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December 30, 2012

End of the Year


As we draw towards the end of another year, I am looking forward to what the new year might bring. Unfortunately I haven't posted on here as much as I would have liked. This time of year keeps me extremely busy with holiday preparations. Decorating, Christmas shopping, cooking, and a little crafting, along with what seems like never ending cleaning. Lol.

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November 5, 2012

The Absolute Best Chicken Lasagna Recipe.

This recipe has become an all time family favorite ever since my sister gave me the recipe. When she first gave me the recipe, I was a little hesitant to try it, mainly because I wasn’t a big fan of lasagna, let alone one with chicken in it. A few years ago, my son and I made a trip up to Montana to visit her and her family for Easter, and she made this for us. I have to say, I was blown away at how good it was, and how easy it was to make, for a lasagna...lol. I fixed it for my husband one of the times he was home on his home time, and he absolutely loved it. It’s become one of those recipes I save for special occasions, or gatherings with friends. So far I haven’t gotten a single complaint when I make it, even from my picky kids…lol.
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October 29, 2012

Weekly Menu for 10-29-2012

Unfortunately Hubby didn’t make it home last week like I was hoping. On the bright side, he should be home tonight, and he’ll be home for Halloween this year. It’s been at least a few years since he’s actually been home on Halloween, the kids are super excited. Since he didn’t make it home last week, I ended up not making some of the items I had planned for dinner. Opting instead to save them for when he gets home.

 

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October 26, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

A couple days ago I had the fun task of cleaning out 3 large pumpkins. They were going to be carved at my son’s cub scouts pack meeting activity. Usually I just throw everything inside the pumpkins away, but this year I decided to keep the pumpkin seeds and try roasting them. I had never before tried roasting pumpkin seeds, and had no idea how one does it. So I googled some instructions, and was surprised at how simple it was to do.

 

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October 23, 2012

Using Vinegar to Remove Odor from Jars.

These last couple of months I've been saving jars to use for some of the cool project ideas I've seen on Pinterest. There are so many cute ways to use jars other than just storing food. Instead of going out and buying mason jars I've been trying to save some of my spaghetti sauce and salsa jars as well as any other jars that look cool. I try to take the more frugal approach to my projects to help save money as well as cut down on waste.

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October 22, 2012

Weekly Menu for 10-22-2012

As I sit here planning out my grocery list for the week, I think I’m going to revisit some old favorites for our menu this week. I wish I knew for sure when hubby might get home, because I would like to make his favorite recipe as a belated birthday gift. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see which way the loads will fall.

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October 18, 2012

Outdoor Halloween Decorating

My kids and I have been having a lot of fun getting our house ready for Halloween. This is one of my favorite times of the year to decorate. I love the fall colors, and I have this crazy obsession with skulls and skeletons….Don’t ask me why. Lol

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October 15, 2012

Weekly Menu for 10-15-2012

This week I’m trying some more new things via Pinterest. Love trying new recipes.

 

 

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October 13, 2012

DIY Halloween Ghost Decoration

I saw this cute idea floating around on Pinterest by Simply Designing and thought I’d give it a try. I did mine a little bit different from hers, but both ways look really cute. I’m really happy with how it turned out. They are fun, and simple to make.

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October 5, 2012

No Soliciting sign, and the start of fall decorating.

My kids and I are getting geared up for some Halloween and fall decorating. I had actually made this no soliciting sign in the spring, but wasn’t happy with the pot it was in. Just last week I bought a new pot, and the fall leaves at Walmart, and now I’m very pleased with the presentation.

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October 1, 2012

Simple Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

This is one of my favorite, easy to make, meatloaf recipes. I love the flavor the barbeque sauce gives it. This is one of the recipes my children love.


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Weekly Menu for 10-1-2012

Sorry I didn’t get a chance to post a weekly menu last week. My dear, sweet hubby was home from trucking, and as far as meals went, I kind of flew by the seat of my pants. I hate it when I do that, but it was nice to get the chance to eat out for a change. I typically don’t go out to eat when he’s gone, unless it’s the occasional pizza order, or celebrating one of our children’s birthdays.

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September 17, 2012

Weekly Menu 9-17-2012

Fall is in the air. The outside temps are finally cooling down after the extremely hot summer we had this year. I’m looking forward to fall cooking, soups, casseroles, maybe even some treats like homemade cookies. I’m also looking forward to trying some more new recipes I’ve found on Pinterest, that I’ve been putting off until it cooled down outside.

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September 14, 2012

DIY Vintage Pepsi Box



I was wanting a cute box to store all my paint brushes. I found this box at Michael’s, it was a set of 4 nesting boxes, varying in sizes.
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September 11, 2012

To Have School Lunch or Home Lunch?

Kids are back in school. You are faced with a choice. Should your kids have school lunch, or should you send a lunch from home with them.


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September 10, 2012

Navajo Tacos Recipe

This is a very easy and yummy recipe my best-friend shared with me. She explained to me how to make it. I’m not sure if this is exactly how she does it, but it works for me. It’s easy to throw together, but it does take a little planning ahead.
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Weekly Menu for 9-10-2012

This is my first Weekly Menu post….

I plan on sharing my weekly menu every Monday, incase you’re looking for ideas on what to cook for the week. I don’t expect anyone to follow my menu exactly, I’m more or less sharing it to provide inspiration. I swear whenever I sit down to plan my once a week grocery shopping trip, my mind goes blank when trying to plan dinners.
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September 2, 2012

The long road to here... Why I have been MIA.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted something. I had hoped to have at least a dozen or so posts written by now. It's been a crazy last few months. Totally not what I was expecting to have happen. But then life has a way of sneaking up on you like that. Some major life changes, and a lot of stress and worry to go along with them. Just when I think things are calming back down, so I can concentrate on writing and creating, some new stressor pops up. It's extremely frustrating. I'm sure eventually everything will work itself out and we will be back to a new normal. I've put too much work into this blog give up now, and I'm looking forward to all the new friends I'm sure I'll be making in the process.
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May 10, 2012

Menu Board

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, been working on various projects. This menu board was actually a project I did last winter. I had seen something similar to it when my husband and I had gone on a trip to the Paiute Trail in central Utah. We visited a couple cute gift shops in the town of Marysvale, UT on my birthday, where I had seen a menu board someone had created. I loved the idea of it, and wanted to purchase it to hang in my kitchen, but since we were on ATVs I was afraid it wouldn’t survive the trip back to our Tahoe. So when I got home I started hashing out a plan to make one for myself.
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April 6, 2012

Easter Arrangement

Incase you were looking for a beautiful, easy to put together arrangement for your Easter gathering, I thought I’d share this with you.
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April 5, 2012

Quick and Easy Fried Rice

This is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to throw together, and my kids love it. I don’t really pay much attention to measurements on this one, you can experiment with this and tailor it to your taste.
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March 9, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Vase Deco

I've been working on this all week, and I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. I had done something similar for Valentine's but didn't quite get it finished in time to share.
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March 2, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Subway Art Printable

I thought since I made subway art printables for Valentine’s Day, I’d do the same for St. Patrick’s Day. I love how these look in frames on display. Since there are not many decorations for St. Patrick’s Day, I’m trying to create some of my own. I have a couple of smaller frames I’m planning on using for some drawings geared towards St. Patty’s Day, so stay tuned for that. Until then, enjoy the subway art .

Click on picture below to download the full size image.

If you would like to share this on your website, please link back.

They are for Personal use only.

Please do not claim them or sell them as your own!!


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February 25, 2012

French Vanilla Cupcakes…..Yummy!!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated, it’s been a crazy busy month. I had a few projects I wanted to share for Valentine’s Day, but never got a chance to finish them up in time to share. I’m currently trying to come up with some ideas for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve never decorated for St. Patty’s Day so I don’t have anything yet to put out, but this year I’d really like to. It’s kind of an over looked holiday, it’s pretty evident by how hard it is to find decorations for it. I checked at places like Walmart, and could only find cards and shirts. They have seemed to skipped straight to Easter. I found a few items at a Michael’s store, that I hope to incorporate into something cute.

Anyways….. about the cupcakes…lol. Yesterday I made some cupcakes for a fundraiser for my son’s Cub Scout pack. I think they turned out very yummy. I used my favorite cake mix, French Vanilla by Betty Crocker, and some Duncan Hines whipped cream cheese frosting. I colored them green for St. Patty’s Day. When I used this cake mix, I like to use the directions for the Classic French Vanilla Cake. Some of the boxes have the other directions for the Classic but not all of them, so I’d thought I’d share it with you. The main differences are: instead of 1 1/4 cups of water, you use 1 cup of milk. Instead of 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, use 1/3 cup of butter or margarine, softened, and instead of 3 eggs, use 4. The only other difference in the recipe, is decreasing the baking time by 1 minute. To me, the cake has better flavor this way. I think next time I make this I’ll color it purple, my favorite color…lol.




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January 27, 2012

My Favorite Comfort Food…. Shepard’s Pie

On a cold and dreary day I like to fix something that is warming and comforting for dinner. There are many versions of Shepard’s Pie but this is my favorite way to make it. My kids love it, although my daughter claims to not like the green beans, kind of strange since she usually has two helpings of it. Guess it must not be too bad…lol. This recipe is really easy to make, other than it dirties quite a few dishes in the process (the only draw back). One of these times when I make it I’m going to try doubling the meat and green beans mixture then freeze half of it. Then the next time I make it, it should cut the cooking and prep time in half, I’ll just have to remember to get the meat mixture out in time to thaw.

Storm’s Shepard’s Pie

1 lb. ground beef

5 cups instant mashed potatoes (10 servings)

8 oz. shredded cheddar, or colby jack cheese

2 14.5 oz. cans french style green beans

1 cup brown gravy


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brown ground beef in large skillet then drain.

2. Prepare brown gravy, and mashed potatoes according to directions on package.

3. Combine ground beef, brown gravy, and the 2 cans of green beans in a 9.25 x 13.25 (3 quart) casserole dish. Season to taste ( I usually add some dry chopped onions, garlic salt and pepper.) After stirring the mixture, spread it evenly in the pan.

4. Cover the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes (I also like to season the mashed potatoes with some garlic salt, and sprinkle a little bit of cheese as I’m mixing the mashed potatoes.

5. Sprinkle cheese on the top of the mashed potatoes. Then bake for 20 min. or until heated through.

6. Let stand for a few minutes before serving, will be piping hot. Enjoy!!

Makes at least 8 servings….. we always end up with leftovers. It is one of the rare times I actually enjoy the leftovers. :)




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January 23, 2012

Valentine’s Subway Art Printables

With Valentine’s Day only a few weeks away I thought I would make up some subway art printables. I had a lot of fun creating them, I love playing with different fonts and styles. They are set at a pretty high resolution so they should print out nicely. I just printed them out on plain white paper, to see how they’d look in a frame, and I think they turned out great. If you want to use card stock paper, it might work a little better.

Click on either picture below to download the full size image.

If you would like to share these on your website, please link back.

They are for Personal use only.

Please do not claim them or sell them as your own!!


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January 20, 2012

A Great Home Budgeting App.

One of my biggest goals this year is to organize everything in my life. I’ve been working on organizing my house, I’m currently working on my living room, then I’ll proceed to my kitchen. Besides having more order in my house, I’ve also found a way to stay better organized with my family’s finances with the use of an awesome app on my iPhone. When I got my iPhone last year I scoured the app store trying to find the perfect app for me to be able to keep better track of our bills. Before getting my new, extremely smart, smart phone, I used to print out monthly calendars that I would use to write the amounts and due dates of my monthly bills. It helped me keep track of what was due and when, but the calendars stayed on my desk, and would usually get buried in a mountain of other papers. Sometimes I would forget to check them on a regular basis, and may forget a bill until after it was late. There was also the issue of keeping my husband abreast of the finances and what bills were due when, (I automatically assumed he would remember when certain bills were due, like the rent, but I was wrong..lol).

So in my quest to find the perfect app to keep track of everything for me, I stumbled upon HomeBudget by Anishu, Inc. I was mainly looking for something with a calendar that I could put the bills in on their due date with the amount due, and since most all of my bills are due on the same date every month I wanted it to auto populate those bills for me in the future months as well. This app does all of that and way more than I was expecting. I can set up my bills for the month, on their due dates, and have them automatically recur on future months. Some of my bills pretty much have a set amount I pay each month, like the rent, loan payment and car payment, so when I set up the recurring bill I can put the set amount for those bills in. With the bills that vary month by month, like electric, and gas, I can set them up as varies then when I get the actual bill I can go in and edit the amount. This is exactly what I wanted in a home budgeting app, but luckily it doesn’t stop there.



I can also use this app to keep better track of our bank accounts, and see how much money we have available. When you first set up the application, you can add your bank accounts to it (please note, that the app doesn’t ask for any account numbers for your financial institutions). It has a variety of accounts you can add to it to keep track of. The main ones I use are my two checking accounts, and a couple savings account. You’ll set up a beginning balance on the app that coincides with your bank account. Then when you have any income or expenses you can enter them into the app, and it’ll adjust the amount accordingly. It is very helpful when paying bills, since when sending a check, the amount doesn’t come out of your checking account right away, but as soon as you mark a bill paid in the app it will minus the amount from which ever account you mark it as paid from. That way you can see how much money you have available in your account, incase you forget about a check you sent out that might not have cleared your checking account yet.



Another thing I really like about this app, is being able to set up a budget. It comes with some preset categories, and sub categories, like mortgage, utilities, groceries and so on. Every time you mark a bill as paid, it will let you put that bill into a category, same with expenses like groceries. You can set up a specific budget amount for each category, and keep track of how close your getting to that amount. The application also has various charts, so that you can see where the bulk of your money is going each month... I think mine is rent...lol. It’s nice being able to look back each month to see how much we’re spending on things like groceries, or restaurants. It’ll be nice at the end of the year to be able to look back and see how much we’ve spent on our various bills.



I’m sure there are other aspects I could go into about the app, but suffice it to say I absolutely love it. It does take some work, you have to remember to add your purchases to it, mark bills paid, and add income to it. I would say, treat it as you would your checkbook register, just more like a digital version. Since I carry my iPhone with me everywhere, at least I always know where we stand on our finances, incase I really want to buy something...lol. One other thing I want to mention that I really like, is that it can sync with other idevices. I have the app on my iPhone, and my husband has it on his iPod Touch, so he can see what bills are due when and how much money is in our accounts. You can set up what is called Family Sync, with a group name and password, and then you can connect multiple idevices to it, and they’ll all show the same information. It’s a great way to keep your spouse in the know, on the finances. You can also set it up to remind you days before a bill is due, via push notification and badges.

The application is available on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for $4.99. There is also a free version that you can try out, but I have to say it’s worth every penny, in my book. You can also check it out on the developer's website: http://anishusite.appspot.com/


(Please note: I’m not being paid to write this review. I truly love this app. The views expressed in this post are entirely mine.)



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January 10, 2012

That Time of Year again...

It's that time of year again, a time to reflect on the previous year, and make goals for the new year. I’ve personally decided to stay away from making New Year’s resolutions, because for me, I’ll think about them for a little while, but then they become forgotten. This year I’m opting for setting goals (using a different term ... lol) to see if I can better accomplish the things I want to do. I having been thinking this last week on the things I want to see happen for this new year, with the fresh start that a new year brings with it. Most of the goals I’m setting for myself I feel are attainable, with a little bit of work on my part. I’m not going to kid myself in setting goals that I know will go in one year and out the other ...lol (pun intended). So, let’s make the list....

Finance -
My biggest goal this year financially, is to pay off all mine and my husband’s debt. Luckily there isn’t a whole lot, I don’t have any credit cards (thank god). Most of the debt we have, aside from our car, is medical stuff. The car will be paid off this year regardless of the other stuff (and I’ll be doing a happy dance when that happens ...lol) If we can attain this goal, then that should put us in a good position for our goal next year to be able to buy a house. That will be our prize.
My other goal in regards to finances, is to continue what I’ve already started last year, to find ways to cut our monthly expenses. I already use coupons a much as possible to help with the grocery bill. I’m not an extreme coupon person by any means, and really don’t plan to be, but I do use enough to garner the name, crazy coupon lady, from my kids. ( In my defense, I think they’d call me that even if I only use them once in a great while.) We’re also planning on cutting cost on our cable bill this year, by making the switch to over the air programming, which is free. 90% of what we watch on tv is on our local channels, and for movies, we have Netflix. I don’t see the point in paying upwards of a hundred dollars for what we can pretty much get for free, or at least low cost for what we use.
My last goal for this year in finance, is to hopefully be able to bring in some income from some new endeavors I plan to try this year. I know the things I’m trying to do will take some time to really start paying off, but if I can stick with it, and not get discouraged, it may be just what I’ve been dreaming of. I’ve set my expectations pretty low, but hopefully with some hard work, and persistence, this goal will be reached before the end of the year.

Health-
Health wise for me, I need to try to take better care of myself. My biggest problem is for what ever reason, I just don’t want to eat anything until dinner time. I know this plays a big factor in not being able to accomplish everything I want to get done in a day. I just don’t have the energy. So I guess I’ll chalk this up to eating healthier, or at least in my case, eating more.
Exercise would be a great goal for this year, but I’m not going to kid myself in believing that I’ll actually do it. I would like to tone up my body some, and I may try to get back into doing some exercises like pilates, but typically that only lasts for a few weeks. I could surprise myself and do more, like go on walks (once it warms up). Well just leave this one as a maybe.

Home-
My goal this year for my home is to continue my quest to declutter and organize my entire house, besides cleaning it from top to bottom. I hate clutter, it drives me crazy. I like to have everything in it’s rightful place, making it easier to find when needed. After living in this house for 4 years we have acquired a lot of new stuff. The old items get placed in a storage room in our basement, which is getting quite full. Once the weather warms up some I plan to either have a big yard sale, or donate at least half the stuff in that room.

Projects-
There are so many fun projects I’ve wanted to do for the past few years. Candle making, soap making, painting, crafts, writing and anything in between. I plan to share as much as I can on this blog as well. So stay tuned for that...

I’m sure there will be more goals I’ll think of later, but if I can accomplish all of this in the coming year, I’ll consider it a successful year. Above all I want this to be a happy year and bring my family closer together. I pray this year will be less stressful then past years, and filled with good memories.

Do you have any goals for the coming year? Please feel free to share. :)
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