Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homemaking Binder

Organization is a word that I love and loathe all at the same time. I love organized spaces and things. It makes my heart happy! I even really enjoy organizing things. Other people's things mostly. That's where the loathing comes in. It's really hard to organize things that I have a personal attatchment to. Therefore, I always have too many things and nowhere to put them, thus always disorganized. *sigh*
Now, on to the good stuff! In addition to ordering my meal plans, I've been working on getting my homemaking binder back in working order.

photo courtesy of I heart Organizing

What's a homemaking binder, you may ask? Well, simply put, it's a place to keep your whole little world organized. At least that's the goal. I've had a homemaking binder, or a "flight plan" as we call it in our house thanks to daddy's aviation job, for at least 7 years back when I discovered FlyLady. I tried following her plan, but it didn't really work for me because it was HER plan, not mine. That and I really don't like housework! :) However, she has some really great info for homemaking binders, or control journals as she calls them. Whatever name works for you, I guess.
If I haven't already professed my love for A Proverbs Wife, let me do so now. This site is AWESOME for helping you to be a better Christian wife. Saidah lives her life by following the guidelines in Proverbs 31 and encourages others to do the same. She has a wealth of links and ideas for your binder, including this video tour of her binder.
This month over on I heart Organizing, Jen is focusing on homemaking binders. This woman is super organized, hence the blog title, and loves making super cute charts and lists. Be sure to go snag all the ones that you need while they're still free. I don't know if she will transfer these to her etsy shop or keep them free, so go now just in case. You can find them all on the sidebar.
Do you use a homemaking binder? What does yours look like? If not, what do you do to keep track of everything? Let me know what you do to make your life a bit more organized! As I get parts of mine done, I will post pictures. Happy Binder Making & Organizing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Weeks 5, 6 & 7

Week 5 - Ummm, I totally forgot about making a new recipe. Just totally forgot.

Week 6 - Thought about a new recipe. I really did. But it never made it past my thoughts. I probably forgot about it again after my stove caught on fire. Yup. Fire. Flames. Smoke. It was a good home economics lesson though, because my kids wanted to know why I used salt on our grease fire instead of water. Gotta love those spontaneous teaching moments....and the adorable little guy who decided to climb up and play in the leftover bacon grease!

Week 7 - Da-da-da-dum!!! I made a new recipe! Hooray! :) This is really only due to trying to get back on track with meal planning. Well, planning and organizing in general. I'm an organizational mess right now. I'll talk about what I'm doing to fix that in another post. Here's the quick version: I ended up on Make 5 Dinners in One Hour because she is sponsoring I heart Organizing this month & giving a discount for her meal planning service. Yay! Now, I've looked at many meal planning services. Even tried their free trials, but always ended up thinking I could just do better for cheaper. I don't think I'm going to do any better or cheaper than Make 5 dinners in One Hour. You get 5 meal plans each week with a complete grocery list & instructions for prepping ahead, so you only have to spend 1 hour each week preparing meals, and a few minutes each day finishing them up. It sounds fun, so I've joined! I haven't started it yet, but plan to after my next shopping trip. This week's recipe though, comes straight from her blog, where I spent a good deal of time just browsing around. (BTW, her ideas for prepping lunches is fantastic!) So, without further ado, I bring you:
Easy Spinach Quiche

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of Make 5 Dinners in One Hour
My notes are in (purple)

This is the "make ahead" version. Makes 2.
Get out your blender for this one...(seriously, get your blender out)

1/2 C. frozen chopped onion
6 eggs
1 C. milk
1/2 C. biscuit/pancake mix
salt & pepper
Blend first 4 ingredients in blender until well blended and add salt & pepper to taste.

1 C. frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry (add more if you like)
1 package real bacon bits (I used real bacon that we had leftover, about 8 slices)
1 C. shredded Swiss cheese
2 frozen pie crusts (regular not deep dish)

Add spinach and pulse to mix. Place blender pitcher in refrigerator until ready to use. Use within 2 days.

Pour equal amounts (eye ball it) of bacon bits and cheese into pie crusts. I would normally have alot more bacon bits but I forgot them at the store and I had a small package leftover from another recipe. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
Place crusts on large cookie sheet to make transporting easier. Pour egg mixture equally into pie crusts over bacon and cheese. Yes, that is cheddar cheese you see there. I forgot the Swiss cheese too.
Most of these recipes are easily adaptable to what you have on hand. Just think of the possibilities. Bacon/cheddar, ham/cheese, broccoli/feta, mushroom/bacon/blue cheese.....
Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are set.

The Verdict: I love quiche. I love spinach. I love bacon. There was really no way I wasn't going to like this. It was delicious. Plus it made Sunday morning breakfast so easy. I served it with cinnamon raisin bread, so all I really had to do was butter the toast. I had time to get ready! :) My family on the other hand, wasn't as thrilled. (this seems to be a theme, doesn't it?) One child liked it, two thought it was okay, and one totally refused to eat. Kingbeaz liked it, but he's not crazy about spinach (unless it's my spinach dip). If your family likes spinach, go for it. Otherwise save it for a potluck or shower or something, because it is really good.

This post is linked to Feminine Farmgirl for the New Recipe Challenge. Come join us!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spelling City

Makes practicing for spelling tests fun

Have you heard of Spelling City? Do you use it? We've been using Spelling City for a few years now. It's totally free and a great way for the kids to practice their spelling words. They can play all sorts of fun spelling and vocabulary words, then take a test. When my kids were in public school I just entered the lists that they brought home. Now I use the lists from our current curriculums. When they can pass all the words on Spelling City, then they can go take their curriculum test. My kids LOVE it!
You can use other people's lists as well. So if you use Switched-On Schoolhouse Language Arts 300 or 400, I have most of lists that we've already accomplished. If you use Heart of Dakota's Bigger Hearts for His Glory, I have Units 1-7. If you want to use my lists, just search under "parent" for Jenny Beasley.
Please note that not all words and phrases are currently recognized by Spelling City. This hasn't been much of a problem for us though. Go check it out! If this has been useful to you, stop back by and let me know! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring is Coming!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know that the first day of Spring is March 20th??? It's hard to imagine with snow piled up everywhere! Nonetheless, spring is coming so I might as well look forward to it. When we moved we didn't have room for our outdoor things, so they all got left behind. :(

Here we have a bunch of trees so look what I found at Pier 1 to hang off them!

DjjDid ,,  

Outdoor Swingasan Chair

Holy cow, doesn't that look fun?? I'd be fighting the kids for it all the time, and I'd have to let the hubs sit in it occasionally, but it would be worth it. Just swinging in the shade watchin' the kiddos play. *sigh*

How about this? It certainly says "welcome". And it's only $16.95! Wow!

Damask Print Doormat

And are these not the most adorable chip and dip platters ever?? Great for indoor or outdoor entertaining!

 Chip and Dip Platters

They have a ton of really cute indoor/outdoor stuff, but I had to stop myself from getting carried away! What are you spring must-haves from Pier 1?

While you are there, sign up for their Pier 1 Outdoor newsletter to get a special offer. Oh, and they have something called  Pier 1 Tweetups for those of you located in certain areas (Dallas March 22, Atlanta April 5, NYC April 20) to get together. 

Leave a comment to let me know what you found to get your house and yard ready for spring!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kellog's Coupons

Do you go through cereal like we do? 3-4 boxes a week? Please tell me you do! Okay, well even if you don't here are some Kellog's coupons for that occasional cereal fix. LOL

Easter Sewing Craft!

Ooooh! Look at these adorable bunny bean bags!

These are from a guest post on 2 little hooligans from Me Sew Crazy. I forsee these being in my kid's Easter baskets. I'm sure I've got some scraps that will work great for this. Now I just need to force myself to go into the dungeon (because I still haven't figured out to make it any better) and work!
Have seen any other great crafts lately?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Granny & Papa Visit: San Antonio Riverwalk

Granny & Papa came to visit us in September! Yay! They flew into San Antonio early in the day, so we had all day to check out sites around the city. They were both stationed at Ft. Sam Houston back in the day, so we drove by to check it out. Of course, none of us can get on base anymore, so we just drove around looking through the fence. We probably looked suspicious! LOL
Then we went down to the Riverwalk. Now, we lived in Texas for four years. We had been to the Riverwalk Mall twice, and explored the Riverwalk itself exactly ZERO times! Oh my. That was remedied by a delightful boat trip tour. It was really fascinating and I'm sad we didn't do it earlier! :(  Oh well, we had a great day!

Thankful Thursday: The Little Things

It's been a trying week and hard to find things to be thankful for. Everything I come up with is small and seems so inconsequential, but it's better than nothing. Here's the best: I spent about $60 at the grocery store last night & earned $1.40 per gallon off our next fill-up! Yay!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Mini Social Referral Program

I just found out about another deal site The Mini Social (like Groupon) & right now if you refer 5 friends you get a $20 credit! We don't even need to buy anything! Yay! You also get a $10 credit when they make their first purchase! Here's my link so I can get my 5 referrals then you can get your 5! Thanks! :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of the New Recipe Challenge hosted by Feminine Farmgirl! This week I went out on a limb by coming up with my own restaurant knock-off. In my hometown there was this place that offered an "Orient Express Burger" that I absolutely loved. Which is kind of a misnomer because it's not really a burger. It's chicken. Anyway, I haven't had it in years and years, but I had a coupon for some marinades last week and they had a teriyaki marinade which made me think of this sandwich. So here's my attempt at the

"Orient Express Burger"

Chicken Breasts (one per person)
Pineapple Rings (one per person)
Swiss Cheese (one slice per person)
Hamburger buns (one per person)
Teriyaki sauce or marinade

(What I recommend, not necessarily what I did!)
If chicken breasts are too thick, split them or pound them out to make them thinner. Marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes or longer if desired. Use whatever method of cooking chicken you prefer (baking, browning, grilling). Top each chicken breast with one pineapple ring & one slice of swiss cheese. Cover with lid or foil to allow cheese to melt. Serve on hamburger buns with extra sauce for dipping.

How I actually did it: I wasn't thinking & fogot to marinate the chicken. I put them all on a baking sheet covered in foil & baked until they were done. Maybe a little too done. They were kind of dry. Next I browned them in a frying pan, then dumped the marinade on them and let them simmer. I also didn't think about thinning them out until I had them covered in marinade, so when I tried to slice them, they started falling apart. *eyes rolling* I served it with salad & sweet potato fries.
Verdict: I thought they were yummy! Not the same as the restaurant ones, but still tasty. Kingbeaz is not a fan of chicken (he claims to have been served it morning, noon and night while deployed). He said it was dry and only ate half. Bug ate some of his...he's a big pineapple fan, so that helped. Lil' C picked the cheese off but ate everything else! :) Pinky Lee caught whiff of a burned fry that had fallen on the bottom of the stove & declared it was "stinky" and she wasn't going to eat it. I don't think Boo Boo Bear was even hungry. He ate his tomatoes (he's a tomato THIEF!) then played with everything else. Lil' C and I ate leftovers for lunch today. Still yummy, despite what those picky people think! :)

Now, how to disguise the leftover chicken so EVERYONE will eat it!? Hmmm.... any suggestions??

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Making Money: Synovate and other methods

You may already know this, but our cross country move has really dealt a blow to our finances. My husband took a better job with equal pay to his last one, with one giant exception. He's now salaried and sometimes works 12 hour days for 8 hour pay. No overtime $ here. :( This in itself would not be a problem, but we are in a major hole with our housing situation. We don't get enough rent money to cover our mortgage (and related expenses), plus we pay a ridiculous amount of money for our rental here because the housing market is all kinds of crazy. Long story short, we're losing about $1000 every month just in real estate! YIKES! Now our renters have decided not to send their payments because we didn't meet their ridiculous demands. Such a dilemma!
In addition, we left our 2nd van behind because we had a buyer going to make payments on it, then decided they couldn't afford it. What? So it's just sitting in Texas collecting dust. Let's hope those people aren't driving it! All the offers we've had on it are about 1/3 of our asking price (which is KBB value). I'd negotiate if anybody brought a reasonable offer. Pff.
I didn't tell you our sad money tale for sympathy, but to tell you how we're trying to fix it. We've lowered our expenses as much as we can for now. For example, we used to have a budget of $475 for groceries and household items. Not that we stuck to it very often, but that was the number on paper. That number has been reduced to $400. Feeding 6 people and keeping the toilet paper and pull-ups stocked for $100 a week is a challenge. I've found that using only cash to pay for these items helps. I don't have that visual, tactile reminder with a debit card.
I've also been trying to make extra money. You know my obsession with Swagbucks, so I won't go into details again, but know that there will be more Swag love to come! This is a referral, so when you earn so do I!
 I have listed & am going to list some items on ebay. My seller name is thebeazhive.
I have always had advertisements on my blog, but they were just random and not always relevent. Now I am trying to bring more relevant ads to you. Things I think are interesting & I hope you do too. When you click on them and/or complete their requirements (like joining a group or signing up for a newsletter) I get paid a few cents to a few dollars depending on the ad. Sometimes there are referrals. If you sign up for a program I earn a percentage of what you make. Please don't feel like you have to click on or sign up for anything. In the future, I may be writing articles for certain companies or products. I will be compensated for my opinions & I will state that at the bottom of the post. I'm only going to write about stuff that I feel is appropriate for this blog. Sometimes these things lead to giveaways for readers! Yay for giveaways!
There is a super secret big project that I've been working on fo-evah, that I hope will be a money maker as well. I just need to get past a few more hurdles (mainly myself), and then the secret can be revealed!
I've joined several survey panels that pay in cash or rewards. I only started about 2 weeks ago, so I haven't cashed out on anything yet. I plan to cash out at the end of each month & I will give you totals then. There are a few I have done very well with already. I will be telling you about them in different posts along the way. If you want to get started right away here is one that I have signed up for & is currently open to new members:

I don't think there is a referral for this company, but if you do sign up through the above link, I will get compensated.

I know that this is a change for what once was only a family blog but our family has changed, I've changed, and this is reflective of our family now. More reflective of me personally. There's no obligation for you to spend your money to help out our family. I just want to help out my own family, while still bringing you content that is important to you. I'm sure most people are interested in saving money and/or making extra money, so I bet you understand where I'm coming from. As always, feel free to just ignore whatever doesn't pertain to you & enjoy what does. :)

If you have comments or questions, please feel free to leave them! I love my readers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Math-U-See Giveaway from TheHomeSchoolMom

The Home School Mom is a newsletter I subscribe to because they have good information for homeschoolers and mommies in general.  They are giving away the Math-U-See DVD, teacher's manual, and student worktext GAMMA level. They are used, but not written in (except for a name). I've looked in Math-U-See several times, but end up going with something else for various reasons. Lil' C might be in the Gamma level next year, but I'd need to have her take the placement test to know for sure.

If this is something you'd be interested in, go enter the giveaway right away. I'm not sure when it ends, so better hurry just in case! :)
While you're there, check out their sister site Menus4Moms. They have free & paid weekly dinner menus as well as ton of information on menu planning. The Busy Cooks Pyramid is very helpful. It tells you how to cook ahead and fill up your freezer without doing once a month cooking.

Tuesday's True Confession: Inconsistency is My Middle Name!

Okay, so Inconsistency isn't really my middle name. But it might as well be! I have a terrible time following through on anything. I'm really really good at planning, making lists & charts, and exploring all possible possibilities. Sometimes I embark with a full head of steam, with a bit of enthusiasm, or I don't embark at all. It just depends on the project. I'm an overly emotional person & I let my emotions determine my days most of the time. If I don't feel like washing dishes, I don't. This is a problem, obviously.
There are some projects with a lifespan of over a decade. No, not the dishes! I started my first afghan in college. Some friends taught me how to crochet & since they were all making afghans, I thought I would too. Not a good idea for a first project. A pot holder would probably have been more appropriate! LOL Anyway, that project had so many starts, stops, & do-overs that it took approximately 12 years to complete. What? 12 years? Why didn't I just give up completely? I'm not sure, but I'm glad I didn't because now that it's finished I'm rather proud of what it has become. (Pictures to come later).
So, any suggestions for someone whose thoughts and emotions can't focus on one thing long enough to see it through to completion most times??? Can you relate?


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