Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Cool Homemade Treats

Summer days bring hot weather. Beat the heat with a fun no cook treat. Gather your littles to whip up a treat.

My children enjoy getting into the kitchen to give a hand. Let your children enjoy the time in the kitchen creating an Icecream treat!

When I went to the grocery store today,  I picked up a publication that the grocery store offers free to shoppers. Publix featured recipes for making your own ice pops including chocolate cream pop, watermelon layered pop, Kiwi Peach Pop, Bounty Berry Chunky pop, Orange Cream pop, and a coconut cream pop! The pops look fun, cooling and delicious! I definitely plan to try out some of these recipes. In the meantime, I'm going to play with what's in the pantry!

When I was a little girl, we had the plastic containers to freeze your own juice to make popsicles! I currently do not have any of these fun containers so we improvised!

We found a few muffin tins and homemade food picks/cupcake toppers that were leftover from a holiday crafts show. We whipped up both instant chocolate pudding and vanilla pudding.

I had two special helpers! Miss.S. and Mr.K. helped me with each step of the process.

We made the pudding, filled the muffin tins,inserted the food picks in the center of the pudding and then placed the pans in the freezer.

After dinner, we enjoyed the pudding pops while watching Big Brother!

Frozen Birthday

My Miss. J. celebrated her 17 th birthday recently. It seems like just yesterday I was sharing her 13 th birthday with you on my previous blog Mommies and Beyond dot com ( before losing my url.)

She has grown into such a wonderful and intelligent young lady. I am very proud to be her mother!

Happy Birthday Miss.J.

I Forgot The Happy 4th Of July Banner

I am still playing around with my Cricut and Craft scraps. I gave away the majority of my craft supply when we moved. Unfortunately, I just love doing crafts projects. The lack of supplies and a zero craft balance really limits my creativity. However,  thankfully, I have my scraps!

So, I decided to throw together a 4th of July banner. It helps to decorate my office and can be seen as you enter the living room.White walls can be so boring and blah.

So, I worked with the resources that I have and created a little banner. I still have a lot of practice to go before my banners will meet my approval but in the meantime, it is fun and great for my soul to create!

I think this one could be better. It is definitely lacking something. Perhaps, it would have been better as one strand if a banner rather than three? It actually hung on the wall for two days before I realized that I actually forgot the Happy. How could I have forgotten the Happy?  What was I thinking ? Anyway,  I wish everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Frozen Birthday Banner

As you must be aware, Walt Disney's Frozen animated film has reached enormous popularity. In our home, Frozen is a hot ticket! Frozen the movie, soundtrack and even opera bellows are common. I wanted to add to the Frozen phenomena by creating a Frozen themed banner for Miss.J's Birthday! I am a strong believer in recycling, reusing, upcycling and so forth. Recycling matched with a zero balance in my craft budget has forced me to use only what was on hand. Usually, this wouldn't be an issue but when we moved cross-country I donated about 90% of my crafts supplies. When we moved recently for D's job, it made sense to reduce again. So, I'm operating on very little supplies. I searched through my beautiful Thirty One Gifts bag of partially used cardstock and supplies and found: Cardstock in a few shades of blue, white and ivory. I brought out two shades of blue paint, a small blue jingle bell left over from Christmas craft show crafting, a silver fabric bow, blue ribbon and frilly ribbon resembling sparkling icicles. I also pulled out a Frozen advertisement and blue cross-stitching floss with a large needle. I also decided to use my Cricut machine with two cartridges: Basic George and Tie the Knot! I also brought out two types of glue: Tacky glue and Elmer's blue glitter glue that I won from Elmer's on Twitter! ( Thank-you Elmer's Glue and Twitter!) So, I knew that I wanted to assemble the banner differently from Miss Z's graduation banner. I decided that I would use a hole punch to tie ribbon between the sides of each piece of the banner. Well, to my surprise, with our move the hole punch has not surfaced as well as my good scissors. Unfortunately, this meant that I'd need to use an old pair of shears and sew the banner. I definitely had a challenge ahead of me between lack of specific materials and tools. So, I decided to just eye the banner pieces. I cut my cardstock scraps as close as possible to a similar size. I glued the Happy Pieces to the frilly icicle ribbon and let dry. I decided on the pattern of colors and sewed the Birthday and then the name banner pieces together with floss. I cut the Frozen advertisement into various pieces and sizes based upon the pictures. I glued the scrap pictures onto the first and last banner pieces for each of the three banner segments. I painted a full sheet of white cardstock with a mixture of two shades of blue. I allowed the paint to dry. I cut out the banner letters by using scrap cardstock, the Frozen advertisement and eventually the painted sheet of paper. I glued the silver and blue ribbon scraps to the Happy banner pieces. I let the Happy banner dry. I used the Cricut machine to cut out the letters and snowflakes. I glued the letters to the banner pieces. Once dry and assembled, I added a few details including two old snowflake stickers that fell off of a holiday project, tied frilly icicle ribbon between some of the letters. On the name banner, I tied white tulle in bows to the beginning and end of the banner. I added a pastel turquoise ribbon to the beginning of the banner and finally sewed a blue jingle bell onto the end of the name banner. Earlier I added the silver bow to a banner piece as well. This recycled scrap banner took a lot of time to create due to the challenges that I faced. I think for having to use only leftovers plus one full sheet of cardstock that it turned out better than expected. However, it was not the image that I had planned on. Overall, I'm pleased with the Happy Birthday banner for my young lady! Happy Birthday!!!

Rainbow Graduation Banner Tutorial

We Love to do arts and crafts projects in our home. I often craft with my Cricut machine for parties,school projects, fun and I even sell cute confetti/ table scatter!

I wanted to create a colorful Graduation banner to celebrate Miss.Z's High School Graduation!

I consider her school colors as a theme. However, I wanted less drab of a banner. Something that she may wish to keep and decorate her room with. At very least,  something fun and colorful!

I decided to go with a rainbow theme. I just love rainbows. All of the colors together!

Well, I must say that I love the beautiful projects that can be found on Pinterest,the wonderful Etsy, Instagram and so forth.However, when it's your first time making something, sometimes it's not Pinterest material! I will share how the banner was made. However,  keep in mind that I would recommend assembling the pieces together on the side or sew them together. I used a tag style and strung them with fishing wire adding ribbon for color. I weaved the line through the tag notch on the top if each piece. It allows too much play for the pieces in my opinion. There's a first for everything and this was my first banner!

I cut out the pieces of my banner with the Cricut and two cartridges: Basic George and Tie the Knot!

I cut out Tags in a 2 1/2 inch size. I cut Circles to place each letter. I cut each letter to fit the circle base. Unfortunately,  it's been a few weeks and I don't recall the exact measurements of the circles and letters. I planned my strategy in advance. I knew that I wanted rainbow colors. I chose to plan on the circles being placed in a pattern opposite of the tag. I wanted each similar letter placed in the same color of circle.

Tag pattern: Red,Orange,Yellow,Green,Blue and purple.

Circle Pattern: Purple,Blue,Green,Yellow,Orange and Red.

I chose the letter pattern in my preference.

Once the pieces were cut, I placed the tags in order on the floor.
Next, I glued the circle onto the tags with Tacky Glue.
Then, I glued on the letters.

Once the paper was dry, I tied a knot in the beginning of the fishing line. I weaved the clear fishing line through each tag. Be sure to add each tag in order. I began from the first letter of each pattern. I tied off the end of the fishing line. Choose the length of fishing line that you desire based upon the size that you want the banner to be.

I then hung my banner in the wall. I tied colorful ribbon to each end if the banner. I then tied in rainbow order additional ribbon to place between each tag to keep the letters spaced apart. I then clipped the ribbon to lengths that I liked. Second lesson: If I were to create a tag style banner again,  I'd pre-cut the ribbon to be the same length. I'm not perfect by any means but I enjoyed making the banner for the graduate!

I was happy with the result. I would have liked the banner to have been closer inbetween the letters. It was my first banner and a learning experience. I kept the banner up for a week. Then, I took down the second half of the banner with Miss.Z's name leaving the Congratulations to celebrate the end of the school year for the children! We enjoyed three weeks of a colorful rainbow banner!

Menu Planning Week June 15

I am enjoying planning our summer weekday meals! I have been researching new recipes and crock pot meal ideas.

Last week we had one Big dinner failure. We tried the recipe that I borrowed from Moneywise Moms. It was for crock pot ranch chicken tacos. The meal had a wonderful aroma. However,  I tweaked one small addition to the recipe.

See, I have been sampling the idea of creating fruit waters, also known as spa water or detox water. I made a few jars of strawberry and fresh basil water by adding the fruit and herbs to a recycled jar of water. I allowed the juices to mix together for a couple of days and drank them. I loved it. I especially enjoyed ho refreshing the flavored water was after the pool! So, after cutting up lime for a weekend meal, I added it to a jar of water. As it turns out, lime water is extremely bitter. Knowing that this crock pot taco meal was on the horizon,  I saved the jar or lime water to use as a stock for the tacos. Big mistake. It was still very bitter.  I cooked the chicken as otherwise suggested. The chicken not only had a spicy bite but a very bitter flavor from the lime. I guess I'll not use a lime stock again. Failure.

So, I'm basically creating the next menu or two from the pantry and freezer. I need to go grocery shopping soon. However,  I have some items that need to be cooked, some requested meals and a freezer meal that needs to be made. I'm only menu planning Monday thru Friday to fit around schedules. On the weekends, we have a variety of family members on the go. Some coming and some going. Weekend meals may have as little as four or as much as eight family members. If we have company,  the number increases. During the weekdays,  I know in advance the basic number of family members that will be present.

For the weel of June 15, 2014 - June 20, 2014:

Monday: Dad's Baked Spaghetti. Big Salad. The Spaghetti = Directly compliments of a freezer meal.

Tuesday: Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad. ( Not exactly a Summer meal)

Wednesday: Lasagna with Salad. We are trying a Walmart Frozen Lasagna meal. We picked up a few items when we shopped for busy summer days. Items that can be taken from freezer to oven to the table.

Thursday: Miss. A. will make Chili. Upon her request. As she has been cooking as part of her homeschooling activities.

Friday: Polish Sausage. Steak French Fries.Carrots.
We will also enjoy a Homemade Cake for Miss. J. It will be her 17th Birthday!!!

I try to keep vegetables handy and incorporate them into daily meals. We found a place where we can purchase a giant bag of romaine lettuce for only $2.50 The bag equals approximately three store bought packages or slightly more. I try to have salad 1-2 meals daily. We top the salad with a variety of vegetables and toppings. Mr.K and I especially enjoy our quick handy salads. In fact, we discovered an interesting salad using peaches that will be a part of an upcoming meal!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Menu Planning This Week A Little Late

I have been planning weekly menus here and there. I have learned that my family really enjoys knowing the answer to the burning question of "what's for dinner?"

So, I am going to share our menu for this week!

Monday- Dad's Baked Spaghetti with Salad

Tuesday- Crockpot Ranch Chicken tacos with lettuce, tomato, avocado,cheddar cheese and rice.

*Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos recipe may be found at the Money Saving Moms blog!

Wednesday- Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken sandwhiches with Baked beans and corn. This evening we will also sample the Breyer's Indugences Gelato in the Triple Chocolate flavor! I have received a container of the new gelato for review purposes from Influenster!

Thursday- Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans, Salad

Friday- Crockpot Bean Soup, salad. This will be a busy evening. So, we will have a quick dinner. It will be ready when we are ready.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fun and Easy Summer Lunch

When I was a little girl, on occasion my parents would surprise my sister and I with an easy going quick and fun family meal. On a few occasions, we had mini sandwiches made from tiny pumpernickel and rye breads, we enjoyed mini grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh cut vegetables as a side dish and even a banana split "dinner!"

In our home, we enjoy making children friendly meals and special treats. A family favorite tradition on New Year's Eve, is to put together meat and cheese trays with sauce accompaniments, crackers, mini desserts and sparkling cider.

A few years ago Denny was making dinner for the family while I attended a Girl Scout Meeting for Leaders. He decided to change the menu around and made the children a fun meal!

He made a Family Size Homemade "Lunchable." He sliced deli meats and cheeses, Tomatoes, paired with crackers, pizza sauce and cream cheese. I believe they also had black olives and fruit.

When I returned home, I learned that the children were extremely excited about dinner. I was informed that the very talkative two year old muttered only one word during dinner,  "Moe" He asked for more and more and more again.

Since then, it is a family favorite quick and easy meal. It makes a great lunch or summer dinner.

During the summer, it is a great option because there is no cooking required.

Add a "Lunchable"( Oscar Meyer) to your Menu planning and grocery shopping list.

Purchase an assortment of lunch meats. Add one or two varieties of cheese or cheese spreads. Pick up your favorite crackers.

Add a variety of fun options. Children often love pepperoni. Add fresh vegetables: tomato, cucumber or even carrots. You may choose to add fruit as well. We always mix it up a bit. However, we always add ham as it is a favorite of the children. Our children really enjoy room temperature or chilled pizza sauce.

Our early June lunch (as pictured) :
- Ham
-Basil Rosemary and Olive Oil seasoned Turkey.
-Cheddar Cheese
- Pepperoni
-(Ritz) Crackers
-Pizza Sauce served at room temperature

Now for today, we didn't really worry too much about adding fruits and vegetables based upon our dinner plans and it being a late lunch. Denny has worked 6 days this week. We had to do the weekly grocery shopping,pushing lunch behind.

We normally make the meal visually appealing or fun. Today, we began making lunch while multitasking putting away the groceries and beginning our dinner.

We are working on planning a dinner menu. We are also working on reducing the grocery budget. Today we shopped at a store that honors competitors advertisements and sales. We also brought along the small inventory of coupons that I have collected.

With the Advertisement, we received two Buy One Get One Free items: Macaroni and Cheese and frozen Meatballs. We took advantage of a store BOGO special of Polish Kielbasa. I used one whole coupon ( I know,disgraceful) saving fifty cents off of the purchase if two Zatarrain's Boxed Rice meals. We picked up gumbo to make shrimp gumbo in the future. This week we are going to try the Carribean Rice. So, although it is a small savings, at least we saved a little.

To be honest, all of the groceries were FREE because we purchased the groceries with the weekly payment that I receive from selling an awesome sweepstakes prize!  The prize us being sold to my best friend's husband (The only reason to have accepted payments.)

The payments equal to basically the pay that I would earn from a regular part time job. This will serve as additional income weekly for the entire year of 2014!

Now, to start clipping coupons and building my stash!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Window Shopping Orlando International Airport

Graduation week found our family extremely busy. We had family coming and going from across the country to celebrate Miss. Z's milestone!

We visited several cities and locations in order to shuffle everyone where we needed to be.

We finished up the week by visiting Disney World. We had a fun dinner at the Wilderness Lodge's Whispering Canyon Cafe.

Our journey led us to the Orlando International Airport. We enjoyed our exploration of the airport shops and dreaded the departure tears. As I do not do well with goodbyes.

We explored fun shops including The Disney EarPort,  Universal Studios store and the Nasa store!

I captured photos of some of the interesting finds at the airport shops. I saw many fun items in the shops.

Enjoy a little window shopping!