuff comes down, My organizing the CORRECT way goes in to effect. I will have my boxes, give away, throw away, keep. I have it quite lofty at a 30% reduction in stuff. I have given myself in my timeline/outline 3 months to do this, With the side note that nothing comes into this house, Unless...
#1 I am out of it.
#2 It is a food product, or my general stockpile.
#3 Christmas or birthday gifts.
#4 If say I get a new couch, The old one goes. I get a new crock pot, The old barely working one goes.
Wish my luck, give me suggestions, No doubt I need em.
Helppppppp me be free, free of stuff that has no meaning or use!!!!!!!

comments, not working

I have heard that my comment section is not working, I am going to fiddle around with this today and get this working, Although I love just writing, Of course I want to hear comments, I check daily for comments and was wondering why I had none!! Thanks to all who have visited and I am getting right on the comments problem. Michelle

Friday, December 11, 2009

Whew, Half way done!!!!

Half way done with christmas food prep, Got a late start since our water pipes froze up, So started yesterday. Made christmas roll out cookies, Half baked, half rolled up and put in freezer. Sugar cookies half cooked, half rolled up and put in freezer. Got the breakfast pizzas made, sausage and cream cheese rolls made, Made 3 loves of reg. bread, and one banana bread.
But my big fun accomplishment is I found a recipe and video on youtube for making yogurt at home, We loveeeeeeeeee yogurt, topped with homemade granola is the best. I have never made yogurt before. Here is the link to the video www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOltrfr2W3w . The only change I would make to this yogurt is adding 2 tablespoons total of vanilla, for the vanilla yogurt, And I will also try reducing the amount of milk, By 1/2 cup fulls each time to get a thicker yogurt. It was still tasty and so very very easy. I am going to make more tonight. No worries about anyone eating it, the 5 jars I made last night are almost gone, And I have quite a stockpile of canning jars. I am also making granola tonight, since I am out.
I was also at walmart today and they had nice blanket fleece for $2.44 yd, So I got 2 yards for each of my 5 year olds, and 1/4 yd of spiderman fabric. I plan to make them each a blanket, cut out the spiderman fabric for appliques. My oldest daughter (18) wanted to the 2 year old's, disney cars his favorite. So I have added that to my list, and still have 3 part done repurpose bath mats to finish up!!!!! Plus all the other baking, I'm behind as usual, hahaha. I found today a great bootie pattern and a block type picture project I am going to make too, I love this blog, and emily the owner I think is a really neat person and gifted writer, Her blog is www.under1000permonth.blogspot.com . I am hoping for a digital camera soon, So I can put pictures up of everything I make, But I got 2 disposables for free today, So I will take some with those and hopefully put up pics by next week. Happy cooking and crafting.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Letters to my children

I got to thinking last night after I wrote the post about my life and the fact that Friday I had some pains in my left arm and my chest and my back, that landed me in the Dr. office getting an EKG, I was fine no heart attack. Anyway I got to thinking, I should leave something for my kids, So that if something should ever happen to me, They can have something tangible to look at, to know exactly how I felt about them. They would never have any unanswered questions, They would know my thoughts on certain things, etc. Then I thought also my husband could do this, He excitedly agreed. I have decided to make each one of them a book. A story like book, with words on one page and pictures on the other. I have my outline planned out for each child. I started writing a few this morning. It made me extremely happy when I was doing this, Reminiscing about their growing up thus far, and thinking of things I would like them to know. My oldest and I are best friends, But I was hardest on her and would love her to know the method to my madness and how awesome I think she is. To my 17 year old son, Who I almost lost at 3 months old to RSV, How that affected me, And how he overcame some tough times between ages 8-12 and came out a great great young man. To my 14 year old, We have had a tough relationship, She is a very emotional child, But I wonder if she knows she is my most loving child. To my 5 year old son Jacob, That it seems I am on him all the time to keep him at task because of his adhd, But how is the funniest kid I have ever seen, Anytime I need a laugh he is right there cheering me up. To my 5 year old Joshua, How I also seem hard on him with his adhd, But I know he does not know now that I watch him so many times a day with a smile on my face because he is so articulate, When he eats it is mesmerizing, His schoolwork is quality not quantity, he never gets as much done as Jacob, But everything is done with the most care. To the baby who is 2, How I was so scared when he was born, Because the twins required so much of my attention with their adhd, and I worried so much about how he would cope with that. How he was so easy going and just flowed with me, Made things so easy, How he brought utter joy to my life everyday since birth, And that everything he does, even naughty makes me giggle.

I am really excited about this, I hope they get half as much out of this that I will take away. But most of all I will have peace that they know how I valued each one of them, in good and bad, And that I always loved them and was always proud of them no matter what!!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Up all night

Can't sleep tonight.....I have this thing, doctors can't figure it out, in my legs. If I have a day where I am not very mobile ( like today), White Christmas was on once then an encore, and It is my favoriteeeeeeeee movie, I watched both times haha. Anyway when I don't move alot when I go to bed at night my legs hurt and ache so bad I want to rip them off. It is really strange, Usually people who are moving too much have trouble, no mine is the opposite. Since they can't figure out what is wrong with me, They gave me a nerve blocker to take when it happens. It takes awhile to kick in, So just took it, have some time alone here!!!!

I was reading a few of my favorite blogs tonight, And was alot about cutting back at Christmas. I wanted share my story for any feeling closet guiltiness about this cutting back. I grew up from day one until age 16 with everything, My parents made alot and I mean alot of money. My dad was an electrician for general electric and my mom was a real estate agent, We lived in southern California, The gated communities. Always lived in huge houses and had everything. My mom took me shopping every weekend for new clothes for school, Not Kmart or places like that, I went to school in $300 dollar outfits from bullocks and Broadway. My brother and I went to private schools, My parents were not a keep up with the Joneses, they were the Joneses. Except for the shopping trips, which were strictly get in get the outfits and leave, That was the only time with my mother, She was busy, and did not really want to be bothered with us. I am so thankful that she had her mother, my grandmother, move in to care for us when I was only 5, She was the most loving greatest woman ever. Christmases were gross at our house, The amount of presents was sickening. Our living rooms were there size of half my house now, and you could hardly walk in them, I honestly remember my brother and I getting tired of opening gifts. Christmases were never good anyway, My dad was a raging alcoholic and my mother just wanted it over. Christmas was yanked away the day after to get the house back to pristine order right away. I have not one good memory of any Christmas ever, I don't have but a handful of good memories period. My mom had enough of me long about 12. She divorced my dad and remarried, A younger guy, a pot smoking guy, Who got me high my first time. By 13 I was out most nights running, By 14 I was a heavy pot smoker, by 14 I was drinking every night. I know now I was only trying to get her attention, But none of it really bothered her, Except she did not like being bothered by it. I left/got kicked out when I was 16. Although an excellent student even with everything going on, I had no choice but to quit school and work. I worked at a nursing home about 70 hours a week. I was lonely, had been lonely my whole life. I met a guy on my 18th birthday, Was pregnant 2 weeks later. I never drank or did any drugs again. I wanted so badly to be a good mom and quite honestly had no idea how, but knew to do pretty much everything different then my mom did. The marriage did not work out, he was abusive. I left when I was 3 months pregnant with baby #2. I met hubby now when baby #2 was 3 months old, That was 15 years ago this coming march. We have 4 children together, although you can't tell him that he does not have 6 children, My ex never had anything to do with my first 2, Thank god, never a birthday card or anything, They were better without it. They did go to see him 2 years ago, And it was not a good experience, They were so happy to come home to mom and dad. Now my point, We have lived completely the opposite of how I grew up. Christmases are Jesus Jesus Jesus family family family. Never been big on gifts, usually just the 3 gifts like Jesus received. It has been good. I know this has been good, Because I heard from my brother 3 years ago that my mom's life was not good, in fact she was living on the streets or in her car in California. I found her and moved her here with us, I am not exactly sure what I was doing, I thought I had a obligation by god to take care of her, I also selfishly thought maybe she might be proud of me or love me like I thought she should. She spent a year and half with us. ( I had not seen her or talked to her from age 20 to this time, when I was 36). It was a year and half of pure hell, She degraded me and my children, My husband could not take it, He left for a short time. My kids were miserable. She finally had enough of us and being a mom and grandma, She left last march and I have not heard from her since. So how do I know that my kids preferred our ungift focused Christmases, Cause they have been begging me for 6 months to have our Christmases back like before grandma came. And it will be done. I am a good mom, I can't give my kids all the new stuff that comes out, Wouldn't even if I could. I don't hate my mom, I don't blame my mom, She is who she is. She just did not have it to be a mom. I will never get what I thought I needed from her, realized a few months ago I didn't need it, Got it from my kids and husband a long time ago. The only gift I ever I wanted and I already had it. I don't have a glamorous job that pays tons of money. I never really go anywhere without all in tow. I don't even know what the Joneses have these days let along keep up with them. Most mornings I wake up to all 3 little ones in bed with me prodding me to get up, My house is clean enough, with 6 kids don't look at the mess if you don't like it. I can't get one moment of peace in this house, or someone not bugging me while I am cooking or even bathing!!!!! This Christmas will be crazy, it will be messy, lots of good home cooked food, a few gifts, some traditions, and a few meltdowns I am sure, Because brother took my plate of food or arguing over whose gift is whose, ( the baby thinks they are all his!!!!)the teenagers throwing wrappings at each other, hubby with bows on his head. AHHHHH I love Christmas at our house. Wishing you all a crazy, hectic, loving Christmas. Michelle



P.S. Mom,

I wish you peace, I wish you love, I wish you contentment. I know you did the best you could.

Love me

Christmas eve 2009

Soooo, Since we are not doing much in the way of presents this year, I am going to focus on a huge christmas eve bash!!!! I think this will be very memorable, and I hope teach the kiddos alot!!!! We are having a Polar Express party, I did this early in december a long time ago with the older kids and they loved it. Although we do not celebrate santa claus, The three little ones are trainaholics, Dad is an engineer, So I think this will go over really well for the little guys and the big guy. First thing, The older kids and I are going to make a train out of boxes, This will be where we sit during the movie, I will print out tickets and posters and all kinds of stuff, Of course we will all be in pjs. I am going to make train cutout cookies to decorate, And have some sort of train craft, Maybe ornaments to hang on the tree, And of course we will have hot cocoa!!!!! I think after the movie is done, Since we don't do stockings, I will take their christmas bags I made, And fill those with goodies like party bags, and hand those out to the kids. ( these are like our version of christmas stockings). Here is a link to where I got some printouts and ideas....

www.gaillovely.com/polarexpress.htm

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting ready for the holiday season-cooking.

On the 10th of december I will be getting ready for the next month and 1/2, (december 12th-january18th) This is christmas season, new years, oldest daughters birthday and the epiphany. Between organizting things, crafts, learning etc. Christmas eve, Christmas day, New years eve, New years day, Daughters birthday, and the activities planned for the epiphany, This works for me to have everything snack and quick lunches or breakfasts done. I will be doing breakfast burritos, sausage and cream cheese wraps, sausage and cream cheese crescents, breakfast pizza, stuffed crepes, frito chili wraps, and cinnamon rolls. Also I will dedicate one day to making all the cookies for the next month and any breads I will need. I started this last year and it worked out really nice. These are all things that the kids can warm up easily themselves, even the little ones with little help. I have posted the recipes for the frito chili wraps and the breakfast burritos, Here a few of the others.
Sausage and cream cheese wraps
I will make up 20 of these
(2) 10 packs of small burrito shells(or make your own)
(2) bulk suasage rolls
(1 ) 8oz cream cheese
fry sausage until done, drain, return to pan, mix in cream cheese until melted, spoon into burrito shells, roll up, place back in burrito shell bag, or baggies, freeze.

cream cheese crescents
I will make up 64 of these
8 packs of crescent rolls
4 bulk sausage rolls
2 8 oz cream cheese

unroll crescents, fry up sausage, drain, mix with cream cheese until melted, spoon onto crescent roll, roll up into little package, bake in oven on 350 until browned.

The kids really like these crescents, and hubby likes em even more, and my father in law who will be with us this year likes em even more then him, That is why I am making 64 of them, And I am pretty sure those will go faster then I think!!!!!

P.S. Got my first oriental trading order today, I love this stuff I am hooked. I had a $10 off $20 coupon, So got some neat things for the kids to do for 10 bucks!!! Then in with the box came a oriental trading calendar with coupons for every month next year, including one for this month, So I am placing next order tomorrow. These are great little prepackaged craft projects by theme, That are easy to get out, with some glue and let them create with minimal help from me while I am cooking or cleaning!!!! Worth it to me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The coolest bathroom rug!!!

I have been "channel surfing" you tube the last month for recycled projects, recipes, decorating ideas etc. I found some neat ideas, But the best so far is recycled bathroom rugs. You use worn out towels, or towels that you get from the used store, family members etc. We use our towels till the end, So this was no problem finding old towels in my house!!! Next you need some latch hook backing. I bought two 36x30 , I used 2 40% off one item coupon for hobby lobby, and paid $2 each for them. You then cut your towels into ( I used 1/2 inch strips) abour 4 inches long. You then poke it through one hole and out another and tie off. One thing I realized is you do not have to make sure you get each hole covered, it is so thick you just make sure that there are no gaps. This is the most luxurious, absorbent rug I have ever seen. With small children these are great for sopping up the spills from baths. And it feels great getting out of the bath or shower. The best part is they look great, Looks like some specialty item you paid a fortune for!!!!! I am going to purchase 6 more latch hook backings next month and try and make one every month next year for gifts next year. There is a video on you tube that takes you step by step. Just type in recycled bath mat in the search. Happy bathmat making!!!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CHRISTmas attitude

Well this year like for so many others this year is less materialistic. Although my husbands job is the same, We have been paying off bills like crazy and have no savings, putting everything we can into the house etc. Plus the week of thanksgiving the fuel pump went out on our only car, and had to be fixed, that was $750. So christmas will be even less than originally anticipated, Which at first after the fuel pump, I felt a bit depressed about it, But a week later now and I'm pulling out of it.......It's just not about material items and before the fuel pump, I had huge lists of what I would get. Maybe I thought this was god's way of saying whoa, Your original less is more, and god centered christmas was correct, He always does those little things to reel me back it seems. Anyway, Now I am really planning a huge 2 weeks before christmas, lots of activities and a huge bash on christmas eve, and a quiet christmas day. There will be not much in the way of gifts, I am leaning towards 3 gifts each, to symbolize jesus' 3 gifts, and my budget for 6 kids mark and I and his dad is $200. I did allocate $75 dollars in extra money for a food budget. I want to make christmas eve huge, and have snacks for different activites throughout the 2 weeks before christmas. I hope this will be a christmas to remember for all of us, Memorable without the commercialism. We will take tons of pictures of all the events, Then I think on new years eve will all have a big dinner, then sit down with all the pictues and scrapbook them for even more memories. Jesus is the reason for the season!!!!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

coffee grounds and pumpkin and stretch hamburger helper!!!!

What a day I am exhausted, cleaned cleaned cleaned getting ready for thanksgiving, Which for us is wednesday ( daughter has to work 2-11 on thanksgiving at walmart, and hubby will be at work also). So the kids wanted hamburger helper tonight, Usually I make my own, But had boxes that I got for nothing on sale with coupons. Two boxes never feeds all of us, and three boxes is too much, So I decided today to boil up half a bag of egg noodles and add it to the finished product, Worked out perfectly and tasted no difference, Most of us actually thought it was better!!!! Also made up two pumpkin pies for thanksgiving today, Had about 3/4 of a pie of the pumpkin mix left, So made a pie crust, and formed it into a cupcake tin ( 12 large holes) filled with the pumpkin mixture, made a cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar topping, and made pumpkin tarts, these are amazinggggggggg, makes me want another!!!!!!
Also did something unusual today, I had a couple months ago, made a bucket of brewed tea water, to go over my old wood floors with, and it worked out well, Shined and filled in the scratches well. Well my diningroom table was looking terrible, old and scratched and dull. I was going to make the tea water, When I looked at my coffee pot and thought hmmmm wonder what those coffee grounds would do???? So I took the coffee grounds, sprinkled them all over the table, then took some warm water and sprinkled over the grounds, to make a watery mixture, enough that I had some blackish water with the grounds, used a rag to rub in all over the table, and let sit for 20 minutes then wiped off. LOOOOOOOOOOOOKS awsome just awsome, shined it up too, All the scratches filled in real nice, I think I will do this atleast once a month now!!!!!

Happy thanksgiving to all, and see you after the holiday!!!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chai tea....My new passion!!!!

A friend took me out about 8 months ago, and took me to a healthfood store here in town. It also had a little healthy cafe. She said I had to try this hot tea that tasted like pumpkin pie, I loveeeeeeeee pumpkin pie, anything pumpkin pie(ish)!!!!! With all 6 of my kids I never had any cravings, except for #3, Pumpkin, pumpkin anything and everything, Im suprised she did not come out orange!!! I never recovered from those cravings. Back to the tea, Wowwww this stuff was great I loved it, I drank it down like water, Although until the last week never went back to get more. My husband had surgery and they had one of those starbucks lookalikes in the hospital, And while waiting I got one of thier hot chai tea drinks, YUMMMMMMMMM. Well over the last week I went twice to the little healthy cafe to get two more.....to the tune of $9 bucks for the two of them, I was not sure I liked them that much!!!! Well I went on the internet search and found a recipe to make my own.......
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

mix all this together and store in airtight container. Make a cup of strong black tea, add two teaspoons of the chai mix, stir.

This was amazingly close and really good. The only thing it lacked was the foamy milk. I am going to add that next. Not quite sure how to do it, but will figure it out.

Now I almost choked on the price of the cardamom. The only place in town I could find it was walmart, and the only brand had no coupons. It was $11 for a larger bottle. But the mixture above will last me about two weeks, and uses only 1 teaspoon at a time for the mix, So the jar will last a long long time. Far cheaper then my $4.50 a drink at the shop. Yes I could just get over my love of this tea mixture, But I really enjoy it and other than that I only drink coffee. I think I deserve it, So that works for me!!!!!

The best part about this venture is my mind is clicking clicking, Since making the taco bell cheesy fiesta potatoes and the chai tea, whatelse, Finger tapping face, could I replace with homemade at the fraction of the cost of buying premade, hmmmmmm. I know what I'm doing today, searching online for great make at home recipes....!!!!!!!! Have a happy thanksgiving all!!!!

Oh just one more quick note, Don't know if you all have seen the walmart blackfriday ad posted onine.... But there a few great deals that I noticed:
Boys, girls, womens, mens, bubble coats $7 each
Boys, girls, womens, mens, snow boots $7 each
( I have a hard time finding these things at our small towns thrift store and when I do they are close to this price used)
Also boys and girls, and juniors, clothes for $3each !!!! oh and jammies two piece sets for $3 each.
I can't say I am getting up and out at 3am like some, If when I get there they have some left, I might get some, if not oh well!!!! Happy shopping!!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My kids loveeeeee cheesy fiesta potatoes from taco bell!!!!!

Hi all, My kids love cheesy fiesta potatoes from taco bell, I think the price is outrageous, about pieces of potatoes and a teaspoon of cheese and a dot of sour cream for a $1. Well I was making tacos for dinner tonight, and decided to try my hand at making them myself. I just purchased a 50# bag of red potatoes for $9 on sale at my local grocery, I love red potatoes but they are usually so darn expensive, I used 10 red potatoes for this recipe. I then peeled and chopped into bite size pieces, sprinkled the bottom of a pan with olive oil, Added the potatoes and salt and pepper, and fried these until slightly brown and crispy. Then I covered a large baking pan with a little more olive oil, transfered the potatoes to the pan, sprinkled with 1/2 package of taco seasoning, Baked at 350 for 45 minutes, ( time would depend on how big your pieces are), I have little ones so mine were small, Poke with fork for doneness. While those were baking, I put 1/2 lb of velveeta cheese in microwave safe bowl, added 1/2 cup milk and 2 teaspoons butter, About 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes, and 4 teaspoons of chili powder. I cooked this in the microwave for 4 minutes, taking out after each minute and stirring so it did not burn. When potaotes were done, I placed them on the plate, smothered in the cheese sauce, added a dollop of sour cream, and they loveeeeeeeeeeeeed them. The kids had a great day today, between the awsome potatoes, I made chex muddy buddies, chex krispie bars, ( I got 22 boxes of chex cereal so far, They are all $1 a box at walmart and I had $1 off 2 boxes coupons) and choc. covered pretzels. I have got the little ones all convinced that these snacks are candy!!!!! Anyways have a great week all and happy cooking!!!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday cooking

Last night I was going to make lasagna for dinner, But found I had no lasagna noodles, So I made it with macaroni noodles, Turned out awsome and I think much cheaper.
Macaroni lasagna
2 bags macaroni
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 container ricotta cheese ( I am gonna try making my own this week)
2 cups shredded cheese
1 container cottage cheese
1 lb hamburger

brown hamburger, cook noodles, put noodles and hamburger in casserole dish, add all other ingred. stir and cook on 350 for 1 hour.

Also this morning I was going to make a quiche, But was lazy and did not want to make the crust. So I made it without crust and actually only used 4 ingredients.
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup milk( I use powdered)
1/2 jar of hormel real bacon pieces, ( I got these for $1 each on a sale last month, Otherwise I would have used bacon that I cooked)
Whisk eggs and milk, add bacon and cheese, Butter casserole dish, add egg mixture to casserole dish, cook for 30-45 minutes on 350. Everyone really liked this.

Other than that, Have not done much, Hubby still recovering from polyp nasal surgery, Go back in tomorrow to have stints removed. Will not pick up regular daily schedule till atleast thursday!Have a great week!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life.......

Life is strange sometimes, Teenagers, babies, holidays, surgeries.......I think I did not get my copy of how to deal with this all. How do I know what is right and what is wrong, No wonder parents are frusterated. I think that is my biggest problem, Knowing what is the right way to handle something and what is the wrong way to handle it. What seems good for one kid , Does not seem to apply to the next one, ugggghhhhh can't they just be the same, easy and non confrontational, and definetly never want boyfriends or any of that junk, hahaha. Well I guess not, Just wish I had a copy of that darn book on life, Can I borrow someones???? Didn't someone tell me life would be hard, and that I should enjoy being a kid, Oh yeah someone did, Why oh why did I not listen!!!!!! Got a busy week this week, Mark has surgery on thursday, for polyps, Got two girls dating, blechhh. And trying to figure out this whole holiday thing this year, The ins and outs of how I'm gonna do it. It will all work out in the end I guess, It always does!!! It works best when I stop controlling it, everything. Maybe I'll give that a try this year......

Friday, November 6, 2009

A little birdie told me....

Late last night I got a phone call, Walmart has turkeys for $.40 a lb, Now they are only going to have just a few to each store like 10-15, Of course By the time I got there, They were all gone, But the "little birdie" told me they also had honeysuckle turkeys for $.60 a lb, We got a 22lb turkey for $14 and some change with tax. Now I noticed this morning I had a print from internet Q for $1 off. That woulda been even more awsome had I remembered. Anyway Just wanted to let everyone know!!!! Happy turkey eating!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Canning day....Kinda

I can, Dry ingredients. Today I made two white cake mixes, Two choc. cake mixes, 4 waffle mixes, 4 pancake mixes, 2 brownie mixes, 2 choc. chip cookie mixes, 1 ranch dressing mix, 1 pork chop shake n bake, and 6 bis(quick) mix. These save so much time, having all dry ingred. mixed up and ready to go. It took me 2 hours to do all of them. I do other mixes too, Just type in google jar mix recipes, and there is a dry recipe for just about everything you can think of, puddings, spice mixes, a thousand cookie and bar recipes, soup and cream soup recipes, Just about everything. The cream soup recipes have saved me so much money. The jars were the biggest investment. I saved the coupons from way back at the beggining of summer, for $2.75 off 2 cases, Until they went on clearance at my local Walmart, And got two cases for $14.00-$2.75 for coupon. I had 8 coupons and used them all, So got 16 cases of jars for $90. Since I knew I would use them for my can(ning), And for gifts, This was worth it to me. I used 2 cases just for spices, I had alot of little jars in my stockpile pantry, So I condensed them into these jars. Also condensed my baking powder, my baking soda, brown sugar, baking cocoa, etc. into these jars. Anything to make life a little easier and keep me away from tempting stores is good for me.
Also made crepes for a snack time today, These are so darn easy to make, and you can fill them with anything. Most recipes online I think are too thick, So I came up with my own.
Basic crepes
2 cups flour- I use all different types, I have used buckwheat, whole wheat, white.
4 eggs
1 cup milk-I use powdered, already made
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter

Mix with whisk, Heat pan add a little butter, I use a 1/2 cup mix per crepe, swirl around pan to make circle, cook on both sides. This batch makes 15 crepes.

Today I filled these with choc. pudding. I also make them with 1 block cream cheese, mixed with any kind of jelly. I also make them with pie fillings. The kids also like them with cream cheese spread on them, a slice of lunchmeat and a piece of lettuce.

Tonight for dinner, Is crockpot porkchops:
4 large porkchops or 8 small pork chops
2 cans cream of chicken soup- or equiv. if you make your own
2 cans milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
oil for frying pork chops in

Fry pork chops on both sides till crispy in oil. In crockpot add rest of ingredients, when pork chops done, add to crockpot and cook on high 4-6 hours. I usually serve this with rice, But 50# boxes of potatoes were on sale at our local grocer for $11, And I bought 2, So we are having boiled potatoes with the gravy from the chops drizzled over. Oranges were two 4# bags for $7, So I will do something creative with these for dessert.
Have a great day-Happy cooking.

Considering cancelling cable!!!!!

I think I may give my family a christmas present this year........One they don't really want but need!!!!! Cable television. We don't have any special channels, But even the regular ones are getting on my nerves, The language, the content is horrible. We don't watch that much t.v., I really can't stand it. There are no shows that I watch, I don't even like the news. I like netflix, Which we have, and we use the library for alot of movies for the boys. The older kids will be the opposition here(hubby included). My 13 year old has had the t.v. going more often then I like lately, And I notice that even my baby, The two year old, is screaming I want that, at every commercial aimed at little ones selling childrens toys. This disturbs me.
I have to call the cable company as I am not sure how cancelling my cable will affect my bundling I have with them, Or my cable internet hookup. Regardless I have to find an alternative. I have listed pro's and con's, and I can't find one good reason for keeping it, Other than opposition from older kids and hubby, Which like, switching to homemade whole wheat bread with sneaking of (wheat bran) in, Cutting out fast food, cutting out pre packaged goodies and making my own, growing and taking care of a garden this year, as with all these and similiar changes this year, there was steep oposition at first, but became habit. I don't like wheat bread, I can't cut this bread mom, quickly turned into, ewwww you bought bread from the store??? Geez once I was lazy gimme a break !!!!! I will update next week on the cable t.v. issue, Stay tuned in!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Schedule schedule schedule!!!!

My daughter made a comment on my growing binder today, and it got me thinking. She said wow mom that is as thick as the bible!!!!
My binder is my existence, I cannot live without it. If I lost it, I might spiral out of control and end up running down the streets.....Well you get the picture!!!!!!!
It is nothing special, Plain black, I think I got it at a used store about a month before the twins were born ( they are almost 5). I had not used a schedule on any of my 3 older children, and regretted doing so, Had troubles with sleeping, and just not being organized. I got to thinking with twins on the way making it 5 kids, I needed to get things on track, I wanted to get the boys on a schedule immediately. So I read everything I could on it. And put it into action. I started from day one with the twins, And never really faltered much. It was not easy, They have been very difficult since birth, and have adhd, Well that is the diagnosis I made the doctors give them, The doctor's opinion in bipolar and I don't buy it, So I made the executive decision. So we go with that. I will go into more detail on that in another post. Back to the binder!!!!!
My binder, my life....... As soon as I pop my eyes open in the morning. The daily schedules, The meal planning, The budget, My lists, My thoughts, The homeschooling schedule, the boys charts, The chore charts etc. ( I use www.chartjungle.com ) I am a horribly disorganized organizer, if that makes any sense, hahaha. I need guidelines, outlines, and lines of paper, to make anything happen. I have a horrible memory, left to its own, So I need one place where I can find all my answers. I have in the past grounded one child, and forgot I grounded them, and let them go only to remember half way through they were grounded.....before, but not anymore, muahhahhaaa. We were lost but now found, Thank you oh glorious black binder.......

Christmas scaled back--way back

We have 4 year old twins with adhd, They were also born with trachial malaysia and had surgery, Our 2 year old was born with thyroglossal duct cyst, and is on and off of therapy to keep that at bay, until he is old enough for surgery. The last 3 were preemies, the twins 2 months preemie, and the baby was a month. I don't know why, and Im not sure if that was the reason that they had these congenital issues. Anyway, We have a ton of dr. bills. A ton. We have decided to start paying them off, Since we don't have any other real debt, other than 1 vehicle, No credit cards, No house payment. We have decided to pour alot of money into paying these off. So I have scaled christmas way back. Which is fine, We never went crazy sick with christmas gifts anyway. The little ones are easy to make stuff for, or purchase things cheaply, My need is for gifts that I can make for the 3 teenagers, Any good websites out there with great teenager gifts to make, or maybe teenager basket ideas??? My oldest I think will be easy, She moved out on her own, My 17 year old son, (a tekkie) and my 13 year old diva, I am drawing a blank. Helllpppp!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Redecorating for ease

Through the summer months, My house seemed torn apart, Things not where they should be, Piles piles and more piles, out of place. So I spent the last two weeks redecorating for ease. First I of course read blog after blog on organizing, These can be very addictive, Some of my favs are www.orgjunkie.com
www.completeorganizingsolutions.com
www.simplify101.com
So with some pictures I printed off from both as guides, and lots of ideas in my head. I started with the livingroom, This is the room where everyone lives, Toys live here, This is the playroom also. Somehow the 3 bookshelves for schooling landed here too, Those came out, And all the toys were gone through. Every little toy, was sorted and put into old coffee containers, wet wipe tubs, marked and sent with the bookshelves, To be given out one container at a time to play with. The bigger toys were put back in the toybox.
Next came the diningroom, This is the diningroom/computer room/schoolroom. I took out all unecessary items, cleanout out the hutch , moved the bookshelves in, Made the hutch my Command central for all school related materials minus books, Pens, colors, glue, crafts etc. Very organized and clean looking. We have a bar between the kitchen and diningroom, and wow, My new saying is, "if you put a basket and keep adding baskets to said counter, They will come" They being everything that your too lazy to go put away!!!! I'm guilty. Baskets gone, Looks awsome. Then I tidied up the kitchen, Moved alot of pantry stuff that got shoved here and there, but not used, back to the pantry.
This made me so much calmer I cannot even tell you how much better I feel. Only 9 more rooms to go, ohhhh can't think of that all at once. I'm gonna take one room every two weeks and just organize the heck out of it. That is my goal anyway. I would love suggestions on more organizing, especially bedrooms, Or blankets, We have no heat yet, just electric heaters and one kerosene heater for downstairs, I have a ton of blankets. Stored them in between beds during warm months, But can't figure out what to do with them now, and keep them still handy. Well off to get ready for homeschooling tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Started preschooling the twins!!!

We started homeschooling the twins(almost 5) this week. I planned it out for a month, I subscribe to enchanted learning for $20 a year, and have used this site for about 10 years, I love it!!! I did not plan on starting so early with them, But they have adhd and have been showing signs of real boredom with playing all day, And they are just soaking up books and learning. So I made the decision to do it. I planned out about an hour and half to two hours a day 4 days a week. I use brightly beaming resources a free online leasson plan with some printouts. This week was cows theme, The letter A, The number 1 and the shape square. I printed out the lesson plan, and some of the printouts they had, I also printed off stuff from enchanted learning to go with it, and came up with a few of my own hands on crafty things. I can't believe how they took to it, I have homeschooled 3 older children for 10 years and I am still amazed!!! They followed directions really well, Loved doing the crafts and others writing type pages. The very best thing is I really got another look at their differences, Those of you with twins will know what I am talking about. I see that jacob is quick, and quantity and wanting to move on quick to fill up his brain is his strength and weakness all wrapped up into one. Joshua is much slower much more accurate and a wandering eye type. I loved learning this about them. So as I learn more about there learning styles I can taylor learning differently to each one. We took today off and will start again tomorrow and friday, They were a bit sad we were not doing it today, but took to playing just fine and enjoyed it much more then usual. Hubby was home on monday and tuesday to help out, And I see that will be a big plus in homeschooling the boys, He was not around with the others worked long hours. I am strict, organized, and a bit stuffy, He was lax, and fun. The boys responded well to having both of us teaching them, They looked to me for guidance, and looked to dad to have some fun with it. I will be searching for crafts to do for the holidays coming up, They love glueing, cutting, anything crafty. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 5, 2009

FRUGAL THIS WEEKEND

Frugal things I did this weekend. I was on a roll this weekend, Frugal here, Frugal there, Frugal everywhere. I started with my twins elefun game, They have lost the little butterflies here and there, So I wandered around the house looking for things to make butterfiles out of.....And I decided on the plastic insert I saved from cereal boxes, I cut them into the shapes of the butterflies, and used permanent markers to color them, And they worked fantastic. The boys were happy to have lots of butterflies again.
I also cooked a ham on friday, We had ham dinner that night, The next night we had ham tetrazini and then Sunday I boiled the bone and dug out the bones and added veggies and some potatoes some seasoning and green beans, and had a great tasty soup.
I was cleaning the laundry room, Which doubles as storage for house working supplies, tools etc. And I found all the paint cans from the painting we had done to fix up the house, So I got those out and did touch up painting all around the house, Looked so good, It got me going and I rearranged some stuff, Now I feel like I have all new stuff.
I also tried a trick that I learned from thrifty fun, I made a bucket of hot water, added tea bags, let steep for several hours, added a couple capfuls of olive oil and cleaned all the hardwood floors downstairs, It was fabulous, gave them a little stain and a shine and looked great for little work.
I cut the little ones (4,4,2) hair and saved a ton of money, I have never taken them to a barber, I started young, When they did not care what it looked like hahaha, And with practice have become quite good at it.
We have a busy busy next couple of weeks, As it is turning colder fast, I have set up some shelves inside by a window and placed lamps all around, I am going to have to bring in my lettuce and carrots and tomatoes that I got planted to late, So I am excited to see if I can get them to grow indoors. We also have list a mile long of winterizing to do, Since we have no heat, Plus are still trying to decide wether or not to purchase a wood stove or one of the new radiant heat, heaters. I really love wood stoves, But it would be take alot installing and getting ready. Since we saw the commercial for home depot lowering the insulation costs in half this winter, We are loading up on friday and insulating as much as possible everywhere we can get into. And removing window air conditioners and recaulking, I also found a bunch of flannel flat sheets at a garage sale, and Am going to sew those on the backs of my sheet curtains to insulate for winter. And I found many old quilts at used stores and am going to hang those up in the bedrooms for drapes. Busy busy busy, I love busy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Posting good deals

I am going to start posting good deals I find around town here in independence, kansas. I will post them on the day I find them. They will be for local businesses, Coffeyville, independence, cherryvale, some bartlesville, oklahoma. The best find for the last few days, Is for the cherryvale true value hardware store, They sent out an ad last week, The sales last until 10/11. I purchased 6 cans of the foam spray for insulation 2.99ea (lowest price I have ever seen or gotten it) smoke detectors for 4.99ea, We purchased 3, And really nice tool boxes 4.99ea for the twins for christmas. This came to $46, Then we signed up for their rewards card, and will be sent a $5 giftcard for signing up and a $10 card for our purchases, Since we got double points. I have to say also that I had never been to this hardware store, and these were the most helpful nicest employees I have ever come across, I left that store with a big smile on my face.

Also wanted to note that we had the baby's 2nd birthday party yesterday, Sniffle Sniffle, So hard to see the last one move out of babyhood, But also exciting. Anyway he is consumed, addicted, obsessed with to the point of therapy hahaha, with Disney cars. I got almost all of his birthday gifts free from walgreens with register rewards, But one thing I spent the big bucks on was the table cover, pack of stickers, plates, cups, napkins and banner. $2 each which I would not normally do but..... I reused all leftovers and was less guilty about buying these items. I took the tablecloth and cleaned it and cut off the edges that had huge cars characters on it, Hubby took these strips and tacked these up as a border in his room, Looks really nice, and the baby loved it. I also saved all the leftover napkins cups and plates, and the boxes from his toys, I spent last night cutting out the characters, I have some clear contact paper, and will today cover them with that, and then I am going to decorate his walls with these.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stockpiling

Stockpiling food and non food supplies are an enjoyment for me, A security blanket, an insurance policy of sorts. Take for instance, I need some serious dental work next month, To the tune of $1000, Well I was taking stock today after the superrrr wags trip today. I can stop buying groceries except for $50 a week ( usually all household and foods runs about $150, and household includes clothing, prescriptions etc.) So I can pay cash for my dental work, use only about 30 % of my stockpile for two months. This is a great feeling, If I did not have the stockpile, We would have to do shopping and pay for the dental work. And we would end up in the red big time. I also did something I have not done before, I purchased 15 christmas gifts, Started at $99 and ended at $5.81 after register rewards. This will be my first year at getting a headstart at christmas, I have to admit It feels kinda good getting a head start. And I normally start budgeting in next month for christmas shopping, So this is something I won't have to do next month also, Since having a head start on it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The proven rewards of making your own laundry soap

Making my own laundry soap, Proved to be a wise choice. I have made my own laundry soap for about a year now. I love making it, I love how it smells and how it works. But with coupon I got a bottle of detergent for almost nothing. So I decided to use it on the winter clothes I got ready to incorporate into drawers and closets for upcoming cold weather. Boy do I ever regret this idea. We have had a chilly spell here in kansas. And the kids have been dipping into those clothes I washed up. And for a week now they have had horrible rashes. I took them to the doctor and first thing he said was did you change laundry soap. Darn it. With eating healthier and not hardly eating out at all, Going more natural in the house with all things, including washing clothes. I should have known this would not go over big. So I am up tonight rewashing all the clothes and doing an extra rinse to get all the bought soap out. I noticed that we went out to eat, (fast food) once last week. And everyone has complained of upset stomach, after. Moral of the story, Just because you can, or can do it cheaply, Does not mean you should.
My laundry soap recipe is from the duggars website. I have tried others but like this one best.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christmas procrastinator

I was thinking about christmas this morning, I don't know why, this is way early for me. I don't plan it out. I never have. First of all, I hate the presents thing, I do however love the baking and I love the decorating and spending time together. Christmases when I was a child, ( My parents were very very wealthy) Were not great, We got a ton of presents, to be honest my brother and I would get tired of opening them. And holidays never ended well. My dad would end up drunk, Not different from most days. Then we would all scatter. I received outfits that were more then my families entire yearly budget for clothes. But christmas never meant anything. It just was not good. So when I had kids, alot like my entire way of life. I chose to do it completely different. We don't focus on lots of gifts, Most I find at used stores or make. I have not ever heard my kids complain, Except one year when my 13 then 7 year old wanted a horse !!!! Kids ha. So I'm thinking about christmas, We need some more ornaments so I will be searching for new ones to make. And I started stockpiling the scents I will use to make the house smell yummy, When I'm not cooking or baking of course! I always make the kids a blanket of some sort. I also have tons of wood pieces left from working on the house, So I will be making the baby who loves and needs therapy for his obcession with disney Cars, I will have hubby cut them and I will paint them and decorate them with cars detail. I want to add something to our holiday this year, We never had any "traditions" growing up. We do have some traditions now, Snacks and a movie on christmas eve. We don't celebrate Santa Claus, We of course do crafts, I think I might add cookie making for the twins this year, Any other suggestions that include us all as a family would be greatly appreciated. I would love suggestions on this. Thanks in advance.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Part two of make a months worth of recipes

I also make frito wraps when I do the breakfast burritos, It is very little prep and easy to do. My kids love these things from sonic, They are really tiny at sonic and cost $1. So 90 of them would cost me $90, ouch. So I start with 90 burrito shells, If I make these I make them a bit bigger then burrito shells, Need more space to crunch down fritos. I use sliced american cheese, We call it sticky cheese, The kind in cellophane wrappers, So 45 slices as I only use half slice for each burrito. Then I get 3 bags of frito like chips at aldi, These are I believe 1.19 each. And finally I use 2 cans of beanless chili, (uggghhh my son won't eat the beans) and then I use some left over chili for ours from a meal we had or homemade chili. Make my assembly line, Shells, then chili, then fritos, then cheese, fold and scrunch down, wrap in foil or waxed paper and done. I don't know the cost for these, But it is unbelieveable compared to bought ones. And the kids love em. I often send these to the park with the kids and my hubby, when he takes them. I heat them up, wrap in foil, and they are still warm when they eat them. Easy for the kids to walk around and eat, But bring wipes with for chili drips!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

One of my make a months worth recipes

It is almost time again for me to make a few of my months worth of recipes. I have several, This weekend I will be making my breakfast burritos and frito wraps. I make 90 of each at a time. That usually lasts the entire month or more. I am not really a recipe follower, I create things and I just remember them. So I will do the best I can with measurements.
Breakfast burritos- this started out as breakfast pizza and graduated to burritos
90 flour shells-Unless I get these cheap I make my own. There are tons of very very simple recipes to make flour tortillas online. I believe I got mine from hillbillyhousewife.com.
I shred 3 blocks of different cheeses- I get all my cheese at aldi for 1.40 a block. I have to drive 50 miles to the nearest aldi, So I buy 30-40 at time. So I usually use 1 block jack cheese, 1 block cheddar, and 1 block of colby. Shred and add to assembly line.
I make up 5 packages of some sort of country gravy- You could most certainly make up your own. 5 packs gives me 5 cups of gravy. I never use this much, But I freeze what I have left for potatoes or whatever while I am at it.
I use 4 sausage rolls, fried up and drained, added to assembly line.
and last is 1 dozen eggs, scrambled and added to assembly line

So I have my assembly line set up like this, shells, sausage, eggs, cheese, gravy.
I wrap in foil, or wax paper, then put in baggies, I use the tortilla baggies if I bought them, They have a ziplock seal. And then I freeze them. Just pop in microwave for about 2 minutes.
Not one of my kids don't like these, but they are rather simple. You could certainly add veggies or potatoes or anything you like. This takes me about an hour to make. And costs me:
eggs-.99
sausage-1.oo each x 4=4.00
5 packs gravy@.33 each=1.65
3 pack cheese at 1.40 each=4.20
If I make my own shells not sure what the cost is, but minimal, If I buy them I get the smaller shells and I pay around .99 each so that would add about $5.00
total cost is $11.80 for 90 breakfast burritos. Happy cooking

I will post new updated pics of the house later tonight. We still have a long way to go. The foundation needs some work. The outside needs work. The roof needs work. All in time. This year we are focusing on heating. It has no heating. It had hookups for gas heat, But when we had the gas guy come out, he said there was a leak somewhere and would cost a lot to find and fix. We chose to not have that right now. Last year we went with small electric heaters. It was an experience I don't want to have again this year. We spent last winter ( a mild one) Freezing and working to keep the cold out. We insulted the entire under of the house. I spent 3 nights while everyone slept, Using clear caulking and sealing the seams of the wood floors, This really helped. We insulated here and there. The next two months, We are getting a new front door, I hate that the original one cant be saved. We also are going with a wood stove this year for heat downstairs. And purchased on clearance end of last year and kerosene heater for upstairs. I could barely change a lightbulb when we started this, And that is no lie. Hubby did not inherit his fathers talent. We learned though. And I would not trade the exeriences for anything in the world. We are trying to find a place in the country in the next few years, We want to have animals and do some farming. We hope to not ever sell this house. But keep it for the kids. Too many memories, and awsome experiences.






































These are various before and somewhat done, more liveable for us to move in, Upstairs. I will take some more pictures later today, These are from 1 year ago. The upstairs bathroom, Had to have the toilet removed and cleaned as the downstairs one and resealed. We had put in new subflooring in half the bathroom, and repair a pipe. The entire bath enclosure could not be saved, and we had to purchase a new one. We bought a basic one on sale at lowes for $350. The flooring was purchased with the kitchen and downstairs bath. The sink was really small and torn up, But I could not afford the new one and vanity, Wow those are expensive, So I decided to wait. And so glad I did, This last march we went to a city wide garage sale in a smaller town close by, And we found a newer large vanity and a beautiful new sink still in box, with the faucet box brand new, for $15 for all. I wanted it so bad I probably could have haggled this price as they were just wanting to get rid of the stuff, But I just grabbed it!!!! This bathroom was originally a bedroom, There was no bathroom in this house when built, It had an outhouse. So this was converted, and has a huge 10x3 ft. closet behind the tub, with window. Later on down the road I would love to redo the bathroom and open it up more to include that closet and window. This bathroom and the kitchen were the two major expenses thus far.
The top of the stairs wall was gone, so we had to put the wall back up, My father in law did this and showed us how to make the frame and fit it all together, I took notes haha. The actual stairway has gone by the wayside, it is on my to do list. I painted it and the walls. But the floors have not been done yet, I want to paint them. The large hallway upstairs, all the way at the end, has a large window and built in toy boxes on each side. I have made that my stockpile area, and we will close that in next year and make it a small stockpile room. Their were two upstairs bedrooms when we looked at it. But we realized that the huge room had the wall knocked out and was originally two bedrooms. Super huge 10x4 closets were on each side and two door ways. We put the wall back up and made it two bedroom again. One large one and one smaller one. In the larger one, There had been a leak in the attic and the entire ceiling had collapsed, Another project my father in law helped us with and took notes again. The bedroom on the other side of the hallway, Had a huge hole, where a window used to be, We patched that up. Painted and have not done anything with the floors yet.























Thursday, September 17, 2009











These are the diningroom before and after pics, It probably needed the least amount of work, But it was also the most time consuming, along with the upstairs bedroom with the collapsed ceiling. The window to the left is hard to see in the picture, but the wall was gone, You could see the outside, This almost was the deal breaker for me for this house, I thought Oh my gosh how do you fix that!!!!! Got on the phone immediately to father in law and he said no problem, I said are you sureeeee, He said again, no problem. I said okay, my voice cracking. He did a great job and we all learned how to fix and sheetrock and tape and mud. 3 windows were broken and we had to replace those, then sand the floors, stain, Paint and put up the trim, We also found a door at a garage sale for $1.00, brand new, It was too big, but my father in law cut it down and we installed it, The door leads to the laundry room. You won't hear me talk much about the laundry room or the sunroom above it....There is no fixing it, It was an addition and really really badly built. No other options but to tear it down and rebuild, that will be in the future. We just use it for storage and laundry. I love the windows in this diningroom, I just sit in the mornings and watch the birds hop along the fence, and growl at the squirrels who run by with my garden tomatoes in their mouths, grrrrr, But that is another story.











Ohhh this kitchen, This before picture does not look as bad to me as it really was hahaha. Where to start, Well first thing was to get all the garbage out, The sink had food in it for 1 year, The fridge too, All that went out, Then the floor came up. Then we removed all the cupboards, I knew I would not be able to afford new cupboards, So I chose for now to sand them and paint them. The oven was not working, either was the cooktop, The dishwasher was gone too. Just by chance in our downtown a used appliance store was going out of business, sorry for them, but yay for me, We priced just the basic new cooktop at $450 from sears, Not happening!!!! I got the dishwasher, oven and cooktop for $300, Well actually only $50 out of pocket, father in law gave us $250 gift. So that worked out well. I was reluctant to purchase these used, But he guarenteed them for 90 days, and here it is one and half years later and still going strong!!!!! I got a stainless steel sink and the faucets on clearance at our local woods lumber and supply for $50. The flooring I described in the post below. We had to replace the entire subfloor of the kitchen. I am not sure what the cost was on this, But I think it was one of the more expensive things we did, Im gonna guess and say $70 for the wood. The countertop were remnant pieces from lowes, And we got those for $22 each 2 pieces. The trim was from the bulk we purchased for the whole house. Over the last year I have tweaked this kitchen some, I live in the kitchen , So I will work on it till it just right. I had always wanted an island, But oh my they are pricey. I had an older butcher top table that the legs were breaking off of. So I sent my hubby and son out in the backyard this past june on his vacation and said build me my island!!!!! Woohooo 4 hours later and just $10 later I had a nice big island, with two big shelves underneath for pots and pans. I had them leave all the sides open, and I make red check curtains to go all the way around, As soon as daughter returns camera I will post pic of it. I also painted a breadbox, and a shelf, and my bench seat in the diningroom, Candy apple red, (the free can from the glidden free can offer a few months back online). And my kitchen is really coming together. There is a bar that divides the diningroom from the kitchen, And I'm not happy with it, But still have not decided what to do there, But that is on my TO DO list......I have never felt so comfortable in any other kitchen I have had ........Maybe cause it is all mine, and I can do anything under the sun I want to it, But I love it, It is TOTALLY ME!!!!!! I will hopefully tomorrow, get my camera and take the updated pics of it, Because these pictures here are from a year ago.












Here is the downstairs bedroom and small under stairs closet bathroom we redid. The bedroom as described in last post had to have the original doorway closed in and new one put in by bathroom door in hallway. We had to tear out the wall to the right of the bed, replace and put in new framework around windows. Sanded and stained floor. Cost: doorway $10 sheetrock used old trim for new doorway. $40 for new sheetrock for wall. Trim I bought for entire house, so I bought it in 12 ft sections and bought 30 12 ft sections. The entire house has the same trim all the way around the ceilings in everysingle room. We used the sander and pads from the livingroom , and the stain from the livingroom also.
The bathroom was gross, The toilet was in working condition, it just took alot of work to clean it and purchase a new seat and seal. Cost was about $10 The entire floor was rotted out, so we replaced that cost was about $20. We bought the same linoluem for the bathrooms and kitchen, it was a special order that someone changed their mind on. It is a stretch lino, no glue just lay and it works it's way to the corners over a day or two. Originally would have been $900 for flooring and install. We installed ourself and purchased the flooring for $250. We also have since put a small wall sink in this bathroom, That was free, I found sitting outside in someones trash, also found a small wooden medicine cabinet at garage sale for .50. And the piping for the sink was about $3.50. ( The sink had new faucet and handles in a box taped to the underneath). This downstairs toilet was probably #2 on the gross list of this house. The previous tenants had the water shut off for quite awhile but still continued to use the toilet and left it. It sat for one year like that. I cannot believe we saved that toilet. I was so close to buying a new one. Till I saw how clean my husband got it. The paint for the bathroom cost $2.50 for a gallon at the salvage store. This bathroom was one of the first things to get done, Since the upstairs bathroom needed alot more work, We needed atleast one bathroom while working on the house. We would come over at 8am everyday and work until 7pm at night, for two months to get moved in.
Money was so tight those two months, Sometimes I don't know how we did it. Only had a microwave at the house, until just a few days before we moved in. I made tons of casseroles for us to eat when we got home, We ate alot of sandwhiches for lunchesI kept a cooler with juice and cups, and a coffee pot at the house, and a grocery bag full of snacks. We had no extra money, paying for rent and putting everything else into the house to get it ready in two months.




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The livingroom











These are the before and after pictures of the livingroom and front entryway. First thing we did was remove all the trash and carpets, Next we scraped as much of the horrible green paint, that was painted on everything including as much as they could on the outside of the house. Next we cleaned everything, including the fan and blades. We replaced the receptacles and sanded and stained the floors. These steps cost very little, Estimate: not including going to the dump
cleaning-nothing
paint scrapers-$4
receptacles-$5
sanding flooors-$20 for pads for our hand sander
Stain-$12(bought at a salvage type store for $3 a can, we got 4 cans which actually covered the livingroom, diningroom, downstairs bedroom and small hallway. So for livingroom $3.
There was a doorway from the livingroom to the downstairs bedroom, We sheetrocked that in and made the door in the hallway by the bathroom instead. Thank god my father in law came to stay with us and show us how to do all this. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. We then painted the livingroom a light brown color, and painted all the trim white. We then replaced the window in the front entry way. We then painted the fan blades, (it was in perfect working condition) and reinstalled it. That room was now done. Cost:
making the new doorway and patching up the old one $10 sheetrock
we used all the old doorway stuff on the new doorway $0
Paint for front entryway: $5.50 on clearance at walmart
Paint for livingroom walls : 5 gallon bucket $40 walmart ( this was also used for the diningoom and the entire hallway going up the stairs and the entire upstairs hallway).
Paint for the trim : 5 gallon white $55 walmart ( used to paint the trim in the entire house)
Just wanted to note that the time is not included in here, We did the front entryway, livingroom, kitchen, small closet bathroom, downstairs bedroom, upstairs just liveable to continue working on, In just 2 1/2 months, We needed to move in then, Because we did not want to sign another 1 year lease on our rental.




The $5000 house!!

I wanted to start with our $5000 house. We purchased our home one and half years ago for $5000. It needed tons of work, and I mean tons! But to purchase a house for $5000, a 2400 sq foot home, That would mean no house payments and we own it, Plus the added benefits of the children learning how to fix things up and us too, Was a huge sell for me. In order to purchase a home like this, You have to have great great vision. When we walked in, It was a mess, the people that had rented, left it completely disgusting, The basement was flooded, There was drug paraphernalia upstairs next to bedrolls, Upstairs bathroom was unusable and the downstairs under the stairs closet was just a hole cut in the floor and a toilet set on top of it. The kitchen refrigerator my husband forbid anyone to open, He did and apparently there were dead things and it was completely green, The microwave had food in it, 1 year old. etc etc etc. I don't think I saw all these things immediately, I strolled right in and started taking notes on what we would do!!! We called the guy immediately because there were others looking at it while we were there. We made the deal, And began work immediately. We only had the $5000 to pay for the house, still had to pay our rent somewhere else and work on this house to get it live able to even move into, This I will all explain in the next few posts and post pictures.

Hello and Welcome

Hello and welcome to my blog, Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I will enjoy writing this. I will be writing about our family experiences in frugalness, saving money, recipes, family life..Share great finds, Family projects, Great websites and more. We bought our house for $5000 a year and half ago, And I would like to share our progress on it. I truly believe this was one of our greatest decisions thus far. I stockpile and would like to share that. Thanks again for stopping by and look forward to seeing and hearing from you. Frugalredneck