Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hat or No Hat?

That is the question. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas, sometimes I find too many ideas. I love the holiday projects and crafts. Although, I am really not a crafty person but I love to see what other people create. If it is simple enough, I will try it. I have been searching for a few simple crafts for my niece and nephew (M & B) and I love to stick with a holiday/Christmas theme. Lately we have done mostly fruit projects as M calls them, but I may try something different tomorrow. 

 Anyways, back to the hat or no hat. My latest (simple) craft, is this snowman. 





I just used three boxes and wrapped them with wrapping paper with the white side out. I just happened to have a make your own snowman kit my grandma gave me a few years ago so I used those pieces for the nose, mouth, pipe & scarf. But you could just draw the mouth on and roll up a piece of orange paper for the nose. 

Now back to searching for tomorrow's craft. Although I know I better have a fruit project lined up because that is the first thing M will ask when she gets here. Maybe I can find a good craft and side track her with a good fruit smoothie. She loves to make those too, I just have to remind her not to leave the spoon in the blender. :-) Yep, that actually happened. B will be happy with whatever we choose, he pretty much loves everything haha. 

 What are your favorite simple kids holiday/winter/Christmas crafts? 




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fruit Project


Busy day today so I thought I would share with you another fruit project. I mentioned before about making these adorable and simple edible projects with my niece. I love the fact that they are usually semi healthy for her and always fun to make. Did I mention I found this idea on Pinterest of course. 

If you would like to make this adorable Palm Tree Fruit Project you will need...

One or two kiwis (depending on how thick you slice them)
One Banana
One Tangerine

That's it! 

As you can see you slice the banana in half lengthwise and then cut into smaller chunks. Slice the kiwi and peel the orange and split the pieces. Then just lay it out. Take a picture and then your done. Oh haha, you don't have to take a picture! Have fun with this project and stop back and let me know how it turned out. 


The finished product.


You can see our last fruit project here. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy & Christmas Trees.

In this house, the weekends usually bring a big breakfast. Everything from pancakes to egg sandwiches and this weekend I wanted to try biscuits with sausage gravy. I picked up some fresh sausage at the local Market Friday, I usually buy all our meat from a local farm several times a year so my freezer is always stocked. For this, I just wanted to have some fresh meat already thawed, and I had a giftcard to the Market! 

 I searched for different recipes online and there are always so many to choose from. I also called my Mom and our conversation may have consisted of a few questions about how to make sausage gravy. Now remember I am a newbie cook! Just learning here. 

Biscuit Recipe: 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 4-½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¾ cups Butter, Cold
  • 1 whole Egg, Slightly Beaten
  • 1 cup Milk
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter. Mix egg and milk in a small bowl then pour into the dry mix. Stir together with a fork. Combine all the dry mix with the wet mixture until it forms a soft ball.
Turn out onto a floured counter. You can use a buscuit cutter, but I just dropped like cookies with a spoon on trays.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.


Sausage Gravy Recipe:  
1 pound fresh sausage
3 tablespoons shortening, or bacon drippings
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a skillet . I used my cast iron skillet. Add the sausage and cook until cooked through, break up sausage.

Remove the sausage and drain, reserving the fat. Return 3 to 4 tablespoons of the fat to the pan. (If you don't have enough grease, add more bacon grease or butter to make up for the difference.) Add the flour and whisk, allowing the flour to brown and form a dark roux. Keep whisking and pour in the milk. Whisk out the lumps. Return the sausage to the skillet and you can add in any herbs you'd like. Simmer the gravy until it thickens.


 It was a relaxing cozy weekend at our house and I am happy to say my hubby LOVED breakfast! I am often trying new recipes or trying to make things healthier a little at a time, so let me just say there aren't very many times he LOVES what I have made. Don't worry, he is very sweet about it, but I can just tell. :-) So this breakfast goes down in my daily journal and recipe binder as a keeper! 

 We also finished the rest of our Christmas decorations and our tree this weekend. I am always curious about everyone's Christmas trees. Do you do a set color/theme or do you mix and match ornaments? We mix and match. Since I was little, we get new ornaments every year. As "newlyweds" (I still like to call it that although it's 8 years this year) I always pick up ornaments when we go to gift shops on vacation or find a new personalized one each year. I love opening that ornament box each year and seeing all the different trips we have taken or all the different memories that go with each ornament. Including our first Christmas ornament and our first trip to Disney! 


Our first Christmas ornament. 

A special ornament that was on my Great Gram's tree. 

Another special ornament that belonged to my Mother In Laws tree. She passed away 3 years ago. 

From our trip to Maine with my parents! 

From our 2nd Honeymoon, to Disney. 

Our trip to Deleware! 

This one was from our wedding! Notice all the Winnie the Pooh, I am a fan haha. 




If you would like to see the original recipes, the links are as follows:

4 Weeks to a More Organized Life - Day 11.

Update on day 11 of 4 Weeks to a More Organized Life. 

 I have always been mostly organized. I am a list maker, planner and scheduler but sometimes as we all do, I tend to go off track a bit. So when Money Saving Mom started this recent challenge, I thought why not! 

 Incase you are just tuning in, this is what happened in the past 10 days. 

 Day 1
Pick up the main living area of your home.

Day 2 
Do a quick clean of your refrigerator.

Day 3
Quick Clean of your freezer.

Day 4
 Clean under beds and furniture.

Day 5
Clean under couches/cushions ect...

Day 6 
Quick clean and sweep your vehicle.

Day 7
Sweep the main living areas of your home.

Day 8
Wipe all the door handles in your home.

Day 9
Wipe all the light switch plates in your home.

Day 10 
Wipe down all the light fixtures and ceiling fans in your home. 

 Day 11
Clean our your silverware drawer, including all those little crumbs that somehow sneak in there. 

In with all of those smaller things our daily goals were to make a list of 5 to 10 things for that week and try to accomplish on or two each day. 

 My list this week isn't too bad! I did a quick clean of the silverware drawer and made my list for the week. I want to get started on my household binder! 

You can join in and see the rest of the ideas/goals here


Laundry and the usual are of course included. And this is what happens when I cough drop goes through the washing machine, thankfully in a Ziploc bag. It's all liquid now! 


 

 Are you participating in this challenge? How are you doing? 



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Even Better.

I mentioned a while ago about my excitement for a new cookbook! I was counting down for the arrival of a cookbook from my favorite food blogger from Dinner A Love Story. 


I follow this blog and I love it. Always so many great ideas and stories that go together with the concept of "It all begins at the dinner table". Something I truly believe and love. Like Jenny, I believe that no matter what happens in your day, the best time to talk and regroup with your family is at the dinner table. Since I was a little girl, no matter where we were going that evening or who was busy with something, we always sat down together as a family at the dinner table. Now that I have a house of my own, my hubby and I follow that tradition and we always sit down at the table, turn the tv/radio or whatever off and eat. 

 My parents had also started a little dinner time ritual of saying our hi & low points for the day. So as we are all sitting down to dinner, we go around the table and say our hi point for the day, and our low point. You have to have one of each & you can't use the same one as anyone else. It is a fun way to get a quick idea of what the family has done that day. 

 Anyways, back to my excitement! I have been keeping an eye on Jenny's book signings but none local just yet! So... my hubby got me this awesome cookbook and today he surprised me with something even better. A bookplate for in my cookbook signed by Jenny Rosenstrach! Could it get any better??? No! Jenny even wrote a little message...

If you haven't checked out her blog and cookbook yet, you can check it out here.

Fruit Projects

My niece and nephew love their playdates with Aunt C. I am always searching Pinterest for more ideas of projects/crafts and other super simple ideas for things to do with them. 


 I had found this on Pinterest a while ago and when my niece was here for her playdate, we decided to call our project a fruit project. So from then on, she always wants to make a fruit project. So I have pinned a few too many projects! 

 This week's project was a caterpillar. I love these fruit projects because they usually involve foods that I already have, usually semi healthy and they can help make it and eat it for easy clean up! Now I didn't have the pretzel sticks for this one so we had to improvise. But Bananas, Peanut Butter, Grapes and Mini Chocolate Chips. So simple. 
I found this over at Little Page Turners and M. loved it! 


Feel free to share any great fruit projects you have made! 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Lights

As I mentioned yesterday, we put up our Christmas lights this week on the front of the house. YAY. I have to be honest and say that we isn't really the right word to describe who put up the lights. I am the one who really wants to put the lights on the house so I thought I would get out on the porch roof to help put the lights up on the roof and up the peak in the middle. 

It seemed like a good idea even though last year ended the same way but as I am trying to stand on the ladder on the porch roof to climb up onto the roof, my legs may have been a little shaky, and I decided it just wasn't going to be possible. We had to call for backup haha. So my father in law had to help my hubby finish the lights! 

 So we (my hubby, father in law and I) got the lights up! 

G perfectly cozy inside waiting for us! 


 Now I feel like I am ready to watch a little Christmas Vacation or Home Alone! Two of my favorite Christmas movies. What are your favorites?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Freebie Friday

 Free with coupons at Giant Eagle! 
My free sample pack from P&G and my Dial Foaming Hand Soap! 

What did you get this week? 

Torani Flavored Syrup Review and Coupon

Hot Chocolate and Hot Coffee are perfect holiday drinks, especially on a cozy day like today. Do you find yourself spending a little extra each week at Starbucks or any other coffee shops? Would you like to try to make your favorites at home? 
Now with Torani, maybe you can. 

After all the food and shopping (online for me, from the comfort of my own couch) a good hot cup of cocoa is perfect! Thanks to SheSpeaks Blogger Program I was able to try these flavors and share with my friends and family and to review a great new product this holiday season, Torani Flavored Syrup. I got Peppermint and Hazelnut, perfect holiday flavors! With all the great flavors the possibilities are endless! If you would like to try Torani, you can shop here and use code shespeaks for 10% off your order! 

Stop back and let me know what flavor you ordered! 

 These are delicious when added to hot chocolate and/or coffee. You can see recipes on the Torani website by clicking here.  I keep getting the idea of a hot chocolate bar at a holiday party. Pinterest may have been the culprit for that inspiration. 

Now just have to decide which flavor to try first!






Head over to Coupons.Com for a $1.00 off Torani Flavored Syrup coupon, 
and use zipcode 77477 if needed.


 

Dial Foaming Hand Soap Review

Getting ready for the holidays is one of my favorite things to do this time of year. I love everything about the holidays and all the traditions. My family was and is always big on tradition. My hubby and I have always put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving and then finished the other decorating that weekend as well. I figure I might as well enjoy the tree and decorations as long as I can. 

 This past week kicked off the holidays for us. Hanging the icicle lights on the front of the house, (that is a story for another day) the tree is up and the house is decorated. I don't normally fill every nook and cranny with decorations but I do love to add a little holiday cheer to everything! When I was asked to review Dial Foaming Hand Soap with the holiday prints, I jumped at the chance! Foaming hand soap for some reason makes me feel like my hands are getting cleaner haha, not sure what it is, but the foam just makes me think of clean. The scent is great too! 

Who doesn't love a little holiday cheer added to their hand soap? 

Love seeing packages like this on my doorstep from Purex and Dial. 

Everything decorated including the kitchen sink! 

Isn't this cute? 

Have you tried Dial's Foaming Hand Soap yet? What's your favorite hand soap? 




**"Dial provided me a free sample of their Holiday Foaming Hand Soap so I could review them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own."**

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free Photo Calendar from Shutterfly

Hurry over to Shutterfly and enter the code CALENDAR2013 to get your free Shutterfly Photo Calendar. This offer is only good until Friday! 

I have mentioned a few times before how much I love Shutterfly and their products but I love them even more when they are free! 

 Have fun creating your calendar! 

25% cash back on Thanksgiving Turkey.

I just earned 25% cash back on the purchase of our 21 lb Thanksgiving turkey! Did you? If you haven't signed up for the Endorse app yet, you can check it out here and sign up. Endorse is a great app for quickly earning cash back on your everyday purchases such as gas and milk. All you do is snap a picture of your receipt and upload it, it's that easy. 




 If you are signed up, make sure you upload your receipt to get your 25% back.

 As I mentioned before, I have already earned over $20.00 cash back this time around, and before the relaunch I had earned almost $400.00! 

 Plus if you sign up and refer your friends, you can earn $1.00 per referral. 

 You can sign up here with my referral link or if you prefer you can just go to Endorse.com. 

 

 Have you earned any cash back yet? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Granola bars are something I love but honestly have never made. I can't believe I have never made them before because they are so easy! My sister in law recently shared a yummy recipe for granola bars that looks healthy and delicious. Since I didn't have the ingredients on hand and had already been to the store in the past few days, I decided to make a different recipe. I wanted to try something I knew my hubby would like. He isn't a big fan of the dried fruit (which I love) and he loves anything peanut butter. So I found a Peanut Butter Granola Bar recipe and thought I would give it a try. 


 I made these and I thought they were yummy! Healthier than the store bought version which I love. I know they aren't the perfect 'healthy' ingredients but to me, as long as they weren't all store bought, they were perfect! 

5 Ingredient 
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
 (12-16 granola squares)

4 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds  I didn't have these. 
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I used honey!)

 I will say I may need to add a little more of the wet ingredients because they turned out a little dry. All in all they were yummy. 

 Now off to find a few more granola bar recipes. 

Do you have any you love? Feel free to share. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fresh Picked Today.


After a great lunch date with my Sister today, I just had to stop at Freedom Farms farm market and show my Mom the market. As I have mentioned before we are big supporters of the local farmer. This market has a great selection of pretty much everything you could want farm fresh. I had already stopped this week at the smaller Market that is closer to us, so I didn't need much. Just wanted to show Mom the market. 

I picked up some carrots that were picked fresh today! I used the carrots tonight with the Turkey Rolls I made for supper. They were yummy! I also cut some up for my hubby's lunch tomorrow. 

 We spoke with Dan King, from the Farm Kings tv show on GAC who is a part of the King family that runs this great market. The King family recently brought out the 2013 CSA program and offered it to their customers. I was curious about how the program works and Dan was happy to explain it. 

 Basically you buy your "share" in the farm from one of two packages. They give you a card like a credit card with your store credit for the next 6 months, you can redeem your weekly credit at any of their locations, Freedom Farms, The Market at New Ken or their local farmers markets at a discount. They will have the CSA member price and a regular price. Sort of like a VIP discount. This program sounds great to me! 

You can sign up until May 30, 2013. 

Becoming a Freedom Farms CSA Member Means:

1. Supporting your local farmer & local agriculture
 

2. Reducing the distance between you and your food,
cutting down on carbon emissions and energy waste

3. Improving your personal health by eating the most fresh,
local, and nutritious food available

4. Keeping local money in the local economy

5. Saving money while increasing the value of what you’re bringing home

6. Exclusive members-only discounts and events throughout the season

7. Access to an unparalleled variety of products including baked goods,
local meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables, & more, at no extra cost

8. Having the freedom to choose!



 You can check out more information on the program here. 

 Have you ever participated in a CSA before? I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Snickerdoodles and Anniversaries.

Every day is a perfect day to bake in my house but this was an extra special occasion, which for me, equals more baking! My hubby and I celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this week. I honestly can't believe it has been 8 years! Time really flies when your having fun! 

 Baking is something I love to do, especially when I can bake something yummy for my hubby be it a special occasion or not. So I am always searching Pinterest for the best new recipes but sometimes I love to stick with the classics. 

This weekend's baking consisted of Snickerdoodles (a classic) and Banana Bread Brownies (Pinterest newbie) and both turned out delicious! 




 I can honestly say the snickerdoodles were the favorite to my hubby, he already requested another batch because they are almost gone. (I shared these with our parents too :-) Although, we could have eaten them all ourselves.) He isn't a big fan of anything with banana or walnuts but he thought the banana bread brownies were good too! I love them, so moist! 

So I guess I know what I will be baking next. 

Before the icing. 

Please excuse the terrible photo. They were delicious! 

The recipes. 

 Click here for the Banana Bread Brownies. 

 Click here for the Snickerdoodles. 

 Have you made either of these lately? 

Did You Get 10 Free Cards From Cardstore.Com?


UPS brought me a nice little box full of bright colored packing and 10 FREE holiday cards I ordered with FREE shipping! How perfect is that? 

Did you get yours? 



My other freebies this week! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Organization Day 2.

I have been trying to work on getting myself and my house a little more organized. I have found that with the help of Money Saving Mom's recent organization series and IHeart Organizing's everything haha, I am trying each week to find new things to organize and complete. 

 My projects from yesterday were my recipe binder and my coupon binder. Today I finished organizing the pile of paperwork/mail on the counter. You know the one that for some reason seems to appear every day and multiply within the hour? Ya, that pile. Well, this past week I reorganized my awesome Thirty One Organizing Utility Tote that sits on the end of the counter or under the counter in the cupboard, so today I sorted all the papers ect... and filed them accordingly. It feels great to have another thing checked off my list and everything a little neater. I found this great idea from IHeart Organizing a while ago and I love it. I love that I can just carry my bag of bills/papers/calculator ect... to my office or wherever I need it and it looks super cute on the counter or wherever. I would love to create our corner kitchen command center in the empty spot in our diningroom (open to our kitchen) sometime soon, now I have to decide how exactly I want it and find the right furniture/pieces for the spot! I would love to find a great thrift store piece and DIY something great. We will see. For now, it's just the end of counter clutter. 




 Do you have a similar system for the daily mail clutter or something different? Feel free to share.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Little Organization


It was a busy day in our house today. After reading Money Saving Mom's latest posts about organization and getting things done, I figured I would tackle an organization project that has been bugging me. Well, two of them actually. So today after Ginger and I got back from today's morning walk (lots of frost on the ground this morning) I started sorting/clipping/organizing my coupon inserts and swapped the small folders I had them in. I have a coupon binder that I love, but I needed to change up the small one to a medium one that I carry with me at the store. I have great friends and family that share their coupons with me but I end up with a big pile of them. So recently I have tried sorting them weekly into a folder/binder that keeps them in order before I clip them. Then I clip/sort them and put them into the medium folder that I can shop with. I just can't get the hang of taking the big binder shopping. 



 YAY! I feel like I am all organized after that haha. 

 
On to the next project, my recipe binder

 I love my recipe binder! I found many different ideas on Pinterest a while ago and I put together a recipe binder that I use daily. I am still tweaking a few things, I need to redo my categories and I would like to put a section for daily easy/quick meals in my normal rotation for our meal plan. But those are a work in progress. Today's job was sorting and filing the new recipes I have printed or pulled out of magazines in the last few months. This recipe binder has made it so much easier for me to plan meals for our weekly meal plan and find/try new recipes. 

 
Yay! Another thing off my list. 

If you would like to see more about my recipe binder you can check out my post here

What is your most recent organization project? Have you just finished it or is it one lingering over you that needs completed? Feel free to share. 

 

**HOT 10 Free Cards Plus Free Shipping Cardstore.com

10 Free Holiday Cards or Invitations (Up to $26.00 value) includes Free Shipping if you use the coupon code CCN2433 at CardStore.com today Thursday November 8th! Have your cards mailed directly to you and your total will be $0.00!!! 

No credit card needed for this great freebie! 



What cards to you get?