Jalapeno Cheese Bread Recipe

Where this recipe came from I’m not sure, but it sure is tasty. My friend has been selling it at the local farmer’s market, and it’s been going over really well.

You’ll need a bread machine to make this recipe, but they are well worth it. I’ve had mine for several years and use it a LOT.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread
3/4 cup Sour Cream
1/8 cup Water
1 Egg
3 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
3 tablespoons Fresh Jalapeno (I use frozen sometimes if they are out of season)
1 1/2 teaspoons Yeast

Put all the ingredients into your bread machine in the order shown above. Regular setting, light crust. YUM!

See more Bread Machine Recipes on Idea Queen.

Frugal Friday: Review Your Memberships

It’s easy to rack up a list of various memberships. No matter what it may be, all those “really cheap” memberships start to add up after awhile. A few dollars a month here, another few there……..before you know it your memberships are costing you more than some of your regular bills!

This week I challenge you to take a look at your budge and all those monthly memberships. How often do you REALLY use half of them? Are you going to the YMCA, gym, or an online site as much as you told yourself you would?  Are you using your membership several times every single month, or just “once in awhile”?

Run the numbers in your head really quick – if your gym membership is costing you $15/mo (hypothetically – I have no idea what it really costs, we don’t have them near here), and you only go once every three months, is $45 for one day really worth it? Same goes for YMCA memberships. Those can be paid for daily, and possibly worth it if you are only going once or twice every few months.

Sit down with your budget and take a real close look at those monthly membership. If you aren’t getting your money’s worth out of them, cancel. You’d be surprised how much you end up saving!

Indoor Camping Ideas for Kids

Since the upstairs is a disaster area right now because of the remodeling, I gladly accepted the kids idea of camping out in my son’s room (which is downstairs) last night. It’s a large room, so easily fit a homemade “tent” made out of blankets and chairs.  Because they were doing their camping thing, I was able to take my son’s bed with mine being buried again. *GRIN* Everyone’s happy!

Their tent was simple and they put it together without any help. Just a few chairs and a blanket is all it took, with their old rocking horse in the middle to hold it up. The rocking horse was also their “divider” between them.

They took in popcorn and a flashlight, reading books and telling scary stories. Plus of course pretending they were on a real camping trip with a campfire. I didn’t interrupt them really, but just let them use their imagination to it’s fullest.

Good thing they were camping outside because it’s storming pretty good today and has been for most the night. I think camping inside was more fun for them anyway. 😉

Crafty Recipes for Kids

If you are in need of a few activities to do with the kids over summer vacation, why not spend a little time in the kitchen? I know this week we are suppose to be cleaning up the kitchen, but the promise of making something fun once the job if finished might be an incentive for the kids to help you out.

At Free Kids Crafts there is an entire page dedicated to craft recipes. You’ll find both edible and non-edible recipes like peanut butter play dough,  bubble recipe, clay jewelry, and a whole lot more.

The clay jewelry recipe we’ve got our eye on for today, since that project can be done over several days (painting and all).

Tidy Tuesday: Kitchen Cleanup

With all the remodeling and rearranging we’ve had to do the last few weeks, the kitchen has been a little neglected. The laundry too, but that’s never ending. For as little as we’ve cooked the past few weeks, it sure is a mess!

This week while my bedroom is still in pieces (I did manage to find my bed last night though – another night on the couch was not a pleasant thought!), I’ll be working on the kitchen. This includes all of the following:

– Doing the dishes
– Cleaning off counters (are you guilty like me of leaving out things like flour?)
– Scrubbing counter tops, cupboards, and appliances (don’t forget inside the microwave!)
– Cleaning out the fridge
– Sweeping and mopping the floor (when was the last time YOU mopped?)
– Cleaning under/behind the stove and fridge, time permitting

The chances of me getting to that last one are slim to none, but it might happen. Although the rest of it really needs to be done. For some reason the kitchen just seems to be one of those rooms we breeze in and out of in a hurry, only grabbing what we need and forgetting about the clean up until later. It doesn’t help that both kids make some of their own meals (cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and sometimes a fend for yourself night for supper). While they are at least starting to clean up their own spills, there’s just some messes they don’t see (cereal on the floor for example).

So anyway, the challenge for this week is to make your kitchen shine. Make your own list similar to the one above to make the job easier. We tend to get so overwhelmed that we put it off until later. Remember later never comes – just pick a task and jump in!

The Pains of Remodeling

The goal of any remodeling is to make your house more comfortable and nicer looking than before. But I’m quickly remembering the royal pain it can be while it’s being done.

You see we started on my bedroom yesterday. Not only is there a huge mess right now, but I also don’t have use of my bed. My nice, cozy bed. *Sigh*.

Already having sleeping issues, a night on the couch was not pleasant.  I sit here hardly able to form coherent thoughts.  I woke up a few times, as if my body was trying to tell me “hey you fell asleep on the couch – go upstairs and go to bed”. Well that would have been great if my room wasn’t in pieces and my bed buried under clothes and plastic.

So a word to the wise. When you remodel and hire someone, make sure there’s backup plans in place just in case they don’t finish a certain area as quickly as you thought they would. In fact, setting back a little extra in case you need a hotel room isn’t a bad idea either.  Crossing my fingers they come back today to finish…….I only got a “might” yesterday afternoon and it’s making me nervous. I want my bed back!

5 Free Summer Activities

Frugal Friday Tip 

When summer hits we tend to feel like we need to do as much as possible with our kids, regardless of the cost. Museums, amusement parks, the zoo, swimming, and other attractions get put on a list of things to accomplish.

While we should do certain activities with our kids, they don’t all have to cost money. Here are 5 free activities you can do with your kids that won’t cost you a dime (or won’t cost you much anyway).

1. Visit Local Parks
How many parks are in your area? Not just the one within your town, but bigger parks outside of town as well. Make a list of all of them and what there is to do there. For example, one park in our area has an observatory along with nature trails.

2. Play in the Backyard
Yes, this is allowed! It’s what backyards are for of course. Grab some toys and play some games –  Duck, Duck, Goose or Tag are fun games you can play together in your own backyard.

3. Turn on the Hose
Sprinklers too if you have them. Granted your water bill will go up slightly, but it’s usually not too bad if you keep your eye on how much water is being used. We have a 1-hour limit, several times a week, that keeps our water bill under $50 a month (normally in the winter it’s around $30).

4.  Go Fishing
If you already have fishing poles, this will cost you absolutely nothing but gas to drive to the nearest fishing area. Catch the worms yourself if you can so it’s completely free.

5. Visit the Library
One of the greatest free activities you can possibly find. Check with your local library for special activities for the kids such as story times or reading challenges that offer prizes. This one is pretty easy to make a weekly activity.

That’s just a few ideas to get you going. There’s lots to discover outside your front door that doesn’t cost a whole lot, you just need to find it!

Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Since we are remodeling the house right now, I thought I would share a source I found for lighting, both indoor and outdoor.

Willow Glen has a very organized website, and a huge selection on just about any kind of lighting you can think of. They really stress the fact their items are high quality, so it’s worth checking out the site if are like me and tired of the junk at Walmart. I want something that’s going to last more than a year, so it’s time to look at more high quality products like these.

The indoor lighting on the site includes floor lamps (like for bedrooms – there are some REALLY nice styles there) as well as wall figures (which there are a few places are needing some of those as well).

The outdoor lighting includes not just exterior wall fixtures (which both our front and back lights need replacing), but garden and landscaping lights as well. This will probably be the last item we look for while remodeling since there’s so much that needs to be done inside, but I’m still bookmarking the site.

Anyway, there’s some really beautiful items on the site to see. Go take a look!

Candles in the Summer?

When we think of candles, we tend to think of that warm glow on a cold winter’s day. Just burning a candle near by can make us feel warmer, especially if the scent is something “warm” like a bakery scent or something with cinnamon.

In the summer though, the last thing we want to do is think warm. It’s hot enough outside! Which is exactly why you find me with soy melts instead of burning actual candles. The scents I chose are usually “cool” scents like florals and clean air, summer scents like strawberry, and others that don’t give off the “warm” feeling.

What about you? Do you burn candles or do you use melts instead?

Tidy Tuesday: Mom’s Closet

You may have read in previous weeks that we are getting ready to remodel the house. I’m excited we’ll be starting this weekend with the upstairs bedrooms.

Now the first room isn’t so difficult – it’s mine. I spend little time in my room, so there’s hardly anything but a bed and a few dressers in there. There’s not much that needs to be moved. In fact, since we’re just doing the walls right now, everything will just need to be moved into the middle of the room.

That is, except for what’s in the closet. That I’m going to have to clean out.

It’s not a large closet, but large enough to have tons of clothes shoved into it. Like most women (I suspect), it’s shoved full of clothes I will never be able to wear again.  I’ve been hanging on to them in hopes maybe some day I’ll return to the size I was before having my two children.

I’m proud to say I’m admitting I will never be a size 6 ever again. That was pretty hard for me to admit, but I did it. So now it’s time to get rid of all those old jeans and shirt.

Yesterday I started in on the pile, deciding my little cousin (age 10) would be getting all the jeans. Either that or my mom, but I’m afraid they might be too small (yes she’s that tiny…..I dread going shopping with her). Someone is going to get them though, because they are not staying here to collect dust.

Usually when we moms sort through clothes, it’s the kids clothes because they grow out of things so quickly. But this week I’m focusing on my own collection of clothes I’ve outgrown. I challenge the rest of you to do the same, to see how much closet space you can free up by getting rid of things you don’t wear anymore.

Post your updates throughout the week, and let us know how your closet is looking!