Archive | April, 2011

Easter Memories

28 Apr

Eli and his Aunt Bekah. We all had a blast playing with those bunny ears. 😉

Easter 2011 Photo: we got soaking wet going into church that day. The service was absolutely wonderful! So Gospel centered, we are so blessed to worship with such a wonderful church.


After church we headed up to NKY to spend the day with family. Eli was so excited!


We didn't get very far and Eli was already asleep! Guess he was just resting up for all of the excitement at Momolene's house (my grandma).


Eli loved his duck. You can tickle it and it giggles-very cute! 🙂


Eli playing with my cousin Anna-I guess they are second cousins maybe? I'm so glad they got to play together. Isn't she darling by the way?


We felt so blessed with such a wonderful Easter.  Great church, great family what a great day celebrating the Resurrection of Christ!


Menu Plan April 25-May 1

26 Apr


  • Breakfast: Salsa Eggs, Fruit, Apple Muffins.
  • Lunch: Humus and carrots, salad
  • Dinner: Favorite Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Lemon-Basil Carrots-bad planning 2 vegetables of the same color-oh well!  I realized it a little late. 😉  Homemade Rolls (coming soon)
  • To Do: Thaw Roast 


  • Breakfast: Yogurt, Apple Muffins, Grapes
  • Lunch: Creamy Veggie Chicken Soup, Homemade Rolls
  • Dinner: Crockpot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots-one of the easiest dinners in the world. 🙂 
  • To Do: Make Yogurt


  • Breakfast: Fruit and Coco Wheats-if you haven’t ever made these you must!  They are great and kids love them!  THey are like cream of wheat with a little cocoa in them (you add the sugar and can adjust to your preferences.)  They are found next to oatmeal and cream of wheat in the grocery store.  
  • Lunch: Picnic with Friends 🙂  Probably PB & J and Veggie Sticks, hard-boiled eggs, or Ants on a Log 🙂 
  • Dinner: Small Group take something
  • To Do: Make Herb Bread


  • Breakfast: Homemade Yogurt with Granola and Fruit
  • Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Yogurt
  • Dinner: Chicken Parmesan over Spaghetti, Salad, Sesame Italian Bread


  • Breakfast: Smoothies and Muffins or Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches-gotta use up all those hard-boiled eggs :), Veggie Sticks
  • Dinner: Hamburger Macaroni Skillet, Salad


  • I will be at home for my sister’s recital.  I am planning on leaving Brandon a Crockpot Minestrone Soup and Frozen Pizza to get him through the weekend without me.  🙂  We’ll see if I can keep him completely away from the Golden Arches. 🙂   

Sunday I’ll be back in time for dinner: Favorite Fish, Baked Potatoes (in my crockpot cooking during church), Green Beans.

Playing the Drug Store Game

18 Apr


With the onset of the show Extreme Couponing has the thought of trying coupons crossed your mind?  I’ve been pretty much a coupon skeptic for years thinking that I couldn’t justify the cost of a paper for the minimal savings I would receive.  In an effort to save more money at our house I decided to do an experiment.  Buy the weekly paper and see if the paper would pay for itself in the savings I would receive.  (I also had to make sure that I wasn’t buying things just because I had a coupon.)  Well I have to say 3 months later coupons can definitely be worth it if you play the game correctly! 😉  There are also numerous coupons that can be printed off the internet.  Many weeks I don’t even purchase a paper.   

One of the easiest places to save I believe is in playing what I call the Drug Store Game.  Since we pretty much cook everything from scratch and eat tons of produce coupons don’t save us tons of money at the grocery.  (We even make our own yogurt, bread, and kefir.  We’re crazy like that.)  Coupons do however save us TONS of money by shopping at the Drug Store.  I purchase most of our Walmart type items: cleaning items and hygiene items at the Drug Store.  (This has also drastically decreased our spending and the frequency of trips we make to Walmart.  We save money by simply keeping us out of Walmart.)  I primarily frequent our local CVS once a week every Tuesday after Story Time at the Library.  I”m already out so there is no added gas expense. 

Here is My Plan for Playing Each Week:

  1. Sometimes I buy the Paper-about 2 or 3 times a month.  I ALWAYS buy it when I know the P&G Coupon Pack will be in there.  Check your library.  My library has a coupon exchange where you can leave coupons you don’t need and take ones you can use.  Wonderful idea! 
  2. Check out or  These wonderful ladies have already done all of the hard work of figuring out what the best deals are for the week.  They also tell you exactly which coupons to use to maximize your savings!  They have also done a great job of explaining exactly how shopping at a particular store works so visit there blogs to learn a lot.  🙂  I simply look through their list of deals for the week and then decide which ones really look great for my family. 
  3. Next I get an envelope and write the store name on it.  Usually for me it is CVS.  It really pays to be super organized with your coupons and what you plan on spending.  Otherwise you might not get the best deals and you will leave frazzled.  (I regularly take 2 children shopping with me.  Yes it can be done!) 
  4. I figure out how many Extra Care Bucks I have.  These are rewards that CVS gives you for purchasing a specific product which work just like cash!  Walgreens and Rite Aid also have something similar.  My goal is to spend as little out-of-pocket money as possible.  The last couple of trips my totals have been .33 and .88.  No joke!  Then I write down exactly what I am going to buy and how many coupons go with each product.  I put all the coupons in the envelope in order.  I also usually figure out how much I should receive at the register in ECB.  This is helpful because sometimes things don’t print and you want to catch it before you are at home. 🙂    
  5. I make sure to have last weeks Extra Care Bucks at the back.  This is how you can really maximize your savings and get TONS of free products.  In the past 3 months of playing the drug store game we have gotten the following completely free: 8 tubes of toothpaste, 4 packs of floss, 2 packs of Goody Hair Rubber bands, 2 packs of Gum Flossers, 5 bottles of mouthwash, 7 toothbrushes, a bunch of candy for Easter baskets, Easter Grass, Easter Egg Dying Kit, Bubbles, 4 packs of pads, 3 packs of pantiliners, 2 bags of cough drops, 2 bottles of Advil, and LOTS more! This is only what I can remember off the top of my head.  There are tons of things that we have purchased under .50 or a dollar as well.  

I can’t believe that for so many years I didn’t know about playing the Drug Store game!  Think of all the money I could have saved.  On another note if you happen to have a small household and wonder what in the world would I do with all that free toothpaste remember that many shelters and missions would be thrilled with such donations!  Simply save them up in a box and donate a couple of times a year.  A great way for you to trim your own budget and be a blessing to others.  🙂

Menu Plan April 17-24

18 Apr


  • Breakfast: Quiche, Toast, Fruit
  • Lunch: Homemade Red Pepper Humus and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Bisque, Veggie Sticks
  • Dinner: Lasagna for Two, Sesame Garlic Bread, Broccoli for Brandon, Salad for Me 🙂
  • To Do: Make Bread, Dye Easter Eggs 😉 


  • Breakfast: Homemade Yogurt with Homemade Granola
  • Lunch: Probably a Picnic of: PB & J, Veggie Sticks, Fruit
  • Dinner: Favorite Fish, Lemon-Basil Carrots, Baked Potatoes, Leeks (yeap we’ve tried them and we love them!) 



  • Breakfast: Apple Cranberry Muffins, Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Yogurt
  • Dinner: Leftovers


  • Breakfast: Smoothies and Muffins
  • Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Veggie Sticks
  • Dinner: Pork Chops Perfect, Sweet Potatoes, Mrs. Karen Green Beans
  • To Do: Make Easter Treats for Picnic at the Park and to take Home. Make Herb Bread


  • Breakfast: French Toast Apple Strata
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: @ the Park-Church Easter Egg Hunt.  Take food.


  • Breakfast: Leftovers
  • Easter Lunch and Dinner with Family!  Woooohhoooooo!! 🙂 

Easy Tomato Bisque

16 Apr

Eli's new "funny face" (My camera is currently m.i.a. sorry there is not a picture of the soup. I thought this was pretty cute though. 😉

Tonight I was in the mood for something hot and full of tomatoes.  Probably  because it’s cold out and I have way too many cans of tomatoes in my pantry thanks to an excellent sale at Krogers a couple of weeks back.  Tomato Bisque is born!  I use to make homemade tomato soup and this is so much better. 

  • In a large pot melt 2 T. butter.  Add in 1 chopped onion and saute until onion is clear.
  • Add in 1/2 cup ham (you could also use a little bacon I only had ham on hand) and 1 t. minced garlic.
  • Whisk in 1/3 c. whole wheat flour for a minute. 
  • Add in 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes UNDRAINED, 5 cups of chicken broth, 1 t. thyme, 1 t. parsley, 1 t. salt and a dash of pepper.  (You could also add in a bay leaf and any other seasonings that you enjoy.)  Bring to a boil and simmer on low 30 minutes. 
  • Add in 1 c. milk or cream.  Puree with an immersion blender and serve.  Yummy!

Menu Plan April 10-17

13 Apr



  • Breakfast: Fall Bread, Melon
  • Lunch: Kale, Potatoes, Sausage-yummy! 
  • Dinner: Frozen Pizza-don’t judge I have a Hebrew test! 😉  It was also bought very cheaply with a coupon.  🙂 


  • Breakfast: Toast and Smoothies (recipes coming soon) 🙂 
  • Lunch: Leftovers or Sandwiches, Salad
  • Dinner: Ham with Pineapple, Acorn Squash, Broccoli.   
  • To Do: Hard Boil Eggs



  • Breakfast: French Toast with Homemade Blueberry Topping 
  • Lunch: Butternut Squash Soup, Salad
  • Dinner: Turkey Chili with Black Beans, Homemade Bread 
  • To Do: Make Herb Bread  soak peas



Rainbow Rice

8 Apr

To make you need: plain cheap white rice, food coloring and either hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol.

A couple of weeks ago we were really needing a fun rainy day activity at our house so we dyed some white rice.  It was so easy and so fun! 

Place some rice in a plastic bag, a squirt of sanitizer and about half a bottle of food coloring.

Squish together to spread the color. This is really fun! 😉

To make even brighter colored rice purchase "neon" food coloring. We haven't tried that neon food coloring yet but plan to next week!

The little boy I watch who is 3 had a great time spooning rice into an old Parmesan Cheese container. It was also great practice for his motor skills.

 I was so surprised by how well this went over.  We have gotten it out over and over again to play with.  I also made an Ocean Sensory box with the blue rice.  A great activity to try with the kids in your life.  Eli was a little young for this activity but had fun watching.  🙂

Ham and Mushroom Strata

1 Apr

Ham and Mushroom Strata

I tweaked a couple of recipes and came up with this delicious Ham and Mushroom Strata.  It was a great way to use up some mushrooms and leftover ham!  Bacon would also work great we just had leftover ham to use up.  It does need to chill for a couple of hours so I recommend making it the night before.  Then in the morning simply place in the oven and breakfast is done! 

  • Saute 1 small sliced onion in oil about 15-20 minutes. 
  • Saute  4 oz. of mushrooms in oil for about 4 minutes. 
  • In a bowl combine: onions, mushrooms, 3/4 c. chopped ham, 1/2 t. dried thyme, 3 slices of bread chopped into bread cubes, and 1 c. Swiss cheese. 
  • In another bowl combine: 4 beaten eggs, 1 1/4 c. milk, salt and pepper to taste.  Pour this over top the other mixture (the bread one). 
  • Place in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours or over night.
  • In the morning cook at 350 for 50 minutes.  (Remove the plastic wrap first.)  😉 

Eli loves Ham and Mushroom Strata