Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Year of Savings - 25 cent "chocolate" bunny


I wish I had taken a better before picture but I was not expecting this project to work.
Last year, I first saw gorgeous and expensive ceramic chocolate bunnies at a fancy shop on Main Street. Hobby Lobby had some lower cost ones but they did not seem nearly as cute to me. So I never got one.

After Easter, I found this sad paper mache bunny for 25 cents at the Salvation Army thrift. He had been crackle painted and really mistreated. The bottom kind of shows what he looked liked.


This morning, I spray painted him with some glossy brown from my stash and tied some clearance ribbon around his neck. I think he looks so cute and is just what I had in mind, but never thought it would turn out so good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I finished the tying last night and machine sewed the binding this morning. It is completely a scrap quilt. The backing is a black print with mistletoe and holly. It looks a little Christmas-y but mistletoe is the Oklahoma state flower and I really like it. Plus, the backing is a huge length of fabric bought at a thrift store several years ago.
The only thing "new" in this quilt is the batting and it was purchased at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Year of Savings - Walgreens Easy Saver

If you shop at Walgreens and do their easy saver deals, it is time to mail in your request for last month. I only have 1 bottle of shampoo on mine but it will get mailed tomorrow.
Next months deals look good to me too.
February catalog:
Good Jan. 25, 2008 -- Feb. 23, 2008
Postmark/submit by Saturday, Mar. 1, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Year of Savings - hair color and handmade gifts

Nina and I both color our own hair. She wanted to do hers today so we went to Walgreens and got the Garnier Nutrisse on sale 2/$10 and used 2 $2 coupons.

While she waited the 25 minutes for the hair color to take....
she went to my craft room and made some criss cross coasters for a gift for a girl-friend. I think her friend will love them! My 2008 goal is to use up as many supplies in this craft stash as possible so I am glad Nina is helping with that.
And no matter what we are doing, it is just fun to spend the afternoon with my daughter.

Weekend Meals

Friday Night - Nina, John and Jimmy were all here. We had beef stew and cornbread for supper. Nina is taking a cake decorating class and she brought her first cake. It tastes great and looked really pretty, I thought it was nice enough for a small scale-wedding even. She has 6 more classes.
Saturday breakfast - scrambled eggs, bacon cooked in the oven and biscuits.
Saturday lunch - homemade pimento and cheese with crackers, carrots and celery sticks and pork loin on buns
Saturday supper - black bean chili from the freezer with fritos and more veggie sticks.
Sunday breakfast - oatmeal for me, toast for Jeff
Sunday lunch - leftover beef stew and pimento cheese
Sunday supper - we watched the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen country fried steak throwdown and theirs looked pretty good so that is why we had this menu - but we call it chicken fried steak with gravy and biscuits and green peas. (we only eat frozen green peas, never the canned ones)

Friday, February 22, 2008

at my home this week

I started this quilt before Christmas. The top is finished and it is layered up with the batting and backing. I just started hand-tying the layers together with black crochet thread.
We wanted dessert this week but I was short on time at home because of working extra hours at my office job. I stirred up an old favorite, cake mix cookies, and they are so quick, they were mixed up and dropped on the 2 cookie sheets and ready to bake in just 5 minutes.
Cake Mix cookies
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain vegetable oil
1 cake mix - any flavor
Beat the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the oil. Stir in the cake mix. Add any extras you want- like nuts, chips or flavorings.
Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen chewy cookies.
This batch was yellow cake mix with chocolate chips and walnuts.
Chocolate cake mix with chocolate chips are a great combination.
Butter cake mix with 3/4 Cup of oatmeal and a little cinnamon is good too.

My company has 2 offices in the same shopping center. I usually work at the laid back office but because of planned vacations and the flu striking some of the workers at the stressful office, they were very short-handed this week. I agreed to help them out and the area manager gave me a Wal-mart gift card as appreciation bonus.

Year of Savings - skip the dry cleaners

I sometimes wear knit tops but I prefer to wear blouses made of natural fabrics. They usually need a little pressing after laundering. I have tried using a dry cleaner but I don't like that stiff starch and I really don't like the cost.
I usually just press a weeks worth of blouses at a time. I watched the clocked while I ironed today and it took just 20 minutes to iron 6 blouses. I use as electric steam iron and Faultless spray starch.
When my last can of Faultless runs out, I plan on trying a homemade spray starch I saw demonstrated on HGTV's Simply Quilts.

Homemade Spray Starch: Boil 1 quart of water. Dissolve 4 tablespoons of liquid starch into 2 cups of cold water; add to boiling water and return to a boil, then remove from heat immediately; add 2 more cups of cold water. Starch should be clear and not milky. Place it in a mist spray bottle (figure B) and store in the refrigerator. This is extremely cost-effective--only 2 cents a quart. Clean the iron with a wet terry towel.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Year of Savings - Roast Beef & Roast Beef Hash

For Sunday lunch, we had traditional style roast beef baked with carrots and potatoes. I start the roast cooking in the oven about 7:30 at 400 degrees, then about 9:00, I add the vegetables and turn the oven to just 250-275 and leave it baking while we go to church. When we get home, the house smells wonderful, our meal is ready and we don't have to fight the crowds or pay a big tab at a resturant.
For supper tonight, I made what my mom calls Roast Beef Hash. It is just the roast leftovers, cubed and heated in the gravy. It is especially good on toast, kind of like a diner-style hot roast beef sandwich.

Friday, February 15, 2008

5 Minute Cake

I baked this cake last night. The recipe is from my Grandma and is called 5 minute cake. The frosting is just as easy and is called Lazy Day frosting.

Grandma got married when she was 16, raised 6 children and did it all on wheat farm with my Grandpa. She baked pie first thing every morning just before she baked biscuits for breakfast and made homemade bread.

This cake is quick and delicious, and really easy when you compare it to making pies and biscuits.

5 Minute Cake

1 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 t baking powder

salt ( I use about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 t vanilla

1 egg



Break the egg into a 1 cup measure. Add shortening until cup is half full. Finish filling cup with milk.

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix for 5 minutes.

Bake in a greased 9x9 pan in a preaheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Lazy Day frosting

4 T melted butter

9 tablespoons brown sugar

4 T cream

about 1 cup of coconut

mix all together and spread on warm cake. Then broil until bubbly. Watch closely as it will burn quickly.

Grandma used cream but I just use milk. I also add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines 2008

This is a bullentin board in our breakfast area, covered with this years Valentines.
This bullentin board started out as a big 70's sofa painting, I painted the frame white and covered the print with quilt batting and aqua fabric.

I made all the valentines I sent this year. The ones for my swap also got felt bookmarks. I used a pinking blade in a rotary cutter to cut out the felt. It cut so nicely and I love the way they look.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentines day 1999

Our church has Valentines banquets every year. When my kids were growing up, the youth banquet was a very big wing-ding. In 1999, the banquet had a Renaissance theme.
This is daughter Nina in a huge dress. I sewed it and if I remember, it went together so easily. Another church member had cleaned out her shed and given us several bolts of satin. I think this dress used about 12 yards of it.
Eric Silkwood - I think he rented his costume.
Son Jimmy and youth pastor David Blose - I sewed their costumes too. I really love Jimmy's hat.
Happy Valentines Day!

A Year of Savings - Employee benefits

My husband's employer has several good benefits and one of them is $500 in what they call REAP funds. We can use them at activities in our city like the golf course, swimming pool, community center, etc. Jeff spent part of his REAP on season tickets to performances at our community center.
In December, we saw the Shanghai Acrobats. Saturday night, we saw "Smoke on the Mountain"
Both were excellent shows and are home based in Branson. These road shows were a bit smaller than the actual Branson versions but we enjoyed them just as much as if we really were at the big theathers in Branson.
Next month, our tickets are for a ballet.
Find out about your employers benefits and see if you can use them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentines banquet

Jeff and I went to the annual Valentine banquet at our church last night. It had a Western theme and Jeff looked great in his Stetson.
There were lots of people dressed in Wranglers and boots. The decorations were hearts and red things but also lots of bandanas, ropes, boots, barn stuff, it was country but really cute too.
The menu was smoked brisket and chicken with baked potatos, beans, rolls, salad, and 2 kinds of cake for dessert. The youth group did the serving and clean up and requested their tips be put toward their summer camp trip. This group of kids were great workers and seemed to be having as much fun as the adults.
Entertainment was provided about 3 family members, they all played stringed instruments and sang, songs like "Cowboy Sweetheart"

No western clothes for me though, but do you like my sweater? It has pearls and rhinestones all around the front and neck. Nina found it for me 2 years ago at a thrift store for just $1!

Friday night pizza

When our children were home, we had homemade pizza most every Friday or Saturday evening. Back then, I made 4 pizzas at a time and there were rarely leftovers.
I made Foccacia pizza for just Jeff and I this Friday. This dough makes a thick crust with a little crunch to it because of the oil and cheese. With cheese bought with coupons, I think this pizza cost about $1.50, even cheaper that hot and readies at Little Ceasar and much tastier.

1 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. dry milk powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 Tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 T grated Parmesan cheese .
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, milk powder, salt, onion powder, oil, garlic and flour. Stir until incorporated; turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, several minutes. Place dough ball in an bowl with 2 Tablespoons of oil and parmesan cheese, and turn a few times to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
2. Grease a 15 inch pizza stone or pan. Punch risen dough down and roll to fit the pan. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
3. Top with pizza toppings as desired, We like a roma sauce, mozzarella cheese, onions and tamed jalapenos.
3. Bake at 400ยบ for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool slightly before cutting.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

a year of savings Day 36 - insurance

Our auto insurance renewal needed paid this week. Our company offers a 15% discount if you pay the 6 months in one lump sum. For us, that is a savings of about $100 every 6 months.
Our home owners insurance is with the same agent. While I was there, I visited with him about our policy. We updated some things and when all was said and done, our savings will add up to about $600 year.

So look over your policies and visit with your agent. We have to have insurance but I don't want to pay more for it than we have to.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Banana bread for the boys

I had 4 very ripe bananas so I baked a batch of banana bread yesterday morning and took Bobby and Jimmy each 2 little loaves. Banana bread is a favorite of all my children. They like it sliced, buttered and warmed in the microwave for breakfast.
This is the recipe I use most often.
Banana Bread
1 stick butter, softened
1 scant cup sugar (closer to 3/4 cup)
2 eggs
3 medium or 4 small ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or more chopped nuts, we prefer pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan or 4 mini-loaf pans.
Cream together the butter and sugar. (I used a mixer)
Add eggs, beat until well blended.
Mix in the bananas.
Stir in the flour, salt and soda.
Then stir in the nuts.
Pour in to prepared pans. A big loaf will take 60-70 minutes. Small loaves take 35-45 minutes.
Cool for a 10 minutes, then remove from pans.
Slice, spread with a little butter and feed to your family.