Saturday, February 28, 2009

Inexpensive Toys

At my house we have a few 'store bought' playdough toys (birthday, x-mas gifts, etc.), but some of the best toys for playdough are plastic forks and knives. They are very inexpensive (we usually have them lying around the house in drawers, cabinets and such). It is also easy for everyone to have the same thing (with 4 boys it is hard to have the same thing without buying 4 of whatever). If it gets broken or lost (it is easily and cheaply replaced).

We also have inexpensive cookie cutters (purchased mostly at the dollar stores after season clearance sales). We can get a package of Easter (or Christmas or whatever) cookie cutters just a day or so after the holiday - greatly reduced. Even if the cookie cutters are different shapes we have enough for everybody to have one (of basically the same thing - they all have cookie cutters) and then they can learn to share the different shapes.

Also, a big thing at our house (we do it every so often) is large appliance boxes. We have a friend that works at an appliance store and if we ask for a box we can usually get one. Yes, that's all - a large cardboard box. They boys love it!!!!!!! They will play with it for days (until it is destroyed). They usually play with it as is, but you could let them color or finger paint the outside of the box, you could cut windows, doors, etc. You could turn it into a car, train, house, or whatever. I have found out that with boys it will last longer if you don't cut holes in it.

What do you substitute for 'store bought' toys?


Thursday, February 26, 2009


My friend Mary gave me this recipe and I tried it tonight and it is delicious.

Take fresh asparagus and lightly coat in olive oil. Place on baking sheet then sprinkle with coarse salt (I used sea salt). Bake in oven at 350 degrees until tender (about 10 min.). Then sprinkle with Parmesean cheese and put back in oven just until cheese is melted.



Great Recipe

I tried the Brown Sugar Chicken (that is cooked in the crock pot) from Diary of a Stay At Home Mom and it was delicious!!!!! It came together really easily, I had all the ingredients on hand and I put it all in the crock pot on Sunday morning before church. When we got home from church the house smelled great and lunch was fixed (I just added a couple of side items). I love it!!!!!

Let me know if you try it and how you like it.


P. S. For the actual recipe click here and scroll down just a little.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Magazine Subscription

You can get a free magazine subscription (1 year) to Elle Decor and (2 year) to Women's Health here Gold. I have signed up for Family Fun and Woman's Day from there and I am receiving them and I have not received a bill. I love magazines!!!!!!!

My aunt is really good to pass on her magazines (which saves me a ton of money). You can do the same with friends and family. Get with a friend and you each subscribe to a different magazine and after you finish swap with each other. You get twice the magazine for half the money. It's a great way to save money and recycle your magazines.

What's your favorite magazine?


Monday, February 16, 2009


I just made brownies and gave the beater to Rance and the bowl and spatula to Anthony to lick. I went to get the laundry out of the dryer and came back to catch Rance trying to lick the chocolate off his knee (don't ask me how it got there). He was covered in chocolate, bath time!


Easy Vegetable Casserole

My mom used to make this and my hubby loves it!

Easy Vegetable Casserole

1 can mixed vegetables (drained)
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/4 stick of butter (or less) - melted
salt and pepper to taste

Mix your veggies with cheese and salt and pepper in an oven safe casserole dish. Crumble crackers on top and pour melted butter on top of crackers. Bake at 350 until heated through and crackers are slightly browned.

This makes a great side dish. It is also easy to double or triple for company or larger families (or to take to social functions).



Some Useful Information

Check out your local Love's Gas Station. I just recently found out that our's does not charge for air (for airing up a low tire). That is really neat because most of the time it is $0.75 to air up a tire (and usually I don't have the change to do that and I hate getting my kids out to go inside to get change).

I love it!


Friday, February 13, 2009

I did it again

I changed my hair again. My husband is so used to it that I think if I DIDN'T change it every few weeks, then he would be surprised. I was trying to go with the 2-toned look to accentuate the cut (it's been cut like this for awhile, I just changed the color). I don't think I got the back dark enough, hubby says it's fine. What do you think?


Praying for Your Husband

I read a book not too long ago, Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martin (I've actually read several of her books, they are really good). It touched me very deeply. I believe that prayer is the most powerful tool that a Christian has, but is probably not used like it should be. It is one area that I feel that I can always improve on and I am always looking for ways to improve. I love to hear how other women pray for their husbands (it gives me a fresh, new perspective). Go to diary of a Stay At Home Mom and check out her 31 Days of Praying for My Husband. Let's all pray along with her for our husbands. Who cannot use prayer, wouldn't you like to know that your husband was/is praying for you?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping Kids Busy Part 2

One mom suggested (and this is great in good weather) a nature scavenger hunt. With her and her daughter's finds, they glue them on construction paper and make a personal card for friends and family.

Another mom had their version of "The Food Network" and their show was titled 'Cooking with Cereal.' She said they made rice crispy treats, and other recipes then they shared them with the neighbors.

One mom had the same problem I have trying to change sheets (her kids want to get in the middle of the bed and/or sheets - making it impossible to change sheets) so she plays 'Puffy Sheets' with her kids. They wait patiently until she has the sheets on the bed, then she shakes a king size sheet up in the air and when it falls to the ground it makes a "bubble" and the kids take turns jumping on it. Sometimes they lay in the floor and she puts the "bubble" on top of them. She said her kids love it. I will deffinitely have to try it (I think my kids would love this).

Another mom (she was an elementary school teacher before she became a SAHM) suggested getting an egg carton and a bag of pom poms. Fill one side with all large pom poms of different colors, fill the other side with small pom poms the same colors as the larger ones. Have kids match colors (they put a small one with a big one). To make it more challenging (if the child is able), use tongs for them to pick up the pom poms.

The same mom suggested stringing colored beads onto a shoelace. Counting them as they went and counting them as they put them back into the storage container (making sure they had them all). She also talked about the colors of the beads.

Can't remember which mom(s) suggested letting kids play with shaving cream (putting some on a cookie sheet and letting the kids 'finger paint' with it). You can also add food coloring to the shaving cream. Someone also suggested putting some small objects in a bowl and filling it with shaving cream and have the kids find the objects.

One mom made the suggestion to make sure that you have enough for everyhand. She has 2 toddlers and an infant and she lets her kids play with plastic spoons and spatulas with a pot and lid while she cooks. Each toddler gets 2 spoons/spatulas (one for each hand) otherwise they would be trying to take one away from brother. Great idea!

Another mom who was also a former elem. teacher took a piece of paper (typing paper, computer paper, notebook paper, whatever) and made a box on the top half of the paper (taking up almost the whole top half) and then drew lines below it (you understand why in a minute). Inside the box she would place 1 sticker and the child was to draw a picture around and including the sticker. If they are old enough, they can write the story below the box on the lines. If they can't write, they can dictate to you their story. She suggested making this a 'Never Ending Story' every day or every week, add a page to your story.

The same mom suggested taking picture of your child and/or family members and putting them on magnetic paper (found at most office supply stores) then making a puzzle out of the picture (depending on the child you choose the difficulty level of the puzzle). Great for the fridge.

I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed listing to them. If you have any good ideas I am open. I have 4 boys (2 of which are toddlers) and rainy/snowy day activities sometime escape me. I guess I should have an 'Inclement Weather' or 'Mommy Needs Just a Minute' folder with all these ideas in them (and any more that I might run across). Hey, I think I'll go do that.

Have fun and let me know what works for you.


Free Coupon Booklet from Homemade Simple

You are allowed to sign up for this every couple of months or so. I signed up not too long ago (although I can't remember exactly when) and it let me sign up again. It seems to take forever to receive it (it comes snail mail). If you have signed up for it and can't remember when, go ahead and try again, it will let you know if you are not elligible. Most of it is cleaning products from Proctor and Gamble, but they are really good coupons (better than what you find in the newspaper). And cleaning supplies are so expensive, who couldn't use a coupon? Go here to sign up.


Keeping Kids Busy

Yesterday at our MOPS group several moms gave ideas of how they keep their kids busy. This was one of (if not my very) favorite meeting of all. I mean if you are a mom, who couldn't use this? We all need times to keep kids busy (while we are fixing supper, trying to take a shower/bath, ________(fill in the blank)_______). So here are some of the great ideas I heard yesterday.

Printable 'Bingo' cards (like for restaurants, cars, etc.) at Real You can print several and use the store-bought bingo daubers, you can laminate them, cover them with clear contact paper or put them inside of clear page protectors and use dry/wet erase markers. It would be easy if they are in page protectors to keep them in a 3-ring binder. You can also purchase an inexpensive cookie sheet (from the dollar store) to keep in the car and use magnets for bingo pieces.

There are also activities that you can do with a bag. Check out the website here. In order to get everything, you must purchase the books, but they do have a few ideas for free posted on their website.

They talked about homemade playdough also. It is something that is safer to make at home than to buy (in case it is eaten by a child), it is fun for the child if they are old enough to include in this, it also lasts longer than purchased play dough and is usually softer. I have been wanting to try this recipe ever since I found it (making play dough in a crock pot). It can be found at A Year of CrockPotting (in her archives - do alphabetical listing).

You can also go to and sign up for Preschool Pals newsletter.

I will try to post some more ideas a little later. Have fun with your kids.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fun Girls Night Out

Thanks to Amanda at Faith, Food and Family I had a great time last night. In honor of her birthday several ladies went out to eat and then went bowling. I had the lowest score on my team for both games, but it was still fun. Thanks Amanda and Happy Birthday.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crocheted Hearts

I crocheted this cute heart (in navy even though it looks black in the picture). I got the idea from Diary of a SAHM and she has a link to the pattern. It is pretty easy and fast. It is also a great way to use up your little balls of yarn (not enough for a big project, but too much to throw away). I love to crochet (I do it more in the winter and less in the summer because it can get hot under all that yarn - if you do a big project - like an afghan). I do not knit, but would love to learn. I may try my hand at it sometime.

Check out what we're going to have for dinner tonight - gyros made in the crockpot - check it out here. I got this recipe from A Year of Crockpotting and I have been dying to try it out, so I'm doing it for supper to night. I cannot wait.

I went to Kroger on Tuesday night (fairly late) to do my grocery shopping and they announced over the intercom that they were marking their Rotissiery Chicken down and I bought 3. I put one in the fridge and the kids and I had it for lunch Wednesday (chicken sandwiches) and we all had it for supper Wed. night with veggies and my hubby took it for lunch today. Great deal for $2.99 (It fed 6 of us twice). The other 2 I put in the freezer for later. It is great for casseroles or what ever (it is already cooked and seasoned).


Something I didn't know

Actually there is a lot I don't know (but don't tell my kids). I found out from Nickels-N-Dimes that coupons that start with a 9 will NOT double (no matter what). I did not know that. Since I am new to couponing that is very useful information. You can find out more here.


2 for the price of 1

Check this McDonald's you can get 2 drinks for the price of 1 in the afternoon - check it out here. Thanks for Thrifty & Chic Mom for that tip.

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