favorite blogs: Health Begins with Mom

This is a new to me blog that I LOVE, Health Begins with Mom! Sadly (but happily for her family!) she is taking a sabbatical from blogging for a bit to get school started back up with her kiddos. The archives are still fantastic though and I am already looking forward to her return.

Amy Ellen discusses all aspects of family health. Currently I'm working on making our eating habits more healthful and have found great ideas and resources on her site. I must say that some of the ideas are impossible for our family to implement because of cost, but the general idea of being a mom and wife and keeping my home in a way that promotes health in our family I am totally on board with!

I also emailed her with a question and received a truly thoughtful and personal response. So nice!

I highly recommend Health Begins with Mom!


peanut butter granola

We love granola around here! Jon likes to eat it like cereal and I prefer it over yogurt. This stuff however, I can just eat straight from the jar... like candy! Unfortunately I have issues with taking pictures of food that I make... we always eat things before I think to take a picture! This time is no exception. But here's the recipe:
Peanut Butter Granola
3 cups oats
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup coconut
2 Tbls. sesame seeds
Cook in sauce pan until smooth:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbls. light corn syrup (I use honey)
1/4 tsp. salt
Stir both mixes together. Spread onto a lightly greased pan (I use jelly roll). Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring after 10 minutes. (Watch closely, mine was getting very dark at the end of 20 minutes).

who needs a pool

While we love going to various local pools with friends some of them cost, a membership would definitely cost, and it takes time, energy and gas to load up in the car to go somewhere.

Since we are in an apartment and don't have pool access I came up with this fun way for Baby Girl to splash around on a hot day:

1. Take a plastic storage bin and fill it with just enough water that it's not too heavy to carry outside.

2. Throw in a few toys.

3. Set it outside in the shade and put the baby in the tub!

We did this for a full hour!

She doesn't look too thrilled in the picture, so if you're not convinced that this is fun check out this video:

I know it looks very dangerous that she's standing up in this thing... I was holding on to it the whole time so she wouldn't knock it over!

For more fun and frugal tips head on over to Life as Mom.


best bib ever!

A friend at church recommended this bib to me, it's Parents brand and I found it at Wal-Mart for about $5. (Apparently her daughter dumped a whole bowl of soup in this thing and it caught every drop. We haven't gone so far in our testing but thus far it is worth every penny!

Here's how it works:

You snap the pocket together.

The pocket sticks out so it catches everything (except for bits of rice and peas and noodles that fly through the air in odd directions).

Once finished you unsnap the bib to wipe it clean without having to dig in the pocket!


This certainly works for me. Check out We are THAT Family for more Works for Me tips!

P.S. I am not a fan of the pattern... they could have made this a little cuter especially since I really didn't like this movie.... but... this bib is so good I can overlook that!


blessings of frugal living

While there are many blessings to living frugally (less "stuff," more quiet, healthier eating, focused stewardship, etc.) here is a picture of how our errands today played out:

1st stop- Post Office= Martha Stewart Living magazine, Parents magazine (both free subscriptions found online)

2nd stop- CVS= razor for Jon and tylenol (we MADE $0.60)

3rd stop- Staples= two (500 count) reams of printer paper, pretty pens (yay!), 2 rolls scotch tape, photo paper (after rebate we will have MADE $0.06)

What a blessing that with a little time and forethought we came away from our errands with more in our pocket than when we left home. And all for things we need or can use!

Many thanks to www.southernsavers.com and www.moneysavingmom.com for making me aware of such great deals!

monday menu- eating from the freezer edition

We are trying to clean out the freezer and pantry... it's going to take while. Here's how we're starting:

Monday- soft tacos (with kit that was the penny item at Publix a while back) with taco meat (freezer), spanish rice (freezer)

Tuesday- $2 Moe's Burritos... Sorry... I think this a local thing :o(

Wednesday- Quesadillas with rice and beans(freezer) using up the leftovers from Monday (and yes I did check with my husband to make sure he was okay with Mexican three nights running... he was... he eats anything... I'm blessed)

Thursday- Homemade pizza (sauce in freezer) with peppers (freezer), onions, and fresh basil

Friday- Clean out the Fridge

Saturday- Broccoli Stir Fry (freezer) with rice and homemade bread (freezer)

Sunday- Jon has something with work... I'll probably have cereal :o)

Check out Organizing Junkie for more meal plans.


wedding gift idea

Tomorrow I am going to a shower for my future sister-in-law and had spent a while trying to think of a meaningful gift. Since we are in a bit of a budget pinch right now it needed to also be inexpensive.

I thought about the things I use in my home on a daily basis and (after asking the bride-to-be a few subtle questions to see if this would suit) I decided to create a recipe binder for her like the one I use every day.

I used to use a recipe box and that was... a disaster. My binder however is a joy to use! I hope it is for her as well!

Here's what you'll need:
- LARGE 3-ring binder (I think this one is 2.5-3 inches?)
- at least a 50 pack of page protectors
- sticky tab inserts for your categories
- a piece of cardstock for each category
- coordinating scrapbook paper for outside of notebook

I used the scrapbook paper and odds and ends of scrapbooking supplies that I had to create the cover, spine and back of the book.

I typed up the various categories and put those in the tab inserts. Going in order I stuck the tab inserts at varied intervals along the TOP of a piece of cardstock. Then I put the cardstock in a page protector (it doesn't work to use regular tab dividers because they won't stick out past the page protectors!). Lastly I printed out my own copies of recipes and added those to the binder.

Here are a few other tips for the binders:

- you can use page protectors with photo slots to hold recipe cards that you don't want to throw away. In my binder I have several of these because they are in the handwriting of someone special or were given to me at a special occasion.

- tear out recipes from magazines and slide them in a page protector

- make sure you give the bride some extra card stock and tab dividers if they want to adjust the categories

- keep it clean and organized

- make it pretty, you (or the recipient) will be more likely to use something that looks nice!

Read more frugal tips at Life as MOM.


staycationing is the thing

Vacation with...

NO travel

NO packing

NO unpacking

NO excessive laundry pile-up... wait that happens anyway...

LOTS of family time

LOTS of relaxing

LOTS of exploring where we live

This has got to be my new favorite thing!

We staycationed from last Friday through Tuesday and it was AMAZING! I have never felt so relaxed in my life! This is what we did/ didn't do:

1. Didn't put pressure on ourselves to "do." Friday we just vegged and didn't feel guilty as if we were missing out on a new experience or place to explore.

2. Did make our meals special. We went out to one nice dinner and cooked other foods that are special to us.

3. Didn't try to keep up with the house completely. While I kept up with laudry and dishes we didn't worry about vacumming or bathroom cleaning or dusting or the like. This was vacation after all!

4. Did do something fun each day! Saturday we had a family photo shoot (compliments of a friend who is starting a photography business). Sunday we went swimming. Monday we went swimming and blueberry picking. Tuesday we went on the lake with friends.

5. Didn't spend a lot of money. Our dinner out was with an 80% off Restaurant.com gift card. Swimming was free. Blueberry picking cost but works into our food budget.

6. Did enjoy just being together. While Baby Girl was sleeping we watched some movies, read out loud to each other and just enjoyed the calm and quiet.

And now I don't feel like I need a vacation from vacation!!

For other money saving tips check out Frugal Fridays over at Life as Mom.