Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pointless Post #14-- The Grass is Always Greener

I cannot believe Easter is only a week away. It's so late in the season this year, and it still managed to sneak up on me!

I wanted to share a quick tip that I learned about 4 years ago. We can't have plastic Easter grass in our house because my cat will eat it. I can't say that I am terribly sad about this fact because if I remember correctly it always seemed to linger around for month after the holiday.

I started making my own Easter grass. It's cheap and "green"---even if it's not green :) All you need is your paper shredder and colored paper--I use construction paper because we always have a ton of it. I buy the big package of construction paper from Sam's club and it seems to last us about two years.

Anyway, all you have to do is shred your paper and then crinkle it up. I found that for an average basket I use about three sheets. It's fun, cheap, colorful, safe for your pets and environmentally friendly--you can't get much better than that! I hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pointless Post #13-- Mixing Milk

I don't know about your kids, but my kids LOVE chocolate milk! We give them flavored milk at home, but usually, we only put in enough "sugar" to change the color of the milk.

When we go out to a restaurant, we were normally buy them chocolate milk as a treat. One day as I was pouring the milk into a cup it dawned on me that it was like pouring a melted milkshake---the milk is THICK and VERY chocolaty. So, recently I started mixing the milk. I get one kid's meal with chocolate milk, and one with white milk. Then, I ask for two small cups with lids and equally split the milks for the girls (1/2 chocolate, 1/2 white). They can't tell a difference---and I feel a little bit better about myself as a mom. Besides, the milk has more chocolate in it then they get at home---so it's still a treat :)

Some may argue that I shouldn't give the kids chocolate milk at all--- I think if it gets the calcium and vitamin D in them---I'm not going to worry about a little bit of sugar. That's just my opinion though---I know I'm not perfect ;). In fact, one of the girls’ favorite flavors of milk is "chocolate strawberry"; mix a little bit of chocolate powder and a little bit of strawberry powder---and voila----it's REALLY good! You can thank my husband for that invention :)

P.S. In the case of Chick-fil-a milk---the white milk actually has more fat, but less sugar and calories (there's always a trade off).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pointless Post #12-- Pot Drumming

The other day my oldest daughter was upset because we DID NOT go to Best Buy. There is a Best Buy in our area that sells musical instruments. My daughter LOVES to go in and play the electric drums. She was in tears when we told her we didn't have time.

When we came home I told her we would make a drum when she got up from her nap. She then informed me that she wanted to make a lot of different drums with different sounds. As she was napping, I thought of different ways to make drums-- But then, a cartoon light bulb went off in my head-- I remembered the old saying "banging on pots and pans". Well, I just have to say---THIS WORKS GREAT! She was soooo happy to bang on the pots and hear all of their different sounds. I also gave her the lids as the cymbals. She was convinced that she was playing "The Cat in the Hat" theme song from PBS Kids

She had so much fun, and the best part, I was able to put everything back in the cupboards and there was no mess. Don't get me wrong, I love doing crafts with the kids, but sometimes it is nice to do something that doesn't require a lot of clean up.

Warning: This activity is very LOUD

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pointless Post #11 -- Yummy Starbucks!

OK---I have a little problem. For Christmas, I asked for Starbucks gift cards, and I was lucky enough to receive a couple. Although I am not a big coffee drinker, I do enjoy Chai Tea Latte and the occasional Peppermint Mocha (which is seasonal, so I should drink as much as possible while it is out----right?). Well---here is my problem----since I have these gift cards, I feel the need to use them whenever I am out and see a Starbucks (which is everywhere: the mall, Target, just on the side of the road). They are burning a hole in my pocket, but I don't want to spend them all at once. The second part of my problem is I don't want to start the Starbucks habit, because---well, I really enjoy having money for things like---food and a mortgage.

The other day I got a drink while we were at the mall and guess what? When I came home I found this wonderful coupon in the mail. Being a Starbucks Reward card member is paying off!

I must say, when I take that first sip of my warm Chai Tea Latte, my mind relaxes and all of my stresses melt away. This is normal---right ;) Oh, and did you know that if you don't want your drink scalding hot, you can order it at a lower temperature? I enjoy my drinks at 150 degrees :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pointless Post #10-- Messless Mixes

It's 8:00 in the morning and I am already making chicken enchiladas and corn bread. No, I'm not crazy! I'm actually making dinner for a friend who recently had a baby. I also have the added benefit of NOT needing to make dinner for us tonight because, it will already be done. Plus, I am using a corn bread mix--I'm not making it from scratch :)

When I make mixes (muffins, pancakes, etc), I found that if I make the mix in my big Oxo measuring cup (4 cups)--it not only saves on dishes, but it also makes the mix easier to pour and creates less of a mess.

For today's mix, I started with a 1/2 cup of milk in the measuring cup--then I added one egg and beat it in the measuring cup with the milk--then I added the muffin mix. I stirred it all in the measuring cup. Now, I only have one dish to clean--well, two if you count the fork I used for stirring!

I know this doesn't work for everything. But, it's perfect for smaller mixes that only need to be stirred with a fork!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pointless Post #9-- Freezing Meat

When my husband and I got married, we purchased a FoodSaver from Sam's Club. We don't use it on all of our frozen items, but one thing that I LOVE having it for is storing meat. Now I feel like we can safely buy bulk ground beef and turkey and it won't go bad (or get freezer burn) before we have the opportunity to use it.

A couple of years ago, we found another benefit of using the FoodSaver---freezer storage! Up until last month, we only had the freezer that is connected to our refrigerator (which is SMALL)---so we had to be creative. My husband discovered if he sealed the meat in lager package than normal, after it was vacuum sealed, it gave us room to smash it----that evolved to rolling it thin with the rolling pin. Since we only use our ground meats for things like spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and tacos, it works perfectly! Not only does it take up A LOT less room----the meat also thaws A LOT quicker!

Yesterday, I had to finish sealing four pounds of ground beef---see the above picture (the ground beef is stored on the right side).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pointless Post #8---Children's Place Offers

So, shortly after I posted my last blog entry, I got another e-mail deal. This one is from Children's Place. The offer is Free Shipping on ALL orders, plus an additional 20% off :) Unfortunately, this deal is only for today.

Free Shipping Promo Code: FSJANUARY2011

20% Off Promo Code: P7C2011

Once again, I don't need anything----but you might! Enjoy!

In the future, if I posts deals, I will try to combine them into one post :)