Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Almost Homemade" Cinnamon Rolls

"Almost Homemade" Cinnamon Rolls, fresh out of the oven
**This is an adapted recipe from Hillbilly Housewife

3 1/2 cups Biscuit Mix
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 cup Milk
~ 1/3 cup softened margarine
~ 1/2 cup brown sugar
~ 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pancake syrup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
~ 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Mix biscuit mix, cinnamon, & milk in a bowl.  Dump out onto counter top & kneed until smooth & easily workable.
2. Place dough on a sheet of wax paper and roll out into a thin rectangular layer. (I spray my wax paper with Pam to make removing easier)
3.  Spread a thin layer of margarine on dough.
4. Cover margarine with brown sugar.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of brown sugar.
***I do not measure out margarine, sugar or cinnamon.  I simply apply straight from containers in a generous layer.
6.  Starting with a short end, carefully roll up dough in jelly roll fashion, peeling back wax paper as you roll.  
7.  Cut rolled dough into 16 slices.  I cut the roll in half, then each half in half again, then each piece in half again, and so on until I have 16 slices.  
8.  Lay slices in a single layer in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.
9. Squirt a small amount of syrup in the middle of each cinnamon roll.
10.  Bake in oven at 400 for 20 minutes.

11. While rolls are baking, cream together butter & vanilla.
12. Add in powdered sugar and mix well.
13. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  You want it thin, but not too runny.
14. Spread icing over cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
15. Sprinkle additional powdered sugar on top and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Blessings from my home to yours!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Daily Schedule

I know I've often found it interesting and encouraging to view the daily schedules of other stay-at-home moms, so I thought I'd post my current daily schedule.  Keep in mind my children are 16, almost 6 (next week!!), and 2 1/2.  My eldest daughter is often gone during the day as she has several regular babysitting jobs this summer, so my schedule mostly centers on my days home with the little boys.  Our days are not nearly as rigid as the schedule seems and I don't get all bent out of shape should we happen to go off schedule (since this happens nearly every single day!!), but having a schedule in mind helps to form the day and give me an idea of what I should be focusing on at any given time.  So, here's my current schedule for the summer.....it will change drastically in 4 weeks when my 2 eldest head back to school for their 11th & 1st grade years!  

Daily Schedule (Summer Version):

6:20 -6:30 ~ Wake up, start coffee, start laundry

6:30-7:00 ~ Quiet Time: Bible Reading, Devotional, Prayer Time

7:00-7:30 ~ Computer Time

7:30-7:45 ~ Morning Chores: switch laundry, make bed, wipe down bathrooms, lay out dinner

7:45-8:15 ~ Cook breakfast, unload dishwasher while meal is cooking (listen to devotional podcast while cooking)

8:15-8:45 ~ Get kids up, eat breakfast

8:45-9:15 ~ Clean kitchen, load dishwasher, wipe counters, get everyone dressed
                ~ Kids play in playroom during this time

9:15-10:00 ~ Daily Chores
                  ~ Kids watch movie or play during this time

10:00-12:00 ~ Flex Time: 3 Days a week we stay home and do our “work” (bible story lessons, math, reading, letters, board games, etc) and play outside, weather permitting.  Once a week (usually Tuesday) we go on a fun outing (zoo, kids’ museum, bowling, park, etc).  Friday is our shopping day.  On our outing & errand days I have limited daily chores, so we generally leave the house my 9:30.

12:00-1:00 ~ Finish up daily chores, prepare lunch
                  ~ Kids play in the playroom during this time

1:00-1:30 ~ Lunch time

1:30-2:00 ~ Clean up from lunch, fold & put away laundry, playroom tidy for kids

2:00-4:00 ~ Nap/quiet time for children

2:00-4:00 ~ Work time for me

4:00-5:00 ~ Play time: outside, weather permitting

5:00-6:00 ~ Dinner prep & house tidy (I listen to devotional podcast or praise & worship during this time)

6:00-6:45 ~ Dinner

6:45-7:15 ~ Clean kitchen from dinner, sweep floor, replace dish rag & hand towel
                ~ Kids playing with daddy during this time

7:15-8:30 ~ Family time, outside play, board games, etc.

8:30-9:00 ~ baths & teeth for boys

9:00 ~ Books, prayers & bed for boys

9:00-10:00 ~ TV time with my husband

10:00-10:30 ~ Shower, teeth, face, etc.

10:30 ~ Start dishwasher, head to bed

I will write another post soon outlining my daily chores.

Blessings from my home to yours!

I'm linking up with:
Homemaker By Choice's Week Long Blog Hop
Time Warp Wife's Titus Tuesday

Menu Plan Monday ~ July 17-23

It's the Week of the Pies!

B: cereal or oatmeal
L: chicken enchiladas, mexican rice
D: Youth Group potluck

B: bacon, egg & cheese sandwiches
L: pizza rolls, yogurt
D: "Almost Homemade" chicken pot pie

B: Sausage & cheese biscuits
L: corn dogs, potato chips, fruit
D: Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie

B: pancakes & bacon
L: sandwiches, chips, fruit
D: Taco Pie, chips & salsa

B: cheese grits & sausage links
L: chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese
D: Leftover buffet, fresh corn on the cob

B: sausage biscuits & muffins
L: pizza, carrot sticks & ranch
D:  Honey glazed pork tenderloin, rice, corn, rolls

B:  eggs, grits, sausage, hash browns
L: Hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade raw fries
D:  Leftovers or frozen pizza

Blessings from my home to yours,

I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday at Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trip ~ 40% Savings!

This week I made trips to Bi-Lo, Publix, and Kroger.  While there weren't many coupon deals (for me...since I only buy good deals that my family will actually use/eat!!) there were some great store sales to be had.  I got a good bit of meat; some of which I built our upcoming meal plan around, and some that will be frozen and saved for future meals.

I also redeemed my rain check at Kroger for 20 additional boxes of brown-n-serve sausage links.  These were on sale for .69 each, which is a phenomenal price for a product my family eats weekly.  I have plenty of storage space, so I decided to stock up on about 3 months worth.

Everything bought at the 3 stores

Here's a breakdown of my trip.  Items in blue are included in my upcoming meal plan.  Items in purple are stock up items.  Coupons used are listed in red.  

2 Del Monte Corn 1.00 each
3 Southern Home Sweetener  BOGO 1.15 each
Bounty paper towels BOGO .69  - .25 coupon doubled = .19
2 dozen eggs 1.00 each
whole chicken 4.61 (will be used in 3 meals this week...chicken enchiladas, chicken pot pie, & chicken salad)
whole chicken 4.88
pork loin 7.16 (cut in half prior to freezing.  I will cook 1 half this week and will save the other half for a future meal)
2 Johnsonville ground Italian sausage BOGO 1.99 each – (2) 1.00 coupons = .99 each  (divided into 4 1/2 lb portions.  1 portion will be used this week and the rest saved for future meals)
2 4 ct bakery croissants BOGO 1.99 each (1 box used for lunches this week, the other frozen for later)

total: 57.77
savings: 27.55
total spent: 30.27

2 Vlasic sandwich stackers BOGO 1.45 each – (2) .55 coupons = .95 each  (used in chicken salad & burgers this week)
Caramel Bugels BOGO 1.30 - .50 coupon doubled = .30 (snack for the week)
Chex Mix BOGO 1.29 - .50 coupon doubled = .29  (snack for the week)

Total: 10.94
Savings: 8.56
Total spent: 2.38

20 Banquet sausage links (rainchecked) .69 each
2 Tombstone pizzas 2.79  (1 used for lunch this week, the other frozen & saved)
5 lb ground beef 9.98 – 10% Employee Discount = 8.98  (2 lbs made into hamburgers, the rest divided into 2 1 lb portions & 2 1/2 lb portions.  1 1/2 lbs & 4 burgers saved for future meals)
Kroger sausage 1.99 – 10% Employee Discount = 1.79 (breakfast this week)
Kroger bacon 2.79 – 10% Employee Discount = 2.51 (breakfast & club sandwiches this week)
2 kroger crescent rolls 1.29 – 10% Employee Discount = 1.16 each (dinner this week)
Kroger velveeta loaf 4.99 – 10% Employee Discount = 4.49 (1/2 used in breakfast this week, 1/2 saved for next week)
Kroger vegetable oil 2.69– 10% Employee Discount = 2.42
Kroger choc chips 2.15 – 10% Employee Discount = 1.93 (for chocolate chip cookies this week)
2 kroger miffin mix .58 – 10% Employee Discount = .52 each (breakfast this week)
8 kraft easy mac .49 each – 1.00/4 coupon = .33 each (2 for lunches this week, remaining saved for future meals)
6 pringles .85 each – 1.00/3 coupon = .68 each (2 for lunches this week, remaining saved)
3 fresh corn cobs 1.14 (for dinner this week)
4 pepsi 2 liters .89 each

total:  78.95
savings: 23.17
total spent: 55.78

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fried Ice Cream Balls ~ at Home!

Fried Ice Cream is one of my family's favorite desserts to order out at restaurants...if I'd known how easy it was to make at home, I would have done it years ago!  Thankfully, a neighbor shared her recipe with me last week, and now I'm sharing it with all of you.

First, take scoops of ice cream and shape them into balls with your hands.  Any size you like is fine.  My neighbor likes hers little like donut holes while I prefer mine bigger, almost tennis-ball sized, but not quite.  Honestly, this is the worst part of the recipe.  You hands will get cold. REALLY cold.  And they will hurt.  a lot. Make as many ice cream balls as you can stand.  If you're a baby like me, it won't be many.

Stick the ice cream balls on a platter and then put them in the freezer for at least an hour.  At least.  It will be tempting to pull them out sooner, but don't do it.  They will not harden completely and it will make future steps very difficult for you.  Go fold a few loads of laundry while you wait.

Right before you take the ice cream balls out of the freezer, take about 3 cups of frosted flakes cereal & crunch it up into a pretty fine powder.  Add a tablespoon (yes, TABLEspoon) of cinnamon to the cereal and mix well.

Take your ice cream balls and roll them around in the crushed cereal until fully & completely covered.  Return covered ice cream balls to the platter and then freeze for at least two hours.  Overnight is better.  The more time they have to freeze the less likely the yummy-cinnamon-frosted-flake-goodness will come off during the frying.

Once you've waited AT LEAST 2 hours, fill a small saucepan 3/4 full with oil and heat on med-hi heat until very hot.  While you're waiting on the oil to heat up, squirt some chocolate sauce into your bowls.  You won't have time to do this when frying the ice cream.

Once the oil is hot, lower an ice cream ball into it using a slotted spoon.  Don't drop it in with your hands.  Dropping causes oil to splash.  Splashing oil causes burns.  Trust me.  I know.  Allow the ball to fry for about 10 seconds, and then flip it over with the spoon, allowing it to fry another 10 seconds or so.  Remove from oil and give a few shakes to get rid of excess oil before placing it in your chocolate covered bowl.

Eat immediately.  While standing at the stove if you have to.  Trust me, you'll want to!

Blessings from my home to yours!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekly Bible Lesson: The Good Samaritan

I started out all "good intentional" (is that a word??) with my idea for weekly bible stories 3 weeks ago.  The first week went wonderfully....and then I took our youth group to camp, so no lesson that week.  And then I came home from camp exhausted, went straight into a holiday weekend, and then baby-sat my friend's little girl all last week, so no bible lesson that week, either.  This week I'm determined to get back to being intentional with my time, so I am excited about this week's bible lesson for my boys!  I found some really awesome ideas & activities online and can't wait to get started.  I think they're going to have a ball with it!  Last time Bubby, the oldest, was constantly asking for MORE WORK, so I planned a lot for this week!

Here's everything I hope to do this week!

The Good Samaritan

Memory Verse:  “A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES” Proverbs 17:17

Intro Video (Cullen’s ABCs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ1DFItJT8U

·        Map Book (from Munckin’s SS class)
·        Toddler Bible version
·        Bible for Young Readers version
·        Mom’s bible

Language Arts Activities:
·        Words that begin with “G” list
·        Journal Entry: Who Are My Neighbors?  How Can I Help Them?
·        True/False Questions about the parable (from Lesson Plan)
·        Comprehension Questions (from Lesson Plan)
·        Basic Letter/Sounds recognition
·        Beginning lower case recognition

Math Activities:
·        Play “Money, Money” (Discovery Toys)
·        Counting, sorting, & patterning activities with manipulatives

Other Fun Stuff/Arts & Crafts:
·        Dot to Dot/Coloring page:  http://sundayschoolsources.com/classmat/samaritan_to_color.htm

Whew.....that's a lot of stuff!  If we don't get through it all, no biggie.  As my former-teacher-self used to say "Better to have too much planned than not enough!"

Do you have anything fun planned to do with your kiddos this week?  I'd love for you to share!!

Blessings from my home to yours,

I'm linking up to the following linkies:
Don't Waste Your Homemaking's Unwasted Homemaking Party 
11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday
Time Warp Wife's Titus Tuesdays
Homemaker By Choice Week Long Blog Hop

Go visit them to find some awesome Homemaking ideas & tips!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Menu Plan July 9-15

Here's my Menu Plan for the upcoming week.  Keep in mind that I "cook" (term used loosely as it sometimes entails frozen corn dogs or pizza! lol) 3 meals per day for my family of 5.  My husband works 3 12-hr overnight shifts Saturday - Monday, so we're blessed to have him home all day 4 days a week.  On the days that he works our big family meal is lunch, and then dinners that night are packed for him and something fast/easy for me & the kids.

Saturday, July 9
B: Eggs, grits, sausage, hash browns, toast
L: Italian Sausage & Chicken Hoagies, potato wedges, corn on the cob
D: Hubby-club sandwiches; Me & kids-leftover pizza & watermelon

Sunday, July 10
B: cereal or oatmeal
L: Stouffer's lasagna (yum-O!), garlic bread sticks, salad
D: Hubby-LO Italian sausage hoagies; Me & kids-Youth Group buffet (I host/help lead our church's youth group on Sundays)

Monday, July 11
B: ham, egg & cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit
L: Hamburgers, french fries
D: Hubby-hot dogs & chips; me & kids-hot dogs & mac-n-cheese

Tuesday, July 12
B: Pancakes & bacon
L: Club Sandwiches, pretzels, fresh fruit
D: Campbell's Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, Mexican rice

Wednesday, July 13
B: Eggs, grits, sausage
L: Chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, fresh fruit
D: Left-over buffet 

Thursday, July 14
B:  Sausage biscuits
L:  Corn dogs, potato chips, fresh fruit
D:  Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce, rice, green beans

Friday, July 15
B:  cereal or oatmeal
L:  Pizza Hut buffet (after using the boys' Kids Bowl Free coupons!)
D:  Grilled steaks, mashed potatoes, corn

Blessings from my home to yours!

I'm linking up with Menu Planning Monday at orgjunkie.com.  Check out some other great menu plans there!

Non-Extreme Coupon Shopping Trip

6 months ago I would have considered myself an "Extreme Couponer".  Heck, I even called myself that with pride.  However, since the airing of TLC's Extreme Couponing, I now realize I am no where near "Extreme", if that show defines such title.  I now refer to myself as a "Real Couponer".  Yes, I love my coupons, the savings they bring my family, and my ability to provide awesome, well rounded, family pleasing meals for a fraction of retail cost, but I am not a hoarder.  I do not have 100's of items in my closets and garage just because they were cheap/free.  I may buy 20 of something (like I did today), but only when the item is at rock-bottom price, is something that my family uses frequently, and will be used before it's expiration date.

Take the sausages I bought for example.  I make breakfast for my family of 5 every morning and we generally go through 2 boxes of these sausages each week.  Therefore, the 20 boxes I bought will last us approximately 10 weeks, long enough for the next sale cycle to come around and allow me to stock back up for another 6-10 weeks.   At full price these 20 boxes would have cost me $35.80, however, I paid just $13.80 for them today; a savings of $22.00, or 63%.

I normally aim for a 50% or better savings, but today I bought lots of stock-up items, as well as a good bit of fresh produce, dairy, and meats.  I'm quite pleased with my overall savings of 44% ($95.40 at both stores)

2 Coke 2 liters    1.19*
2 Kraft BBQ sauce .99*
Coffee Mate 2.99*
Huggie Wipes 2.44*
6 Chef Boy-ar-dee .99*
6 Totinos Party Pizzas 1.29*
20 Banquet Brown-n-serve Sausage (links & patties) 1.29*
Oscar Meyer bacon 3.29*
2 Totinos pizza rolls 1.29*
2 Oscar Meyer hot dogs 1.79*
2 Fruit by the Foot 2.29*
Flour 1.55**
Sugar 2.28**
2 Muffin mixes .58**
Chocolate Chips 2.15**
Garlic Salt 1.00**
Cinnamon 1.00**
Minced Onion 1.00**
3 Creamed soups .68**
Flour tortillas .89**
3 kraft shredded cheese 1.99
Stouffer’s lasagna 9.99
Chicken breasts 6.99**
Italian brats 3.50**
Pork chops 6.24
3 Ribeye steaks-manager markdown 13.09
Sausage roll 1.99**
2.07 lb bananas 1.14
0.86 lb apples 1.45
3 white corn 1.14
Nectarines 2.00
4 Cheetos 1.99*
Fritos 1.99*
Little Debbie Honey buns 1.59
Little Debbie cakes 1.79
Bread 1.00**
Hoagie Buns 1.99**
2 Large Eggs .88**

-$12.00 Daytona Sale Savings (0.30/per item with *)
-$6.98 Employee Savings (20% off each item with **)
-$13.55 Manufacturer coupons

=$110.97 paid    
Total savings of $81.14 (42%)

3 pepsi 12 packs B2G1F 3.26 each after savings
2 Cookie Crisp BOGO 1.65 –(2) .85 coupons = 0.80 each
YoPlait YoPlus 1.15 - .50 coupon doubled = .15
Tennessee Pride Sausage 1.99 - .75 coupon = 1.24

=$12.76 paid   
Total savings of $14.26  (53%)

Blessings from my home to yours!