Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Make It From Scratch and Misc

Well, I'm a bit slow this week, I just now realized it was Tuesday and my post Banana Banana Bread was in this week's Make It From Scratch Carnival. Thanks to Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship for hosting it!

I've been finding that this year allows for little personal time. My kids have a LOT more homework, and as soon as they come home, my time is gone till after dinner, and often even later when they go to bed. This week between the three kids, we have 3 major projects due, plus 3 sheets for the 3d graders and 2 for the 2nd grader. *sigh* And during the day, I have housework to keep up with. There just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes.

I really need to learn how to manage my time better, because I find I am slowly sinking. At least in the morning I shower first thing, so I am always ready and prepared for the day. I dislike showering late, so this is a must for me. But everywhere else, I suck. I've been working on bows, clips, and hair korkers for the girls, so that takes up my evening time and I don't get much else done then.

Next week should be somewhat easier, my hubby is coming home on Tuesday! Know what else? I get to go to the dentist to get two teeth filled, and also get nagged about when I'm going to pony up 2 Grand to get all 4 of my Wisdom teeth pulled. Yes Dr, I know they need to be done, but until I find a magical beanstalk with a Goose that lays Golden eggs, I won't be doing it for some time.

Well, I hear the spawn starting to squabble again, so I must get off of here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banana Banana Bread

Can you believe I have never made banana bread before yesterday? In our 10 years of marriage, not once. I had a ton and a half of frozen, ripe, bananas in my freezer and decided to finally do something about it. I made it last night and we had it for breakfast this morning, with a cold glass of milk. It turned out great. We LOVED it. I bet you could make it even healthier using whole wheat flour, but I didn't have any on hand, so white it was. Maybe next time.

I saved some so the kids can have it as their snack tomorrow in school. Let's hope the teachers don't make a fuss about it, they're pretty crazy about "healthy" snacks. They're the snack Nazis to be completely honest.

Banana Banana Bread


2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas


Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C).
Lightly grease a 9x5" loaf pan

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.
Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
Stir the two mixtures together, just to moisten.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in a pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

*my oven cooks hot, so mine was done in about 55 minutes*
*Thanks to AllRecipes.com for this awesome recipe*

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

I love finding a good deal, don't you? It makes my day when I can find something great for cheap.

Today while I was at Goodwill, I found 3 awesome items for only $8.11 total, including tax.  I found this cake pan, brand new in box, for only $2.99.

It's going for much more on eBay, what an awesome score!   I think maybe we'll try it for my daughter's birthday, but that all depends on whether or not my husband wants to make it.  He's the cake maker in our house, I don't think I've made one of the kids' cakes but once.

I also found a cut black metal bucket, it's quite big actually, about the size of a large soup pan.   It was also brand new in the box, and had floating pumpkin candles with it.  That was only $3.99.  I'm not sure I'll be using the candles, as I don't care for floating candles, but the bucket can be used for many things. 

And my last find at goodwill was a cute little gourd basket.  I just thought it was so neat, and had to have it at only $.49!  It's green.  The picture didn't turn out though.

I also hit up Target today for a few items, and conveniently forgot the one item I went there for.  It figures I would do that, guess I'd better go back tomorrow.    While I was there, and wandering the aisles as I always do, I came across a sale on toys.  Toy sales make me happy.  I picked up a Bionicle for my son.  It was normally $12.99, but on sale for $11.99.  Not a great deal, right? It was also B1G1 Free!!  Score!  Two presents done for Christmas.  Yaay!

What good bargains have you found this week?

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shopping For MEEEEE!!!

I rarely shop for myself, but I suspect a lot of Mothers are like this. It just happens, you get so involved in your children's lives, that you forget about yourself. I am guilty of that, anyone else?

Today while I was out running errands with my daughter, I thought I would make a stop into Value Village. I love going in there and finding treasures, though it doesn't always happen. Today I did though, and I am so happy I went in searching for something for myself! Shopping for myself Works For Me, because it makes me feel good. Every mom should do it, at least once in awhile.

I collect colored glass. I don't have a ton of pieces, but I love collecting it. My mom has bought me quite a few pieces, and I pick them up if I can find them for a good price. So today at Value Village, I saw these. My eyes widened in shock as I looked them over looking for flaws. I found none. But was the price right? Yes!!! $2.99 for the yellow bowl, and $4.99 for the green one.

Please pardon my poor draping skills, lol. My white tablecloth is dirty, and I had to improvise with a white top I slung over the back of my chair.

It definitely Works For Me to Shop for Myself! Check out other WFMW posts over at We Are THAT Family.

Make It From Scratch Carnival

I remembered to participate again! Yaay Me!!

A big thank you to Carrie, over at It's Frugal Being Green, for including my post Eatmore Bars in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pre-School At Home

Does anyone do a preschool program at home? If so, what kind of activities do you do with your pre-schooler?

We made the decision to keep our 3.5 year old daughter at home this year to save money. Our two oldest children never went to preschool or pre-k, and did just fine going into kindergarten. Our middle daughter went, but only because her birthday is in October, and I wanted her to be in pre-k/preschool to be ready for Kindergarten. This one will go to pre-K next year, so I will do her preschool "education" here at home.

At Wal Mart and Dollar Tree, I picked up a few work books. Wal Mart had a nice thick one (like text book size!) for only a few dollars. I also picked up a letter tracing booklet at Target.

I thought a couple times a week, I could help her with her letters and do a few pages from the books. She already knows all her letters by sight and sound, so we just need to work on writing them. Colors aren't a problem for her, nor are shapes, as she picked those up early.

We've also got activities planned, and one of them includes going to the library story time once a week. It's a half hour long, and geared towards preschoolers. This Thursday is our first time, I'm looking forward to taking her. And of course, crafts will come into play too, I just haven't quite decided what kind of craft we'll do. Is one a week good?

If you do preschool at home for your child, what kind of activities do you do with them? What do you teach them?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Have An Alter-Ego

For some time I have been feeling the urge to blog about the real me, and the struggles, challenges, joys etc etc that I face on a daily basis. I just don't feel that this blog is the place for it, so if you want an uncensored version of me, then leave me a comment with your email address and I will send you the link to my new blog.

I'm still going to keep up with this one, I love my blog, but I just need a place where I can really express myself.

Thanks for sticking with me <3

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Had A Great Day

Today was such a great day!

I started the morning off by going to a friend's house to drop off some clothes for her. Her and her husband are adopting 3 children from Panama, and needed some clothes for them to use at their foster home in Panama, so I gave her a big bag of girls stuff my youngest had outgrown. What made me so happy though, was how happy she was receiving them. I hope we get to meet the kids before we move!

Then the baby and I went out and ran some errands, and I was able to find myself some tops on sale that I needed. My summer stuff was getting a bit worn, and I often wear short sleeves throughout the year, so I was able to get 3 for fairly cheap. Yaay! After we were done our shopping, I came home and had a fantastic baked potato for lunch. Don't you love it when those turn out perfectly? It was divine! I made them for dinner two nights ago and the kids inhaled them. Guess I should make them more often.

And tonight, the kids and I were invited to someones house for a caramel apple play date. Recently I joined a local MeetUp Mom's group, and one of the mom's hosted tonight. We had a potluck, and then everyone made caramel apples. We had so much fun! I met a few new mom's, had a great dinner, got to talk to some adults and *hopefully* made some new friends. There were a lot of kids there, so everyone played well together. It was just a great evening with good people, food, and conversation. And on the plus side, the kids were so tuckered out from playing so hard for 3 hours, that they went to bed almost right after we got home. Yaay!

How did your weekend start?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fun With Domo!!!

Domo is back, but only for a short while today. Like I mentioned a couple days ago, Domo has been pretty tired lately with his back to school adventures. Today I caught him and Zeusy sneaking a nap.

Zeusy loves to lay on anything that smells like us, so I am guessing Domo was a good substitute for the boy, as both Zeusy and Domo sleep with the boy each night.

Check back soon for more Fun With Domo pictures!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No Pudge Fudge Brownie Mix

Last month, I purchased the No Pudge Fudge Brownie Mix at my local Trader Joe's. I have been meaning to make it, but kept forgetting. Well, tonight I finally did after staring at it in the pantry for almost a month.

All you do is add one 6oz container of vanilla yogurt and mix. It's very easy, but very hard to stir, as it's quite thick. I had to use a really thick spatula to break up the powdered pieces and mix it in with the other moistened pieces. Definitely not as easy as regular brownie mix. Getting it into the baking pan was not an easy task as well, as the prepared mix is very sticky. I had to scrape the bowl and spatula each a few times to get all the brownie mix off.

The brownies tasted fantastic! I do recommend letting them cool completely, as they really are VERY fudgy. I will be buying these again. For anyone wondering, the ingredients are as follows:
  • Pure Cane Sugar
  • Unbleached Wheat Flour
  • Dutch Cocoa
  • Egg Whites
  • Cornstarch
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
I love, love, love the fact that they are all natural with no chemicals. To finish up, enjoy this picture of my yummy, fudgy, no pudge brownies:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Holiday Grand Plan, Week 2

Last week was just an extremely busy week, what with my husband going back to work, the kids starting school, our adventure to Northwest Trek. This past weekend I just needed to unwind. So here's to HGP Week 3 and the start of a new week!

Week 3 of the Holiday Grand Plan focuses on cleaning up your Foyer/Entry way. Christmas prep is making a batch of cookies for the freezer, an extra meal for the days you're super busy, etc etc.

Check out these links to get more detailed information on your Foyer cleaning and Christmas Prep.

I can't really do the Christmas prep this week as there is NO room in my dinky little freezer. As it gets closer to Christmas, I tend to pick up more supplies and make room in the freezer, but for now, it is much too early for me. The foyer and entry way will be really easy as we have such a small one. I am thinking I will re-do the porch along with this week as it needs a bit of sprucing up. My rose bush also needs to be pruned and some plants thrown away as they are dead, and well beyond hope of fixing.

In other news, those of you who are wondering where Domo is, rest assured, he is ok! It was a busy back-to-school week, so he needed to get his strength back. Domo should be back in full force soon. Keep an eye out for him, he's sneaky.

I also spent the weekend making some hair curlies and bows for my youngest daughter. I REALLY wanted to make an Owl one like Kate had on her blog, so I searched Etsy for the pattern. I couldn't find it, but I did find the seller who sells the Owl's wholesale, and just copied it free hand. I will do a post about those soon, I am really happy with how it came out, especially since I did it without a pattern.

Tomorrow is our first day back at MOPS. Though I am excited to see my friends again (I've been going to this group for almost 4 years now!!), I go with some reservations, so I am going to wait to pass judgement on this year till I've gone a few times. I'm just not sure it's for us anymore, so I have to see how it goes.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mish Mash Round 2

Please excuse my lack of blogging for the last few days, I've come down with a horrific chest cold and have been completely wiped out the last few days.

Wednesday was the start of our school year, and we have slowly been easing back into our routine. I think we've adapted well, but it will take a little while to iron our the kinks. We seem to have the most trouble after school, doing chores and getting homework done. The kids are excited to be back though, and it is nice to have some quiet time while they are gone.

The "baby" and I have enjoyed the time alone, and already went on one "adventure" together. Yesterday we had the pleasure of visiting Northwest Trek with a local Mom's group that I joined. We enjoyed NWT so much that we're thinking of going back as a family next month when my husband comes home again. If you live in the Puget Sound area, and haven't been, go! The kids will love it, and so will you. I really enjoyed the tram portion of the day, and seeing all the Elk, Moose, Bison, Caribou etc.

I also realized that my middle daughter's birthday is in less than one month. Eek! Tonight my husband and I shopped online through Oriental Trading and bought all of her party supplies, plus two goody bag treats. She is doing a Halloween theme again for her party, like she did last year. That girl LOVES Halloween, so we are happy to oblige her request for a Halloween themed birthday. This year she picked a spider candy corn theme:

We also got matching cups, napkins, treat bags, orange forks, and a purple table cloth with candy corn on it. I'm realizing now that I should have bought two table cloths, but oh well! I'll go pick up a purple one at Party City.

Lastly, I was surprised today with these:

All I'll say is, it's good to make up after a fight. I love you honey!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mish Mash

First off, thanks to Rina over at Gotta Little Space to Fill, for including my post "Biscuits, The Easy Way" in this week's edition of the Make it From Scratch Carnival. Maybe one day I'll get around to hosting, haha.

Secondly, tomorrow is the first day of school for us. Yaay!!! That means tonight I get to go to bed on time, wake up at the crack of dawn and go exercise. Oh joy! In all seriousness though, the kids are excited, and I am looking forward to getting some order back in our lives. Today we get to meet the Teachers and drop off our supplies. Last night at 10:15PM I realized I hadn't gotten the supplies together, so I was up till just after 11PM labelling boxes of crayons and sorting everything out. We're all ready to go now though.

Third, my intention to do the Holiday Grand Plan went to shit last week due to my husband being home. I might have to skip this week as well, or at least not post about it. I'm trying people...trying, haha. Maybe I can do the Week 2 post tomorrow.

And finally, I ate at Cold Stone Creamery for the first time a week and a half ago. I don't know what I was missing. It was the best ice cream ever! I had the Apple Pie A La Cold Stone, which was divine. I attempted to re-create it the other night. I think I did a pretty good job, but I will try some different brands next time as I didn't like the flavor one of them gave me.

Here it is, my delectable version of Cold Stone's Apple Pie ice cream:

Apple Pie A La Joanna

Several scoops of vanilla bean ice cream
1/3- 1/2 cup of graham cracker pie crust pieces
Apple pie filling apples (as many as you want)
Cinnamon to taste
Caramel sauce

Mix everything in a bowl and dig in.
You can use as much or as little of the ingredients as you want.
That's it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Owl Shirt

I got the idea for the Owl top from an online friend of mine, Karen. Her daughter Kate is such a cutie, and Karen made her an Owl shirt, so I wanted to try make one for my youngest daughter. And she in turn got her idea from this website, Lil Blue Boo, who also made the Owl top.

I thought about doing it with fat quarters, but I couldn't find the right colors, so I just copied Karen and cut up some old clothes we had. I cut up a pair of Target leggings, a Gymboree Imaginary Friends top, and found the blue buttons in my craft drawers. I used blue because my daughter has blue eyes ;o)

I do wish I had a different color top to put this on, but I am happy with it still. I wasn't able to find a solid color black or pink top at Target, and I didn't want to use any of her current Gymboree or Gap tops to sew it onto either.

And before I show you the photos, please know that I did this with a VERY uncooperative 3.5 year old. Her top might look somewhat dirty as she was rolling on the floor where the cats lay, having a fit. One of the photos you'll see her neck thrown back, she was crying and very upset with me for making her take photos. Oh the drama of a 3.5 year old, it never ends.

You can sew it with a sewing machine, but I like the whimsical look of sewing it by hand. It adds a bit more character to it, in my opinion. I might even make another one in different fabrics! I love it, I think it looks adorable.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fun With Domo!!!

I recently purchased, and gave to my son, a stuffed Domo. He loves his Domo, and today even took him out with us running errands. That was only because we decided to do a "Fun With Domo" day each week or so, lol.

The idea is that I'll post a picture of Domo doing something really fun, or silly, or adventurous, anything. Once a week, probably Saturdays too. It's just meant to be silly and a way for my son to have some fun too.

Here is this week's photo, we were at BK for lunch and the boy decided Domo wanted some Orange Fanta to drink.

Please excuse the bad flash, I was in a hurry and didn't feel like adjusting the settings on my camera. Oh, and I can NOT get "Domo Arigato Mr Robato" out of my head! I just keep singing it over and over.

Look for more Fun With Domo really soon!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I Love Owls & A Trader Joe's Review

I'm kind of Owl obsessed right now, if you can't tell by my blog layout. I think Owls are so cool! They scream fall to me, so I am on the hunt for lots of owl stuff. LOVE them!

I'm actually making my daughters some owl clothing, which I shall debut sometime soon. I'm having a lot of fun doing it too ;o)

As for my review, remember me talking about my Trader Joe's trip? I bought some of their store brand soap, Tea Tree Oil pure vegetable soap. The name sounds kind of nasty, and I was thinking...vegetable soap? Hmmm...

Well, it's awesome, plain and simple. I love the Tea Tree Oil soap a LOT. Seriously, it's the best. I use it on my face and my face looks fantastic. Better than ever if you ask me. I tend to break out a lot, especially during that certain time of the month, and this has really helped with that. I already use pure Tea Tree Oil on my blemishes when I get them, so this has just added to the awesomeness that is my skin. It's keeping my breakouts to a minimum, my skin is less oily and I think it just looks a hell of a lot better.

So if you have a Trader Joe's nearbye, go buy some. Now. Your skin will thank you for it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Holiday Grand Plan, Week 1

Every year, every single year, I say I am going to follow through with this plan. I have never succeeded. 2005 I was pregnant and too exhausted, plus we moved into a new house. 2006, my computer was broken. In 2007 I just forgot, plain and simple, because I didn't have a computer or internet access. And in 2008, I failed again. I've made it my goal to try and get as far as a I can with the HGP. Thanks to OranizedChristmas.com and the lovely Cynthia Ewer and Katie Leckey, I hope to accomplish it this year.

The Holiday Grand Plan is a 16 week plan to help you get your house in order for the holidays to ensure a stress-less holiday for you and your family. It includes house cleaning, baking, cooking, shopping, gift making, decorating etc. If it involves Christmas, it's included.

I actually missed the start of Week 1 since we were gone yesterday, so I'm starting it now. My plan is to post each monday and friday to show how I am doing, with Monday being the day with the week's tasks, and friday being the day I tell you how I did. That's the plan at least.

Without further ado, Week 1

Week 1 is LIST WEEK, and the cleaning/decluttering focuses on cleaning and organizing the FRONT PORCH.

Feel free to join us at the Holiday Magic message boards if you want to discuss this plan further with the other members. Or let me know on here how you're doing with it, if you decide to participate!