Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shred it

The following is a post from my deal-huntress queen sister, Susi:
On my husband's birthday list was a request for an office paper shredder. Being a deal hunter and knowing he does not care from whence a gift comes, I nosed around. First I tried Best Buy since I had $16 on a gift card. The cheapest shredder there was $70. Next I tried Amazon where the range was $30 - $200+ depending on what you wanted. Next I tried craigslist where I found small, basic shredders for $20 (and a long drive to get it) and nicer models for $50 and up. On a whim I checked out Goodwill where I found a like new cross cut shredder for $15. I also found that Goodwill tests all electric items before putting them on the shelf. They also have a no questions asked return policy for store credit, if you return the item within one week of buying (with the price tag and reciept). The equivalent shredder I bought at Goodwill sells for $65 on Amazon. Not bad!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bananas for breakfast

Shake up the boring breakfast routine with a banana split! After devouring one yesterday, our oldest declared that "This was better than doughnuts!" and "I could eat 1000 of these!". This is coming from a child who rarely eats a large breakfast. So here's how you make it: spoon yogurt atop a banana (the whipped yogurt is fun to use here) and top with chopped fruit, granola, and toasted coconut. That's it!

* I recently discovered that coconut can be toasted in the microwave. No more burnt coconut and mess to clean up! To toast, place coconut in an even layer into a glass dish and microwave at 15-20 second intervals, stirring each time. It worked perfectly!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Toy-Free Gifts For Kids!

I don't know about you, but I'm a huge fan of non-toy gifts. It seems that toys have a breeding program in my house and tend to crowd the small space that we call home. If you have the same problem, check out the following clutter-free gift ideas!

  • Zoo passes
  • Books
  • Jewelry
  • Magazine subscription
  • Books on cd (Greathall Productions are a favorite around here)
  • Head lamp
  • DIY fort kit
  • Tickets to a ballet or play
  • Charitable donations
  • Museum passes
  • Build a treehouse
  • Paint/redecorate their room
  • Lessons or camps

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Corn Bread in a Jiffy

While spring brings warm weather and flowers, the occasional rogue cool day makes its appearance. Soup is still on the menu in my house, so cornbread is a must-have side. This recipe tastes exactly like the Jiffy mix and makes the same amount, but it's homemade with no additives. What's not to love?! Feel free to make several batches of dry mix to have on hand.

Corn Bread Mix:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well with whisk.

To make corn muffins: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine above mixture with 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and 1/3 cup milk. Fill muffin tins 1/2 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes Makes 6 muffins.  

*Don't forget to top your cornbread with some tasty local honey!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Salad in 60 Seconds!

I love salad, however I am a lazy salad eater. I would eat one for lunch every day if it didn't involve washing, peeling, and chopping. Who has time for that? Here's the solution! The next time you make a salad for dinner, chop up extra veggies. After all, you're chopping them up anyway, right? Stash the chopped salad toppings in the fridge and the next time you want a salad for lunch, whip out a container and toss with packaged lettuce. It doesn't get any easier (or tastier) than that. I made this Greek-inspired container of toppings last week. I didn't get to it until the third day, but everything was still fresh and crunchy. *Crunchy veggies work great, but avoid soft and watery ones like tomatoes.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kid's Birthday Memerobilia

Make a fun "Day in the Life" sheet for your child on their birthday each year. Type out questions on a sheet of paper and enjoy reading them on every birthday as the years go by. Make several categories such as accomplishments, favorites, and Q & A. Be sure to leave a space for an autograph and hand print. Here are some idea questions to get you started:
Color, book, movie, food, treat, toy, animal, song, sport, holiday, number, game.
Q &A:
What do you and Mommy do together?
What do you and Daddy do together?
Who is your best friend?
What is something scary?
What are you really good at?
What makes you happy?
What do you want to be when you grow up?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Car Emergency Kit

Keep a handy car emergency kit in your vehicle! Baby wipe containers are a perfect size, but you can use anything with a lid. I just covered one with fabric using spray glue. Here's what I have inside:
Sunscreen, tissues, bandaids, bobby pins, safety pin, lip balm, hand sanitizer, nail file, breath strips, gum, pacifier, $10 bill, tampon, pen, and a granola bar.

Neat and tidy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Versatile Keurig

While Keuring machines can brew a great cup of coffee, their uses don't stop there. Check out the following alternative uses for the handy dandy Keurig!
  • Make instant soup instantly!
  • Make a batch of Ramen noodles
  • Make hot chocolate without the k cups. Simply brew without a pod and add hot chocolate mix to the hot water.
  • Use tea bags in the hot water, same method as hot chocolate.
  • Make instant oatmeal (This is our favorite application and kiddos love to press the button!)
*If you have an older child, allow them to make your coffee in the morning! They will love the "big kid" task and you can enjoy a little luxery too!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cheap Date Ideas

Here's the scene: it's Friday night and you're both home and somewhat tired. "What do you want to do?" is followed by "I don't know, what do you want to do?" Dates are so much more fun when you have a plan! Here are a few fun ideas that won't cost much and many you can do at home. Enjoy!
  • Have a theme night. For example, have spaghetti and gelato and watch The Godfather or The Italian Job.
  • Have a book club night by reading the same book during the week and discussing it together.
  • Do some family research together using a website such as www.ancestry.com
  • Do an exercise video together- try something hilarious such as belly dancing!
  • If it's snowy outside, sneak out while the kids are sleeping and build a surprise snowman for them to find in the morning.
  • Refinish or build a piece of furniture together.
  • Give each other $10 to spend and shop at Goodwill. See who can buy the best outfit for $10.
  • Play "Would You Rather?" There are a ton of free "Would you rather?" questions at the following link. These are great for dinner dates too if you ever go out and realize you are eating in silence! http://gettoknowu.com/LifeLessons/would_you_rather_questions_gamma.php *Warning: I did not proof-read the entire list, so my apologies if there is anything off-color on the list!*
  • Have your own wine tasting and enjoy with cheese fondue. Not a fan of wine? Have a chocolate tasting! Pick up some exotic flavors and taste away.
  • If you have a laptop or ipad, watch a movie on it in a different place such as the porch, deck, closet or treehouse. Don't forget the popcorn!