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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Snowmen!!


 I must admit - I have the worlds best hubby. He's really stuck by me with all of my crazy ideas this year to have a "Homemade Christmas!"

Today's post is 2 x 4 snowmen. I found them on Keeping it Simple last year, but by then it was too late to make them - but I KNEW we'd be making them this year!!

This project cost us a total of $1.04!!  We had ALL supplies on hand and only had to buy the orange paint for the noses. Even the 2 x 4's were given to us: my mom and dad had new steps made and my hubby tore apart the old ones to use for projects.

Alright - wait....I guess they cost us closer to $4 - the cute scarf was actually a table cloth that I had found on clearance last year for $2 - down from $20 or $30. I had no clue what I was going to do with it - but couldn't pass up the price!


Of course, we changed things up a bit.

When hubby was constructing these, he screwed the 2 x 4's together rather than using the glue/staple method mentioned. We painted on the nose (we don't own a cricut, as the original instructions suggested using) and I didn't sew the thumbs on the gloves - tucking them in worked really well.

I can't wait for Christmas - and to see the surprise on the people's faces that will receive all of our gifts!

Our whole gang - DONE!!
Make sure to check out other Handmade Christmas ideas:
Personalized towels
Aprons
Rubberband guns
Car roll

~Jessica

Linked with WFMW

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Reflections

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.  The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room.  Instead, the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.  As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.  When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.  After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest.  When the sun came up the next morning, the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears.  Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. 

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how he could have let this happen?  The first man had everything, yet you helped him, he accused.  The second family had little, but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied.  "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall.  Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it.  "Then last night, as we slept in the farmer's bed, the angel of death came for the farmer's wife.  I gave him the cow instead."

"Things aren't always what they seem."


--Author Unknown--
 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?  

~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reese's Cookie Bites

These little cookies were super easy to make! Grab a bag of Reese's candies and unwrap - cut in half.
Make (or buy) pie crust. Roll out and cut into circles.

Place 1/2 a Reese's in each circle. Fold as shown. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake until browned.



*You could also substitute any one of the flavored holiday kisses ... yum!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Reflections

Monday - Wash Day

Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.


Tuesday - Ironing Day

Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.


Wednesday - Mending Day

O God, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example
for others.


Thursday - Cleaning Day

Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart. 


Friday - Shopping Day

O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.


Saturday - Cooking Day

Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with the  clean, sweet bread of human kindness.


Sunday - The Lord's Day

O God, I have prepared my house for you.  Please come into my heart as my honored guest so I may spend the day and the rest of my life in your presence. 


--Author Unknown--

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saving Money - On Lunch!

I'm a poor college student and a mom of five. We are living on one income. This doesn't leave much wiggle room in the budget. It has taught us to be super-frugal and we try to save money at every turn.

One of the easiest ways we have found to save money is this: when I have classes, clinicals or labs, I bring my own lunch. Easy. A friend owns her own Thirty-One Business and she had offered a 50% off item that someone hadn't used - so I got one of their cool, monogrammed lunch bags! This, paired with the CrystalWave Lunch' n Dish with Cold cup that my friend that owns a Tupperware Business gave me for 50% off allows me to take lunch and save a LOT of money over going out to eat or buying from a vending machine.


This is what I do: while I am making lunches/suppers over the course of the week, I figure out how many days I'll be gone for the next week. Towards the end of the week, I decide what I want to take and just pull the CrystalWave plates out and fill them up. The night before, I grab my Thirty-One bag and put the CrystalWave plate right in it, along with my drink, silverware and napkin and I'm ready to go! In the morning, I only have to remember to grab the bag out of the refrigerator - easy!

~Jessica


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  

~Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ice Cream Pumpkin Pie

Oh yes - it's as good as the title proclaims - maybe even better!

The background: a few weeks ago I went to our local Dairy Queen to pick up some birthday cakes for the girls....and had a pumpkin pie blizzard - YUMMY!! The lady said: oh yes, we also make them into ice cream cakes (for $25 - $45, folks!!) - and proceeded to tell me HOW!

Well, last night I finally got the rest of the ingredients to make this - my way, of course!

Ingredients:
2 graham cracker crusts
1 box (mine was 1.75 quarts) of vanilla ice cream
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 can (small) pumpkin

Mixing all ingredients
Mix pumpkin, ice cream and pumpkin pie spice together and pour into crusts. Freeze.
Decorate with: sprinkles, cool whip or whipped cream, chocolate syrup and/or crushed Nilla Wafers - make it YOURS!!

My cost was $2.00 - all I had to buy was the ice cream....but even if you bought the rest of the ingredients....I suspect the cost would be well under the $25-45 price tag!!

"Finished Pie" - minus the decorations!

The kids LOVED this ice cream pie - and didn't even wait for me to add any decorations!!

~Jessica

Linked with WFMW

Friday, November 11, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Personalized Towel

This project was quick and fun - and easy to customize or change up too! I went and bought a towel - any towel will do! I had this cute Cars material on hand, so I measured about 12 inches up and the whole length across the towel and sewed it on. Done!

If I have time, I may sew on appliques like I did on the bag from this post. The child's name or initials would be neat! How about a pink or purple towel with princess material? Or even a matching hand towel and wash rag?

This particular towel goes out to a boy that shares the same birthday as my 3 year old daughter....I hope he'll like it!!

~Jessica

Linked with Frugal Friday

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.
 
~Doug Firebaugh

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Christmas: Aprons!!


We LOVE the Montessori Child Apron pattern! First off: it's free! Second: it is an apron that a 2+ year old child can put on themselves. The top features elastic, so they slide it over their head - the normal "tie" in the back is replaced by Velcro - so they truly are able to do it "all by myself."

The fabric I choose here was actually "scraps" from my mother-in-law. She had sewn scrub tops and bottoms and sold them out of her home and craft shows for years. There were always bigger pieces that she could utilize that she would give to me. This apron will be going to a nephew....boys can wear aprons too - especially if they're patriotic!

~Jessica

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meals for the Week

My mother is concerned. Concerned that readers may think that my main meals (that I post here, on Monday's) are ALL we eat.

Rest assured - that is not the case! I am only posting our main course for our "big meal" of the day (sometimes lunch, sometimes supper). My children eat breakfast every morning, fruits for snacks, etc. But the best example is this: Tuesday is Pizza night (my late-night at school). With our pizza we have: side salads, raw carrots, dip and sometimes garlic bread.

My hope is that by sharing my "main meal" that it'll give you some inspiration if you're in a food slump!

Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Creamy Potato Soup
Thursday: Soup-n-sandwich night
Friday: Poor man's lobster
Saturday: Grill food!
Sunday: New Chili recipe

~Jessica

 P.S. Love ya mom!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Reflections

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.


~George Herbert

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crock-pot Stew

One of the simplest stews that I can throw together is this:

*1 package of stew meat (I have my butcher chop some of my roasts into smaller pieces rather than one huge roast)
*peppers and onions (to taste)
*1 can cream soup with 1 can water

Mix well and throw it all in a crock on low. Done in 6-8 hours.

We like to serve it over potatoes or rice and with a veggie and side salad.

This also works well with leftover steak!

~Jessica

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.
 
~Lord Chesterfield

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cheesy, Creamy Potato Fries


When I first saw the picture for these fries, I was intrigued.  But they quickly became a family favorite. They are easy to prepare and are approved by all FIVE of my kids (no small feat!) and adults as well. I made these last weekend for a party and even though there was MUCH food served, there wasn't much of THIS dish left!

Cheesy, Creamy Potato Fries
*Potatoes, scrubbed and sliced - I used almost 5 pounds for my 9 x 13 pan
*Sliced onions, to taste
*2 cups whipping cream or whole milk
*Salt and Pepper to taste
*Garlic salt/powder to taste
*1 cup grated cheddar cheese
*1 cup grated mozzarella (or other!)
*Can also add to taste: peppers, ham, chicken, bacon....etc!!

Directions:
Cut your potatoes into strips and put in a 9×13 GREASED pan, add onions. 

Pour the cream over the top of the fries. Add salt, pepper, garlic and any other additions. Sprinklecheese over the top. Cover with GREASED foil (poke a fork through the top of the foil to allow a little steam to escape so the cream doesn’t boil over into your oven).

Cook at 400 degrees for about 1 hour 15 minutes (or until potatoes are tender).

During the last 15 or 20 minutes of baking, lower your rack one more step and take off the foil.  This bakes the top and bottom of the potatoes and makes them all brown and crispy!!

~Jessica

Linked with WFMW