3 Partners In Shopping, Nana, Mommy & Sissy

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

WE HAD SO MUCH FUN RUNNING FARM TO FARM

Yesterday Nana, Mommy, Bobo and Sissy decided to go strawberry , blueberry and pea picking. All the way there every time TOM TOM talked the kids started to giggle. They kept singing "We're going pea picking, we're going pea picking . It made Nana and Mommy start to laugh. We should have waited to go on the weekend because they were either closed there were not a lot of employees there to help'

The first one we got to was supposed to be picking strawberries, blueberries, and peas. We got a small cardboard box and proceeded to start walking down the path. We got to the strawberry patch first and quickly realized they were really picked over and we were unable to get any . We started to walk further and further down the path and never even found the peas. Everyone , by this time were very hot and tired. We went back to a really cute farm stand which also had hot dogs, and milkshakes on their menu. Bobo wanted a chocolate one and Sissy wanted a vanilla one. We sat on a bench and enjoyed a cool breeze were the kids wouldn't share their milkshakes with us but that didn't really matter.

There were 3 more in the area so after programming TOM TOM we were off to continue our adventure. There were 2 that were suggested to us, but they were only opened on the weekends. We finally arrived at the next farm but it was closed to picking your own. during the week. We walked into the farm store and we were caught , hook, line and sinker. The first large room had fresh fruits and produce just picked.The first thing that caught our eyes were a huge romaine lettuce head for only $1.00. We bought just picked tomatoes, cucumbers, and yellow summer squash , my favorite squash of all. The smell of fresh apple pies, donuts and cookies were very strong in the air. The next smaller room had frozen apple, pumpkin pies and more. They had all different syrups such as apple ,blueberry, and more , made with fresh fruits picked a few feet away. The kids wanted a donut and cookies. Mommy picked out apple syrup and apple cinnamon pancake mix for breakfast.

We left that one filled up with fresh goodies and decided we were going to return on the weekend . The kids sang all the way home. What a great day we had !

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BOOK REVIEW THE FINAL SUMMIT BY ANDY ANDREWS



The book I choose to review is The Final Summit by Andy Andrews. I picked this book because I am a great lover of history and historical figures . This book makes people like me think about what it would be like to be able to get a chance to put great people into a room together and see how they would react to each other. Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill to name a few are brought together to try to uncover the solution to save mankind. They only have five tries to do this. A great book if you love history otherwise it might be something you might not prefer. But, once you get started you do not want to put it down.

Disclosure of material connection I received this book free from the publisher through the Booksneeze.com book review bloggers program. I am not required to write a positive review. These are all my own opinions. I am disclosing this in accordance with The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, 255 : "Guides Concerning The Use of Endorsements and Testimonials In Advertising ."

Monday, June 27, 2011

WEEKLY MENU ,BEST POTATO SALAD YOU EVER HAD !

We have decided that our meals will be nice and easy this week

Monday , chicken salad made from a rotisserie chicken we made on Sunday. We use our Magic Bullet to make chicken salad.
Tuesday, frozen stuffed shells ,made with tomato sauce (if I am really tired I will use store bought sauce )
Wednesday , hamburgers on a roll , potato salad (Recipe at end of menu )beans
Thursday , open face turkey or roast beef sandwiches mashed potatoes
Friday , usually spend time together and get pizza
Saturday , having tag sale , eat at Mommy's



Nana's mother's potato salad recipe : take about 6 larger size potatoes , wash well in cold water , put in large sauce pan and cover all potatoes with water. boil until they are cooked when a fork is put in them. You might have to add more water if the water boils down and they are not cooked yet.
Boil about 5 eggs until they are hard boiled. After potatoes are done pour out hot water and fill up with cold water, drain out the water then let them cool for about 1/2 hour. Peel potatoes and cut up into about 1/2 inch pieces. Take 2 eggs peel ,dice them then put into bowl with cut potatoes. Try to use a larger bowl than you need so that when you mix this it will not look messy when served. I only use Hellman's Mayonnaise. Start with 1 cup of mayonnaise stir into potatoes until completely mixed . Add more mayonnaise to taste . Put in smaller bowl . Take the rest of the boiled eggs peel and slice into thin slices. Place around on top of salad. Put in refrigerator to cool. Serves 6 .

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BONELESS PORK COOKED IN THE CROCK POT WITH DILL

Before Nana went to bed last night she decided that she was going to cook something in her crock pot/ slow cooker. She looked in the freezer and found 2 packages of boneless pork chops. The pork pieces were about 1/2 inch thick and there were 6 pieces. This morning she took a medium size onion and cut half of it into big pieces and dropped it into the pot. In the summer we love to use vidalia onions because they are very mild, but any onion will work. We took the pork pieces rinsed them off in cold water and put them in the crock pot. As they were put into the crock pot a little dry dill seasoning was sprinkled on each piece. We put 1 cup of water in the crock pot, cut up the rest of the onion into large pieces covered the pot and put it on low. We let the crock pot cook for about 6 hours. If you put it on high it would take about 4 hours. We knew they were done when they came apart with a fork. We had mashed potatoes and corn with the pork. It was delicious. We became a fan of dill seasoning when we sauteed it in our summer squash last summer . This recipe will be posted as soon as we get some summer squash right from the farm or garden. We have had a lot of fun trying out new seasonings. Trying new seasonings will be something we try very often.

Friday, June 24, 2011

WE HAVE BEEN FRUGAL FOR MANY YEARS, WE JUST DIDN'T KNOW IT !

The other night Bobo and Sissy were getting ready for bed. Mommy and Nana were talking about how tall they both were getting and also how they needed summer pajamas. First we looked at which ones we thought were too tight for Bobo and if they were something that Sissy would wear.

One of the first considerations should be, in any family, if there are younger children in the family is if the clothes can and should be passed down from child to child . It is very easy to pass clothes down to children that are both boys or both girls. You should also take into account that there are a lot of girls who like to wear boys clothes such as jeans and shirts to name a few . We decided to look around at a few stores in the area to get en idea of the price for new pajamas. After looking at a few stores in the area that had summer pajamas for children and found that they started at about $ 7.00 a set and up we decided to cut the winter ones that they had now.

The kids were very excited and could not believe what Nana and Mommy were doing. We held up the bottoms against the children one by one and determined where to cut them so that they were nearest to just above the knee. We did not even need to sew the edges because was the kind of material that would not ravel.

When we were done they couldn't wait to try them on and feel a lot cooler and more comfortable when they went to bed. One of Mommy's sisters who happens to be
www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com
was there .She is one who is always on the lookout to make something out of nothing, took the bottoms of the pajamas and because these were the ones with the feet in them, put them over her 2 hands. She then proceeded to put on a puppet show. The kids had a lot of fun with these. From now on we will cut any kind of pants that the kids have gotten too tall for.

Then Nana remembered when Mommy was in first grade and she cut a pair of Poppie's jeans to make shorts. She took the one of the legs and sewed them up to form a bag. Then she folded the top down about 1 inch wide. She pushed a ribbon through and had a great bag to carry things in. I guess we were frugal a long time ago, but didn't know it !

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CAN'T WAIT TO PICK AND FREEZE STRAWBERRIES

Today was the first full day of summer. Almost all of the schools around here had their last day of school by yesterday. We have begun as I have said in an earlier post thinking of things to do with Sissy and Bobo without spending a lot of money.We believe that just because you spend a lot of money doesn't mean you will have more fun than if you spend less.

The forecast for the next 3 days at least, is rain, rain and more rain. This is not a great way to start the summer , but we will carry on. We plan on going strawberry picking next week after the rain stops. Almost all of us like strawberries like Sissy except Bobo, he just likes to pick them, not eat them. By picking them yourself you not only save money, but they will stay fresh longer because they are just picked and have not been shipped to stores in the area. The way we like to freeze them is very easy and we have been doing it this way for quite a long time. This is also a great way to freeze blueberries . When freezing strawberries , take off the stem and wash them off , finish by drying them off. Put them flat on a cookie sheet and place in freezer. They should be frozen solid overnight . When freezing blueberries wash , dry and place on cookie sheet also in the freezer overnight. Then put them in containers or freezer bags. This way it is easy to take out how many you need . If you like smoothies all summer (and who doesn't ) you can chop them in fours before you freeze them , just take out how many you need, mix with ice and a little bit of your favorite juice, then enjoy a summer favorite, without spending a huge amount of money.

Blueberries frozen this way can also be used for smoothies or you can make blueberry muffins or bread . We like to use them right from the freezer because they will stay nice in the batter because they are frozen. We also like to pick vegetables, when they are at their peak at a local farm later in the summer .They allow this at certain times and days of the week. We tried this last year and it was very fast and easy to fill a basket of tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant and frying peppers. Then we go home and separate our purchases. This works out well for us because it is difficult for one family to eat and or freeze all of these while they are fresh.

I believe that it would be a great idea to save money if you asked your friends , relatives, and neighbors if they would like to participate along with your family. I cannot understand why anyone would pass up this chance . Don't be shy about asking others to do this with you, it might even get to be a yearly occurrence that they look forward to.

In the summer there isn't anything better than fresh fruits and vegetables for your children and yourself. This is also a great way to have fun with the kids while teaching them how to enjoy different kinds of foods. This may even be a great way to get even your most finicky child to try a new vegetable because they have picked it and prepared it themselves.

Monday, June 20, 2011

MEAL PLANNING MONDAY

I thought I would try something new as everyone has been saying that planning your meals for the week will truly save money on groceries every week , and who doesn't want to save money.


Monday for lunch egg salad , Bobo likes it Sissy loves to have a salad vegetable plate for lunch . Dinner is hamburgers and french fries

Tuesday will be Dennys for lunch will use a coupon , dinner will be probably chicken , with whipped potatoes and gravy

Wednesday lunch will be grilled cheese with tomato sandwiches pot roast in the crock pot. nice hot meal with no slaving over hot stove recipe to follow

Thursday lunch some kind of cold cut sandwich, the kids love their meat rolled Dinner will be
pasta made with the new small noodles . the kids love them and there is no cutting it up

Friday lunch getting ready for tag sale , dinner will be what we call fun . hot dogs cut up with beans, and any other vegetable like corn . with bread and butter .

Saturday , tag sale we will all put our heads together and think of something together



Let's see how much we will save . I know it will be easier knowing what we are having and what I need to get out of the freezer the night before

Sunday, June 19, 2011

PICKING OUT A POOL AND GETTING IT HOME , NOT AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS

Saturday was a really fun day . We had our first tag sale of the season and we watched the grandchildren swim in their new pool. The day we brought the pool home is one that we will remember and smile everytime we think about it. We went last weekend to Walmart where there was a choice of 3 different size plastic pools. The smallest was really too small for 2 active children so we looked at the medium size. It really was the same size as the third pool but the third pool had something extra. A SLIDE .

We asked the kids which they wanted and naturally they said the one with the slide. We thought we had everything under control and all agreed that the one with the slide was the winner. Boy, were we ever wrong. Daddy carried the pool through the store to the checkout struggling past shoppers who just looked and smiled a knowing smile , probably remembering the days that they were doing the same thing. Daddy and Mommy had the van and Uncle had his Toyota 4 Runner.

Thank goodness we were parked near each other. We took everything from the back of the van and guess what , the pool would not fit. We took it over to the Toyota and it would not fit in that either. The kids were getting concerned as were the adults, it was getting late and we had to get the pool home. Daddy went into Walmart to get bungie cords. People who walked by us in the parking lot were either staring or smiling at us trying to not laugh. Daddy came out and we secured the pool on the roof. Every got into their assigned car and we were off.

We had to go down a small hill to get home . Because the pool was round and because air could get under it , as we watched in horror the pool began to lift up from the roof it was attached to. It looked like a flying saucer getting ready to fly away. The kids started to yell, "don't let our pool blow away." We were in the van behind the Toyota and started to get nervous hoping that it wasn't going to blow away. Finally we drove into the driveway where the kids insisted on making sure the pool made it to their back yard. We got home and started to talk about it , and the more we talked the more we laughed.

The looks on my grandchildren's faces as they walked up the 3 steps in the pool and sat on the curved slide was priceless. All in all we are very glad that we picked out the larger pool. We would not have had half the fun with the smaller one , while creating a memory at the same time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

SAVING MONEY BY BAKING AND FREEZING FOR THE WEEK

When they closed the Wonder hostess bread thrift store near our house a few years ago I had to come up with a plan to save money on school snacks and more. Today was my father's birthday so we decided to take a nice ride. I could not believe that we found one of these stores on our ride. I was immediately brought back to the days when my children were going to school. As we walked in, and long before we got to the bread aisle there were cupcakes, devil dogs , mini coffee cakes and more.



The best thing I liked about these and still do is that they are individually wrapped . But when my children were small we had to be frugal with our snacks , and to be able to quickly leave in the morning chaos . If not we risked not being on time . So, every Sunday afternoon we baked and cooked for our lunch desserts , snacks and breakfast items for the kids as well as Poppie. We baked 2 boxes of cupcakes , one chocolate , one yellow, We seemed to end up with about 45 cupcakes . We put these on the table to cool . Next was a package of brownies which after cooking we also cooled these on the table. We would go to the store and get bagels, not a bakery but a grocery store where they are cheaper. Sometimes they are on sale and then they are even a better deal.



If we had extra time we even made a few batches of chocolate chip cookies. After the cupcakes cooled we frosted them. Then we let them sit a little while longer to harden the frosting before freezing. The brownies were cut into pieces and put into small plastic sandwich bags that have zippered seals. The bagels are sliced and wrapped also one by one and put into a larger zippered plastic bag. Just about now the cookies were just about ready to be wrapped. Depending how big they were baked ,you would put 2 or 3 in each bag to freeze.



When the cupcakes are ready they are also put into sandwich size bags to freeze. I used to keep one section of the freezer for Sunday baking for 2 reasons. One reason was so that the baked goods , especially the cupcakes would not be crushed. The other was so that everyone knew where they were and did not have to go rummaging through the freezer. They were able to just grab and go, and by lunch or early snack time they were defrosted and fresh.



The cake mixes and the brownies were about a $1.00 a box, The cookies were about $4.00 for the chips and flour , the bagels are about $3.50 to $6.00 a dozen. So we have a total counting items on hand such as extra flour and eggs, the bags and more of about $12.00 to bake. We figured for each snack they are about $ .75 each if they are store bought .After we were done we had made about 100 snacks. Even I was surprised that they cost about $.12 each. That is a savings of at least $.63 each. What a huge savings for just an afternoon of family fun baking together. The memories are priceless.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

CELEBRATING FATHER'S DAY THROUGH THE EYES OF CHILDREN

Today while I was talking with 2 of my grandchildren , I asked what they wanted to get their father for Father's Day. They both looked at me and said nothing so I asked "Would you like to get Daddy a tie ?" My grandson Bobo who is almost 5 years old said "no ".

I then asked ,"How about a shirt , pants , socks ?" He looked at me and in unison he and his sister Sissy who is almost 4 years old said "no !" Then Bobo said "I want to get him a racing car game and a Thomas Train game to play with . "

I should explain that in their play room they have a small T.V. that has a child's game system set up. It has a racing car game and a Thomas The Train game also. Every day when Daddy gets home from work they are ready to play. The whole time while he is trying to eat dinner every night they say the same thing over and over . "Hurry, hurry daddy one more bite we need to play , right now." I looked at my beautiful grandchildren and said , " Why do you want these games , so Daddy can play with you ? I thought it was for Father's Day?" They both said "Yes it is ".

I thought back to a little over a year ago when we lost Poppie suddenly. My children including Mommy all miss him and talk about him a lot, especially right now. I remember my children doing the same thing when they were the same age just before Father's Day. We all need our fathers . I hope all of you spend time enjoying your fathers.





HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL !

WE LOVE YOU !

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TAKING DOWN A TREE IS SO SAD

Many years ago when Nana's children were little , she and Poppie bought a house with a cute fenced in yard. It had very little trees, a lilac bush which Nana loved, but Poppie was allergic to bees so they took it out. They wanted to plant fruit trees so the first one they picked was a 'drawf "peach tree, so they thought. (ha ha! it was not , and it was only a "drawf ""tree for the first year.





They decided that they would let each of their children pick a tree to plant when they made their First Communion . The oldest ,who now is mommy, wanted a "drawf " apple tree. The next oldest picked a "drawf " pear tree , the third picked 2 "drawf" cherry trees. But the youngest wanted 2 pussy willow bushes. Well the peach tree had a few peaches that were not edible and they had to take it down, after a few years. The 2 cherry trees had a lot of cherries but they were not sweet enough but they have to be trimmed because they do not stay little trees. The pear tree only lasted 2 years and that had to come down. But oh my gosh that "dwarf " apple tree is probably 30 feet high . Taller than the house ! The apples are golden apples. The pussy willows are great fun . So I guess they were successful . They had fun picking them out and they had fun planting them. Even though they didn't all survive they have wonderful family memories .Taking down any tree is so sad.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FUN TIME GARDENING WITH MY GRANDCHILDREN




We decided this year that Sissy and her brother Bobo were going to have a garden like Nana and Mommy did when they were young . So we planted some seeds and bought some plants. We also bought a huge cherry tomato hanging plant which we hung off of the deck. A few days ago Mommy noticed that we had a bunch of cherry tomatoes ready to pick. So we went and brought the plant into the hallway. Sissy loves tomatoes and can eat them right off the plant. She was only able to grab 2 , the first she popped right into her mouth. Bobo decided that because he is older he was going to show her how it's done . He proceeded to put his hands into the plant move the leaves aside and picked about 6 or 7 more. He turned around handed them to Nana so she could rinse them off and then he handed them to Sissy because he only likes to grow and pick them, not eat them. What a great team they are ! This is a great way for them to learn about growing food and how to work together. Do you have a garden this year , and are your children involved ? Now Daddy wants to have fun too. It is certainly a family project !

GUESS IT'S TIME TO BREAK OUT THE CROCK POT !

With the hot weather just about here I thought about getting out my crock pot / slow cooker .What a great invention this is.
All that you need to do is put it all together in the morning , then go spend your day having fun with your children and grandchildren !! After that if you still have time which I never do, because I never want to leave my grandchildren, go about your business. When you are ready for dinner it's all done without heating up the house. I have made a lot of different meals in it and I will share some of them on a later date. I will say that most of my favorites start with chicken . Usually you are able to get chicken pieces at a good price and after cooking in the crock pot the meat just falls of the bone. This way you have more servings because you lose very little of the meat. This is just one of many ways to still have a hot meal in the summer without sweating over a hot stove. You will save also save money when you run the air conditioner because it won't have to work so hard. My grandchildren, especially Sissy, also like to put the food in the crock pot and love to see what we have made together. They are both learning to cook and we are having a ball !

Sunday, June 12, 2011

WHAT TO DO ALL SUMMER WITHOUT SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY



First of all we do not believe in spending hundreds of dollars for a few days of vacation. We first look on the internet around our state for places which we can visit on a day trip so that we will save money on a hotel.We found that we have petting zoos , and a regular zoo which has animals and a rainforest exhibit to walk through at the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut. We also have The Butterfly Place in nearby Massachusetts. We then look for places to eat nearby and see if we have any coupons . It has been very helpful to use our local Entertainment Book which is usually sold by schools, boy and girl scouts and more as fundraisers. In it they have many coupons buy one entry get one free, or buy one menu item get one free. We also have a local pool like many other towns which are cheaper for town residents to attend. What ideas do you have to save on vacation?

Strawberry Fest Outcome


SISSY WON SECOND PLACE !!!
It is a wonderful thing that she was the only one with a homemade outfit there and she won . We were pleasantly surprised that our $7.00 outfit was able to be so well received. Of course as always we think she is the best and our creations are the best. A lot of family members were there to watch the show.

Then we went to a nearby Church for their Strawberry Fair and ate huge strawberry shortcakes.

We are very lucky to have a mall 5 minutes away that has a merry go round/ carousel that has rides for $1.00. A very frugal way to enjoy such a wonderful day. It was raining so we were not able to tag sale. Oh well there is always next weekend if it doesn't rain.






Friday, June 10, 2011

THE FINISHED PRODUCT













Well, after we all gave our opinion this is what we came up with. We sewed a hem on each leg so that Sissy would not trip. Then we took ribbons to match the neck and make a bow around her waist. The same was done around each leg. We took the hat from Dollar Tree put the ribbons around the brim. We had a big plastic strawberry from a flower arrangement from Stop and Shop . All in all we are pretty happy with our outfit. We all hope Sissy will win tomorrow.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

HOW MUCH DID OUR OUTFIT COST ? BREAKDOWN

This is the breakdown. The material was $1.50 a yard at Walmart , the ribbon was 3 for $1.00 at JoAnn Fabrics , the hat was $1.00 at Dollar Tree. We used thread we already had. Dollar Tree and Walmart are our go to place for crafts , ribbons and other things we need for our crafts. The outfit was patterned after a doll that Mom made for Sissy when she was a baby. First you measure the child, Then you make sure you have the material as long as the child's height,, Take both pieces right side facing in, sew both sides down half way, open the pieces so that the open bottom will be able to make legs, or could be left open for a skirt. Then hem the bottom as needed , to desired height, next fold top down about 1 inch and sew to make a opening to feed the ribbon through by using a safety pin to push it through . Take all 3 pieces of ribbon and feed through to form neck , then measure child from neck to arm to get arm opening, Cut out a piece for arms, some people finish off the arms by sewing raw edges, or not if it is a rustic outfit. cut a piece of each color ribbon to go around waist. and 2 smaller pieces of each riibbon to go around each leg. Because this was our first attempt the outfit is too long but Sissy will be able to use for other occasions such as Halloween or dress up . More pictures to follow.

3 yards of material $4.50
3 rolls ribbom $1.00 all different colors we used white red and pink
1 hat $1.00
misc. thread and piece of elastic total was $6.50

our homemade strawberry outfit for town strawberry festival.




In our town for as long as Nana can remember they held an annual strawberry festival. In the past couple of years they have added little miss strawberry. Sissy was in it last year , but this year Nana and Mom made her costume. Here are some pictures of the outfit that cost under $7.00 . We really hope Sissy will not be shy this year. She just got done with a dancing recital and she was adorable.


Just to let you know this is not a picture of Sissy. It is her life size barbie doll she got for her birthday last year.

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