Monday, February 16, 2009

Learning to Customize my Blog

I am learning how to customize my blog. I will be playing with it for a while to find the look I like. I am having too much fun right now to decide on the perfect look.

Here is a place to get some great free backgrounds.

I have been tweaking the HTML to get each look and will be posting information on how to do it as I learn myself.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Coupons, Coupons, and other ways to SAVE!

I don't know about all of you but I am having to find creative ways to save money everyday. Today is a grocery shopping day and I have to figure out how to get my grocery bill down, really down. I have meal planned for a few years and have really seen the impact it has on my grocery bill.

Now I am going to give coupons a try. I have never been that good at coupons. They seem like so much trouble and most of the time the coupons are for things I don't use. It is time to change my attitude and go for it.

I have just discovered the multitude of online coupon websites. How easy it that???
coupon Mom
Coupon Surfer
Coupon Savings

Meal Planning is definitely the way to go. I have no waste, no stress on what is for dinner, or a missing ingredient. Sunday evening the fridge is completely empty and I clean it out and wipe down all the shelves and drawers.

I started meal planning when I got the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine. The recipes in the little magazine all come with a picture and the ingredient list is never more than 10 items long.

The recipes are for the most part super simple to make and tasty. My son and husband have even made a few on nights when I am unable to prepare the meal.

I have about 2 years worth of magazines and hand them out to the kids on Sunday and they each pick something they want for dinner. I then write down all the ingredients needed for my grocery list. On another sheet of paper the recipe name, page #, and which magazine it came from. This is posted on the inside of the kitchen cabinet door.

The kids love they picked what they want for the week!!!

We are having Skirt Steak with Crispy Garlic Potatoes tonight.

Friday, February 6, 2009

$5 dinner - Lentil Soup

I am trying my own version of $5 Dinners. Take a few minutes and check her out.

This is such a great idea in these hard economic times. I will be seeing how many other $5 dinners I can come up with.

Lentil Soup
Brown sausage in dutch oven. Add chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Saute for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add water, tomatoes, lentils and seasoning. Simmer for 1 hour. Serves 6.

Total $4.41

I made homemade bread to serve with the soup. My children love lentil soup on a cold day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Waiting for Spring

I am getting tired of the cold, ice, and snow. I want to see Spring flowers and little green shot of new grass. The snow is pretty and all but I am ready for Spring. My driveway has been an solid ice for too long.

I created my little pillow out of scraps to help me get out of the winter "blahs". It is working and when I feel cold and housebound I just look at my pillow when I can find it. My daughter fell in love with it and immediately put it on her bed.

I used the Japanese technique of Kanzashi. I have a tutorial somewhere that I will post soon. As you remember my computer crashed and I need to dig through my backups for the file.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My quest to Learn to Knit

I am working hard on my resolution to knit. It has been a little frustrating, a little daunting, and finally I think I am going to love it.

I have a few tips I have discovered for those who would love to learn to knit.

1. Don't use any fancy yarn. Plain inexpensive yarn is best when learning so when you rip it all out you don't waste your good stuff.

2. Nice big needles are best when starting out. I tried with small needles and couldn't see the stitches to tell what I was doing.

3. Use the wonderful learn to knit on YouTube. It is definitely easier to learn with a visual.

4. Pick a super simple pattern to start with. Nothing too fancy.

5. Knitting is not an inexpensive pastime. Look for coupons for your supplies.

I am still trying to figure out the best type of needles to use (aluminum, acrylic, bamboo, etc). I have decided I don't like the acrylic, they don't slide the yarn well for me. Of course it could be my stitches.

** I got my yarn at The Christmas Tree Store for $1 each. It is very loopy and definitely not the yarn to start on. I dropped a stitch and it was so hard to fix. Don't look too close at all my mistakes. The other side of loopy yarn is that it hides the mistakes a little. LOL!!!

Free Pattern Sites

Lion Brand Yarn


Ravelry some are free

I want to learn to knit those socks but definitely need to practice a whole lot more!!! I will be making alot of scarves till I get it down. I love the fluid motion of knitting when I do it right. I got lots of knitting done during the Super Bowl. Definitely worth learning.

Our Super Bowl snacks. Each year the kids pick a snack and help me make it. We have fun and make lots of messes.

Buffalo Wings

Potato Skins

We are all still stuffed from last night. I hope everyone enjoyed the game.