kids don't need fancy toys

Shiny. Easy to hold. Make noise when you hit it... what is there not to love?!
If you need more proof:

*** Please note that if torn metal pie plates can have sharp edges! It took Baby Girl several weeks to damage this one enough that I felt like it needed to be thrown out.***

For more Frugal Friday tips check out Life as Mom!


ribbons, barettes and bows... oh my!

Baby Girl finally has enough hair to put bows in it and I am quickly becoming one of those moms who puts a bow in her daughters hair all the time... I mean ALL the time... like occasionally even when she's in her PJs. Shhh... don't tell!

She's just so cute I can't stand it!

First I taught myself how to make the bows. After many attempts I've finally got the hang of it.

Then I started losing bows... multiple bows... gone... sad.

I needed a way to keep them all in one place. I took a cute scrapbooking tag, an extra bit of ribbon and some double sided tape. I added Baby Girl's intials with stickers and that was it!

It turned out cute, but more importantly, it's practical and hanging in her closet it's easy for the bows to make their way home.

*** On a side note.... I am selling baby hairbows for $2.50 each if you're interested.***


baby "splat mat"

In our apartment our baby's high chair sits on carpet... not good! Since Baby Girl is now tackling finger foods this is really not good! I started searching online for a mat to put under her high chair to make clean-up easier.


WHAT??! For a piece of plastic or oilcloth!! I was in shock.

While shopping one day my Mom ran across this vinyl tablecloth for $4.99.

It was cute, not the typical red and white check or floral patterns that you usually see.

It was cheap.

It was HUGE... I could cover the whole dining area floor if I wanted to with this thing.

Instead I cut it down to an appropriate size.

Then I hemmed it with a zigzag stitch all the way around.

Done... that was it! It works great! It isn't quite as heavy-duty as oilcloth would be... but I have so much table cloth left that whenever this mat wears out I can make another one very quickly and easily!
On a side note... I also made a bib to match! (Though it's way too big and probably won't really fit Baby Girl until she's 5... or 9... oh well!

For more Works for Me tips check out... We are THAT Family!


black beans and rice

Yum! We love this recipe. It's great all by itself with cornbread or as a side to a Mexican feast with friends!

1 onion, chopped
1 T. oil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup rice

In large saucepan saute onions in oil until soft. Drain tomatoes and beans reserving liquid! Add water to this liquid to equal 2 cups. Add this liquid and all other ingredients to pan. Bring to a boil and then let mixture simmer about 20 minutes or until rice is done. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

We love topping our rice and beans with sour cream and/or grated cheese.


over 250 pieces of fruit

What do you do with over 250 pieces of fruit?

Especially when you have two days to get rid of it before you leave town!

My husband works on a college campus. At the end of each semester parents can pay (big bucks) to send an "exam care pack" to their student. An outside company takes these orders, sends the boxes to the university and a student organization my husband works with is responsible for distributing them. Here's the rub... many students never come to pick up their box.

First of all this makes me sad for the parents who send the boxes.

Secondly this makes me sad because of the extravagant waste!

Thankfully much of the prepackaged candy, cookies, chips, etc. can be saved and given out to student workers and kids at camps this summer.

But the fruit... the fruit!!! It makes me cringe.

I willingly took on the task of doing something about it all. There were over 250 green and red apples and oranges. Some were already going bad. I had to act fast.... what to do?

1. Give it- this is obvious but harder than you might think. Because we live on a college campus and all the students are gone, we have no neighbors... I've been passing as much as I can off to the housekeeping staff. I've also called several friends who are swinging by on their way home from work to pick some up. And we made a few special deliveries earlier today.

2. Eat it- this is obvious too. We're having some folks over for lunch between graduation ceremonies tomorrow... guess what we'll be serving?

3. Juice it- I'm planning to take a lot of the oranges home to my parents' house this weekend and will borrow their juicer.

4. Puree it- Applesauce anyone? Baby Girl LOVES applesauce... this might be enough to make her never want to see the stuff again! I'll be making this at my parents' since they have an apple corer/peeler/slicer thing and I am not about to tackle this by hand!

5. Freeze it- I never knew you could freeze apples! I'm going to slice and freeze most of the green apples to use in pies, for baked apples, apple cake, etc. down the road. I'm looking forward to giving some of these goodies away as well when I'll be in town to bake.

While I hate that the students didn't get these boxes I'm very thankful this fruit isn't going to be left to rot and then chunked in a dumpster!

We may not all have 250 pieces of fruit dumped in our laps, but we can all do our part to not let food go to waste!

For other frugal tips check out Frugal Fridays over at Life as Mom!


WFMW- baby scrapbook

My aunt, a talented and creative scrapbooker made this book for us before Baby Girl was born. Knowing that I'm not altogether a "traditional" person, she created a scrapbook for us in non-traditional colors with a double-page spread for each month of the first year of our Baby-to-be's life.

It has turned out to be one of my favorite things ever!

Each double page spread has a decorated page on the left (minimal decorations) and the right side has a calendar for that particular month.

All I have to do is jot little notes on the calendar about things that happen and throw a few favorite pictures from the month on the facing page and we have a beautiful album of Baby Girl's first year!
This book is so liberating for me as I can easily find time to jot down little things that happen each day. I include momentous milestones, like her first tooth, as well as everyday happenings (i.e. we played outside today in the beautiful weather, or took a walk to visit Daddy at work).

Also, I've realized that as long as I keep up with writing in the calendar, the pictures can fall into place later (I'm really behind on printing my pictures!).

This method of keeping track of Baby Girl's first year definitely works for me! It would make a great gift to an expecting mom, or you could make one up for yourself before baby is born.

For other works for me tips check out We are THAT Family.


favorite blogs: Southern Savers

Southern Savers is THE blog for great grocery and pharmacy deals if you live in the south. Which we do.

Jenny does an amazing job listing deals at local stores and matching coupons. I appreciate this blog so much because I don't waste my time skimming posts to find deals relevant to me. Typically, all of her posts (except for a few grocery stores we don't have nearby) are helpful.

There is also a link to the 2009 Coupon Inserts Schedule, as well as previews of coupons for each week. This is very helpful to me as someone who just buys the Sunday paper for the coupons!
The website is super organized, easy to follow and easy to use. I highly recommend!

monday menu

We're on a mission to really use the food in our freezer and pantry instead of just continually stocking and still just eating what we want.... yes, we're cheats like that. So... here's the plan:

Monday- BBQ sandwiches (BBQ and buns from freezer), au gratin potatoes (mix from the Sav Mor sale)

Tuesday- Stir fry with london broil meat (from freezer) over rice

Wednesday- Black beans and rice and homemade bread (I think I have more cans of black beans than I will ever be able to cook in my pantry!)

Thursday- Refrigerator Magic

Friday- Our to dinner to celebrate my little sister's college graduation!

Saturday and Sunday- Out of town

Check out Organizing Junkie for more meal plans that are way more helpful than this and actually include recipes... maybe I'll get to that one of these days!


freezing chicken stock

I recently learned about the merits of chicken stock. And have made batches twice in the last few months. I love the idea of not wasting the chicken carcass and boiling out all the nutrients possible!

Here's what I do:

- boil the chicken then take it out of the pot and take the meat off the bone

- put the bones back in the pot

- add a whole onion, quartered, skin and all

- add carrots and celery (I save the ends of these in the freezer until I make stock that way I am not wasting a perfectly good carrot)

- add some whole peppercorns

- add a little salt (I know, I know... not super healthy but I love it)

- add some bay leaves

Then just let it all boil... and boil and boil.

Drain well using a wire mesh strainer.

Pour the stock into pitchers and put in the fridge overnight.

Next day, skim the fat off the top.

Then... here's the best part... I pour approximately 1 cup of stock into plastic cups on a cookie sheet. Then I put the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen I pop out the stock and store the chunks in freezer bags.

It's so helpful to not have to use a freezer bag for every cup of stock I want to freeze and it's very easy to just take out however many "cups" I need for a recipe.
Check out Life as Mom for more Frugal Friday tips!!