Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sweet Popcorn Mix

My kids have a 4 day school week here in Parker, so on Thursday nights I try to let them kick back and relax and not worry about homework since they don't have school on Fridays.  I made up some popcorn and tossed in some candy corn, perfect for Fall, and will turn on Gilligan's Island...a favorite show of theirs.  Pretty simple snack, and inexpensive as well!  Double bonus! 

What fun quick snacks do you make?

Thrifty Thursday - Homemade Bread

I don't know about you, but I get tired of going to the store and buying bread.  It's the cost of it, and sometimes the taste, that gets to me.  I pack my kids lunches each day for school (there's another Thrifty tip: pack your kids lunches!) each day and so it requires quite a bit of bread.  I have tried making bread from scratch without much success.  Until now!  I love this recipe that I found in one of my cookbooks: Powder River Pantry.  It's a speedy dough recipe that is used for dinner rolls or donuts, but I wanted to give it a try and make bread with it.  Perfection!  And it's not the typical 5 million hour process.  It makes up two loaves that will last a little longer than one loaf from the store.  And...the kids love it...and the crust!  If you can get a kid to love bread crust, you know you're on to something grand.  They always say, 'Mom, we love your homemade bread!'  That pleases this Momma for sure.  I've listed the recipe and broke down the estimated cost for you.  Seriously, you can't go wrong.  Enjoy your simple bread making time and cut off a warm slice for yourself and smear it with butter.  You'll never look back.

Speedy Dough:
2c. warm water
1/3c. sugar
2pkg or 4 1/2tsp yeast
1Tbsp salt
2c. flour
2 eggs
1/3c. shortening
5c. flour

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast.  Let set until yeast is dissolved.  Add salt and 2c. flour.  Beat with mixer.  Add eggs and shortening and beat 1 minute.  Add in 5c. flour (more if still sticky) and beat gently at first and higher later as flour gets incorporated.  When dough is mixed and not sticky, let stand for 20 minutes, covered.  Split dough into two greased loaf pans, cover and let stand for 20 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until top is a nice golden brown.  Take out of oven and spread butter on top for a nice glistening look.  Cool.

*I use my Kitchenaide Mixer with the dough hook and it works wonderfully!

Brakedown Of Cost:
Flour: 50 cents
Eggs:  20 cents
Sugar:  25 cents
Water: 0
Shortening: 25 cents
Salt: 5 cents
 
Total for two loaves of homemade bread:  $1.25!!
*estimated costs

I am sure when you go to purchase your next loaf of bread, you'll choke at the price and remember that you can make homemade bread for over half the cost.  Plus, there are no preservatives in this bread!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial - Baby Minkie Ribbon Blankie

 I have been wanting to use minkie fabric for some time now and found the cutest idea!  This is a Baby Minkie Ribbon Blankie.  The fabric is so soft that I have heard babies love it and it becomes their favorite blanket.  

To Start:
cut two squares of minkie, 14"x14"
cut 3 different ribbons, 8 strips from each ribbon at 4" long
*I chose to use 3 different ribbons, you can choose as many as you'd like, just make sure that there will be 6 ribbon strips for each side.
above you see the 14" square minkie and the ribbon strips
 These are the ribbons I chose.  Super cute, don't you agree!!?!!
 And another look at the 14" square minkie (remember to cut two of these!)
 Fold the ribbon strips in half and pin to the right side of one of the minkie squares.  Pin a little higher than shown here so that when you start sewing and turning the blankie around, the pins won't be sewn into it.  Just a little tip I learned while making mine.  6 ribbons per side.
 When you have all the ribbons pinned to the sides, lay the other 14" minkie square on top, wrong side showing, as pictured above, and pin the sides together.
 Leave a good sized gap not pinned so that when you are done sewing your blankie together, you can turn it right side out.  Maybe 6 inches or so.
 Blurry picture, but this shows the straight stitch around (1/4" stitch) and then I went back around to zig zag to reduce raveling once it starts to get washed.  Also, snip the corners, being sure not to snip the straight stitch.  This helps make pointed corners instead of bunched up corners.  Once this is done, turn it right side out and sew a straight stitch along the very edge of the blanket to secure the gap you left for turning around and to secure the blanket  more.  Do this straight stitch all the way around.
 This is it!  Isn't it cute!  These are perfect for gifts for sure. 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, September 23, 2013

September Winner!!

The Winner of these two adorable fat quarters for September is Loann!  Congratulations and I will get these shipped to you soon!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thrifty Thursday

I've been thinking over starting a weekly post on Thursdays called 'Thrifty Thursday'.  I want it to be about things I've found at great prices or other ways to save money.  So, today is my first day to post 'Thrifty Thursday'!

Yesterday I went to a nearby town to visit a friend and she brought me to their local thrift store.  I love thrift stores because you never know what you will find!  In the back was a section of fabrics and I was able to score these two pieces at great prices.  As you can see from the tag on the flower print fabric, it came to $9 but I only paid $2!  It is well over a yard of fabric.  Probably a few yards of it here.  And then the fun piece in front cost me a mere 50 cents.  There's not a lot of it, but enough for at least a cute pillow front.  I was a happy shopper and will definitely go back to see what else I can find.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chickens!

We purchased baby chicks shortly after we moved here.  Like a week. Ha!  Seriously.  Never had chickens before, but I've always wanted some.  Are they for eggs or for eating?  Eggs.  Thus, we have 'layers', to be more accurate.  Not broilers (for eating).  I'm getting the lingo down, can't you tell???  Anyway... our chickens are growing up and have gotten big enough that they are now 'free range' chickens, which means they are not fenced in at all times.  We let them roam our yard and they help us by eating the weeds and the bugs.  Just don't watch them eat the bugs, it'll turn your stomach.  So, the brave girls have now found a favorite roosting spot, which happens to be my nice outdoor furniture.  Ugh.  They sure look pretty on it, don't that?  I think they do, until I got closer and saw that they poo all over it.  Grrr...  I'll get over that, but the second they wander into my front yard and eat my flowers they might become broilers instead of layers. Lol.  They are actually quite fascinating to watch.  They aren't scared of much, but when they do get spooked you will see them all running for the coop.  Which is just hilarious to me!  I love looking out my window and all of a sudden the nice calm chickens that were in search of food all high tail it to the coop.  Too funny!  I am eager for them to get a bit older to start leaving eggs for us to go gather, but in the mean time I enjoy fresh eggs purchased from our neighbors (our neighbors live a mile away!  That's how it works out in the country...your neighbors live further than two steps away.)

How about you?  Any chicken stories, or other animal stories on the ranch, farm, or in town you'd like to share? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial - Fall Wreath Under $3!

 This is such an easy wreath to make and it costs next to nothing, which is always a plus for me!  First, I went out to my yard and picked up fallen sticks/twigs and also cut some off of a partially dead bush out front.  We moved here in July and there are some trees that need some trimming, but in the meantime...I can utilize the sticks for projects! Works for me.  The amount of sticks/twigs doesn't matter.  You choose how thick you want the wreath to be and how long you want the sides to be.  I made mine in a rectangle.
 This was the most expensive part of this project.  I spent a whole $1.59 on this twine at our local grocery store.  Mind you: I was way impressed that our store had this! 
 Next I laid out the twigs into the shape I was looking for and matched up lengths of the twigs.
 And now the twine... Start by wrapping it and tying a knot around a corner of the wreath.  It's kind of frustrating, but you'll get it done quickly.  After the knot is tied, start wrapping it in and 'X' formation around the corner.  Do this to all four sides.  Tie it in a knot to secure it.
 Like so...
 And so...  Now you can see the wreath and all it's straggly branches.  Time to get out your heavy scissors or wire cutter and trim it up to how you want it to look. 
 Like such...  
Since it is a 'Fall Wreath' I went and found my stash of wooden letters and spelled out 'Fall' (that's the other cost in this wreath, I'd say maybe 50 cents worth...maybe).  Painted the letters green and let them dry.  In the meantime I went to my fabric stash and found some orange fabric strips from a jelly roll I used in a quilt.  Perfect for Fall.  I sewed a straight line down the center and then pulled the end strings to 'gather' the fabric. 
 I then tied that orange fabric onto the wreath and glued (with tacky glue) the 'FALL' onto it.  I tied another smaller orange fabric strip at the top to hang it up with.  And there you have it, folks!  A cute, inexpensive, Fall Wreath for your door.  Oh, and speaking of doors...
Behind my cute wreath is my ugly door.  Lovely, isn't it?!? Ugh.  That's another project to get done in this house (among many, mind you!)  So, stay tuned to see what color I paint this door!  I am super excited about it!  And excited about my wreath!  Go have fun making your own!  

Happy Fall, Everyone!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yard Sale SCORE!

A friend called me up yesterday and let me know that a few miles away was a huge yard sale.  You fill a grocery sack with what you can stuff in it and pay $3/bag.  Deal or What!?!?  So, after running a few errands this morning I headed East of town and found the yard sale.  Tons of items there.  I spent a good hour or so looking through and filling bags.  I filled 5 bags and had two items for 50 cents each on the side.  Total:  $16.  Can't beat that, can you!  Most of the 5 bags were filled with clothes for the kids.  Man, am I excited when I can get name brand clothes for next to nothing!  Now I get the fun of washing :)  

What kinds of deals have you found lately?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial - Jean Purse

 Aren't these the cutest jeans??  We were at my brother and sister-in-law's this past Spring and my niece gave these jeans to Tayler.  Super cute!  But, the girls got a hold of a scissors and cut holes in them to be 'in style'.  So, I decided to make a cute jean purse with them.
 I love the detail on the pockets!
 See the nice holes??  Ugh.
 I wanted to keep all of the pocket so I cut a little below it to allow room for the seam allowance.  Do this to each leg.
 Now you have cut offs :)
 Turn them inside out and pin them together.  Be sure to not sew the pockets into the seam.
 Stitch a straight line.
 Now zig-zag below the straight line to keep the jean from raveling.
 Find a cute fabric and cut it to the width you would like for the handles.  I found this blue and red fabric in my stash from a jelly roll.  So, this handle is 2 1/2 inches wide.  The length of the handle is your choice as well.  Sew a straight line down the side of it, leaving both ends open for turning right side out.  Zig-Zag.
 Pin the handles to the inside of the jeans.
 Like so...
 I stitched a square in mine.  You can stitch an 'X' if you like, or however you want to secure it to the jean.  Do this to all four ends of the handle.
 Like such...
And you have yourself a super cute jean purse!  I live that the tags still show.  The pockets are perfect for phones, pens, lip gloss and more!  Now you know what to do with all those old jeans in your kid's closets!