All posts by Melissa

Homemade Finger Paint

Homemade Finger Paint

Ingredients that are found in finger paints include: baking soda, citric acid, manntiol, polyethylene glycol, sodium benzoate, mineral oil and various food coloring including Allura red dye also known as red dye #40, approved by the FDA but is controversial because some believe that it may affect some children’s behavior.

¼ cup corn flower

2 cups water

Food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup corn flour and 2 cups of water. Add food coloring to get to desired color. Boil until mixture thickens, then allow to cool. Pour into lidded containers to store. Old baby food jar make the perfect size container for these paint especially the baby food meat jars.

Crunchy Butternut Brand Cereal

Crunchy Butternut Brand Cereal

Why pay $4.00 or more for a box of healthy cereal when you can make some yourself and know that it is preservative and additive free. Substitute the squash for sweet  potato or even mashed banana.

4 eggs

1 cup Sugar

2 cups mashed squash

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

3 cups wheat brand

2 cups whole wheat flour

Stir all ingredients together, pour into 2 9×13 pans. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until crispy. Let cool, crumble and return to pans. Place in oven at lowest temperature stirring occasionally until dry.    Eat as cereal with milk.

Bacon Dressing

Bacon Dressing

Who doesn’t love bacon, with this recipe you can make your own salad dressing and although it is made with bacon it is still better for you than store bought kind.

4-6 slices bacon

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup minced onion

3 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

Fry bacon then break into bits. Add other ingredient to hot bacon fat. Bring to a boil to thicken slightly. Pour over kale or other greens raw or cooked; layer on top the bacon bits and some hard boiled egg.

Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake

Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake

Two of my favorite foods, pumpkin and cheesecake, yum! This would make a great addition to you holiday table.

20 gingersnaps cookies crushed

½ cup pecans finely chopped

¼ cup melted butter

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; spray a 9-in spring form pan with cooking spray. Combine cookie crumbs, pecans and butter until blended, press into bottom and sides of the pan and bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Combine cream cheese ½ cup of the sugar and the vanilla. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Remove one cup of batter, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. To the remaining batter add the rest of the sugar, pumpkin cinnamon and nutmeg, mix until well blended. Spoon half of the refrigerated batter into crust in dollops, layer pumpkin batter over top then the other half of the non-pumpkin batter. Using a butter knife, swirl through the batter several times. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool in pan, refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Recipe from USA Weekend.

Homemade play dough

Homemade play dough

Hasbor current maker of play-dough say it is made of water, a starch based binder, retrogradation inhibitor, borax, petroleum, salt, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance and color. Play dough was originally made as a wallpaper cleaner.  (Wikipedia) Don’t want you children playing with something made to clean wallpaper, although it is labels as safe and non toxic it is full of chemicals, so make your own from real ingredients that are truly safe and even eatable. It won’t last as long as the store bought kind but it is simple to make so you can just make more.

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons of cream of tarter

½ cup salt

1 tablespoon oil

Food coloring

Mix and knead flour and boiling water, cream of tartar, salt, oil, and a few drops of food coloring. Store in a sealed plastic bag.

Recipe from Cooks.com

Car ER Kit

Car ER Kit

Put together your own car emergency kit. Here is a list, compiled from several different websites, of items that would be useful to include. Some items you may already carry with you, others I never even thought of but now realize that they would be useful.

Cellular phone

First-aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Auto escape tool

Warning light, hazard triangle, or flares

Tire gauge

Jack and lug wrench

Foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit

Spare fuses

Jumper cables or a portable battery booster

Flashlight and extra batteries

Gloves, hand cleaner, and clean rags

Auto-club card or roadside-assistance number

$20 in small bills and change

Pen and pad of paper

Coolant hose repair kit and tape

Basic tools

Extra clothes and small tarp

Water and nonperishable emergency food, water purification tablets/drops.

Gallon of antifreeze

a quart of oil

Roll of duct tape

1-2 day supply of necessary medications (heart medications, ext.)

Space blanket/ Emergency blanket

Signal Whistle

Mirror

Winter: Special consecrations need to be taken for winter her are a few extras you need to throw into your kit.

Windshield scraper

Blanket and winter hat

Chemical hand warmers

Small folding shovel

Bag of cat litter

Candle

Lighter

Emergency and non-emergency phone numbers

Emergency family contacts: phone numbers, addresses, and emails

(Home, work, school, ext.)

Local maps with marked evacuation routes, family meeting place

Currant copies of family photos/ ids

Personal medical information: blood type, allergies and sensitivities, vaccinations, medical conditions, medications, and health insurance information.

Got something you want to add to the list? Is there one thing you would hate to be stranded in you car with out? Comment and tells us about it.

Picture Wreath

Picture Wreath

This is adorable and would make a great gift for the grandma’s in your children’s life. Let the kids help by picking the colors of the cardstock or ribbons and also let them pick their favorite pictures to use. Maybe take a picture of them helping make the wreath and include that.

What you need: 3-inch circle template, colored or white cardstock, pencil, scissors, 4×6-inch black-and-white  or color photos, glue stick, decorative-edge scissors, 12- or 14-inch foam wreath form, crafts glue, jingle bells, ribbon, two T pins

Make it:  Use circle template to cut circles from card stock; cut faces from black-and-white photos into slightly smaller circles. Use a glue stick to attach the photo cutouts to card stock and then trim the card stock with decorative-edge scissors. Glue the photos to the surface of the Styrofoam wreath form with edges overlapping. Thread ribbon through jingle bells and tie bows. Glue the bells in between the photos as desired. Attach a loop of ribbon to the back of the wreath with T-pins and hang.

From Parents.com

You can use this same concept but change up the shape, such as using a ball (basket, soccer, football, ext.) and make your pictures smaller and glue them all over the ball add a ribbon to hang it from and you have a cute gift for the ball lovers in your life.

SOCK ADVENT CALENDAR

Sock Advent Calender

Solo kids sock? – turn the lonely leftovers into a fun advent calendar to countdown the days to Christmas. This is such a cute fun easy craft to do with the kids. To make it a little more complicated you could paint the clothespins. Have other fun Advent calendar ideas? We would love to hear about them. Trying this idea? Let us know how it turned out, we would love to see pictures.

What you’ll need: 24 socks, number stickers, ribbon or rope, clothespins

Make it: Hang a piece of ribbon or rope on your wall – you can make any shape you like, just make sure it’s long enough to hold all 24 socks. Then, add the number stickers to your socks and attach them to the ribbon with clothespins. Place a special trinket or piece of candy inside each sock and let your kids pick a present every morning before Christmas. www.parents.com

Pumpkin Gingerbread Truffle

Pumpkin Gingerbread Truffle

This recipe looks amazing but I have not tried it yet. It was taken from County living magazine’s Dec. issue. I want to make some unusually treats this year and this recipe caught my eye. I hope to make this for the holidays which is why I included it. If you make this I would love to hear how it turned out and what you would do differently.

2 pkgs. Gingerbread cake mix

1 pkg. cook a serve vanilla pudding mix

3 cups milk

1 can (29 oz) solid pack pumpkin

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping thawed and divided

Chopped nuts

or

Crumbled gingersnaps

Prepare and bake gingerbread according to package directions, using 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Meanwhile, combine pudding mix and milk in large saucepan, stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and sir 1 to 2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir into pudding.  In a 4 quart serving bowl, crumble on gingerbread cake; press down gently. Top with half the pudding mixture and some whipped topping. Repeat layers, ending with whipped topping. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or crumbled gingersnaps. Cover and store in the refrigerator over night but no longer.

Couponing 2.0

Couponing 2.0

Well with careful planning I was able to increase my savings from 20% last time to 26% this time. What did I do different this time you ask, not much the coupons were different and I sign up for a Walgreens and Rite aid card so I was able to take advantage of some of their good deals.

The one thing I do differently than most is I make my grocery list first, that way I don’t buy things I don’t need or will not use.  I carefully sorted all coupons and pulled out the ones I thought I might use. Then I separated them into envelopes that were labeled with the store I planed on using them at. Then I went through all ads and made a list of the good deals in the ads: item, price, size and store that had it advertised.  Next I compare the good deals with my grocery list and make a combined list of the items I am planning on buying. Then I go though all coupons I pull out only the ones that I already have the item on my grocery list. Then I write on my list not only the price match for the item (If I have one) but also the coupon and what it is worth; example 55 cents off Carmex lip ointment. Then I divide the list up between Wal-mart and Kroger’s (the two store I do the majority of my shopping at). Any coupons under $1 are used at Kroger unless there is a really good price match for that item then I use it at Wal-mart. If the coupon if for $1 or more I use it at Wal-mart because they usually have the items a little cheaper than Kroger’s.

Here is a list of some of the best deals I got during this trip: Carmex lip ointment .04 cents; Pom pomegranate juice 8 oz free; Birds eye frozen veggies 24 oz .74 cents a bag; M&M’s priced matched to 2.50 which was a .28 cent savings then I used a $1 off two bags coupon which made each bag $2 a savings of .78 cents; Brick stone sour cream 16 oz for .55 cents; and Chex corn or rice cereal priced matched to $1.99 from $3.25 a savings of $1.26 then I used a $1 off two boxes coupon and got each box for $1.49 savings of 1.76 per box.

With careful planning I know you can do just as good if not better so get out there and give couponing a try. If you have any questions or you got a really good deal and you want to talk about comment I would love to hear your stories.