Monday, January 14, 2013

Frugal Monday - crockpot love!

As we work to cut down we are eating out less. Not only do we save money but it is so much better for us. I must confess though - I am not a fan of cooking. When I get home in the afternoons I do NOT want to cook and clean up supper. I know that is bad but it is the truth! It is my crockpot to the rescue!!

I love the fact that I can put it in first thing in the morning and then it is ready when I get home.  Here are 4 of my favorite recipes

1. Lasagna -  have you tried this?? So easy and taste great! You do have to brown your hamburger meat ahead of time but that is it. You just layer everything in the crockpot - do not cook the noodles ahead of time. Put them in raw. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5. 

2. Porkchops - Oh WOW! These are soooo good!! I am not a big fan of porkchops but these melt in your mouth. So yummy! Simply put a can of soda (any kind will work - I've used coke, rootbeer and this week mellow yellow ... don't judge :) It was all I had!) . Mix in ketchup ( I don't really measure. I just give it 3 or 4 good squirts) and some brown sugar (again - I don't measure ) Mix it together and add your porkchops. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. They are so tender they fall off the bone!

3. BBQ - This is also a family favorite and we have even cooked it camping and got rave reviews. Simple add 2 cans of soda ( I don't know what it is about the soda that makes the meat so tender! And why wasn't I told about it earlier?? You can also use diet soda if you want)  Put in your meat (we use boston butt) and cook on low around 5 hours. Add some of your favorite BBQ sauce and finish cooking. It will fall off the bones! Makes great sandwiches.

4. Chicken & dumplings - Add your chicken and some cream of chicken soup & chicken broth. Slow cook for 6-8 hours. Add your dumplings when you have about 2 hours left to cook. I buy store bought dumplings and add them and they taste great. I've also heard of people cutting up biscuits and they say they are good. If you can make homemade dumplings I am jealous!

Another way to cut back - don't buy paper plates. This has been a HARD one for us! Paper plates are just easy!! I haven't bought any in 2 weeks though. Baby steps!!

What is your favorite crockpot recipe? I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weight loss confession

ok - every year I say this is going to be the year. I'm actually going to do it and loose the weight. I start out STRONG! I am an exercise machine! I've got this! and then .... I'm sure you know the rest. I'm not proud of it but I just can't seem to follow through. It wouldn't be so bad if I  had 10 or even 15 pounds to loose. Yeah, guess again. There is a reason you don't see a picture of me on this blog! I have over 100 to loose - no that was not a typo. 

It didn't start out this way. I remember wearing a size 8 - maybe not small to you but I couldn't even fit my toe in a size 8 now! I can't even say I don't know what happened. I know. My mother got sick. Lou Gehrig's disease is very cruel. It is horrible for the person suffering and it is horrible for the family. You can not control it. What I could control was what I ate. Food taste good and made me feel better. I'm not proud but it is the reality. 20 years later and nothing has really change.

So this year you are my motivation. How cool to post about my weight loss success! I may or may not meet the goals I have set for myself but I look forward to posting about my journey each week.

I have started my 1st change - I have cut out  snacks during the morning and am having a healthy breakfast & lunch. I have also started cooking much more at home. Not only does this save money but the food taste so much better. The crockpot is my new best friend and I can do a mean game of Just Dance Disney on the wii.  We need a Christian Just Dance!! 

I look forward to this journey and would love to hear from you! And who knows?? I may even post a before and after picture next year!!

Theme Saturday - Let it Snow (in the south!)

Living in South Alabama we don't see snow very often. In fact, as I write this, it is 80 degrees! Can you believe that?? Not January weather at all! So teaching about snow to children who have never seen it is not easy. Hard to explain winter weather in shorts and flipflops!!

Our solution? Insta snow! Have you heard of this stuff? It is AWESOME! Add just a teaspoon of insta snow to a gallon of water and poof! SNOW! We had the best time playing in the snow!

Want some insta snow for yourself? Go to Lakeshore online or google insta snow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Field Trip!!

Today we went on a field trip to our local newspaper. It was such an awesome trip!! If you have a local newspaper where you live I highly suggest seeing if they have a tour. Ours had a free tour and at the end we got the Sunday comics and pencils. I really learned a lot about how many steps it takes to put a newspaper together and the HUGE cost of the paper and ink! Geesh!! It was unreal how much they cost and then you are still able to buy them under $1 - well, except for on Sunday's. 

We have several field trips coming up and I am thrilled! I love learning new things - I guess that is why I got a degree in education.  Take me to a museum and I am having so much fun! My husband says all the time that I don't know how to go on vacation. When we go I am looking up all the places we can visit.  Crazy but it makes me happy and my daughter is the same way. Poor hubby doesn't stand a chance! Lol !

On the work front we are half way finished with this school year and I feel stronger then ever that this is going to be my last year. I don't want to have to be locked in my room all day, worry about someone coming in to shoot us or even work with armed people in an ELEMENTARY school! I am so sad that we can not allow them to be children anymore. It breaks my heart that a 5 year old has to know what a lockdown is and how to hide if they happen to be in the bathroom. I don't know that I could listen to a 5 year old in the hall screaming let me in and not open the door because there is a chance that someone with a gun is waiting. I don't want to have to sacrifice 1 to save many.

Please pray that God will open the door for me to be able to give up my job as a public school teacher and concentrate on homeschooling. I am so stressed every day I go to work and that is sooo not good!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Book Day

I'm going to share some of my favorite books and what I am currently reading on Tuesdays. We will also share what my daughter is reading (she usually has 3 or 4 books going at a time).  I try to give myself a few minutes each day to just sit back & relax and reading is one of my favorite "me time" activities.

I am reading Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd. She is a Christian author and the book has been a lot of fun to read. It is a fun light read and has been great to just sit back and relax. I also have just finished The Hunger Games. It was really good also! I'm sure most of you who are avid readers have already read it. I'm looking forward to book 2.

Ashleigh is currently reading Pride & Prejedice,   City of Bones,   Son of a Witch  and Mocking Jay.  She is enjoying them all except for Mocking Jay. She said the first 2 in the series were good but she can't get into this one.

We have  a field trip tomorrow - off to our local newspaper to see how it's done! We have quite a few field trips in January & February with the local homeschool group we joined. We have the newspaper this week and then the tv station, science museum and the George Washington Carver museum! We are so excited since we love museums and learning new things!

Hope everyone has a great week - I am taking it day by day until this school year is over. It has been a VERY stressful year!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Frugal Mondays

I'm going to try to share some things that we have been able to cut back on each Monday. Todays frugal tip is something most of you probably do - or have at least heard of... make your our laundry detergent.   We started making our own detergent this summer because my daughter and I kept breaking out in hives. (and we were using Tide free that we have always used) . Can I tell you I LOVE making my own detergent!! Here's why -

1. It saves money. I can make one gallon ice cream jug full of detergent for about $5 and it last FOREVER! They say you  only need to use 1 teaspoon but I just can't seem to put just 1 teaspoon in - it just feels wrong!! lol ! But I do use a lot less than I used of the store bought kind.

2. It works great!

3. No more hives - this was a GREAT plus for us

4. It is relaxing to make. It doesn't bother me at all to sit and grate the soap.

Have you tried making your own detergent yet? If you haven't give it a try.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Blog, Making Money from Home

Something tells me that Satan does NOT want me to start a blog! This is my 3rd attempt to get a blog going - that's right three blogs are all gone! The last one locked me out. I tried every user name and password I've ever had and none of them would let me in!!It is crazy!

This year is going to be a year of 1st for me. I'm have felt for several months that God is calling me to stay at home after this school year. Ashleigh will be in 10th grade next year and I really want to spend those last 3 years at home with her. It is such a scary thought - my income as a teacher is a huge part of our income. We will really be stepping out on faith.

 We have begun to make some changes to get ready. We have turned off cable (I have to admit I really have not missed it. We still have internet & we use Netflix) Our bill went from $110 a month to $50 - a $60 savings!! Woohoo! We have also cut out eating out so much. I have to admit we had gotten a little out of control with eating out every weekend for all meals. We did not eat out at all Friday or Saturday this week but we did get breakfast out this morning before church.  We did come home for lunch though. 

I'm not sure what I have to share that is very helpful but it feels good to just share what is going on and ways we see God providing. I hope it will be a blessing to someone :)

Right now I am searching for ways to earn money from home as I prepare to leave my job. I am NOT a salesman so I know the "party" jobs are not for me. If I could do them all on the internet & make money it would be great but I do not have the personality to recruit people have parties!

How do you make money to suppliment your income? Link up or comment with your ideas!