Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Family Fun


1. Play a game in the yard with your child(ren)-kick a soccer ball (dd and dh sometimes do this), shoot hoops, play croquet, hop scotch the driveway, hoola hoop, jump rope, just sit and watch the neighbors walk by as your child plays on her scooter.
2. Plan a movie night at home-make a theme out of it to include dinner
3. Make pizza together-let everyone put on their favorite toppings
4. Host a game night and invite some friends over for some fun
5. Take advantage of programs at the library
6. Scrapbook together
7. Plant flower and veggies together-along with that comes watering and weeding (maybe not so fun-lol!)
8. Take a walk together through the neighborhood or nearby park
9. In the summer take advantage of the free Regal movies - (dd and I do this and often take one of her friends along)
10. Make Root beer floats or homemade milkshakes
11. Smores-we did this in our firepit out back last year, yum-o!
12. Go on a picnic

Can you think of any other fun family activities that don't involve a lot of money? Please share.

Creamy Chicken and Rice

Tried a new recipe for my family. Dh and I loved it. Dd, not so much. She did eat some of it. She doesn't have much of an appetite lately for anything but ice cream.

Creamy Chicken & Rice

6 7/8 oz pkg. chicken flavor rice ** (rice-a-roni)

2 1/4 cup hot water

1 cup sliced mushrooms (left these out)

1 1/2 lb skinned, boned chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 cup non-fat sour cream

1/4 tsp pepper

1 can low-cal cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup cracker crumbs

1 tsp melted margarine

1/2 tsp poppyseeds


*** This recipe calls for 1 6.9 oz. package of chicken flavored rice and vermicelli mix with chicken broth and herbs. (Rice-a-Roni)

Cook the rice mix in a large nonstick skillet according to package directions, using 1 tb margarine and 2-1/4 cups hot water. When done, remove from the skillet and set aside. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Coat the skillet with cooking spray, and place over high heat until hot. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and garlic powder: saute for 6 minutes or till the chicken loses its pink color. Combine the rice mixture, chicken mixture, sour cream, pepper, and soup in a bowl: stir well. Spoon into a greased 2-quart casserole. Combine the cracker crumbs, margarine, and poppyseeds. Stir well, and sprinkle over the chicken mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Each 1-1/3 cup serving contains 334 calories and

6.8 grams of fat.

This was very good for the lunch the next day. Yum-o! Dear Hubby says its a keeper.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Monday – Mixed beans with ham, cornbread

Tuesday – Creamy chicken & rice, salad

Wednesday – Easy please meatloaf, spinach sensation, macaroni & cheese, Challah bread

Thursday – Garlic grilled chicken skewers, rice, salad, cantaloupe

Friday – Turkey breast, Mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, biscuits

Saturday – Bean burritos, Spanish rice

Sunday – Crock pot lasagna, salad, garlic bread, white chocolate bar cream pie

Had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday evening I returned home from the Women's retreat. Our speaker, Gwen Smith, was wonderful and had a terrific message. She is a great singer and incorporates songs all throughout her teaching. I was really blessed by her and her testimony. There were door prizes and I won the $50 gift card to Salon Visage! Wow, I was truly blessed. I'll be making an appointment to get my little piggies done! Yay me!

On the drive up on Friday, Jami and I stopped by a cute little place in Chuckey, Tennessee called the Farmer's Daughter. It is a family style restaurant and boy was it good. We couldn't eat it all and had to get our dessert to go. Next door is the Mountain View Bulk Food Store. It is an Amish/Mennonite store. We spent at least and hour in there. There were homemade baked goods, cookbooks, all sorts of mixes, flours, breakfast oats, cheeses, cold cuts, jams and jellies, you name it. I'll definitely be going back. I came back with all kinds of yummies for my family. Yum-o!

I was so wiped out I missed Sunday School but felt like I had been in "church" all weekend with all these lovely ladies from my church. This is the fourth year I have attended our women's retreat and feel really blessed to get to go.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good Wednesday friends!

Just thought I should post something other than what's cookin' in my kitchen. Hmmm, where to begin.

Robyn turned 10 on Monday. Friday night she had five, count 'em, five friends over for a sleepover. Those girls had a fun time. She has been playing Upwards soccer on Saturday mornings. Tuesday nights is soccer practice. She has been taking SAT's at school all this week and on Friday she has her yearly walk-a-thon fund raiser. Dh is going to do that with her.

I'm leaving Friday to attend a ladies retreat. A friend from my small group is riding up with me. We are going to stop in Chucky (sp?) Tennessee to shop at an amish store. I can't wait. I may buy a new cookbook. Love my cookbooks. I will be back Saturday evening. I look forward to this retreat every year. We always have a good speaker and good music and nice time together with friends.

Dh is unemployed. His company finally gave up the ghost and died. We knew this would happen so we wern't caught unaware. He has been applying for jobs and sending his resume to friends. We will just trust in the Lord and see where he leads. He has been enjoying being at home and getting caught up on his favorite tv show, Heros.

Getting some needed yardwork done is next on our agenda. We always hire out the yardwork, but with Robert being without income we are going to pitch in and do it ourself this year. I am also going to buy some 'mater plants and such and see how green my thumb is. lol

Next, we plan on downsizing dd's toys. I think we could open up a store, no joke. We will yardsale what we can. Our neighborhood has a yearly yardsale at the beginning of summer. That is the best time to do this. Lots of traffic through the neighborhood. We might be able to ebay some items, the rest will go to charity.

I plan on take advantage of Robert being home and get some needed chores done around the house like painting and carpet cleaning and the like. He's helpful that way.

Oh, and I am grateful for the nice lunch/brunch he made for me today. Isn't he sweet?


Monday, April 20, 2009

What's on your Menu this week?

Monday: Out to try a new restaurant and to celebrate dd's 10th birthday! Wow!
Tuesday: Teriyaki Chicken Breasts, Stir-fry veggies, brown rice
Wednesday: Soup and Grilled Cheese sammies, watermelon (thanks Dad!)
Thursday: Fish and Chips, hush puppies
Friday: I'm off to a retreat so dh and dd can decide.
Saturday: Back from retreat in late afternoon-dinner will be easy, pigs in blankets, chips, fruit
Sunday: Ham, Roasted asparagus, deviled eggs (maybe?), Mac and cheese for dd (when will she fall in love with asparagus as I have?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu this week

Today: Pinto Bean Casserole, Slaw
Tuesday: Turkey Joes on Onion Rolls, leftover Slaw
Wednesday: BBQ Chicken breasts, Corn on the cob, pasta salad
Thursday: Chicken and Dumplings
Friday: Hot dogs, chips, cake and ice cream (dd is having five friends over for a sleepover/birthday party!) No sleep for us!
Saturday: Goodbye to sleepover friends, hello soccer field-Pasta and cheese casserole in the crock pot, salad, bread sticks
Sunday: Should be plenty of leftovers so a leftover buffet!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu this week

I had back trouble last week and didn't get to fix everything on my menu. Dh fixed breakfast for dinner, soup and sammies, bought take-out pizza etc. He's handy that way. lol

Today: I had a cheese sammie and Pringles, dh had dd's leftover Silver Spoon dinner. Mil and aunt take her out on Mondays and she couldn't finish her meal. Yummy meal for dh.

Tuesday: Reuben Chicken (a family favorite), green beans, rolls

Wednesday: Pinto Bean Casserole (using Sage sausage because that is what dh bought. I have never had it.)

Thursday: Chili Rice Dinner (using turkey), Tex Mex Biscuits (these are yummy) and salad

Friday: Parcheezy Spaghetti, salad and spaghetti bread (may have guests over)

Saturday: Lunch: Tuna Mac and Cheese Dinner: Turkey sloppy joes, onion rolls, pasta salad

Sunday: Dinner at Mother In Love's-Ham and all the fixin's. Don't know what I will be making and taking yet, but definitely a cute little peeps cake that turns out looking like a sunflower.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Things I can do to save my family money:

Here are some things I can do to save my family money. A couple of them we have not implemented yet but are seriously considering them.

1. Line dry laundry. I grew up with my mom often hanging things out to dry. I don't have a clothes line but I have a nifty little thingy that I can set up on the deck and dry many items of clothing at one time. Electricity savings!

2. Wash only full loads of clothing. I read this everywhere. Normally, this is what I do. But sometimes I do turn the knob to small or medium for smaller loads. Also, I wash nearly everything in cold water. Electricity, water, and gas savings! Oh, and I always use less detergent. Do not fill your cups to the top!

3. Run dishwasher only when full. Well, duh, we do this anyway! Electricity and water savings! I also do not use as much dish washing detergent as called for. Makes your detergent go twice as far!

4. In the winter, we kept our furnace turned down. Sometimes as low at 65. We supplemented with fireplace heat in the evenings. We hung blankets over the two doors to the den. One leads to the foyer and the other to the kitchen. Kept our den nice a cozy. We have loads of afghans and throws and I love to wear sweats in the wintertime.

5. In the warmer weather, I always hold off as long as possible in turning on the AC. I love to open the windows and let the fresh breezes blow through my home. But of course, this time of year I get the dreaded pollen too. Oh, well. We also take advantage of our ceiling fans and a couple osclilating fans than we own.

6. Work out at home-no gym fees! We own a nice treadmill. We all use it. Maybe not as often as we should. No, we DON'T use it as often as we should!! We have some hand weights and great DVD's/Tapes as well. Nice walks in the neighborhood and park is nice too!

7. We are eating meatless meals at least once a week, sometimes more. Beans, beans, the musical fruit!

8. We are going to plant a vegetable garden. This should be fun and yummy too!

9. Use coupons, shop loss leaders, utilize rebates.

10. Shop our new Aldi's when their price beats Krogers, Ingles and Food City.

11. Drink more water and Iced Tea. Buy less sodas.

12. Shop thrift stores and yard sales. This can be fun!

13. Do our own yard work. We have hired this out for a long time. This may prove to be back breaking and our yard may not look as good. But the cost savings is substantial! Plus more exercise!

14. Eliminate our Verizon phones or at the very least, drop down to a cheaper alternative with them. Or better yet, get a Trac Phone and buy some minutes. Use it only when necessary!

15. Use the library more often! They even have movies, did you know that?

16. Attend free summer movies at Regal Cinemas. Robyn enjoys this. Don't buy concessions.

17. Color my own hair. I pay $85.00 every six weeks to have my hair cut, colored and eyebrows waxed. I am eliminating the color. I will do this myself. May eliminate more down the road. I may just do a better job at plucking my eyebrows (ouch!) and stretch the haircuts out to eight weeks apart.

18. Eliminate cable and dsl and phone extras. This could save us over $175.00 a month! Whew! That's a lot of money. We can go to the local bookstore with our laptops to get on line or a million other places around town. We would miss this convenience, but come on, $175.00!

19. Oh, cook from scratch! This is a big grocery cost savings. I found a recipe for Hot Cross Buns that I want to try. If they turn out well, I will make these for Easter breakfast. I bet they will taste much better than store bought that are full of icky chemicals!

20. Make homemade gifts. I have a ton of scrapbooking supplies. Everyone loves photo albums. I am learning to crochet and have sewing on my list of things I need to learn more about. Who doesn't like this sort of gift? I know I love them. How about a nice loaf of homemade bread, yummy cookies and candies, and the like. These all make great gifts.

21. Rarely attend the regular cinemas. We have a discount cinema that is $4 including drink and popcorn. We often wait for the movies to come there.

If you have any more ideas you would like to share with me, please respond and post your thoughts.