Tip Tuesday – Cold Drinks In A Jiffy

Every so often company just pops in. Some times we have refreshments ready to go, and other times we don’t. It’s hard to keep all of your beverage options in a fridge. It just takes up too much space. If you have last minute company or just need a round of drinks for yourself, try this tip for cold drinks in 2 minutes.

Place your drinks in a large pot and cover with ice. Sprinkle 2 cups of salt on top of the ice and then fill the rest of the pot with water. Your drinks will be ice cold within 2 to 3 minutes.

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Food Friday – Quesadilla’s

Need an easy dinner for Friday night? Here’s a great idea! How about a quesadilla bar? Save all your leftover meat from the weeks dinners. Chicken, pork, beef…anything will work.  If you want to spicy it up, cook the meats in a little taco seasoning when reheating. Place the meat in individual cups and let your family members create their own delicious quesadilla. You can use a quesadilla maker, a frying pan, the microwave or large counter skillet to heat them up.

Have a fun Friday!  O le’

 

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Thrifty Thursday – Dryer Sheets

Stop buying dryer sheets….That’s right, just stop.  Did you know that a simple ball of aluminum foil will remove static from your clothes? It will, and it’s reusable. Just ball up some foil and throw it in. Reuse over and over for static free laundry.  If you want an extra softener, try soaking a rag in your liquid softener and letting it dry.  Throw the dry rag in the dryer with the aluminum ball for extra softness and smell. Reuse the rag until no longer effective. You should get several loads out of this. Re-soak and dry again!

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Tip Tuesday – Travel Tips

The kids are finishing up school and it’s time to vacation! We have put together a few tips that will help your trip go smoothly.

1. Keep it to 3 oz. Lotion, toothpaste, shampoo etc… all need to be in 3oz. containers for airport travel. This does not mean you can have 3oz. left of a 10oz. container.  The container must be 3oz.

2. Spill proof liquids – Of course you should separate those liquids in a plastic bag, but you still don’t want any spilling out in the bag. Remover the lid, place a square of plastic wrap over the container, then screw the lid back on. Now your items won’t spill even if the lids pop open.

3. Bring you’re own treats – This seams like a no brainer, but most of the time we bring the typical fruit snacks and crackers for the flight or drive. Most theme parks will let you bring food in. Buy something special and different like Mickey themed cookies or candy and stash them in your bag for later. Then when your child wants those specialty gummies or cookies you’ll have a special treat that they will love.

4. Make travel fun – There are several expensive travel size board games you can get and of course there is always the hand held video games, but we have a new idea….and its free. Create a scavenger hunt for your kids. It can be road trip or airport themed. Make the list long and you’re kids can be entertained for hours. Don’t forget one for the ride home!

5. Traveling with a large group? Take some walkie talkies! Its saves you on phone minutes, it’s free, and its fun. The kids will love it and it’s a great way to stay in touch with other members of your group.

6. Take a mini first aid kit – Use a small make-up bag and grab some band-aids, aspirin, triple antibiotic anointment, chewable pepto tabs, and ALLERGY medicine. Even if you or your kids don’t have allergies, sometimes traveling to a new place bring runny noses and itchy eyes.

7. Ponchos??? Yes thats right. Vacation doesn’t stop when it rains and even the warmest climates get summer storms. Ponchos at your favorite theme park cost $10-$30! Ponchos from your local store cost $1-$5. Grab a few and throw them in that diaper bag or back pack.

8. Cash – Although most places take a card. There will still be times when you need cash. You will need to tip staff and servers on your vacation. You want enough cash that you don’t have to go to the ATM, but not so much that you feel nervous to carry it. Spread the money out amongst the group. This way you have money even if the unfortunate event of a lost wallet occurs. Also be sure to scope out you current bank or credit union locations. Even if there aren’t branches near by, your bank might have partners that prevent very high unwanted fees if an ATM is needed.

9. Bring your water bottle. You can bring your own water bottle into almost any venue. Save money and the environment by refilling. If you can’t find a filling station, often times food stands will refill your bottle with ice and water for free.

10. Bring more than one pair of comfy shoes. You may have a favorite pair of tennis shoes, but after walking in them at a park for 15 hours you’re feet are going to hurt.  Alternating shoes every other day will help keep your feet happy. For women we suggest keeping a pair of ballet flats or flip flops in your purse or bag. Slip them on in the restroom at dinner time and give your footsies a break for an hour or so.

Happy vacationing!

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Food Friday – Cinnamon Almonds

Every time you walk into a movie theater, fair, carnival or mall you smell them…..cinnamon almonds! The small is delightful. After your free sample of ONE nut, you decide that you might buy a whole bag. Then things comes to a screeching halt as you learn the nuts are $5,$8, $12 dollars…..What! Well we have the solution. We found a great blog that has a recipe for cinnamon almonds you can make right in your crock pot. Make a batch and throw them in your diaper bag or purse. Now you can have this tasty treat anytime.

 

 

Crock Pot Cinnamon Sugar Almonds
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredient’s
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • ⅛-1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk egg white and vanilla until frothy.
  3. Add almonds to egg mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Add coated almonds to sugar mixture and toss to coat.
  5. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray and add almonds.
  6. Cook on low (lid on) for 3½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes (Important!)
  7. At start of last hour, add ⅛ cup to ¼ cup of water to almonds and stir thoroughly. You want the sugars to look slightly syrupy.
  8. Spread onto wax paper or parchment, breaking up any large clumps, and allow to cool.
  9. Store in airtight container.

 

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Thrifty Thursday – Save Your Food and Freeze it!

It might be obvious to freeze meat that we aren’t ready to use or even a pre-made dinner like lasagna, but eggs? There are a lot of foods in your fridge right now that can be frozen if you don’t need it right away. Don’t let it go bad, FREEZE IT! Here is a list of items that you can freeze so they don’t go to waste:

1. Nuts – No special preparation needed.  Just place in a bag or jar then let them hit room temperature before eating.  If using for baking, just pull straight from the freezer and mix. No need to thaw.

 

2. Eggs! – Beat and place in zip lock bags. You can also use an ice cube tray to separate. 1 egg per cube makes measuring easy. Freeze in trays then put into bags for later use.

3. Bread – Our mothers and grandmothers did this for years. Bread did not always have the shelf life it does now. Whether your bread is homemade or store bought, throw it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months!

4. Butter – No special instructions. Just freeze.

5. Buttermilk – Sometimes you just need a little. So pour the remaining buttermilk into your ice cube trays in 1 tbsp increments. Then toss in a freezer bag for later.

6. Herbs – They seem to go bad much quicker than other veggies. Use what you need for your dish then store away for the next meal. When thawed they won’t make for a great garnish but will be fine for cooking.

7. Fruit – Berries and bananas are best for freezing. Bananas go black and sometimes we are not ready to make bread with it. Thats ok! Just throw that ripe banana right into the freezer peel and all. Remove and let thaw at room temperature when you’re ready to bake. Berries simply need to be washed, cut, dried and bagged.

8. Yogurt  - No trick. just freeze for a tasty treat.

9. Soups, Sauces, Broth – Leftover soups and sauces are easy to freeze and make great leftovers for lunches. Don’t waste the broth or drippings for your chicken, turkey or roasts. Measure and freeze it for a natural and money saving broth for future meals.

10. Pancakes/Waffles – Stop buying the freezer waffles and cakes. We know they’re convenient on those busy mornings, but a little planning will save a lot of money. On a Saturday or Sunday morning whip up a batch of pancakes or waffles, but make enough for the entire week.  Bag the extra and throw them int he freezer. They can still go in the toaster or microwave each day before school.

Hopefully this will save you a little on your grocery bill!

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Tip Tuesday – Flip Flop

It’s summer and time to break out the flip flops….but let’s not break out of our flip flops! If you have a pair of flops that popped their top and lost their flop, try a bread tab to keep that toe holder in place. Just place the tab around the neck of the tow holder on the bottom side of your shoe.  This will help keep the band from pulling through.

 

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Food Friday – Picnic Season

Tis’ the season to have a picnic! Picnic’s can be fun but they can also be a pain if you aren’t prepared. Here are some tips to having a greet picnic and some recipes for your picnic food courtesy of  ”nature box”.

1. If you have a picnic basket with plates and utensils, use it. It makes your picnic more elegant and saves you the trash clean up.  If you are using plastic or paper ware, be sure to remember to pack a small trash bag.

2. Make picnic friendly foods. Items that need to stay very cold, very hot or tend to get soggy will spoil the fun.

3. Bring a good blanket to sit on. Often times park grass is wet.  A blanket with a water proof backing will ensure dry bums during your feast.

4. Be prepared to be outside. Don’t forget sunscreen, wet wipes, a hat and sunglasses.

5. Have fun! Picnic’s aren’t just for eating. Bring a frisbee, kite, ball or book and enjoy your day outside.

For a few great sandwich and salad recipes, visit Nature Box http://blog.naturebox.com/tagged/sandwiches

 

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