Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pizza Sauce Recipe

Sorry about no pictures -- USB cable got left at Grandmas and is in the mail back home to me!!

This recipe is really grab and stuff.  Use what you have.  It tastes yummy!

3 cans of Italian seasoned tomatoes ( I use Red Gold)
2 cans of tomato paste
1 bag of frozen Mirepoix  mix (our grocery store sells bags for $1, but all it is onions, celery and carrots chopped up)
1/2 of a small package of frozen spinach
1/2 of a green pepper
lots of Italian spices (Oregano, Bay leaves, basil...just throw it in!)
salt / pepper to taste
I add cheese to ours - Parmesan, provolone and mozzarella

Add or don't add other veggies that you like - mushrooms are good too!
And if your family won't eat Spinach...don't worry about it because.....you are going to bring it to a boil.  Then let simmer for 15 minutes. Then throw it in the blender. 

{I added too much spinach last time I made it.  After I blended it, it wasn't really red anymore.  My boys won't eat it if it wasn't red so honestly -- I added food coloring. :) }

Then pour in ice cube trays.  Freeze.  Pop out and put in Ziploc bag.  I use 4 cubes/pizza.  The "recipe" should make about 12 -15 pizzas.

If you want to use as pasta sauce omit one of the cans of tomato paste and use less spinach.  It will thin up a little bit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Millionaire Mommy - Guess how we saved over $1300 ... it's kind of crazy

Pizza. Yes ma'am (or sir..) Pizza.  Pizza is Joshua's favorite food.  Ever. So, if he is a good eater Monday - Thursday (meaning tries even the smallest bite of veggies that really shouldn't even count as a bite but hey it's progress) then we have pizza on Friday night.  Every Friday.  That's 52 times a year.  That's a lot of pizza.
We used to order our pizza from Papa Johns. I like their pizza.  Yum.  But I didn't like the fact that after tip for the delivery guy it was almost $30 for 2 pizzas!  $30 X 4 times a month = $120 ... for pizza!
So we make our own.  For $2 a pizza. Oh yea.  You heard me.  $2 a pizza.  And the sauce -- pure veggies. (I'm posting the recipe tomorrow) And so good.  And you make one batch - freeze it (I freeze it in ice cube trays, pop them out and throw in a ziploc bag.  That way I don't have to un-thaw it and refreeze the left overs.)

So saving $26 a week gives us....$1352 over a year.  ON PIZZA!  I told you.  Crazy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

School Winter Treat Ideas

Soooo is anyone else crazy busy?!?  This morning for example Santa was made aware of the fact that Kmart was giving away a $50 game card with the purchase of a Wii....so Mrs. C decided to take back the Wii the elves had already made to Target (where it was on sale now) and go to Kmart to buy it.  And there was a 2 hour delay which threw me off.  I opened my email this morning and I had TONS - I won a blog giveaway! Hooray I never win! Well, I can't say that now! :)

Inlaw Christmas is this weekend...Bazillion things left to do/make.  Christmas Christmas is next week.  A bazillion and 5 things left to do/make.

Whew.  Stress...what stress?

Christmas.  Kid's school.  Are you sending in anything?  I've found a bunch of cute stuff online.  But I've settled on these cookies:

Melted snowman cookies.  Way cute right?  {Pictures from Crazy Domestic}  Plus, I thought they were pretty holiday neutral since I don't know if anyone in his class doesn't celebrate Christmas.

But these were also some choices I thought about:
Sweet and simple. {From One Charming Party}

Mixed up snowmen.  Cute idea..plus Gourmet Mom on the Go had the labels I could just print.  I Liked that.

And Brown Paper Packages also provided labels for their snowman soup.  Which is also super cute. 

But I think the 2nd graders are going to get a kick out of the melted snowmen.  If only I can come up with a cute label....

What are you doing?  What about teacher gifts?


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eating healthy...

So I started a new rule at our house - and I was pretty darn happy with myself for it.  Each meal must contain 3 colors.  {Because you have to eat a rainbow each day!} This may not sound like anything extravagant - and probably all you good moms do this.  But this is a huge challenge at our house. 
My son -- has never eaten a veggie before.  Gasp.  I know.  BUT Josh has Autism and with that there are big sensory issues.  So we've worked with a food therapist ( yup there are food therapists out there) who said there are certain textures that really bother him.  So I've been scared to death that I will force my child to eat something that really bothers him sensory wise. 

I think I've been

I KNOW that there are sensory issues.  And I'm sure some bother him.  But I am sure that I've been punk'd and that my kid totally uses this to get out of it. {Anyone else challenged by this?}

So 3 colors.  Each meal.  Do you know how much beige food we eat?  Make felt food.  You'll see.  10 yards of beige, 1 yard of green.  Seriously.
Breakfast it worked.  {We may have cheated - we counted a banana as yellow.  That counts?!?! RIGHT?!?!}
Dinner.  Um.  I had to state that parsley did not count for something green.  And although chocolate milk is brown and there was no brown in the chicken it still didn't count. {We were having baked chicken and macaroni and cheese.  I made green beans but as usual I was the only taker..} I told Josh he had yellow and beige but needed one more color. That there were apples in the fridge.  Green beans.  Hint Hint child. 

His solution? 
He got up and got ketchup.  And said (looking mighty proud of himself) Red is my third color.  And my husband started to laugh.

This is going to be harder than I thought.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review of SpongeBob Cranium by Josh

**Note that this post was written (well dictated.  He told me what to write) by a 7 year old boy.  I didn't change a word.  (And you better believe he told me "start typing" & "write this down" more than once!)  Nothing is more honest about a kid's review than a 7 year old!

Hello. My name is Joshua.  I played Cranium Spongebob Squarepants

 {Solo card}
{Combo card}
First you roll the dice.  And then see if you get a solo or a combo card.  If you get a chose card you can chose any card you like.  It can be solo or combo.  Pick a card.  Then see what you have to do.  If you want to see the answer you must use the glasses.  But you can't if you get a solo.  You can only see the answer after you answer the question on a solo card.

Some of the cards make you find an object in your house before the timer runs out.  Or you have to draw or act out.  Or answer questions.  Sometimes you can look at the answer, when you get a combo.

For example if you have to act out a word use the glasses to find out the word so you can act it out.

The object of the game is to try to get 4 in a row.  The thing that you use to get 4 in a row is a token.

I liked the game so you must buy the game.  My favorite part was when I win.  It is a super fun game.  My least favorite thing is when my opponent almost won, but I beat her. 

Anyone can play this game except for babies.  I would play with my friends. I would play this ALL the time. 

That's all the time that I have.  I hope you have a good day.

By Josh (age 7)

Mom: This is a really cool game.  I would buy again!

I am a mom to gamers

TodaysMama (link to: http://bit.ly/tmwishlist) and GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?
I hope we can all be happy and grow together.  We have a new home, Josh has a new school and Andy & I have new jobs.
2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?
Cinnamon rolls...and Josh leaves a picture for Santa as our tree topper.  Santa takes his picture and leaves something in return.
3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?
A new Cannon Rebel Camera!!!! WOOT WOOT!
4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?
We watch Christmas movies and read Christmas books together.
5. What games did you play with your family growing up?
All kinds!! Smash the Grapes was a fave.  Can't find it anymore...except for the person trying to sell it on Ebay for $45 -- Cheater.
6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?
New PJ's on Christmas EVE
7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?
Where are you sending me....:)
8. Check out GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?
Holy cow.  That's the only place I need to shop.  A Wii.  A new Xbox.  Toy Store 3 for the DS.  Lego Indiana Jones for the DS.  Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii.  Call of Duty whatever for the Xbox.  I know that's more than 3 but I seriously could keep going and going and going.

Sooo We'll see if I win.  Someone has to right?  Even though there are 1,000,000 people trying! Cross your fingers for me!!

Purex Complete 3 in 1 review

So I've never reviewed anything before.  And please note that no one contacted me asking me to.  I just am.  And these are my honest to goodness opinions.  No freebies for me, no cash (although...) :)

So I bought these:

I got them at Wal Mart for $5.47 and I had a coupon.  I thought Why not?

I really did not expect much from them.  I'm a Tide with Febreze kind of girl. But I figured 24 loads for $4.50 (19 cents/load) I would have them on hand for my emergency stash.  Aka. When I run out of laundry detergent and something needs washed.

Well I didn't have to wait long.  HOW do 3 people create sooo much laundry?

I tried.  And I liked.  I really liked.

I was shocked.  So easy (I know -- how difficult is it to measure out detergent and then grab a dryer sheet) but after you do this you get spoiled.  Plus I had a coupon in my package.  $3 off.  Which means my next buy was only $2.47!!! That's 10 cents a load people!! 

{My Tide with Febreze was 25 cents/load}

And just because I'm a numbers freak geak person...
I spend about $130/year on Tide.  (10 loads a week)
PLUS $26/year on Bounce dryer sheets
Total: $156/year on laundry

Switching to Purex 3 in 1 $98.80/year

I just saved myself $57.20!
*Prices were taken from Walmart.com

I'm buying them...not only cheaper - and easier - but my clothes are soft and smell yummy.  Way important.

And, when my box was empty I couldn't throw it away.
Before: Under my Kitchen sink


haha yea I'm silly.  But it's holding all those plastic bags.  {I plan on pretty-ing it up here someday.  Silly I know.  But I like pretty.} Plus when I need one I don't have to get a bag that's holding a bag that has 2 bags inside it.  And it's nice and neat.

  I'm really glad I tried this.  Otherwise when Kroger had the liquid Purex on sale for $1.99 (24 loads) I would have kept walking.  I bought them this time! (This was taken from my We're the Joneses blog from last week.  I thought it better fit here)

Have you ever tried something and were pleasantly surprised?

P.S. This was not a slam Tide post.  :) I do like Tide.  Esp. those little tablets they have now!

P.S.S. I was working on my blogs this morning (all 4 of them...) at the breakfast table this morning.  {Shame on me I know}.  Josh asked what I was doing.  "Mommy blogging"  "That's boring stuff." Thanks kid.  Talked about what a review was.  And he asked if he could review something?  Why not?  So tonight after school look out for Joshua's non-mommy censored first review.  {I'll give him a list of questions but I won't help him write it!}  Good for moms because who is more honest than a 7 year old giving his opinion? Good for us - because what great skills to work on! Talk soon!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making mornings easier with your kids

Today's organizing tip is on making mornings (and your whole day) go more smoothly.  I hate mornings.  I'm just not a wake up, jump up kind of gal.  I like to sleep.  And unfortunately we are always seeming to run behind in the mornings.  That lady above..that was me.

I remember when I was little my mom would be running around like crazy and I'd get in trouble for dittle dattling and not getting ready fast enough.  And it would just start my whole day off wrong. 

I really try to send Joshua off on a positive note.  But sometimes (I'll admit) when it's hectic I'm like come on come on come on!  And then we miss the bus.  And I'm still in PJ's, wild woman hair.  Do I take the chance of no one seeing me and drop him off at the door?  Or do I jump in the shower and get ready real quick?  Grrrr. No time.  Wild woman it is.  And that my friends is when someone, or MULTIPLE someones, say heyy Amanda and walk up to the car. Not that I mind seeing them.  I would just rather not have my slippers on. :)
So I came up with a list of things we do to help SIMPLIFY our mornings.  And they really really help.  They help both of us. 

1. So the old stand by -- picking out your clothes the night before.  Joshua is 7 and likes to pick out his own clothes. Uhh.  He comes up with some good ones. :)

And no wonder - when you think about it - opening your closet to this - is a slightly overwhelming task for a child.

So I pick out outfits for the week.  And hang up 7 outfits.  And he gets to pick one pre-matched outfit.  It works out for us.  {Josh has a big closet, so I use one of the front shelves to hang up his outfits for the week. Obviously today is Wednesday so there are only 2 left!}  I hang up the jeans/shirts (layered so he can see how to put them on...learned my lesson) on 1 hanger.  Because 1. this is visual for him (Joshua has Autism so we need visuals as do most kids) and 2. I may have a shopping problem. And although the picture of his closet looked full...it's not.  I just ran out of hangers.  I need hangers!! And this is my way of making it look like there isn't so much packed in there.  {And thus, avoiding Andy saying "Amanda.  This is ridiculous.  Seriously.  He doesn't even like clothes.  Stop buying them.  I think you have a problem."  Yes, I've heard that conversation waaaay too many times.}

Also, I stick a pair of socks in his tennis shoes.  Lesson learned here too.  Because we can be all dressed.  And he will miss the bus because he can't find a pair of socks that match.  Or he simply put on mismatching socks.  AND if I don't tell him to wear tennis shoes, he'll put on Crocs.  Unavoidable.  And when there is snow...yeah he'd still put on Crocs if he could.
2. I freeze leftover pancakes or french toast from the weekends.  Then I can just pop them in the toaster.  I know you can buy frozen boxes of these but homemade are better. And cheaper. 

3. I also have a stack of PB&J in the freezer.  You can freeze any kind of sandwich, Josh just loves PB&J.  I personally would get tired of it everyday but not him.  He even asks for one as a snack when he gets home.  So Sundays I make 5 sandwiches, and mix up 10 bags of sides (2 for each day - one maybe goldfish and the other has maybe a cookie).  That way in the morning I just grab and sandwich out of the freezer and he picks out his bags for the day. I throw a banana in there and boom.  Lunch is made.  (If your child eats an early lunch you may want to pull one out the night before and put in the fridge.  I know some schools eat as early as 10:30.)

4. After homework gets done we hang the bag on the front door.  No way to forget that sucker.  And it's nice that our coats are hung right there too. {P.S. Having a calendar right there next to the door was genius.  Seriously.  Now if I forget something at least I'm reminded of it early in the morning instead of 5 minutes ahead! Plus it works wonders with husbands and kids as they grab their stuff each day.}

Do you have any tricks that you do?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If you do one thing this Christmas....DO THIS!!!

So I just got told (and I may be the very last person to find this out...)
that if you go to http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/ Santa will video message your kids!!!!

And not just any video message.  This is a WAY cool one.  And FREE!!!!!

You type in their name, what they want for Christmas, one thing you asked them to do, if they've been good (or you can tell Santa on them for being naughty - maybe coming from Santa Claus will shape them up!) :)

You upload their picture and it is emailed to you in a snap. 

Josh was PUMPED.  He was jumping up and down and couldn't wait to call grandmas and grandpas to tell them. 

Seriously go.  NOW! :)

Apple Cheddar Turkey Burgers -- SOO good

A few years ago I found this recipe in the Rachael Ray magazine.  It looked yummy to me.  But there were some problems.  I love turkey burgers.  Husband does not.  I think cranberries and apples on my burger sounds wonderful.  Son and husband dub weird. 

But who cares what they think.  I made them anyways.  They loved it.  I loved it.  Everyone that I ever make these for love them.  You have to try them.  And I love putting burgers on English Muffins now.  Just gives them a crunch.  :) Let me know if you try them!!

Apple Cheddar Turkey Burgers

  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast

  • 4 scallions, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)

  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 apple, such as granny smith, cut into 12 slices

  • 8 slices extra-sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard

  • 4 sandwich-size english muffins, split and toasted

  • 8 leaves red- or green-leaf lettuce

    1. In a bowl, combine the turkey, scallions, parsley, grill seasoning and poultry seasoning. Form into 4 patties, pressing your thumb into the center of each to prevent it from bulging.
    2. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook for 6 minutes on each side for medium. Top each with 3 apple slices and 2 cheese slices, tent the pan with foil and cook until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
    3. In a small bowl, mix together the cranberry sauce and mustard; slather on the muffin tops. Pile 2 lettuce leaves on each muffin bottom, top with the patties and set the muffin tops into place.
    Linking up here!

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Millionaire Mommy - Save $200!

    Money Money Money. Mon-ey.  Totally got that song stuck in my head.

    I have a secret.  I am not a millionaire.  I'm not even an eighth of a millionaire.  Heck, not even a sixteenth of one.  In fact, to some I'm sure we are 'poor'.  I'm ok with poor.  We live rich.  And were moving up. {Before I met Andy I was a single mom working 50 hour weeks teaching preschool.  I made $14000/year.  Woo Hoo.}  Anyways
    Is it possible to save a million bucks.  Sure.  In fact, it's my goal.  How long will it take?  Not sure.  Now I'm not saying that you will have that cash in the bank.  Maybe some.  I'm just saying that you can live rich too.  We'll save a million!

    Today's money saver earns us $200. 

    Are you a reader?  Are your kids readers?  There is a site called Paperback Swap.  Have you heard of them? 

    Well you need to sign up! 
    {Click the Logo to sign up!}

    Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

    Basically you sign up. 

    You post 10 books that you are willing to swap. 
    {I posted some awesome books tonight if I do say so myself...and 2 of them are on someone's wish list.  Score!}
    They automatically give you 2 credits (1 credit = 1 paperback book)

    Then for each book that you swap - you get 1 credit.

    Search for books that you want -- they have almost 5 million books in tons of categories..but if for some reason you don't see what your looking for put it on a wish list.  As soon as a member puts it up they alert you!

    If someone requests one of your books, you just simply print out the mailer, wrap up the book and affix postage (It's usually no more than $2.50.  Yes, you do pay to ship your books out but you DON'T pay to have books shipped to you so it evens out).  When the member receives the book you get another credit. 

    Super simple.

    Did I mention you can swap kid's books too!?  Josh loves reading.  But he reads them once and he's done. 

    And listing books is easy.  You just type in the ISBN (bar code) numbers. 
    {not sure why the picture won't flip....Darn blogger.}
    And FREE to join!

    I have my favorite genre's listed as kid's books, cook books and home books (crafting, decorating, entertaining) so it helps me find quickly what I'm looking for. 

    I try to trade 1 adult book ($15-$25 value) and 1 kid's book ($5-$7) per month.  Over a year - that's about $200 saved! (Even after I took out all the postage!)  In fact to date the site has saved it's members over $22 MILLION dollars!! WOW!!

    Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
    Please note, that when you sign up and list 10 books I also get 1 credit for referring you.  I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to be sneaky.  I'm totally not.  I just think that this site rocks!  {And if you home school.  Oh my gosh.  TONS of resources!!}

    Amount saved to date: $200

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    What to expect

    Did you read that book What to Expect When you are Expecting? 

    Well this is my version. What to expect as you are expecting this blog to TAKE OFF!  Which it will.  Are you ready?  Get ready.

    Monday - Money Monday.  Money not interesting?  Oh yes it is!!! I'm starting with a series called Mommy Millionaires.  The goal: save 1 million dollars.  It can totally be done.  Want to do it with me? 

    Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday.  Meal plans, Recipes and the such. Quick, easy and yummy are the musts.

    Wednesday - Wash it Wednesday.  Wash it?  Really.  Well, kind of.  More like how to make cleaning easier.  More efficient.  And organizing tips.

    Thursday - Things that work Thursday.  Or things that don't.  Check in for weekly reviews - and this is where the giveaways will be!!! {Who doesn't like winning!?}

    Friday - Family Friday.  Ideas of things to do with your family.  Fun "holidays" ( we totally celebrate things like Talk like a Pirate day at our house), little easy projects for everyone to do together, places to go.  AND because I don't want hubbys to feel neglected a little love for the special men in our lives too.

    Saturday - Self Saturday.  I don't know about you but it seems like motherhood, wifehood (totally made that word up), growing up - hood.  I'm always running around taking care of everyone else.  Self Saturday is made to make sure that I - and all of you - are making sure that we get some time in there too!  Come drop a few pounds (don't make me do it alone!!), get healthy tips, turn back into a slightly self absorbed teenager.  You remember -- well I remember...I wouldn't leave the house without my hair and make up done, always giving myself manicures and facials, doing things for myself without thinking about anyone else...I'm not saying turn back into that -- but I miss some of that!  There are days - confession time - I don't get out of lounge clothes.  I shower (some days at noon...don't judge me) and then put on comfy clothes.  NO more.  Self Saturday -- I need your help.  Make me hot again.  My hot hubby needs a hot wife.  :)

    Sunday - Sharing Sunday.  Floors open.  Share your pictures, blogs, funny things your kids say/do. 

    Sounds like fun huh?  I'm so excited.  Monday is the big day.  The blog's birthday if you will.  Make sure to follow so you don't miss anything!