Homemaking 4 My Guys

Thoughts on Homemaking, Saving Money, Faith, Family & A Life Worth Living

Meal Planning

OHRMThis weekend Brenda and I had the honor of spending some time with military wives and soldiers who have been blessed with child at A Star Spangled Baby Shower hosted by https://www.facebook.com/OHRockyMountains.

Brenda and I both have been military wives and know the sacrifice of these wonderful women.  We thank them for their family’s service and sacrifice in defending our freedoms.  We thank you.  I huge thanks to Nina and her staff of volunteers who  made this fun pampering event happen.

Brenda and I talked a bit about some money-saving ideas/tips.  One of the things we shared was regarding making a meal plan each month.  This simply put is making a list of the meals you would like to make for the week, every two weeks or monthly, whatever works best for your family. I did our family’s while on a drive from our community to another one weekend.  Next I got through and list the ingredients I will need to make these meals.  Once that is completed, I cross off any ingredients I already have stocked in the kitchen and freezers.  Lastly I either make a neater list of what is needed at the grocery stores or I can use my crossed out list of needed ingredients.  I personally like to make a new list and categorize them by the store I will purchase them at based on the best value I can get.

We already have the supplies for each meal in-house and can pull whatever is need prior to the day it is prepared.  We have personally learned the value of doubling or tripling a meal our family enjoys.  We do with everything from meatloaf and Salisbury steaks to pasta sauces, chicken pot pies to various casseroles.  With the extras, place in serving size containers or zip lock backs and throw in the freezer.  This is so nice in the weeks to come.  For every time this is done we have two extra meals already made and we can just continue to rotate them through over the next few weeks.

We have learned meal planning saves us time, at the grocery store but also at home because we already have prepped so much of our ingredients.

We definitely save money since we are making fewer trips to the grocery store and therefore not buying as much.  Grocers want in there their stores as often as possible.  Most of us do not  go in and pick up just that loaf of bread or the gallon of milk we need, we usually add extra items to our cart.

The lack of stress is wonderful.  It is so nice to know we have everything we need in-house for whatever we decided to have that night.  If you do some freezer meals or preparatory pieces it is great to be able to pull that and defrost in the fridge and them whip up in a few minutes when it is dinner time.

Meal planning for us has also become a way to combat spending money at the last-minute with eating out or purchasing ready-made meals at the last moment when a day has been extremely busy or stressful.  It has also been a saving grace when Mom goes down sick or has to be out-of-town.

The Mastering-Meal-Planning-class-handout is some wonderful information we had gathered from Kelly over at http://www.thenourishinghome.com.  Check her blog out 🙂

Check out http://www.operationhomefront/rockmountains.net as well.   They are doing some awesome work with our military families.  Consider joining them as a volunteer.  You will be blessed by it.

Have a wonderful week,

Marilyn

 

Powdered Laundry Soap

 
Last nigSONY DSCht my friend Brenda was blessed to share with some women last night ideas for saving money.  Sorry I was unable to make it as well.  I so would have loved to share with you as well.
 
 Some of the women were asking for a powdered version of homemade laundry soap.  So here it is ladies, from http://www.diynatural.com
 
Homemade powder laundry detergent recipe
This powdered detergent recipe requires just three simple ingredients and takes only a few minutes to make.

Detergent Recipe

Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load).

Ingredients

1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) of shaved bar soap (a homemade laundry barDr. Bronner’sIvoryZOTE, or Fels-Naptha)

1 cup of borax

1 cup of washing soda

Directions

Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes and enjoy the results! You can take this a step further and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor to create a powder that will dissolve easily even in cold water. (Just be sure to let the dust settle before removing the lid of your blender or food processor so you don’t inhale the fine particles.) Store in a sealed container with a small scoop.

To Use

Use 1 Tbsp per load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads).

http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-soap/

 
 

 

Budget Saving Tips

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Tips for saving $$$

Make a monthly menu plan.  This is huge, make a list of all ingredients needed, check and see what you have in your home already.  Make a list of the items you do need.  It will blow you mind how much this cuts down on the grocery bill
 
Shop loss leader items
 
Stock up on sales
 
Make your own laundry soap and cleaning products (super easy and cheap!!!)
 
Cook and debone your own chicken breasts in a crock pot.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and whatever herbs you like and make great health stock at the same time
 
Prepare your own mixes: spices, biscuit/Bisquick, muffins, cookie dough, marinara sauce
 
Parboil potatoes, peel and shred then freeze for hash browns
 
Blanch/freeze diced vegetables once a month for economical, fast and healthier options when cooking
 
Buy meats on last sale date, big savings
 
Buy cheese in bulk store, grate in food processor and freeze (much cheaper and healthier than buying pre-shredded)
 
Share a membership to a warehouse store with a friend.  Every membership has two access cards.  Split the cost and reap the savings
Make it a practice to double your recipes and put 1/2 of each in the freezer for another day
 
Get together with some friends and each of you make a few of the same recipe and then swap them out so everyone takes home a few new dishes to try
 
Shred zucchini in the summer and fall months, bag and freeze for making breads, muffins and cakes with in the winter and spring.  Do the same for bananas as the start to brown for same purpose
 
Got picky eaters, cook vegetables and them puree them with the some of the liquid cooked with and pour into ice cube trays. 
 
 
Once froze, place in freezer storage bag.  Add to recipes and your loved ones will be none the wiser but will receive the nutritional value
 
Take chicken broth from cooking chicken in crock pot and place in ice cube trays.  Once froze place in storage bag/container.  You will always have broth at the ready that is health and very low in sodium but high in flavor
 
Make your own baby food, cook fruits, veggies, meals and desserts.  Puree in blender then freezer in ice cube trays.  Store in plastic bags.  Defrost as needed.  Not only is this a cheaper option, your child is developing a taste for the foods your family eats
 
Cook big batches of rice and place in containers and freeze.  You can pull it out and thaw before usage.  A great time saver.  DOES NOT WORK WELL FOR PASTA
 
Precook hamburger with onions, garlic and peppers, then freeze in serving size baggies/containers for quick usage
 
Grow your own vegetables/herbs either in a garden or in containers
 
Turn the heat down when not at home or at night
 
Sign-up for daily updates on free or reduced e-books (if you are a Kindle app reader)
 
Use a crock pot, microwave or grill to cook as much as possible
 
Dry clothes outside on a clothes line whenever weather permits 
 
Your oven and dryer are your two largest electricity consumers  as far as appliances go

 Websites that I frequent or follow, many cover multiple areas listed below:

Recipes/Cooking

http://www.budget101.com

http://www.grocery101.com

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com

wwwfavfamilyrecipes.com

http://www.chocolatechocolateandmore.com

http://www.myrecipemagic.com

 

Frugal Living/Make Your Own

http://www.budget101.com

http://www.theprariehomestead.com

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com

http://www.thethriftycouple.com

http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com

http://www.staceymakescents.com

http://www.passionatepennypincher.com

 

Christian Living/Wife/Mom Stuff

http://www.timewarpwife.com

http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com

http://www.unveiledwife.com

http://www.club31women.com

http://www.homewiththeboys.net

http://www.mobsociety.com

http://www.thebettermom.com

 

Free Educational/Homeschool Stuff

http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com

http://www.smartappsforkids.com

 

Christian E-books

http://www.gospelbooks.com

http://www.vesselproject.com

http://www.christianbook.com/page/ebooks/free-ebooks?view_all=1

 

My contact info  

Website:  www.homemaking4myguys.wordpress.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/homemaking4myguys

Pinterest:  www.pinterst.com/homekaking4myguys

Email: homemkaing4myguys@yahoo.com

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions I can address or research for you 🙂

Blessings, Marilyn

Hooked On Phonics

4391If you have an IPad or IPhone you might want to check this out:

Hooked On Phonics Learn To Read Classroom Edition app, regularly $49.99 is free today only.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hooked-on-phonics-learn-to/id806401149?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Skinny-Baked-Mozzarella-SticksOur youngest son has a love affair going on with mozzarella cheese sticks.  As they tend to be not only expensive but very bad for us I was excited when I received this post from my friends over at http://www.budget101.com.  They posted it from  http://www.skinnytaste.com.

If you have a membership to Sam’s Club, they are by far the cheapest place to buy string cheese.  Make my friend Jen’s marinara sauce (or pull it out of the freezer, if it is already made) and you have one amazing snack or appetizer.  Now we can enjoy this yummy snack with a little less guilt.  Gotta love that!!!

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 2 pieces • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 2 pts*
Calories: 86.8* • Fat: 4.8 g • Protein: 7.4 g • Carb: 3.5 g • Fiber: 0.2 g • Sugar: 0.2
Sodium: 168.6 

Ingredients:

  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese (Sargento)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray (I used my misto)

Directions:

Cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Place cheese in the freezer until cheese is frozen.

In small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour on another small dish. In separate bowl,combine bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried parsley.

Dip the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then coat with the crumbs.

Repeat this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden).

When ready to bake preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.

Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and bake in the bottom third of your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 4 – 5 minutes watching them closely so they don’t melt.

Makes 24 pieces.

* There will be extra crumbs and flour after breading, I’ve deducted them from the nutritional info.

Snapfish Deal

For all you Snapfish fans out there, here is a terrific deal for you courtesy of Passionate Penny Pincher

 

I love this deal!  Download the free Snapfish App and get 100 free 4 x 6 prints each month for 1 year, when you head over to iTunes or Google Play.  This is a total of 1,200 prints in all!

You’ll receive credit when you login to the app, after the download.  Then, each month, you’ll automatically receive credits for 100 free prints (you don’t need a code).  In addition, you can use promo code APPSHIP right now to receive free shipping.  Love it!

We Still Do

We Still Do (2)Today is the day I pledged my life to a dashing young military man with a tender heart, wicked quick wit, beautiful eyes that talk to you and amazing legs :).  The future was bright and clear.  We were young, innocent and naive’.

Here we are 29 years later. Those roads were not always bright and clear.  There have many twists and turns:  nearly loosing Brett in a military accident a few months after we married, military life, loosing our first child in miscarriage, being blessed with the our first son, stresses the nearly tore us apart, Brett’s return to college, finally coming home to our roots, having two more  boys, learning to and still having to navigate in the disability world in order to help one of our sons, trying to find jobs with stability, benefits and pay, w e moved a number of times before finally settling in and planting roots.  All in all, normal life stuff.

We have been blessed with three wonderful young men.  It has been rewarding to watch our boys grow and become young men who love and follow Christ.  Our lives have been enriched with family, both genetic and spiritual, as well as friends.  The Lord has provided work that my husband loves and excels at.  He topped that sundae off with a rich hot fudge, known as an amazing boss and friend for my husband.  I have been blessed to spend the majority of our years at home being a wife and mom, which is my joy.  We have an amazing local body of believers to serve in, to love and to be loved by.

God has been so very good to us, so much more than we deserve.  We truly would not be celebrating this day, this anniversary without Christ being the center of our home.  He is the glue that has held us together in both the good and the difficult times.

I can assure you, I got the better deal.  I am however, very thankful for Mac’s patience, his faithfulness, his leadership and his love.

A number of years ago, we received these words from Family Life Today.  I want this said about us:

We Still Do 
Is there anything more beautiful than a young boy and girl clasping clean hands and pure hearts at the doorway of marriage? Yes!!
An even more beautiful spectacle is an old man and woman finishing together on the same path were their journey began.  Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped.  Their faces are seamed, but still radiant.  Their hearts are worn, but still devoted.  Yes, more beautiful than young love is old love.
 
On the back side:
  • How can we truly embrace, enjoy and preserve such a holy, awesome promise as our marriage covenant?
  • Realize our marriage is a reflection of the character of God and not the convenience of our culture.
  • Accept our spouse as a gift from God and as part of His good plan for us.
  • Build an enduring legacy that lasts for generations.
  • Repent of our lax attitudes toward divorce
  • Go the distance!!
                   Pray together every day as a couple
                   Solidify our vows by signing a marriage covenant
                   Help others keep their covenants
                   Do what we promised in our vows

Jen’s Marinara Sauce

My friend Jen is half Italian.  She learned how to make this marinara sauce from her family.  It is amazing.  I like to use it not only for pasta dishes like spaghetti and lasagna but also as pizza sauce.  Jen uses this with her meatballs (which are widely known and coveted in our community) for meatball subs.  
 
Thanks to her hubby,Brook, for allowing us to share in wealth while watching football.  You’re a jewel too.  Love ya friends.
 
It is very economical to make.  Much cheaper than purchasing pre-made sauce, better for us and quick as a lick….
 
Keep it handy, you will absolutely love it!!!   Printable version here: Jens Marinara Sauce
 
Ingredients
 
1 Jumbo can Tomato sauce (restaurant size from Sam’s Club or Costco)
Minced garlic (to taste)
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon Olive oil, divided
1 or 2 large cans tomato paste
1 large onion
Basil (to taste)
parsley (to taste)
 
1. Pour tomato sauce in large pot or crock pot.
2. Sauté garlic in 1  teaspoon olive oil in pan.
 3. Once garlic is tender add garlic to sauce then add tomato paste to pan garlic was cooked in and sauté until sauce is orange.
4. Add tomato paste to sauce in pot and mix well.
6. Blend in 2 tbsp. olive oil.
7. Peel outer skin of onion and cut ends off.  Float onion in large pot of sauce.
 8. Add basil, parsley, olive oil, and paste/garlic mixture to large pot and simmer for a while or overnight.
 
Place marinara sauce in containers,  freezer.  Use as needed.

Bacon Cheddar Soup

As promised, here is one of our favorite soups-Bacon Cheddar Soup.  Click on the following to print the pdf recipe:Bacon Cheddar Soup

Bacon Cheddar Soup

 

1 lb. bacon

 

1 lg. onion, chopped  (can substitute onion powder)

 

4 cloves garlic, chopped (can substitute garlic powder)

 

2 cups chicken broth (can use all chicken broth)

 

2 c. milk, half and half, or cream (can use more or less milk/cream for creaminess preference)

 

4 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed

 

salt and pepper to taste

 

1 teaspoon thyme

 

1 lb. cheddar cheese

 

1 cup sour cream
Fry bacon, onion and garlic until bacon is cooked and onions are clear, drain. 

 

Add chicken broth, milk and potatoes.  Cook until potatoes are soft. 

 

Add salt, pepper and thyme.  Stir in cheddar cheese and sour cream.

 

Serve immediately.

 

Great with fresh French bread or Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread.

Bacon Cheddar Soup

Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread

bread-garlic-cheesy-recipeJust found this yummy recipe via Crock Pot Moms on Facebook.  I can hardly wait to make this.  
 
We love Hasselback potatoes.  So I can just imagine what the bread will taste like.  Check it out.  Pretty simple recipe.  If you are not a bread maker, use some frozen bread dough.  
 
Click here to print recipe in a pdf format:  Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread
 
 
It is snowing at my house right now, I think this would go great with some homemade Cheddar Bacon Soup (recipe to follow).  
 
Guess that is my cue to get busy.  
Enjoy, Mare
 
http://goodiy.blogspot.com/2014/01/hasselback-garlic-cheesy-bread-recipe.html
 
You will need:
warm water;
honey;
dry yeast;
bread flour;
salt;
olive oil;
plastic wrap;
whatever type of cheese you prefer;
half of cup of garlic butter;

You start by making the dough of this soon-to-be delicious bread. Take one envelope of dry yeast and mix it in a bowl with a tablespoon of honey and a cup of warm water. Add three cups of bread flour and a teaspoon of salt, and continue the mixing process until your dough does no longer stick to the bowl. Pour a little bit of the olive oil on the edges of the bowl where your mixture is. Leave it to rise for an hour in a towel covered bowl. After this, remove the dough from the bowl. Cut into two same-size parts and shape into a pair of baguettes. Don’t be afraid to twist the dough as it will look interesting after you’re done; it’s useful for the other ingredients as well.

Now, while you leave the dough covered with a plastic wrap in a warm place, preheat your oven to 400″ Fahrenheit. When half an hour has passed, take off the wrap and put in the oven for 20 minutes or so at 350″.
 
Meanwhile, slice the cheese into slices (they should be very thin!) and slowly melt half a cup of garlic butter. With the help of a kitchen brush, cover the entire bread (remove from oven to work with it better) with butter. Put to bake for another 10 minutes or until the bread reaches a tasty golden brown aspect.
 
Let it cool for 15 minutes and then make slices with a knife through the bread. Make sure you don’t cut all the way to the bottom. Use these spaces to put in the cheese and some more garlic butter.
 
Place in the oven a bit for the cheese to melt. They’re ready to serve. Delicious!

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