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 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 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 ) 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
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!!!!