A Couple Contests to Share!

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Want to win a $30 gift certificate to Enchanted Forest?  Check out this blog post!

The Fluff and Stuff Shop is also having a contest to celebrate her son turning 1!  (Crazy!  I remember seeing this tiny little baby at our La Leche League meeting!  And know he’s walking!)  Check out her blog post on how to enter!

Good luck to everyone!  Who doesn’t like winning?!?

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Freezer Meals

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So on the weekend, I went on a bit of a cooking spree.  It’s been difficult lately to get supper done on time with the 3 kids (and 4-5pm  seems to be witching hour for the two little ones).   Yes, I stay at home with the kids all day, but as most SAHM’s can tell you, it doesn’t make it any easier to get supper on the table for 5:30!  So I decided to be proactive and make some of our meals in advance.  It did take a bit of work, but was worth it I think.  This way we’re less likely to get take out, or just to grab hot dogs.  This way I  can have some sort of guarantee that we can have a healthy supper without all the work on that day!

So here’s the list of what I did over the weekend.  Hopefully it gives you some inspiration to make your life a little easier too!

Saturday:

  • All I did on Saturday was made Italian Sausage and Tomatoe Rotini .  I was able to pick up a bulk package of Italian Sausage for under $10 (this makes 2 meals for us) so I made up one pan with the sauce so all I would have to do it make pasta and heat up the sauce on Sunday.  I also cooked up the other half of the sausage because it’s really difficult to squeeze sausage out of the casings with kids running around!  ps.  I would suggest sausage to anyone looking to mix up their meals.  I use it instead of hamburger in a lot of recipes.  Super yummy.  $$$ Trick:  Only buy the sausage in the casings.  Squeeze it out yourself at home!  It’s somehow cheaper I think.  Wanna get even cheaper?  Buy ground pork (or whatever meat you want)and make your own sausages!

Sunday:  (The crazy day!)

  • Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie Bags.  We got through a lot of smoothies and it’s such a pain to measure everything out.  And plus when J1 makes them himself he makes WAY too much and it gets wasted.  I’ve seen a lot of recipes out there that add sugar.  YOU DON’T NEED TO!!!!  Save yourselves the calories and add half of a very ripe banana!  Anyway, I made strawberry banana, peach mango strawberry banana, and raspberry blueberry.  So good!

 

  • Lean Hamburg Jumble.  This is from the books by Sandi Richard.  These are super helpful for anyone trying to get dinner done quickly.  I didn’t freeze the pasta in this dish, just did up the sauce (which is like a runny chili minus the beans).  When it’s time to cook it,  I just bring it to a boil, add my pasta, and cook until done.

 

  • Bolognese sauce from Rachael Ray.  I have her Yum-O cookbook and it’s really great.  The sauce is from what she calls rollover meals.  My kind of cooking!  Look on her site…I believe there’s some rollover recipes on there too.  This I doubled and have 2 bags downstairs.  I’ll either serve it with spaghetti squash, add beans and corn and make chili, or just over plain spaghetti.

 

  • Fried Rice casserole.  This is my moms’ recipe and I have no idea where it came from.  Makes a great fast lunch. It’s super easy:
  • 2C Rice (NOT INSTANT!)
  • 1C Celery
  • 1 Package Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 Can mushrooms (I hate canned mushrooms, so I chopped up about 6 or 7 and threw them in)
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 3 oxo cubes (See below)
  • 2.5C water (you can substitute chicken stock and not use the oxo cubes)
  • 2.5 TBSP soya sauce
  • 3 TBSP oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • You literally chop it all up, throw it in a casserole dish and bake it in the over at 350 for about 45min.  It might take a little longer or a little less. Keep an eye on it.  When the waters absorbed, it’s done.

 

  • The last thing I made were “granola bars”.  I got the recipe from Maggies Place back when M was little.  Super yummy and a nice little treat!
  • 2C whole wheat flour
  • 1C rolled oats
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1C melted butter
  • 1C brown sugar or honey
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1c chocolate chips
  • Mix all together and press into a cookie sheet.  Bake @ 375 for 10-15min. Cut into bars when cooled.

Here’s a couple of websites that I really enjoy to help with my freezer cooking!  If I can give you one suggestion though…make a small batch of something new, then make a couple batches of it to freeze.  You don’t want to be stuck knowing that you have 2 more meals down there waiting for you that you can barely get through.  The point is to save money and time!

The Fight Against Fabric Softener

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Way back when, when I was cloth diapering J1, we used Tide and fabric softener sheets for everything.  Including his cloth diapers.  I didn’t use the fabric sheets in his diapers, mostly because he had very sensitive skin.  In fact, up until he was almost a year old, I used Ivory Snow on all his clothes.  Never had build up in the diapers, they never smelled, and I can’t recall ever having absorbancy issues with them.

Fast forward 8 or so years and I was diapering M.  I used either Nature Clean or Sunlight for her diapers, and Purex for all our laundry.  I also put a fabric softener sheet in every load going into the dryer and liquid fabric softener in our regular laundry.  Well.  Her diapers SMELLED BAD!!!!  They were so gross.

So I started researching and the first thing I came across was that I shouldn’t be using fabric softener.  Not just in her diapers but everything!  Did you know that fabric softener sheets coat your dryer!  I actually read that it could take a couple of loads without the sheets to rid the dryer of the coating.  This coating was covering her diapers, making them less absorbent and making them harder to clean.

This got me thinking.  If those little, innocent looking sheets were coating my dryer and then in turn coating fabric in another load, what was it doing to our skin?  J and D both have very sensitive skin and my skin is pretty temperamental.  So we gave ourselves a week to try cutting out fabric softener out of our lives.

You know what?!?!  Our skin stopped itching and M’s diapers stopped smelling.  And our clothes were still soft!  We don’t need the fabric softener!  In the winter and I know I’ll be hanging the load of laundry up inside, I will sometimes throw some vinegar in the rinse cycle, but the stiffness is nothing 10-15 min. in the dryer can’t fix.

I know what you’re thinking….what about static?  If you’re putting the clothes in the dryer and they are coming out full of static, chances are you’re OVERDRYING your laundry!  If you hang up your laundry, you shouldn’t have issues with static.  If you still feel the need to dry your laundry in the dryer for a full cycle, get some dryer balls.  I’ve seen them at the dollar stores.  Or you can buy more expensive plastic or wool ones.  Just know you will need more than two.  Four to six should cut it.

Yes, our laundry doesn’t smell like a field of flowers or newly fallen dew.  (You know, yours doesn’t either!)  But it’s just as soft as yours!  And with all the Scent Free places now and so many people sensitive to scents (this author included), that extra step is unnecessary.  We don’t have static, our laundry is not wrinkly, and it doesn’t smell dirty.  We’re used to it know and can still smell a scent.

I want to share this link to let you know what’s in your friend the fabric softener bottle/sheet.  Just so you know.

After all these years of no softener, we don’t miss it at all.  In fact, when I walk by someone who uses it, or by a house that has the dryer running and I can smell the softener, it’s too much.  Makes me ill.

So here’s another link that you can try if you really feel the need to add to your wash routine.  But it’s really unnecessary.  So save the money that you used to spend on crap for your wash and go out and buy some natural fibre clothing!

A Few Things I Found This Week

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I thought I would share a few nifty tricks I learned this week that I thought some might like.  I hope you enjoy!

  • A recipe for Febreeze.  Take a peek around her website too…there’s lots of ways to make your favorite name brand items for much cheaper!  Even cheaper then the generic brands!
  • Homade Whipped Coconut Oil Cream.  Rub it all over your body!  So rich and creamy…makes me wonder why I never thought of this myself.  But a little warning: A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY!!!   This will basically turn to oil as you are rubbing it all over yourself, so be careful!
  • Homade Taco Seasoning.  Control the salt and MSG in your diet!  All items can be bought at your local Bulk Barn and her website is fantastic as well!

I also wanted to share a couple seed suppliers that I am in love with: Annapolis Seeds and Hope Seeds.  Both companies are from here in Nova Scotia and have some delightful seeds that are making D and I really wish we had an acre or two to try them all!

Enjoy the weekend!  Try to enjoy the snow!

What’s for Supper Tonight!

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In January, D and I decided that instead of buying our meat from the grocery store, we  would join a meat CSA from Nature’s Script Farm.  This way we could give our kids the best meat that we could afford.  No hormones, free range, just plain good for you meat.  We chose Nature’s Script because we have had their meat from the Farmer’s Market and it is heaven in meat form!  So yummy!

Well, the downside is that a share is not enough for us to get through for 2 weeks.  But instead of going out and buying meat from the grocery store, we would try some vegetarian recipes to help fill the void.  Don’t get me wrong…$1.99/lb hamburg still is picked up with pleasure, but we’re trying to cut costs!

I had tried this recipe for Pasta e Lenticchie a few months ago and most of us loved it.  J1 despises legumes of any sort, but the pasta helps hold him over.  While not completely vegetarian, the bacon adds that meat flavor that we crave with our supper.  You can get parmesan rinds in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store, but we buy the real cheese and save the rinds in the freezer.  Yes, that tiny triangle of cheese costs way more than the stuff in a container, but we use less because you get more flavor!  Win win!

What’s going on the table at your house tonight?  Any recipes to help this momma out?

Moving Back!

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Hi!  So I’m moving back from the other blog, http://newanduseddiapercompany.wordpress.com/.  I hope to see some people follow me!  If you are looking for the diaper information that I had posted about before, just click that link and you will be able to see it all.  I will still be writing about diapers here from time to time, but will also be other information on a frugal lifestyle and other family related things.

Feels good to be back!

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