Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saving Time and Money

Do you ever feel like you don't have the time to cook because there is just too many steps to take?  So you just end up grabbing the same old bowl of cereal, or just a piece of toast?  I hear ya!  I hate when I go to make something and I have to grate the cheese, go out to my freezer in my garage several times or run downstairs to the storage room several times because we are all out of whatever I need.  Well because I like to eat and I hate to eat the same thing every day, and I hate the prep work to take long, I started planning ahead alittle.  Like Cheese for example.  It is the cheapest in this big bad block form.  But a HUGE pain to have to pull out every single day several times.  So, I always have a large container grated up like this.  It perfect for omlets in the mornings or breakfast burritos, one less step I have to do when I'm staggaring around bleary eyed.  Love it for after school snacks for the kids to make cassida's.  They don't make a big mess and its super easy even for smaller childern to make that snack.  And of course the topping on the many dinner dishes that I make.  Buying cheese in bulk and then keeping some grated up DEFINETLY saves you time and money.  Give it a try...p.s.  this tastes way better then the pre-grated cheese you can buy too.  So Triple Whammy for this tip!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fried Potatoes Chicken and Peas

Every time I cook a whole chicken or a roast, I am always thinking ahead of what I can make with the left over meat.  I hate meat to go to waste.  I hate any food to go to waste really, I get frustrated if we do end up throwing something out.  That generally only happens if I don't plan ahead.  This meal, fried potatoes chicken and peas, is one of our most favorite meals.  Everyone loves it and never complains when it pops up for dinner.
I like to use whole chickens in a variety of different recipes, and when I do that I sometimes plan this meal with the left over chicken.  For example; on a Sunday I might cook a whole chicken with BBQ sauce, and have baked potatoes and some veggies with it.  So instead of just baking 6 potatoes for that Sunday meal I would bake 12.  Then I have my potatoes that have already been cooked (in foil), I would then save 1/2 the chicken, put them in the fridge.  Then later that week on a crazy day I would make this meal.  It is so fast and so easy!  I love the flavor the BBQ chicken gives it.  You can use what ever left over or canned chicken you have.
No matter what you make for dinner, if you can get in the habit of thinking ahead alittle and making a plan life goes smoother and your pennies will go farther.

Fried Potatoes Chicken and Peas
 Potatoes, diced,(as much as you desire)
Cooked chicken
 Frozen Peas
2-3 TBSP Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry on stove in a frying pan.  Enjoy!  

What's so great about this meal, is you can adjust then amount so easily for the number of people you are cooking for.

Keeping it Simple

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Getting Ready for the Summer

Wow! I can't believe how fast this last school year has gone.  It seems like the kids just started. 
My kids are so excited for their summer break, and so am I.  No more homework, concerts, special projects, and field trips.  Though my children all love school and do well, they need a break.  Here where we live everything kind of goes on a break dance classes, piano lessons, all take a break during the summer months.  So we spend our time with swimming lessons and summer sports, like baseball and soccer.  There are also lots of summer camps to keep the kids busy.
Every year as my children have approached the summer break I try and come up with a new, different way to approach our chores.  I always have a long list of big things I hope to accomplish and then the everyday things that need to happen.  Oh, and don't forget the yard work.  Our home sits in the middle of 2 acres and all of it is yard.  We've lived here for 9 years and each year we have lots to do outside as we have been transforming our little piece of  land.  It's hard not to overwhelm the kids and also keep them motivated.  My children are ages 19-11 I have 1 son and 3 daughters.  They are all capable of a lot.  They don't need babied and do a great job with what I give them,  we still need to shake it up each year to have some fun.  
This year we decieded, since the older kids are busy and have been slacking off big time in the chore department, but yet are constantly needing money or wanting to go do things with their friends, we needed to make some changes.  So I made a calendar for each kid of the summer months, gave them daily chores, and assigned a dollar amount to each of those chores.  I then made a list of deep clean chores and projects that I was hoping we would accomplish.  I also attached a dollar amount to each of them.  We then had a family meeting to discuss this.  The kids gave their input, I was excited because they were all on board, even the 19 yr old.  I made some adjustments to the lists and money, and since they were all so excited we started this last week of school getting  into our new grove.  
We made sure our kids knew the expectations and rules of this chore chart.  Some of them are,; We expected them to purchase all of their school clothes for fall, save at least 50% of everything they made, pay their tithing, and create a budget to keep track of their earnings.  This wasn't new stuff, they are already use to doing most of this.  But never have we given them this amount of allowance. Also any of their chores that Dad and I end up doing we get the money.  We are collecting it and putting it in a jar, so that at the end of the summer they have a visual of what they missed out.  We then are going to put that towards our Anniversary get away this fall. 
  We are hoping that they learn to manage their money better, respect the house, have more gratitude for what they have, and be more helpful.  
I know there will be some bad days.  Some "that's not fair, and I don't want to do this".  We are also hoping for them to understand just because you don't love the work you are doing, you can make it fun, work hard and you will be rewarded.  If not then you end up with nothing, and are not happy.  That's a lesson I would like them to learn while they are young and not in their 40s or 50s when it might be a little late to fix some really big problems that not managing your money can put you in.  

I would love to hear some of your ideas on this topic.  Having teenagers is not how I pictured it would be.  I think we should all be tring to help each other raise our kids to be happy independent people who give in society and make a difference, and not be in the attitude that someone should always be taking care of them and that they deserve it.

Keeping it Simple

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crochet around a Baby Blanket

One of the things I really enjoy doing is crocheting, especially around a baby blanket.  I love to give them as gifts.  It is so relaxing to me, because my brain can slow down and focus on something I have complete control of.   It is also a great thing to take with me to the hours of ballet and swimming lessons that I am waiting around for.   I am always looking for a easy pattern, I thought I would share a few of them with you.

This is some of the recent fabric I just bought at our local Wal-mart.  In our area they put all their flannel on sale twice a year.  Once in the spring and then again in the fall.  So I bought these cute boy fabrics.  Then I take them to someone who does hemstitching, and have them sew the blankets together.  This is way cheaper than if I were to purchase a kit at our local craft store.  Which once in awhile I do, but that is rarely.

When I am all finished crocheting, I like to roll them up and tie with toile.  Then they are all ready for when I need a baby gift.

This is one of my most favorite edges.  It is super easy.  It's all single crochet, but you do have to go around the blanket 4 times to be finished. 

Basket Handle stich
Here is the Pattern
Row 1 
First SC in each hemstitched hole around the entire blanket.  Join with a SS to beginning SC.  CH 1, do not turn.  
Row 2
SC in each SC around the blanket.  Join with a SS to beginning SC. CH 1, do not turn.
Row 3
SC in the next three SC; then CH 4, skip one SC, repeat.  Join with a SS to beginning SC; CH1, do not turn
Row 4
Skip forst SC,  *SC in next SC, skip next SC; then 8 SC in CH-4 space; skip next SC; repeat from* around.  Join to first SC with a SS. Finish off.

This is the basic shell stitch,  I love this one. 
First Row:
Single Crochet around the entire blanket for a foundation row, if you want to.  You don't have to if you want to be done faster or not use as much thread.  This picture has a foundation row done on it.  You actually could do a second foundation row if you want to as well.  It's fun do it in a different color then bounce back to original color for the last time around doing the shells.
Second Row:
Single Crochet in the first single crochet, *skip next single crochet, then do 5 Double crochet in the base of the next single crochet, skip next single crochet, single crochet in the next single crochet*.  repeat from * to * all the way around the blanket.  Finish off.

I hope you enjoy these patterns I have shared today with you.  What do you like to crochet?  Have any simple pattern you love to use?  Check back later and I'll share some more.

Keeping it Simple 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quick Casserole

This is a family favorite!  We love this dish!  It is quick to prepare but takes 2 hours to cook which is perfect to whip up place in the oven while you go to a soccer game, or run kids around to what ever activity that they have.  If you have "Cook Time" on your oven you can program to turn off at 11/2 hours and its perfect! You don't want to over cook this because it will burn and dry out.  So be aware of that depending on if this is going to sit while your being the amazing mom and wife that you are.

The flavors in this are very mild.  It's great for young kids and great to mash up and feed to 1 year olds.

Quick Casserole
Sliced potatoes (I make one layer in the bottom of a 13x9 glass casserole dish)
1/4 cup long grain uncooked rice
Sliced carrots ( again cover the casserole)
1pound ground beef browned with chopped onions
1 clove garlic minced (if you choose, but don't have to)
1 can of cream of chicken soup diluted with one can of water.  ( I like to use 2 cans soup to 1-11/2 cans water, we like it kind of soupy...makes the left overs better in my opinion.)

In casserole dish put a layer of potatoes, rice, hamburger with onions,and carrots.  Pour diluted soup over the top.  Bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours

This feeds 8-10 people if you use the 9x13 size.  You can easily adjust this down in quantity as well.  I love recipes that are easy to adjust for different size families.


Keeping it Simple

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Green salad

I love salad!  We eat a lot of green salad all year long.   It can get boring if you don't mix it up with different veggies each week.  My husband loves cheese and sesame seeds on his, and I love a boiled egg and red peppers.  I try and use different lettuce each time too.  Lettuce can have a different flavor and texture.  Really depending on what you put into your salad, you can have a huge variety of flavor.  So get brave and try some new lettuce you have never bought or a veggie you have never tried.  And then for the dressing....try different flavors as well.  My hubby is a ranch man through and through! So are my kids, but I love some of the vinegrettes you can buy.  Be brave! Be bold!  You never know you might find a favorite you never knew you had!

This salad has....Romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, ice berg lettuce, grape tomatoes, English cucumbers ( I think they are the best flavor), red peppers, red onion, carrots, boiled eggs and medium cheddar cheese. 

Think outside the box...I would love to hear some of your favorite green salad combos.  

Keeping it Simple 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Golden Mushroom Pork Dish

Another great one pan meal!  I so love recipes that are fast to whip up and that I don't have to babysit for 1-2 hours to get on the table.  This is one of them!  I love to make this on a Sunday, no one should have to spend hours in the kitchen on a Sunday.  This takes about 15 minutes to prep then into the oven for a couple of hours, then sink your teeth into the very flavorful dinner.  Everyone will think you slaved for hours.  You don't need to tell then you had a 2 hour nap while it cooked.

Golden Mushroom Pork Dish

6- boneless pork chops ( I've used ribs or bone in chops too, so whatever you have is fine)
Potatoes, peeled and cut up ( I do 6 one for each of us)
Carrots ( again as many as u like or that will fit in your pan.  I have a huge roaster pan that I use)
1 large onion, sliced
2- cans of Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup ( if you want more sauce add more)
Can add a clove of garlic if you choose
1-2 cans of water depending on how saucy you want it.  I like things moist.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours or until done...( I cook it at 325 for 31/2-4 hours while we are at church)

Salt and pepper to taste


Keeping it Simple 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Laundry Room Crisis Update

WOW!  This has been quite a project.  More work that what I thought it was going to be, but I am having fun and really liking the changes I am making.  I have been purging, painting, purging some more, and lots of shopping and making returns too.  I hate returns!  I have come across some challenges too with what space I have and finding things that will work the way I  want them to.  I am still on track to have this done by mother's day..I hope.  Thought you would like to see my progress...

Hopefully it won't be long until I get it all done.  Decisions...decisions...

Keeping it Simple

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Strawberry Danish Delight

The other day I was in the grocery store and the had these strawberries marked 2/$1.00.  So I bought a case.  Made 2 batches of strawberry Freezer jam and then decieded to make some dessert for my family for our sack lunches.

Mix up you Strawberry Danish Dessert as instructed on the box.  I don't measure my fruit exactly.  I have always put however much I want.  So you decide for your self how many berries you like to your danish.  These containers are just the glad disposable containers.  We don't throw them aways we try to always wash and use again.  But if they accidentally don't come back home I won't shed a tear over it.

The just put a little cool whip on top

Put the lid on.

There you have it a fast easy peas y lunch box dessert for the kiddos.


Keeping it Simple 

Linking up to:
             Skip To My Lou
             Lil Luna
             Sugar & Spice

Monday, May 6, 2013

Having a CRAZY Day?

You've been up since 5 this morning and you've been running none stop, wearing all the many hats each of us wear and now its dinner time..."What's for dinner run throughs your mind.  Then it starts to echo with all the children asking the same question."

I love my Sloppy Joe Recipe!  It is was easy and no crazy ingredients.   This is perfect to whip up on those crazy days.  Just a side note... any kid I have ever served this too has loved it.  It has a very mild flavor.  Hope you enjoy!

Chips, pickles and carrot sticks....Dinner is served.

Sloppy Joe's
1 pound ground beef, browned
Onion, has much as desired, cook with the browning of the meat
1 can tomato soup
2 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic minced,  if you want

I always keep 1 pkg. of hamburger buns in my freezer just for these crazy days.

Keeping it Simple

Linking up to:  Made to be a Momma

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies Anyone?

 Who doesn't like the smell of cookies baking? Who doesn't like to sink there teeth into a hot cookie right out of the oven?  If  you don't then...Where are you from?  These cookies are so yummy and soft and gooey and buttery.  OH I LOVE THEM!  MORE PLEASE!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 cup Shortening
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 tsp. Vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp. Baking soda
6 cups flour
Chocolate Chips (amount you desire I do 2-3 cups)
Nuts if you desire
2 tsp of salt

Mix together shortening, sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Then add in dry ingredients.  Mix together and spoon onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  DO NOT over bake.  

White Chocolate chips are yummy too!


Keeping it Simple

                      The Girl Creative

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's Under Your Bathroom Sink?

There a few areas in my home where I hate to look, one of them is under the bathroom sink.  Why is it always so disorganized?  It always seems to be in some kind of disarray.  What's hard it usually it is the are with the most space to put stuff in the bathroom.  Well, I have 5 bathroom sinks in my home.  Yes, I know that seems like a lot, somedays when I clean them it seems like a lot.  We have 4 full bathrooms.  I love having the space so I don't have to share with everybody.  Growing up we had 1 bathroom to the 8 of us.  I hated it so hence my 4 now.
Anywhoo....I was so inspired the other day when I was on one of my favorite blogs and they were sharing about the storage under the bathroom sink, that I decided to re-work my space. Here are my before and after pictures.

Main Bathroom
This is shared by 2 of my daughters 

This is a cool little tray that flips out from that spot in the cabinet directly under the sink.  Every sink in my home has this little try and flip out.  In the bathrooms it stores tooth paste floss and toothbrushes.  At the kitchen sink it stores scrubbies.  In the laundry room it stores fast and easy grab to sponges and a small rag for quick clean ups.  They are so handy!

Ok, so not too bad.  It needs a little help but not a lot.  
The reason for this is because, last fall I totally redid this bathroom 
and cleaned out everything.   

It is always good to pull everything out when you are cleaning out a space.  That way you really touch and look at everything that was in that space.  Then wash out the cupboard with warm soapy water.  It is amazing how things get so dusty and grimy.  You want everything to be clean and fresh as you put things away.

WOW!  Look how clean that looks now.  Love It!

Ok, I hate to admit this, but this is my bathroom sink.  It was the messiest when I went to clean them out.  Ok, So I guess I can't harp on the kids for that.  Dad and Mom scored the points for the worst area.  Crap!  Don't ya hate when you do something that your kids can use against you in an argument over cleaning up something?

Yes, I have a department store of feminine products!  I don't EVER want to be without these.  That is truly one of my worst nightmare situations that I do not want to be in.  Besides I have 3 daughters.  There are four women living in this house.  We need to be prepared!  Oh, the things I am sharing.....

Is this a transformation or what?!  These drawers are awesome and fit perfectly to store those feminine things.  Love the clear shoe boxes I found.  My neti pot wasn't even stored here before but its perfect and much easier for me to get at.  It's so pretty I could just look at it all day!  I love clean spaces!

This is the guest bath...Yes, I know more feminine products.  Didn't you understand when I said "worst nightmare"?  This bathroom I use all the storage to store our surplus.  Its awesome!  I love not having it take up space in my regular food storage room.

This is my oldest daughters sink area.  It could us some help.  Are you shocked not to see any feminine products?  Well this bathroom is set up where the sinks are separate from the bathtub and toilet.  
There is a separate cupboard in there for that stuff and some toilet paper.  
Believe me its full!  I want to be prepared!

Perfect!  What do I love most?  Cleaning out got all of her stuff off the bathroom counter. 
 I so love these clear storage shoe boxes.  I found them at Kmart for $2.19.  
Looks like I missed a tag.  Oops..I'll go fix that.

My one and only son's sink.  He share's a bathroom with the oldest daughter, 
and since he has very little in the hair products, he gets to store the towels.

After going through the towels, after all do 2 kids need that many towels in there bathroom?  We found a spot and a dollar store basket to put the few things that he had on the bathroom counter.  Oh! I love having organized clean spaces in my home.  It makes everything seem so much cleaner. 

I hope I have inspired you to clean out under your bathroom sinks.  What great ideas did you come up with to solve some of your messy problems.   Does anyone else share in my nightmare?

Keeping it Simple 

Linked up to:  Some What Simple