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Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. each ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, powdered oregano, ground red pepper, and pepper.
1/2 tsp. salt

 

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Makes 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix, which is equal in strength to a 1/4 ounce package of commercial seasoning mix. This mix is easy and inexpensive to make and tastes great!
 *check out the sassy apron sold at a Common Thread
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Multi-family Rummage Sale

 When: Sat. July 5th

  

Where: Next to the Portal post-office, Highway 80

(formerly Midget’s Daycare)

Time: 8AM

Bag     sale     at    noon!!!

 

**Baby items, household, clothing, toys, outdoor, and more!!**

Just a quick reminder that tonight is Earth Hour at 8 pm local time. Don’t
forget to turn off all things electrical for an hour.

Save money and save the earth!


As a stay at home mom, I am always looking for culinary tips and tips to save money, too.  I found both at Kitty Tiger’s Kitchen.  I haven’t tried it yet. But, I am going to store it in my memory to try to remember the next time I have a recipe including milk.

Here the interesting cooking tip from Kitty Tiger’s Kitchen:

Cooking Tips
Dry Powdered Milk is great to cook with. It’s cheaper than regular milk. She recommends the Wal-Mart’s Great Value Brand for the price and taste!

I guess if you use dried milk you don’t have to worry about the hormones in cow’s milk or the estrogen in soy milk. But, then you don’t get the calcium either.  Hmm…I think I am working myself into another post. So, I will leave it at that — a good, money saving, time saving tip.

Maybe I should just get a box to have on hand — those days when I am low on milk. It would save a trip to the grocery, which technically would be saving gas money. Oh, this tip is working it’s way to being green.  Go little tip, go!

*Photo by jayfader on flickr

  Lilly came to visit last week while Amanda and Jon went to D.C. for the weekend. Actually, they went toJon’s sister Jessica’s wedding.  Four WHOLE days away from home. Lucky sister, right? 

Mom and I took the girls to Free Spirit Pottery one afternoon.  If you are looking for something fun and free to do in the ‘boro with small children Free Spirit  is a great idea. They give babies a complimentary plaque.  It is totally 100% free.  You can opt for a hand print or a foot print.  We were hoping for a hand print; however the girls had something else in mind.  After trying the hands a few times we finally surrendered.  We used their feet.  Apparently, after a certain age babies like to curl their fingers. 

You may think this would be a short trip.  Rather, it took us between 1 -2 hours to pick out the paint colors, try the hands SEVERAL times, get the girls painted and then washed, etc.  It was a fun afternoon!

Would You Like Some Paint on Your Face?

Lilly Gets Her Hand Painted.  Take 1.

 

Pressing Lilly’s Finger on the Plaque.  Take 2.

 

Okay. Okay, We Will Use The Foot.

Okay, I admit it.  It sounded too good to be true when Organic milk was advertised for $2.57 a half gallon sounded at Avalon Cow PortraitTarget

But on our last trip to Savannah, I bought it anyway.  I didn’t make a special trip. Rather, I picked up some with our other shopping.  It’s a deal, right? I was super excited to find an affordable brand of organic milk.  Horizon or Organic Valley is often $3, sometimes $4 per half gallon. Yikes!  “I AM a frugal mama. Yippie,” I rewarded myself.  “Good mama, good shopper,” I patted myself on the back. Then along comes this Associated Press article about how some store brand organic milk, including Target’s Archer Farms bargain basement buy, was not truly organic.  You WOULD know. 

Apparently, the organic milk in Target under its own label comes from Aurora Organic Dairy, which also supplies Wal Mart, Costco and Wild Oats with their store brands of organic milk. Earlier this year, there was some question whether Aurora was diluting the principles of organic agriculture in the interest of producing milk as cost-effective as possible.

The good news: at least according to the article, Aurora has made improvements. Both Aurora and Target defend the product as organic, noting the company was allowed to keep its organic certification.

It’s difficult enough for families to afford organic milk, which comes from cows that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics. When questions like these arise, it makes you wonder if paying the extra money and (literally in this case)  driving the extra mile is even worth it.

Do you buy organic? Why or why not?

You know I love little girl dresses.  When I received this, I knew I had to share:  Strasburg has free shipping and free gift this week!

Shop Online

Hand Smocked Dresses

Clearance

Store Locations


A last minute whim wrangled with us and won. Beatrice and I raced over to the Statesboro Regional Libraryto catch the Christmas Puppet Show!  The interactive show lasted about 15 minutes, which was perfect for the crowd.  The amused audience ranged from 6 month old babies to 12 year olds.  I saw Mothers, Dads and Grandparents. 

Beatrice pointed and laughed as we walked in the door.  Her laughter and smile made the effort of the  quick trip and the post-ponement of dinner worth every second.  In addition to the stellar puppetry, the library gave each child a book.  Wasn’t that nice? 

There is another show on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 from 10:30 – 11 a.  You should go. It’s a handout of fun and whimsy.  The merriment is gratis. You can’t beat that!

 

Sloppy Joe and Green Beans  Manwich
Supper was super easy tonight.  The menu:  Sloppy Joe’s, green beans and sweet tea (of course).  And, did I say hyper-sonic, lickety-split, like super fast?  Seriously, it took about 20 minutes…tops. Brian was running late from work.  More, we were in a rush to get to the Downtown Statesboro Christmas Celebration.  The recipe was perfect for the tight schedule.  

Sloppy Joe in the pan  

Quick and Easy Manwich Sloppy Joe Preparation

  1. Brown 1 lb. lean ground beef (or 3/4 lb. ground turkey) in  skillet until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Stir in one 15.5 or 16-ounce can of Manwich; heat through.
  3. Serve on hamburger buns.

Shizam.  It’s all done.  Yes, it is really that fast.  Brian is easy to please so it worked.  I don’t recommend it if you are in the mood for something tasteful and savory.  However, it is faultless in a pinch. 

If you are on a budget, I bet this meal is on the frugal list.  I bought the Manwich at Save-A-Lot so I know it was inexpensive.  I have never made a Manwich before as I don’t remember my mother EVER serving it.  But, I do remember the commercials from my childhood.  It’s a robust tasting, fun meal. 

Here’s the History of the Manwich:
Hunt’s introduced Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce in 1969. In the 1970s, the brand began using the slogan, “A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal.” Today, Manwich continues to be a family meal pleaser. “Make tonight a Manwich night!”

*Do you want to know more about the Manwich?  If so, click here.

*If you REALLY want to make a Manwich try Nicole at Pinch My Salt’s recipe.  Her post on the Ultimate Manwich make mine flale in comparison!  She’s cookin’ with gas, compadres.  Compared to her trophy Manwhich, Brian really got jipped.  Simply looking at the pictures of her Ultimate Manwich make my mouth water.

Have YOU ever cooked a Manwich?

Dream Pie  

This is all that is left of the Dream Pie.  Yummy!

Brian’s Dreams came true last night. I made a Dream Pie!  And, oh baby it is delicious.  It’s inexepensive, too.  I purchased all of the ingredients from Save-a-Lot.  Although, I do not know the exact cost of the dessert, I know it’s not much.  It’s light and fluffy.  More, you can make it in any flavor of pudding so it suits a range of tastes and tummies.  I think this would make a great summer recipe. 

2 (1 1/3 ounce) envelopes dream whip brand whipped dessert topping mix
2 3/4 cups cold milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 (3 1/2 ounce) packages jell-o brand instant pudding mix, any flavor
1 baked graham cracker pie crust
  1. Beat whipped topping mixes, 1 cup of the milk and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on high 6 minutes or until topping thickens and forms peaks.
  2. Add remaining 1-3/4 cups milk and pudding mixes; beat on low speed until mixed.
  3. Beat on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  4. Spoon into pie shell.
  5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  6. Garnish as desired.
  7. Store leftover pir in refrigerator.

*I made a lot of errors when I made this.  For instance, I didn’t have a graham cracker crust.  I used a crust that needed baking as I didn’t put it into the oven until I had made the filling.  Considering this, the filling had already begun to “set up” and the pie crust was warm.  Oh, and I used evaporated milk.  I didn’t “divide” it.  I don’t have any idea how to divide milk.  Uh, Chrissy-my-dear-cooking-friend can you help with this?  I used vanilla pudding — one fat free, one regular.  Even with all the diversions from the instructions it was really, really good. It is very sweet. This is not for dieters. 

You can vary the recipe to create a range of flavors.  For instance, you can use Oreo pudding with an Oreo crust for an Oreo Pie. 

The eagle has landed.  My camera is back in my paws. Yahoo!  First things first.  Boo wants a picture of my Christmas tree. She said that I can’t post an article about How to Decorate Your Tree Like a Designer or post that my Christmas tree is up, then not post a picture of my own tree.  So, here it is, Boo. Christmas Tree 2007 My camera’s back.  Mama’s snappin’.  And, no it doesn’t look like a designer tree.  In fact, we don’t even have all the ornaments on it yet.  Nor do we have a tree topper. None the less it was fun to decorate. 

Now our house feels christmas-sy.  I wish we could keep it up all year!

P.S.  Look closely, you can barely see Barry in the left hand corner of the photo.  Good ol’ Sandy Paws!

Here’s a few pictures of my pine cone tree…just for fun.  I made it at Mom’s Night Out last week.  

Pine Cone Christmas tree  Pine cone Christmas Tree side view

 

I haven’t forgotten about Operation Christmas Eco Challenge from my earlier post (read here). In fact, I found these ideas today at  www.martha.com

bd102572_1106_eco_gftopen.jpg

From:

Body+Soul

Given the time and thought that goes into picking a holiday gift, the standard wrap job — a rumpled bow slapped on a department-store box or a bag and tissue paper picked up at the drugstore — rarely does justice to the contents. But visual appeal isn’t the only reason to reconsider your wrapping habits: Americans spend an estimated $2.7 billion annually on ribbons, paper, and bows, and almost all of those goods wind up in the trash. This year make gift wrap that’s both gorgeous and green by creatively repurposing stuff others might toss.

Notes eco-stylist Danny Seo, author of the new book “Simply Green Giving”: “It’s amazing what you can find at Goodwill. Vintage fabrics, wallpaper, and sweaters all make great wrapping — just look for rich textures.”Sometimes,” he adds, “the wrap will serve as part of the gift, as in the case of a belt or scarf used as a bow. When you think outside of the paper-covered box, the options are endless. Read on for wrapping ideas as stylish as they are sustainable.

Natural
Birch bark and fresh leaves are surprisingly pliable; just roll and secure with twine. Find them in Asian markets and outdoors.

Clockwise from top left: Banana leaf with cinnamon, bamboo leaves with hemp twine, bamboo leaves with star anise, banana leaves with reeds, birch bark with a feather.

Fillers
Biodegradable stuffing cushions small, fragile items just as well as plastic bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts, a recycler’s worst nightmare.

Clockwise from top left: Used wrapping paper, shredded; unsalted peanuts in their shells; air-popped popcorn; a pine bough.

Cloth
In Japan, the art of wrapping gifts in cloth is called furoshiki, and it’s brilliantly ecofriendly. Secure open ends with a button, safety pin, or knot.

Clockwise from top left: Vintage scarf; burlap rice bag; wool scarf with a knitting needle; tea towel with rickrack; scrap from a vintage kimono.

Paper
Easy to find and work with, vintage and repurposed papers add pop to presents. Layer several colors and textures, or add vintage beads for a finished look.

Clockwise from top left: Vintage wallpaper; Chinese newspaper topped with colored paper; recycled map; grocery bag with Japanese beads.

Created by Donna Garlough and Lauren Sanders; photographs by Karl Juengel; styling by Dawn Sinkowski   First Published: November/December 2006

Still want more ideas?  Click my earlier post here.

Christmas always comes and goes as I get rather disgusted with the commercialism of the annual holiday.  My stomach gurgles with the thought of all of the overflowing trash cans the day after Christmas. You know what I mean.  I know you have seen all the cans lining the street with boxes, upon paper, upon, bows, upon mounds of trash.  It’s unearthly. It looks like Mountains of Rubbish have overtaken the flatlands of Georgia.  I can only imagine how much trash is created by the extravaganza. It’s such an eyesore especially as it reminds of how easy it is to get entangled with the season’s latest marketing ploy. 

This year, I have a dream.  I dream to be more simple, more green, more eco-friendly, and more frugal.  Considering this is Beatrice’s first holiday, I admit it may be difficult.  I accept the challenge.  My challenge to myself is to create less trash and give more gifts from the heart.  Those are the kind of gifts that I like to receive and to give.  So there, we have it. I will keep you posted from now until December 25th.  I will call it Operation Christmas Eco-Challenge.  Further, I will create a category to  file posts as I research and implement strategies. 

Here’s to a gift to Mama Earth this year. Less trash from the Hulsey’s!