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I am a work from home, home schooling Mom who loves her Kids...yep, I think my kids are great. You will find me: Knitting, cross stitch, embroidery and working with felt are things I enjoy for fun. I also love to decorate and find deep satisfaction in decorating my home with great finds and my handmade items.  Gardening is one of my great loves, it like decorating outside!

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cheap Eating Out

We all like to eat out or sometimes we have to eat on the go. But it is so expensive, I have a way of curbing that cost and still enjoying a meal out without breaking the bank. First know your town, don't order pizza from the chains. I get mine from an Italian restaurant that uses fresh ingredients, makes its own dough and hand tosses the pizza. If I order out the pizza is buy one get one free. So I get two One topping pizzas for $11.00. While Dad gets the pizza the kids and I toss a salad.
Next if you know you are going to be out and will have to get some fast food. Take your own drinks, We each have our own special containers. Also keep snack size bags on hand to throw some finger treats in. The store brand pretzel and crackers are $1.00 for a bag. Now all you have to do is buy the sandwiches and you saved well over $1.00 each on drinks and fries, In my family of four that's $8.00 saved. I recommend taking your time ordering. Scan the menu, see what your kids want. If they both want the same thing or close to it. It may be cheaper to order off the Adult menu and split it. My son and I like the Chicken bite sandwiches at Chili's it comes with four sandwiches and a mountain of fries, the meal is under $8.00. It way beats the $20.00 meal deal they have. Mexican food is always cheap as long as you stay away from the chain restaurants. First you get a basket full of chip and a bowl of salsa. And they will refill it. FREE FOOD. I love re-fried beans and Mexican rice. So I just order a plate of that. They usually charge me $2.00 - $4.00. I put salsa on it and scoop it up with the chips. My kids like to eat the same thing so I order an adult dish for $6.00. We drink water and we leave stuffed. Allot of restaurants will have a sign out front "Kids eat Free on ________. "That's the day you go out to eat. Keep your eyes open. Scan the menu and know what your family eats so you can find two of a kind and pare them up to share. I mean really with the portion sizes you can almost feed three.
One last tip, Take out! Order some fried rice and toss in whatever leftover meat and veggies you have on hand. And do it up nice at home, I have a slew of linens from yard sales just for this. You can make your own fancy restaurant at home. Or dinner and a movie, Or how about a picnic in the yard or on the living room floor. Get out the good china light the candles and grin from ear to ear knowing how little you have spent for the abundance in front of you, your about to chow down on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santas Helpers



I tell my children that Santa has some extra special elves that do not live at the north pole. Some of them make gifts, some wrap gifts, some who are very special get to dress as Father Christmas and listen to children. We have a very special one that we visit every year, being an elf myself I recognize him as one of the top elves. I am a gift maker/wrapper elf. This elf really decks the halls, invites you to wonder around looking at the lights, take pictures, sit in his sleigh and even has a snow machine. You can see his home a mile or more down the road. He passes out candy canes to the children and hands an extra one to Mom for a child that's too shy to come and sit in his sleigh. He never asks for donations for the astronomical power bill I'm sure he has. But we joyously give this special top notch elf an envelope with something to help with the Georgia power envelope. And we think its well worth it. If you live in the Atlanta area and want to visit him he is on Brookwood Dr SW, Austell. Take the East West Connector head South on Brookwood Dr SW (Near Hobby Lobby) Cross over Anderson Mill Rd and he will be on your left. He also has parking set up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Tricks

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Christmas Lights

Use clothespins to hang your Christmas lights with on the house, greenery, shrubs and other odd places.

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Christmas Tree

Keep it Fresh:

Crush 4-6 multivitamin+iron, 2 cups of corn syrup, 2 tablespoons of bleach, Fill the rest of the way with very warm water.

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Or try this one

1 Cup of Molasses and fill the rest with cold water


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Greenery

Spray your greenery with hair spray. It will trap moisture in the needles and help them keep there look better. It will also prolong the looks of ribbons and bows.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Refried Black Beans

Cheap Eats
I wanted to share something delicious and taste. I make this as a side one night and then part of a meal the next. It is cheap and easy to fix and freezes well. So make big batches and get those freezer bags out. They can be refrigerated for 4 days as well. I do not recommend canning beans.

1 pound of Black Beans
7 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons Lard
1 Onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Rinse and pick over the beans. Place the beans and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are creamy in the center. About 1 1/2 hours. Just Mash them between your fingers to see if they are creamy.
Mash the beans in the liquid with a potato masher...this is where the kids come it! I have two that love to help in the kitchen.
Over medium heat, melt the lard ( I know lard is a big no, no. But any other fat will not give you the taste and really are you going to eat the whole pan of beans? you wont even see a teaspoon of that fat) Saute the onions with the salt until golden, about 20 minutes. Add the beans and liquid and continue cooking. Sirring frequently, the beans will form a mass that will pull away from the sides of the pan. The are finished.

Second and third life's

Black Bean Tacos
Use Corn Tortillas, dip them in water then put them in a hot pan, count to 5, flip them, count to 5 again. Take it out and slather with beans, top with your favorite cheese and taco toppings.

Black Bean Quesadillas
Use flour Tortillas, spray your pan, place tortilla in pan top with cheese and bean then cheese again, then top with another tortilla. Turn over after one minute and then dish up with your favorite salsa.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Folded Transparent Stars

I Took Two very different pictures of this snow flake trying to catch the light. That's a hard thing to do when there is no light. But what I wanted to show you was that this fabulous snow flake is made out of Wax paper from my Kitchen. Yep! Nothing fancy, Nothing expensive and probably something you already have on hand. You don't have to order expensive kite paper, and then wait for it to come in the mail. Though the colors are pretty and its a nice treat. And tissue paper though you can buy a bundle of it for $4.00 is quite flimsy and doesn't hold up very well and fades rather quickly. You can make allot of snow stars and make a Winter Wonder Land. Then when you are finished you can store them (between matresses) for the next year. And if you live where you don't get much snow a good Wax Paper blizzard is appreciated and is quite beautiful. We are in the South so we really go to town on creating our own indoor blizzard in January. I really try hard to bring wonderful thing to my home that dont cost allot but bring joy and fun. And it brings me great joy to pass these ideas on to you. So....Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....