Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday: Baby Clothes

I've learned an important lesson since having a preemie - you do not need a million clothes for a baby. We were expecting a fairly large, full term baby so I only had 0-3 month clothes on hand. His big brother barely fit into newborn clothes so I didn't bother picking any up. Surprise!, little brother decided to come early and newborn clothes are still a little big on him. My mom ran out and bought us 5 sleepers and several onesies. Since we tend to do laundry very often with a newborn, this has been plenty. Yes, it does get old dressing him in the same thing everyday but he is actually getting some use out of his clothes rather than getting to wear them once or twice before growing out of them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eli has arrived

Our second son decided to come early and was born at 2:36 am today. For being exactly a month early, he is healthy and did not have to spend any time in the NICU. We are praising God for this. We still need a middle name but his first name is Eli. He is 6 lb 2 oz and 18 1/4 inches.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Life Must Go On

So, where have I been lately? I've spent every free moment on eBay. I mentioned a few weeks ago that my job was dwindling. Well, I lost it a day or two after I posted that. That same day my dad decided to buy the inventory of a cell phone accessory business off Craigslist. Being newly unemployed, I jumped in and helped him take inventory of it all and now I'm working my way through posting it all on eBay. I've sold on eBay before but never had a store so there has been some learning curve to it. I have a system down now though and it is going much quicker. Although I've barely sold anything, I have high hopes as there is still a ton of inventory left to post. If you are in the market for cell phone accessories, check out Daily Connection, our eBay store. If you do not see what you want, feel free to email me and I will see what I have in inventory. This is a very time consuming venture but I think it will run smoothly once I get it all up. And no, this isn't a cureall for my job loss but it does help fill the void while waiting for the little one to arrive.

Speaking of which, he may be here sooner rather than later. I'm currently 35 weeks along and I'm already dilated. I was a week late and barely even dilated at all with our first son so this was a shocker. I'm trying to take it easy these next few weeks so our little guy can at least make it to 37 weeks. My super long to do list before the baby comes will most likely not be accomplished and now I'm trying to figure out what is really important on it. Luckily, I have great friends and family in the area who are helping us out with getting things done and keeping our first son occupied so I can rest and try to keep the baby cooking a bit longer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Friday: Honey Mustard Chicken

This is a very easy meal to keep in the freezer for those nights when you are short on time or simply do not feel like cooking. Since we are a small family, I usually divide this up between two Ziploc bags so I can get two meals out of one recipe. My husband will only eat drumsticks so I use both thighs and drumsticks and almost always use bone-in because it is cheaper.

My Chicken Thighs (aka Honey Mustard Chicken)

1/2 cup honey-flavored mustard
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs, about 12-14 pieces

1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first 3 ingredients, shaking well to mix.

2. Add the chicken pieces, turn to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning the bag occasionally (if freezing, stick in the freezer once marinated, no need to stick in fridge first).

3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Coat a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the bag with tongs and place skin side up in the pan. Discard the marinade.

5. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, until the chicken is tender.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday: Time Management

Do you always feel like there are more projects to do than hours in the day? I know I do often but what works for me is detailed to do lists. I've always been a huge fan of the to do list, but recently I've been putting every little detail on the list. I find I can get twice as much done if I write it down. It clears that space from my head which allows me to focus on other things. I also tend to write a day or time of the week next to it so I can plan my week. Things do not always get done on that day, but it helps to somewhat organize the chaos.

My other time management tip is to just do it. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. My son does not play on his own for long, but I can usually get a few 10 minute stretches at a time each day. I try to tackle one thing from my list at that time. It always feels so good once I get something marked off the list and sometimes he even offers to help out once he is done playing.

What are your favorite time management tips?

Home Depot Garden Club

Gardening is one of my favorite pasttimes but I have a ton more to learn about the process. I've been part of the Home Depot Garden Club for awhile now and I've learned several helpful tips from it. I've also received some great coupons from the newsletter. Click on the box above to sign up today for this free club.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Food Friday: Strawberry Cake

In honor of my birthday today, I'm going to share with you one of my favorite cake recipes. This comes from a relative who brings it to every single family get together. We have been known to send her home if she shows up without it. I haven't made it enough times to perfect it but it comes pretty close. I have learned to use the full fat ingredients if I want it to taste the same. It is still good with reduced fat/reduced sugar ingredients, but it isn't the same.

Strawberry Cake

1 box white cake mix
3 Tbsp sifted flour
1 small box strawberry Jell-O
1/2 cup frozen strawberries (partially thawed is best)
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
2 sticks butter

Mix dry ingredients, then add other ingredients and beat in mixer. Cook 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees in a well greased and floured angel food cake pan. Let cake cook before icing.

Strawberry Icing

1/2 box powdered sugar
1 small cake cream cheese (I think it is 4 oz)
1/2 stick butter
enough frozen strawberries for correct consistency (partially thawed works best)

Mix together until a medium consistency (slightly runny but not too much)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthday Specials

Tomorrow (Friday) is my birthday and I think I've hit jackpot on free birthday food this week. Throughout the year, I've signed up with several of my favorite restaurants for their birthday specials. Half of them I forgot about but the free offers started rolling in last week and they continue to. Heather at Freebies 4 Mom has a great source of birthday freebies here. Check it out and sign up to get free food on your next birthday.

Another great freebie right now is from Krispy Kreme. This Friday is National Donut Day and they are giving away free donuts. I've been telling everyone they are giving them away in honor of my birthday. My favorite junk food growing up was a fresh donut so it is only appropriate for National Donut Day to be on my birthday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday: Menu Planning

Menu planning can be overwhelming at times, but I find when I don't plan, we don't eat well. I wind up relying on fast food or we eat too much junk unless I plan. Everyone has a different planning style but here is what works for me:

1. Ask the family if there is anything they are hungry for or anything they do not want that week. Sometimes this will fill the majority of my week with little effort, sometimes it doesn't help a bit.

2. Dig through my cabinets and freezer and see what I need to use up then search the internet for a recipe.

3. Go through my recipe binder and see what appeals to me. This one works the best when I'm in a rut. I have a 3-ring binder where I stash all of the recipes I print off the internet or find in a magazine. Most of the recipes are stuffed in the pockets and then every few months I sort them by category and put them in the appropriate section of the binder. I did that this weekend and I was amazed at how many yummy recipes I wanted to put on the menu in the next few weeks. In fact, I was able to plan for more than one week so that was nice.

How do you plan your meals?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cooking Spree

For months now, I've been in the mood to have a cooking day. It hasn't happened though thanks to a toddler who would rather destroy the house while I cook one simple thing. This weekend my in laws unexpectantly offered to take him away for a few days. I should really be spending the time cleaning my house but instead I spent today stocking my freezer for when baby comes. I've had a blast doing it, but I'm exhausted now. I plan to add several more things to the freezer before baby comes but those will not be done as a full cooking day, rather I'll make an extra dish while making dinner. For instance, meatloaf is on the menu this week so I will make two and freeze one. Here is what I made today:

Three Cheese Baked Spaghetti (made two of these)
Brown Bag Burritos
Pizza Crust
Challah Bread (ok, that one is for dinner tonight)
My Chicken Thighs (aka Honey Mustard Chicken - recipe to be given at a later date)
Fiber One Crunchy Fudge Cookies

I made the Fiber One cookies because the cereal was on sale a few months ago for next to nothing and I bought several boxes only to find out I didn't really like it. This recipe is yummy and very easy though so I plan on keeping the extra boxes around.

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