June 16th, 2008

Last weekend my daughter and I took a trip to the local dollar store. We didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend, so I figured going to the dollar store (one in particular where everything is a dollar) would be easy on my checkbook. I was right! Our main goal was to get something in the way of crafts, which this store has a pretty nice selection. We ended up getting a package of foam door hangers, multi-colored cotton balls, foam shapes that stick (hearts), and glitter glue. A whole $4 we spent on a craft that kept her busy that afternoon (with lots of supplies left over for more crafts!). Even better, one of her friends popped in, so she did one with her. It was great watching two giggling girls decorate something for their room. So if you are looking for something easy and fun, take a trip to your local dollar store to see what... 

June 13th, 2008

As a rule of thumb, us frugal shoppers never pay full price for certain items. When items go on sale, that’s the time to snatch them up. As my dad always says “the worst time to buy something is when you need it”. Basically meaning if you have to buy it immediately, you aren’t going to get a very good deal on it. Which is why right now is a perfect time to buy bedding. It’s summer, and we don’t usually think about needing comforters or quilts. The companies that sell them know this too, and many are having huge summer sales. Right now one of those places is YourKidsDirect, which currently has quite a bit of bedding and other bedroom items at up to 40% off. It’s not just stuff that’s not selling either, but some really good deals. The first item I spotted was a Hanna Montana bedding set for pretty... 

June 12th, 2008

Alright so it wasn’t exactly rice we used. It was a box of the Zatarain’s Jambalaya mix. I didn’t have any white rice or anything else, so decided to use that. It turned out pretty good regardless. Basically all I did was put the rice in a casserole dish, then added the amount of water it said on the box. The pork chops went on top of that. I covered the dish with foil and baked it for about an hour on 350*. It turned out REALLY good, and I might just try it with different types of rice next time. Can’t say my son exactly liked it because he’s not a rice fan, but my daughter seemed to at least like the flavor of the pork chops. This recipe was actually pretty similar to one of my leftover recipes, except the pork chops get cooked with the rice instead of using leftover pork. Very tasty and very easy to try variations!  Read More →

June 11th, 2008

Every month Webkinz features a new “Pet of the Month”, and those who own them get special extra features such as exclusive items, extra daily activities, and more opportunities for KinzCash. June’s Pet of the Month is the Elephant. Do note this is the large pet only, not the little ones. Most of the time the featured pet of the month is the big, but we’ve seen the little Webkinz featured as well. July’s Pet of the Month is the Cheeky Monkey (NOT the regular one!). Unfortunately we have the regular monkey, but that’s alright. We may get the other one too to keep Wild Monkey (that’s what my son named him) company. The best part of the Webkinz is you can adopt multiple pets on one account. The pets all live in the same “house”, but each have their own rooms. You share money, items, and other... 

June 10th, 2008

For some reason no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get the garage cleaned up enough to get a car inside. After last night’s thunderstorms and hail, I realized I need to try a little harder. The main problem right now is a very large cabinet that was moved out of the kitchen. Whoever decided right by the door was a good place for it was out of their minds. Sadly it was probably ME. Even though spending money is the last thing I want to do most of the time, I did hire someone to haul some garbage on more than one occasion. Usually local guys who do odd jobs like this are pretty cheap, usually costing under $50. It’s well worth the money too, because all you have to do is load up a trailer with all your junk and they take care of the rest. However, that cabinet is just too big for me to move on my own up into a trailer.... 

June 9th, 2008

While the idea of making a kid read for half their summer seems a bit cruel, it’s really pretty important to keep up their reading skills over summer vacation. Luckily I have one kid who’s still young enough she enjoys me reading to her (she’s only 5, and still learning to read), and my oldest absolutely loves books. The real trick to any summer reading program is to find books they enjoy. My son is pretty stubborn when it comes to suggested reading, and will go out of his way to pick his own books just out of spite. However, some might actually like hunting for specific books on a list. To make it easier to find books, pick a summer reading program from your local libraries. If you live in an area where kids can go to the library by themselves, this is an excellent opportunity to give them a little extra freedom while sparking... 

June 6th, 2008

I absolutely love our local farmer’s market. It started just last year, but I was looking forward to it again all winter long. Granted the selection was a little slim yesterday because there isn’t much full grown yet, but that will change as the summer continues. The prices are really amazing on certain things you usually pay top dollar for in the stores. Peppers especially are usually pretty cheap (we got a whole BAG of them for just a dollar!), and they can be frozen pretty easy. Other produce you may have to use immediately, but if your farmer’s market is weekly it shouldn’t be a problem. Yesterday we found things like onion, radish, and rhubarb already out. Plus of course some very delicious pies and breads we always have to give in on. You’d be surprised what you can find to cook with up there though. ... 

June 5th, 2008

The other day while writing an article about how serious bullying really is I came across a wonderful site for kids and adults. The site is called “Stop Bullying Now!” and it gives tips, information, and resources for kids who are bullied (or do the bullying), kids who witness it, and also for adults (parents, teachers, and other adults involved with kids). What I like the most about this site is how it emphasizes the seriousness of bullying, and how to handle the situation with your kids. Since bullying is something we were dealing with at school before we went on summer vacation, I found that section extremely helpful. There are some good notes on how to push the school to get it stopped, but unfortunately our school isn’t taking it so seriously and I felt like we were in an uphill battle. I’ve been told over and... 

June 4th, 2008

Yesterday we had some running to do, and stopped by the grocery store. While there we had to pick up some of their very tasty mushroom swiss hamburgers they sell in patties. Granted this is something we could easily make at home, but I felt like taking a shortcut yesterday. Basically it’s just as the name says – they are hamburger patties with mushrooms and swiss cheese inside them. Yup INSIDE, not outside. All you have to do is cook them like regular hamburgers and throw them on a bun. If you are in the mood to make buns, you can easily turn the recipe for “Tabi’s Awesome Rolls” into buns. We do this often, but I’m feeling a little on the lazy side tonight so will probably use store bought. I know, I’m bad. =P  Read More →

June 3rd, 2008

Since the kids are on summer vacation (or might be soon in your case), the house may be getting unorganized and messy faster than it did when they were in school. Getting kids to do chores sometimes is more effort than just doing it yourself, but worth the reward if they are picking up good habits. Laundry in our house is always an issue. If it isn’t piled up in dirty laundry baskets, it’s piled up waiting to be put away. Making the trip upstairs to put it away seems like a chore on it’s own so is often skipped. I know this needs to be changed, and I plan to get the kids involved. Starting yesterday we came up with a plan to tackle the laundry. Every day, somewhere shortly after everyone is fully awake and had breakfast, we are putting away a few clothes each. Since both kids have a horrible habit of going outside for a...