Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mama Knows Best: Using those Christmas candies

We as mamas have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Some how we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed.... sanity!

If you have ever read my blog , you will probably know my hate of waste. I was confronted with this while taking down my decorations this week. I found myself with a whole lot of leftover Christmas candy.

I certainly did not want to throw it out!! (Hello Expensive!) But I also didn't want to display red and green wrapped candies in my kitchen either !!! So, here are a few things to do with those Christmas candies!!

** Melt the solid chocolates and drizzle over store bought (or homemade!) cheesecakes. You can make anything prettier and tastier with chocolate drizzle!!!

** Use your Hershey kisses in cookies. Here is a good recipe! I also found a yummy Hershey kiss Brownie recipe.. chocolate on chocolate... now that is what mama is talkin about!

**Use your nougat candy bars. Take 4-6 apples and chop them. Chop the candy bars you have left. Combine chopped apples and candy bars and top with whipped topping. You will be surprised how good it is. (And its practically a fruit, right? )

** Last but not least those M&M's !! This mama separates the candies by color. I put the red in a ziploc bag and the green in one. I use the red For Valentines day M&M cookies and the next month I use the green for St. Patrick's day cookies. (Or you could just give the bag of green ones to your hubby for Valentines day... I'm just sayin....) Here is a great recipe for the cookies.

M&M Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture. Blend well. Add 3/4 cup of M&M candies.

Drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 9 to 11 minutes, to your liking

Do you have a money/time/sanity tip to share? E-mail me at

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Party for Kids....

We have a tradition in this house for New Years. We don't get out.

It used to be romantic take out and a movie with my hubbie. Then it was trying to juggle the baby with sneaking in a midnight kiss. Now it has morphed into a wonderful tradition that is simple but we love!

We order some take out Chinese, put on party hats and blow noisemakers. (Yes, I have a bottle of advil on standby. ) We drag out the beanbags, make popcorn and watch a special movie. This years selection is the never seen Bugs Life. A little candy may even exchange hands.....

After the kidlets are in bed (There bed time is still 8...even as the new year arrives. I am mean like that. ) Hubbie and I snuggle in for a movie of our own, usually void of animation and alot of furry animals.

I won't lie. We almost never see the New Year come in. We are parents. We are tired.

So in honor of the New Year I thought I would list some ways that you could party down with your little one! HAPPY NEW YEAR Y'ALL!!1

* Bake a cake

*Have your little ones dress in their play dress up clothes to spice things up. Cowboy and princess anyone?

*Have the kids make "resolutions" in which you write them down. (You know so you can laugh about it later ...)

* Have game night

* Drag out the sleeping bags, even for mom and dad and have a "camp out" in the living room.

* Make calendars with stickers, construction papers and maybe some pictures of when they were little.
* Make our own noisemakers. (See instructions below)

Noisemakers - Because we need more noise, right?

Take an empty toilet paper tube. (Or better yet, cut one of those Christmas wrapping tubes into pieces. )

Cover one end with heavy paper or construction paper and secure with tape.

Fill with beans or rice.

Cover the other end with the same paper and secure with tape.

Have the kids decorate their noisemaker with stickers, markers or anything else you can find!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Making a list, checking it twice!

So during the Christmas season, I am like every other mama..... busy! By the end of the season I am ready to pack it all up and do what any good house mama does...make my hubby put it in the crawl space! I enjoy the holidays to the fullest but when its done, I am done!

Last year, I tried something new and it worked so well I thought I would share!

As I was packing up my boxes, I kept a little notepad with me. I quickly jotted down things that I had run out of, needed or would like to purchase for next year.

( In previous years I would sit down to wrap only to find that I was totally out of ribbon, bows,tap and tags. I would have to go to the store and pay top dollar prices which was very aggravating!)

Last year I wrote down what supplies I was out of. I also noted that I would like a swag over my front door and I needed a little something for a candle. I tucked the list away in my planner.

A couple weeks later I was at JoAnn's and found all my items for 90% off! It saved me a ton and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't need much at all this year. It worked so well I decided to do it again!

Sure my hubby gave me the look when I came in the door with Christmas January. He quickly pulled it together when he realized how much I paid. (Under $10!!)

And that works for this mama!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eat From the Pantry Challenge!

Money Saving Mom is starting a GREAT idea with an eating from the pantry challenge!! Since I have plenty of surplus, I have decided to take this challenge and get a little creative!

I am a recruited stockpiler from my best friend and has been couponing and stockpiling for about a year now. When my hubby built his 6th shelf to hold the stockpile, he gave me the look. I then stopped going to the grocery store for the next 2 1/2 months. (Except for Eggs, milk and fresh fruit and veggies.) I have to tell you that I was shocked that not only did we have delicious dinners and meals but I enjoyed the break from shopping in general.

Not to mention the savings...

It also forced me to use up ingredients that I had shoved in the back of the freezer, cabinets and pantry. It felt good to know that nothing was going to waste. It also made me think outside the box with recipes that I had never tried!

So I am going to throw my hat into the ring and take the challenge. In January we are finishing our basement and I am all about organization. I want to focus more inward then shopping so its perfect timing!!!
I will post updates and recipes along my journey. Will you take the challenge??

I was already perusing my shelves yesterday, mentally gearing up. I saw a bottle of ranch dressing, a frozen pizza crust, a skillet steak I have had frozen since... well I don't quite remember. In my fridge I have an onion that was diced and a whole green pepper that needs to be used.

Friday night is pizza night in this house so this is what we will be doing!

Philly Steak Pizza

Saute sliced onion , green pepper in a TBS of olive oil. Saute until tender crisp.

Add thin slices of skillet steak (very cheap steak!!) until browned to your taste.

Take your pizza crust (homemade or frozen like mine) and spread ranch dressing to taste.

Add sauteed mixture and coat with a healthy amount of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 425 for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on how hot your oven is.

Menu Plan Monday: Simple is my middle name!

I am so excited for the new year of Menu Planning! (Ok.. so I know its still 2009, but still.... ) This year I am going to be trying to eat healthier, plan ahead and use simple recipes. I am ashamed that I "fell off the wagon" with my meal planning and it cost me. One of my goals for the new year is to also make 1 freezer meal per week. (One that I can double, eat that night and freeze one for later.)

For this week, I am sticking to simple. I am still in holiday mode and still busy with family so I thought I would do myself a favor and keep it simple! Hope you have a great New Years!!

Monday: Grilled chicken over a bed of rice, Broccoli,

Tuesday: BBQ Pork chops, Mixed veggies, crescent Rolls

Wednesday: Leftover Pot Pie (See Below)

Thursday: BBQ pork/cheddar quesedillas, salad

Friday: Making pizzas and salad at home with kidlets! (Including a Philly Steak Pizza - see tomorrows post!)

Saturday: Take out Chinese - Happy New Year!

Sunday: Leftover Buffet - If its not movin, you can eat it !

Leftover Chicken Pot Pie

Leftover chicken or turkey, diced

Leftover vegetables

1 can cream of chicken soup

Prepared gravy mix

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into pan. Cover with biscuits. Cook until brown.