Had to Share

A friend of mine shared a fantastic secret with me last week.  It is a facebook group consisting of 2000+ moms in the county I live in selling second hand baby/kid clothes, shoes etc… It is like garage sale shopping with out the hastle of trapsing two little girls in and out of the car! And way way cheaper than going to the second hand stores, which are honestly just as difficult. The clothes are reasonably priced and it is easy to drop of and pick up the clothes.  I have already bought two pairs of boots, pjs, dresses and a hat/mitten set and have spent only $10.  I will admit that I am addicted to it, checking my updates constantly to see if there is a good find out there.  Eric the other night said, “Honey, just because its a deal, does not make it a necessity” , I know, I know… 

But I just had to share this info so that you all could look and see if you have something similar in your areas. Not sure if you can search for it through fb or not, but definitely keep an ear out, it is so worth it.  Lets be honest kids clothes are expensive and it is hard to swallow spending $30+ dollars on an outfit or shoes they will grow out of in a matter of seconds! I hope you have as much success as me! Happy Bargain Shopping:)

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Mmmm, it’s Chili Time!

It’s cold, it’s windy, it’s Halloween… the perfect day for chili!!!  I currently have a delicious pot simmering on the stove.  For the past few years it has become our tradition to have chili on Halloween.  It started just by chance on a cold Halloween, not unlike the one today.  And has evolved into a yearly tradition.  I look forward to the day when our kids will be older and their friends will be over each enjoying a warm hearty cup of soup before they venture off into the cold Halloween night air to gather their treats.  Aren’t traditions the best? Something to look forward to each year, something special and unique to your own family!  I would like to share a favorite chili recipe of mine.  I found it a while back and it has become a huge hit in our family.  I think I found the recipe from Cooking Light, but have tweaked a little here and there.

Ingredients: (FYI for you myfitnesspal-ers, its only 278 calories for a whole cup!)

2 Bacon Slices

2 cups chopped onion

2 garlic cloves minced

1pd ground turkey

1/2pd ground sirloin

1(12oz can of beer) * Erics favorite ingredient because it ensures a six pack of beer in house;)

3 generous TBSP chili powder

1tsp worcestershire sauce

1/2tsp kosher salt

1/4tsp ground cumin

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained

1(8oz) can, no salt added tomato sauce

1(15oz)can kidney beans

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

Cook bacon in dutch oven on medium heat until browned.  Add in onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in garlic and cook for another minute.  Then raise heat to med-high and add in meat, cooking until browned.  Add beer and cook until reduced by 1/3 ( about 10 minutes).  Stir in chili powder and next 5 ingredients ( through tomato sauce).  Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Then add in beans and cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.  Then voila, chili is ready!  I sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and serve with warm corn bread. Mmm Mmm good!  You can also spice it up by adding some red pepper flakes. 

Do you have a favorite chili recipe? Please share! I love to try new ones and it seems everyone has one they LOVE.  Also, what are some Halloween traditions you do?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Stay warm tonight:)

Pumpkin Patch

We decided to end our “Pumpkin Week”  with a trip to the pumpkin patch.  What a blast we had!! If you live in the Noblesville area you should defintiely check out the Stonycreek Farms Fall Festival: hayrides, corn mazes, playgrounds, bounce houses, and all the yummy fall foods you could imagine!  Grandpa and Nina were up for a visit from North Carolina and were able to join in the fun!  Here are a few pictures from our fabulous day!

Walking in with Grandpa and NinaImageImage

Liesel spotting our “Prize Pumpkin”ImageImage

Having fun on the hayrideImage

One of my absolute favorite family photos to date:)Image

From Pumpkin to Pie!

Pumpkin Pie is by far my favorite fall dessert! I would not want it every month of the year, but September through November I am all about the pumpkins: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, and of course pumpkin pie!  This year I decided I wanted to try making pumpkin pie from scratch, yes, no cans were involved ( well except the milk).  It was also the start of “pumpkin week” for Liesel school and I thought what better way to kick it off than a trip to the farmers market to get ourselves a sugar pumpkin?!

After buying our pie pumpkin it was time to get crackin’! First stop, was finding a recipe;)  I found one that was on a website from a pumpkin patch. It sounded like my Grandma herself had written the recipe, so down home, I just couldn’t resist giving it a try. You can find the original recipe at pickyourown.org.

Here is my slightly altered  recipe, I changed a few things and followed a different crust recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 1c sugar
  •  1.5t ground cinnamon
  • 1t ground cloves
  • 1t ground allspice 
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2t vanilla
  • 3lg eggs
  • 1can evaporated milk

Crust:

  • 1 1/4c flour
  • 2 tsp sugar ( optional)
  • 1/3c butter
  • 4-5T cold water

Now for the baking to begin. First, take your pie pumpkin and cut it in half. Scoop all of the seeds and stringy goop out.Image

Then place pumpkin halves in a baking pan face down.  Put the pumpkin in a 350 degree oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft on the outside.Image

After the pumpkin has cooled ( I let mine sit out for about 20 minutes) scoop out all of the insides and place in a food processor or blender.  Mix into a puree and set aside.Image

After your puree is finished, it is time to make your crust.  I actually doubled my crust recipe so that I could have plenty of dough to play with and make a nice tall and thick rim. I froze my remaining dough. For the crust, mix flour and sugar together. Cut in butter pieces with a pastry cutter.  You want the consistency to be that of small pebbles. Now, add cold water one tablespoon at a time until the dough is moistened and easy to work with.  Place dough on a floured surface and roll it out until it is big enough to fit in your pie pan. As a side note I used 3/4 of my doubled dough recipe.Image

I placed my finished crust in the fridge while I mixed the pie filling.  For the filling, mix all your ingredients together. It is really that simple. Then pour your filling into your pie crust and place in a preheated 425* oven.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn your oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45-60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Here is a picture of my finished product, oh my did our house smell amazing!Image

Let your pie cool and serve with some whipped cream!Image

So delicious.  We were having small group bible study at our house that night and everyone enjoyed a piece of my first-ever-from-scratch pumpkin pie. I do not think I will ever go back to the canned stuff and neither will you!!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making my own laundry detergent is something I have always wanted to try.  A few of my friends have been making it successfully for a while now and they are all loving the results.  I decided once my most current laundry soap ran out, it would be time! I was so excited when I used up my last drop of Tide a few weeks ago.  Luckily it happened on a day I was planning to go grocery shopping anyway.  I excitedly put all the ingredients to my potion, er, laundry detergent on my list and off to the store I went! I found the recipe I wanted to try on a favorite blog site of mine, blissfulanddomestic.com ( she has AWESOME ideas on saving money, definitely check her out!).  The recipe caught my eye because first of all you only had to spend $20 at your local grocery store and second of all she claims it will last you 8-9 months!( I will see if that holds true for our family because I feel like we are going for a world record on the amount of laundry we go through in a week:))

Off to the store I went and was happy to find all of the ingredients easily and was shocked that I spent only $18! Thank-you Kroger for your amazing deals.  Here are the ingredients you need:Image 

  • 4lb box of Baking Soda ( found down baking isle)
  • 4lb box of Borax ( laundry isle)
  • 4lb box of Super Washing Soda ( next to Borax)
  • Oxi-Clean ( this is optional I only used a 1lb box)
  • 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap ( found down laundry isle)

Using a cheese grater I grated up the 3 fels- Naptha bars, funny how it actually looks like cheese!Image

Next, I located a large trash bag and poured all of the ingredients into it.  I alternated pouring the ingredients into the bag splitting each container into four parts. That way I ended up having 4 layers of combined mixture.  Once everything had been emptied into the trash bag I cut a small hole in the bottom corner and pour into containers.   I used some containers I found at the dollar store to hold my soap.  I was shocked that these ingredients made roughly 7 quarts worth of detergent!Image

I was now officially in business! I have never been so excited to do laundry!!  For small loads I use only 1 Tbsp worth of detergent and 2 Tbsp for larger loads ( like towels etc). The oxi-clean came with a perfect soap measurer so that is what I have been using.  My first few loads have come out wonderfully! No residue, extremely clean, and smelling wonderfully! I have used the detergent on my whites and darks.  I am not using it on the girls clothes yet, mainly because a Cosco crazy friend of mine ( you know who you are;) ) gave me two gigantic containers of Dreft that I have yet to make a dent in. Once those are used up I absolutely plan on trying it on the girls clothes. 

I definitely recommend trying this recipe. It is ever so simple and will save you a ton of money.  Even if it doesn’t last the entire 8 months you will still be saving a lot.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

School is now IN SESSION

The teacher in me could not wait any longer.  Mommy Preschool ( or Liesel school as Liesel refers to it) is officially in session!  We are now three weeks into our 26 week journey.  Sure, we have always been busy learning new things, but now I am using a more preplanned format.  Liesel is loving it and I am loving being able to get my teacher creative juices flowing on a more regular basis!!

A friend of mine shared her blog with me a few years ago called preparingforschool.blogspot.com.  I quickly saved it knowing full well  I would come back to it one day with my own kids.  I roughly follow her outline for the 26 weeks and add in my own thoughts and ideas.  Her blog has been great to draw from, so definitely check it out! Each week Liesel learns a new theme, vocabulary word, color or shape, number, letter and poem.  I display the six different areas on a poster board that stays up for the entire week.  Every afternoon when Liesel wakes up from her nap she gets this shocked and excited look on her face when she sees the new addition to our weekly poster ( this age is the BEST).  Here is a picture of a completed poster. Image

Through arts/crafts, music, literature, movement, sensory, and technology I develop mini-lessons for Liesel to complete each day.  I know Liesel is only a little over 2 years old, but she is the perfect age for “Mommy School.”  Her mind is a little sponge soaking up all the information I can give it!  I am excited to see where our 26 week journey will take us.  Here are a few pictures from our ” Apple Week.”

Liesel’s finished apple craft      Image

To learn the square shape we used shaving cream on the table to trace and draw.  This is a great way to get your table nice and clean:)             Image                 We also went on a square hunt all through the house pointing out the different objects that were squares. Liesel had a blast!

Here is a picture of Liesel and our friend Ben,who comes to play a few times a week, decorating their number one. Image
Practicing letter A writing and coloring apples.Image I used the website starfall.com for Liesel to watch some little videos on the letter A.  They also have great print outs to color and trace.

Eating one of our Apple snacksImage

Some of the books we read throughout the week were, ” Ten Apples Up on Top” by Theo LeSieg, “Apples” by Gail Gibbons, and “The Apple Pie Tree” by Zoe Hall.  We sang numerous “apple” songs and learned the poem, ” Way Up High in the Apple Tree.” We ended the week with a trip to the Apple Orchard ( although we could not pick apples, Liesel still loved it).  With the apples we purchased Liesel helped to make apple pie and applesauce.  Such a fun week!!