Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Keep a tally

As we are saving up to purchase a new home, I have been keeping a detailed record of our monthly expenditures so that we have a very accurate figure for what we can afford, and how much we truly do spend each month. I have found this to be especially helpful in the grocery category. That is one of the few areas of most people's budgets that is not set it stone, leaving it easy to overspend. I have gotten in the habit of adding my total to the grocery column as soon as I get back from a shopping trip. Seeing the toal amount spent as we go through the month is helping me stay on track in this area.

What thrifty tips do you have to share?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Make This Monday - Cheese Enchilada Chowder

This got rave reviews at my house and is so easy to put together.

1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp chopped jalepeno
Several slices of onion
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
1 cup each of shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses

Add vegetables to crockpot. Combine enchilada sauce, soup, and milk in a bowl and pour over vegetables. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Stir in cheese until melted. Serve over polenta or with tortilla chips.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Rotisserie Chicken

Our family likes to have roasted chicken. But I don't like cooking it, and most rotisserie chickens from the store are small and pricey. I recently tried one from Costco and was impressed. $4.99 for a good-sized chicken. I don't think I would be able to buy a whole roaster for much less than that, and they do the work for me. We prefer the white meat, so I shred that up along with a little of the dark meat to stretch it a bit further. Then I use the bones to make my own chicken stock, further increasing our savings. I have also found that I can make gravy from the drippings at the bottom of the container. For all that I am able to make from one chicken it is really a good value.

Please feel free to share any of your thrifty tips!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Our dining room is carpeted. Not sure why the builder thought that was a good idea, but that's what we have to work with. Not the ideal set-up with two young kids. My youngest is still in her high-chair with a big rubber mat underneath to catch the spills. But it was still a pain to clean up after mealtimes until I bought a mini hand-held broom and dustpan at Target in the dollar section. Makes clean up much easier and my four year old can help. Works for me!

More WFMW here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Make This Monday - Cherry Cheesecake Muffins

Batter: 1 box white cake mix, 8 oz cream cheese, ½ cup sour cream, 2 eggs, ¼ cup sugar

Filling: 8 oz cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, 1 egg

Crust: 2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup sugar, 6 Tbl. Melted butter.

Additional: ½ cup cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat batter ingredients for 3 minutes. Beat filling until smooth.

Make crust mixture. Pour batter into muffin tins and top each with 1 tsp cherry preserves.

Top with some filling and sprinkle with crust mixture. Bake for 25 minutes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Family Fun Friday

This weekend we are having a lemon party. We'll be dressing in yellow, making lemon slushies, and crafting lemon trees out of felt.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blog Hop 2010

Welcome to A Bright and Happy Home! Thanks for stopping by! My blog is meant to encourage others (and myself) in creating a bright, happy place for their families. I like to share crafts, recipes and natural/frugal living ideas. Take a look around and I would love it if you could leave a note to say Hi!

Visit other bloggers at the Blog Hop 2010!

Repurposing burp cloths

When my babies were little, it seemed like we could never have enough burp cloths around. Now that we are out of the spit-up stage of life, I have come up with a few ideas for re-using the burp cloths and saving money in the process.

The heavy-duty flannel burp-cloths make great table-toppers for our oldest. I lay one down for a messy art project or messy meal, then just wash in my next load of cleaning rags.

The lighter weight burp cloths have been great for wiping my one-year-old's face and hands after meals. No more wasting money on paper towels.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Embracing It

We live in the southwest and it is HOT here. We're talking 110 or more on most days throughout the summer. And summer lasts until mid-October. And I don't like the heat. Most years I complain about how much I hate it and count the days until we can go outside again. Makes for a long, miserable summer.

So this year, I am trying to embrace the season. Trying to join in with the rest of the country and their love of summer days. I am burning my summer scented candles - coconut, lemon meringue, etc. I am planning little summer - themed mini-parties for my girls ( although we have to do them inside). We have hit a few pools and splash pads, and hope to get to some more this month. I will be sharing a sponge-ball craft soon that will be a good way to have some fun while staying cool.

The shift in my attitude has really helped. It is August and I am still hanging in there! Embracing the season and trying to make the best of it works for me!

Get more great tips here

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Picnic Party

This weekend we had the latest in my installment of mini family parties. This time the theme was Picnic. On Saturday we spread a blanket in the living room for lunch. We made chicken salad sandwiches, carrots, juice and cookies. I let Krista help me pack it all into a basket and we used some of the leftover pink paper plates from her birthday party. Even Daddy joined in on the fun. It was a nice lunch and when we were all done my daughter looked at me and said "This was the best picnic ever. Thank you Mommy!"

What have you done to add some fun to your family's day lately?