Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TIPsy Tuesday

A friend over at EcOnomical Mom has a great blog on ideas for saving, going green, and just running a household. She also posts her weekly menu and has this Tipsy Tuesday where you share your tips for cleaning, saving, gardening, shopping, you name it! So I am going to participate this week with.....
I am antsy about posting because I assume that my tips are not extraordinary tips and that they are more common sense. I figure most people already do them. But it works for me...so I am posting! :)


Laundry tips
I have a family of 4.
A hubby who changes twice a day for work and basketball practice and my obsession with not being able to use a bath towel more than 2 times a week before it needs to go into the laundry, a 2 1/2 year old who makes a mess of her clothes a couple times a day, and a son who changes his clothes often and I do the "sniff" test to see if they are dirty or clean, so as you can imagine, we make dirty laundry pretty fast!

I do not have more than one load waiting to be washed...how do I do it?
Easy! Here is how I tackle my laundry....hopefully something I say helps you tackle yours!
  • I have 4 laundry baskets and one hamper. The hamper is the master bedroom. One basket in my daughter's room and one basket in my son's room. One basket is under the dryer waiting for new clean clothes and another is in the laundry room with probably a folded batch of clean clothes :) I think the key is to not have TOO many baskets or you will tend to overuse them and hoard clean clothes in the baskets instead of putting them away.

  • I wash my most of my laundry on COLD/COLD to save energy. I do not have a fancy front load washer so this is the best choice I have to save energy. This way I am not running my hot water heater constantly.
  • A load of laundry must be done on a daily basis. If I do a load a day it keeps my weekend laundry to a minimum. Some days I do two...it depends on how much time I have that day.
  • Doing the laundry is only part of the battle. Putting it away can be the most difficult thing to accomplish. During nap time or quiet time, I fold the load and keep it in the basket. Once I have 2-3 loads folded in baskets, in the evening, I take it upstairs to my bedroom and put it away while hubby has my two little ones in the bathtub. I turn my music up, dance away, and put clothes away. This is how I tackle hubby and son's t-shirts. They both tend to DIG through the drawer to find a t-shirt and this works well...less mess :)
same with the undies.....gosh, hubby would die if he knew I put his skibbies on the Internet!!

  • I put it all out on my bed and put hubby and mine away. My daughter's clothes are put in a basket and my sons are put in a basket. Once all the laundry is put away in our room, I move to my sons where I put away his laundry and then move to my daughter's room. They like it at their young age, b/c they LIKE having me in their rooms while they play. So, it works out well.
  • On Sunday evenings when I am putting away clothes, my 5 year old son and I lay out his clothes for the week. I got a hanger at Walmart that organizes his clothes. There are 6 slots. We put Monday-Friday in the first 5 slots and his shoes in the bottom. It works wonderful! He just goes in, starts at the top and picks his clothes. He always knows what he is wearing and it makes mornings easier! As you can see below Monday and Tuesday is missing :) Please excuse his messy closet...he is 5 :)

I would love to get MORE laundry tips. Everything works for me in my household, but I love to hear about how other people tackle laundry! SHARE SHARE!
For more great tips go *HERE*!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

T.G.I.Friday's Buy One Get One Free

Have your printer ready and click *HERE* for a TGI Friday's BUY ONE GET ONE FREE Entree!! WOOHOO!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cute downloads

Go *here* and check out the cute downloads for all kinds of things that are helpful around the house, like Monday-Friday tags to hang on hangers for your kids clothes (cute!), paper crafts, and much much more! I thought her site was cute and wanted to share with you!

Really tasty Snickerdoodles

During my childhood, I was so spoiled by having my grandmother live next door to me. We usually crashed our bikes closer to her house than our own and she would soak your boo boos in Epson salts and all along you wished you crashed closer to your Mommy where she would clean it gently and kiss it better. But she was really good at mixing up some baking soda and water and lathering up your bee stings to ooze the sting. The butt whooping for climbing up on the roof with my grandfather is one I will never forget! lol.

She would also spoil us with some of THE best recipes in the world. Some of my favorites were: Her dill pickles, her jams, pies especially Sho Fly Pie, her homemade wheat bread (I would watch her in AW with how she would move her hands to knead the dough. She did it the REAL way, no bread ovens for her), molasses and snickerdoodle cookies, and many others. She was sweet in life and in the kitchen.

When she moved to the nursing home, many of her recipes and cookbooks were taken by her daughters and I will never see those recipes!! And many of her recipes are just in her head...hidden away forever. But there is one thing I will never forget and that is how they taste. So when I find a recipe that is close to hers (minus the love she put into it) I get SO excited!

I found this recipe from a blog called Molly Irwin 2009* and I found her from The Crafty Crow. It is a FABULOUS recipe. She has pictures of the cookies if you have never had them! In fact, I am sitting here dipping them in hot tea as I type.

Here is her recipe, but make sure you stop by her blog. Both of the linked ones above have great ideas and crafts for your kids! Be sure to check it out!


2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
1 + 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

for dredging:
1/4 cup sugar, mixed with 4 tsp. cinnamon

Bake at 350, 8-11 minutes on parchment lined sheets

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Broccoli rollups

This is a recipe I got from my mother. They are delicious!! But not so good the next day. You probably will not have any left over anyway cuz they are THAT good :)

Broccoli Rollups

1 cup mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 cup cooked chicken
6 flour tortillas (big ones)
1 box thawed broccoli
1 cup Cheddar cheese
1 can Durkee Onion Rings

Combine soup, milk and set aside.
Combine chicken, broccoli, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup onion rings, and stir in 3/4 cup soup mix. Place on tortillas and roll up.

Place in a 9x13 greased pan.

Pour remaining soup and pour over tortillas.

Bake covered 350-for 35 mins.

Top with remaining cheese and onions. Bake uncovered 5 mins longer.

I will be substituting things with lower fat mushroom soup, higher fiber tortillas, more broccoli, 1% milk, 2% shredded cheese, yet will be the same great taste!! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family does!!

Menu Plan

Back to life...back to reality!! Basketball is OVER!! Well...sorta. Hubby has been home more, but still has playoffs next week. Is it bad for me to hope he loses the first game?? Oh that is terrible! Anywho...since basketball is unwinding, I need to get my organized menu plan back in the works. So, I am starting it back up again for my loyal readers and mainly for myself :)


Thursday: Skillet chicken breasts (cooked in extra light olive oil, salt, and pepper), steamed broccoli, and baked potatoes

Friday: Out as a treat :)

Saturday: Grab subs for dinner. (Subway..I got weigh in Sunday morning!)

Sunday: Chicken cooked in crock pot (just water, salt, pepper, and a can of chicken broth), waffles, and gravy, and corn. (Save leftover chicken for Thursday)

Monday: Hubby has playoff game (kids and I will eat at home. Me a salad or WW Smart One)

Tuesday: WW Baked Beef Ziti, (using ground lean turkey instead of beef), salad, and garlic bread

Wednesday: Honey-Dijon Salmon, whole grain rice, and mixed veggies

Thursday: Broccoli Rollups and salad

Friday: Haddock broiled with a brush of olive oil, baked potatoes, peas

Saturday: Out :)

Sunday: Vegetable Soup (homemade)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Gifts for Teachers

I admit it....I scraplifted this idea, actually both, but made them my "own" if you know what I mean.

This is by far NOT my idea, but I thought it was SUPER clever...so here is what my son gave his teachers' for Valentine's Day.

They are hand sanitizer bottles stripped of their labels and decorated with hearts, tags, and ribbons! Very "handy" for teachers!! Add something pretty to their desk :)

Also, I added in....an adorable mug (not your usual ugly mugs that teachers get 50,000 of) but a CUTE one with Hershey kisses. I made a label for the top. I think they will love it...I know I would.

Spoil those teachers! They deserve it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weight Watchers Baked Ziti

I am posting 2 different Baked Ziti recipes....

The first of which is from WW. I love this recipe! It doesn't skip out on ingredients and goes great with a side salad!! The second is from Allrecipes.com. A little more calories, but you can cut down on the ingredients by going light or fat free. Check them both out!

Baked Beef Ziti

5 points and makes 8 servings

12 oz uncooked ziti
1 tsp olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/3 lb raw lean ground beef
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cook pasta, drain, set aside.
3. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat, add garlic, and saute 2 mins. Add beef and cook unti brown. Drain.
4. Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, & pepper. Stir to coat beef. Cook about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Spoon a small amount of tomato mixture into bottom of 4 quart casserole dish. Top with 1/2 of the cooked ziti and then layer tomato sauce and 1/2 the mozzarella. Layer remaining ziti on top and top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly. About 3o minutes.

1 cup/serving

Baked Ziti Click link for a photo and nutritional facts

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oreo Balls

Are you hungry?? Are you craving chocolate??

I am.....so here's a recipe for you!

WARNING: These are hard to stop eating! Make sure you don't make them alone...you will eat them all!!! :)

Oreo Balls

1 standard-size of Oreo cookies
1 standard-size of cream cheese, softened
16 ounce package of any kind of candy making chocolate

Crush Oreo cookies into fine crumbs and mix in the cream cheese until no white is showing. The mixture will have a dough-like consistency. Refidgerate long enough to firm up the dough, at least 30 minutes, so that is it is easier to form into balls. Once firm, roll the dough into bite-size balls.

Melt chocolate. Dip the battter into the chocolate and allow to cool on waxed paper. Allow chocolate to set in the refridgerator or freezer. Yields between 24 and 36 cookies.

*I prefer to make them without the choc. covering, so dipping them in chocolate is optional.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentine Cards

Here are some cute ideas for handmade Valentines that your kids can make for their friends.

My son and I made these last year for his preschool class and for his friends. I precut everything and he put them together himself. They are adorable!!

Then I found these on someone's crafty blog and HAD to make those as well!! So easy and very cute!!

The back of them read:

I just free handed the shape of the heart for the Puppy's head and the owl's body. I used my circle punch and heart punch from Creative Memories to make the nose of the puppy and the eyes of the owl.
We just made a pattern and precut the pieces for the kids to put them together. Very easy and fun for the kids!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

5 Chip Cookies

Make sure you check out the Raisin Bran Muffins my mother posted below...don't miss that one! They are much healthier that what I am about to post....

I am sitting here craving something sweet, when I came upon a woman pmsing's dream food.

They are called 5 Chip Cookies. Yeah I will be making these...but not tonight. I am going with Banana Bread.....Still bad bad bad, but I NEED something sweet and homemade :)

If you try these come back and comment what you thought!

Five Chip Cookies
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. old-fashioned oats
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. EACH milk chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, vanilla chips and butterscotch chips
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2" apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake @ 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 4 1/2 dozen.

Raisin Bran Muffins

Applesauce Raisin Bran Muffins
Weight Watchers Points with Recipe Builder 3 pts. each

· 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 tablespoon baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 2 cups Raisin Bran cereal
· 1 cup 1% milk
· 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
· 1 egg, slightly beaten or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
· 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
· 2 tablespoons butter, melted (light butter)

Preheat over to 400F; prepare a muffin tin with paper liners or by spraying with cooking spray.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cereal and milk in large bowl; let stand 3 minutes.
Stir in egg, applesauce, sugar and butter; stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown, and they test done with a toothpick.
These are really good, not overly sweet. They fill you up too!