Sunday, May 31, 2009

Girl's Night Out ideas

I think this may have been a post before, but I couldn't seem to find it.... but does anyone have some fun girl's night out ideas? I'm looking for some things to do that are free, but still lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

On a scale of 0 to 10, how spontaneous are you? (0 being not at all, 10 being very).

cute idea for planning your summer

Click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunday Newspaper

For those of you that are also into the couponing, I was curious how you get the Sunday newspaper. I haven't been able to locate any specials in our area, for just the Sunday paper. In fact, it's actually quite a bit more expensive to have it delivered to my house. However, I don't like to have to break the Sabbath by buying a paper every week either. I've been trying to find a box at a gas station or somewhere, that we can just get one outside. I was wondering what the rest of you do though. Do you have it delivered to your house?

Monday, May 25, 2009

My money saver

It's not much but my husband and I save money by cutting each others hair. His is easy, I learned about 4 years ago and at first it took me an hour to cut his hair, now I'm down to 15 minutes. My hair is plain and simple, he just cuts it strait across the back. If I wanted a certain style I'd go to a salon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Will you/Do you give your kids an allowance? How will you/do you teach your kids about money?

Wednesday Weekly

Describe the weather conditions on your perfect weather day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Coupon Sense

Does anyone use Coupon Sense or any other coupon-ing site? I'm wanting to get better about using coupons and saving money, especially for getting my food storage built up, but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to saving money. Spending money is definitely my strength! :D I don't mind paying for the help, but I want to be sure that I'll save enough for it to be worth it. Any thoughts you all have would be great!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fun for free

What places/events do you and your kids utilize in your community that cost little or no money?

Freezer Tips

Every Friday on my blog I post a recipe or some other food-related thing. As I was doing this week's I thought, I should share this on Sugar and Spice. And so I am.

Here are some ways I use our freezer. We have a deep freeze but any of these would work in a conventional freezer too. For me it is largely about convenience. I'm lazy like that. It is also a way I can make good use of grocery deals and save some money.

  • I've already blogged about freezing cheese. See here for that.
  • I've already blogged about freezing fresh chicken strips or breasts so that they aren't all clomped together when you are ready to use them. See here for that. Also, this same concept works for pork chops or steaks or any other kind of meat.
  • Did you know that you can freeze fresh spinach? I wasn't sure so I did a little googling and found that about half the people said "no way!" and the other half were divided in the ways you could do it. Some said to blanch it first, some said it had to be fully cooked, but some said to just buy the washed and dried stuff and stick it in your freezer. I like that idea. I had just purchased a HUGE amount at Sam's Club and was anxious to not waste it. So I pulled out my trusty qt. sized freezer Ziploc (no, I'm not being paid) and made several serving-sized bags and threw them in the freezer. It worked great! Here is the important tip: don't thaw it out. Take it straight from the freezer and steam it immediately. I've made several batches of spinach pasta (see here for a great tutorial and recipe) and it really does work great. You can use it in anything that calls for steamed or cooked spinach. Obviously it doesn't come back well enough to use in a green salad or anything that calls for raw spinach.
  • I hate fatty hamburger. I've been paying the $4/lb for the really lean stuff but then I see the 80% stuff on sale for $1.50/lb and I think, "even when I subtract the weight of the fat it is a better deal." So what is a frugal-and-trying-to-be-healthier girl to do? Well, I bought the 80% and fried up the whole thing (several pounds). Then I drained and RINSED it to get all that yucko fat off. Then I took out the Ziplocs and created several bags of pre-cooked ground beef. This has been AWESME because I can pull it out to make any number of things (tacos, sloppy Joes, spaghetti, pasta bake, etc.) and my meat is already cooked. One less step for me and one less pan to wash for Phil. If this isn't a win/win I don't know what is. I got cheap meat, made it less unhealthy and I get the convenience of pre-cooked meat. Voila! (Oh, I still buy the expensive 95% stuff for those rare times we have hamburgers or some other recipe that won't work with pre-cooked hamburger - like meatloaf or something.)
  • Cottage Cheese freezes pretty well so if you find a good deal on it, stock up and put some in your freezer.
  • Butter freezes just fine so you can stock up on that too when there is a sale.
  • If you grind your own wheat into flour, you should freeze the flour that doesn't get used immediately. It retains the nutrients better in the freezer than at room temperature.
  • Bacon bits (either that you create or if you buy the big bulk bag) can just be kept in the freezer and then used as needed. They will last much longer in the freezer.
  • Yeast should be kept in the freezer and just used from there. This will keep your yeast much fresher and it will perform better for you. While we are on the topic of yeast, I highly recommend Fleishman's Yeast found at Sam's in bricks. I open one brick and dump it into a freezer Ziploc and then keep it in the freezer.
  • My freezer also has lots of frozen veggies. Whenever there is a deal on frozen corn or beans or broccoli (Eden's favorite) or stir fry or whatever, I stock up.
  • Cake freezes great. Make cupcakes and freeze half of them for the next time. (Frosting freezes ok but it is messy so it works best to freeze them before frosting.)
  • Breads and rolls freeze pretty well too. This recipe freezes and then thaws out really great and tastes yummy after freezing too!
  • Pizza dough freezes well. This recipe is the one I use and it makes two pizzas. We don't eat two pizzas at a time and so I take half the dough and put it in a freezer Ziploc (really, no payment) and then I have a pizza crust just waiting to be used. Do not defrost in the microwave though. It will kill the yeast and your dough will be flat and tough. Take the dough out of the freezer at least two hours before you intend to use it.
  • And now, for my number 1 favorite thing in the freezer:
Ice Cream!

What's in your freezer?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Who is most likely to pinch pennies in your marriage?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

show and tell

I found this idea on some blog (can't remember which one). The idea was for a "Rainy Day Suitcase" full of fun things to use when the weather is yucky. Well I decided to make a "I have a new baby brother and my mommy might need a break" suitcase for two of my nieces. It was a combined birthday present for them. I went to Salvation Army and found this old blue suitcase for $3, then used a hot glue gun to attach $1 ribbon and buttons my sister found. Then we both bought clearance items, dollar store items, Target dollar spot items, etc... to fill the suitcase. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the stuff inside before we sent it to the girls. I really like how it turned out, and from what I hear the girls were super excited!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day gift from ward

So it totally doesn't matter, but I think it's fun to hear what wards give to the women on Mother's Day. My ward gave out a handful of Lindt truffles and Ghirardelli chocolates wrapped in cellophane with a quote from President Monson. Definitely had a woman's touch, though I could be wrong about that. Maybe it was all created by the brethren?

What did your ward give out?

Getting together for less

With Money-Saving May in mind, I have been thinking about ways in which you can get together with friends and neighbors without spending too much. I like to have people over for dinner and will continue to do so, but it can get pricey. Here are some alternatives that are fun and allow you to get-to-know people better in your home.

Have your friends over for:

1. Family Home Evening (did this tonight, so fun)
2. Potluck dinner (and maybe choose a theme: all appetizers or Mexican or Italian...)
3. Dessert
4. Playdate
5. Book Club or other hobby

Can you add to my list??

Laura's Show and Tell

Every year I have a blast making my daughters' birthday cakes (this year's were the castle for the 5 yr old and the horse for the 3 yr old). So, when I saw an ad for Wilton cake decorating classes at Michael's, I signed up. The first course was just four Mondays in April, and I learned SO much! I've always been able to decorate cakes (like the bday cakes) by shaping them or putting stuff on them, but I couldn't do cool things with the frosting itself--I thought that seemed too much like painting, which is VERY intimidating. The class covered the basic frosting techniques and tips, including taking a picture (like the alligator) and transferring it onto the cake. Plus we learned how to make roses, which is very cool to know! I highly recommend the class, and I'll definitely be signing up for the next one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a wonderful mother's day to all you ladies and the wonderful ladies in your lives!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What was the first job you ever had?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stephanie's Spotlight

My daughter and I on a recent trip to UtahMy daughter didn't really cooprate for this one, but it's the most recent family pic I have!


1. What is your age and physical description? 26, around 5 ft, 5 1/2 inches, and average build I guess. I have dark blonde/light brown hair and blue-green eyes. I never get to say one word answers for those questions, wish it was more simple!

2. Where were you born and where are you now? I've lived in Michigan my whole life, kind of boring I guess. I grew up in a small town and traveled an hour away to attend college. I met my husband at school, and when we finished we stayed in MI. We've just never had a reason to venture farther away. We have jobs here, and our families are only an hour away!
3. What do you do for a living? I am a Neonatal nurse, and I work two nights a week in a NICU. Because I only work eight shifts a month, I am home quite a bit with my daughter as well, as a homemaker. Sometimes I struggle with insecurities, and worry what all the other SAHM's think of me at church. I always hope they don't think I am choosing career over my child, by working part time. But our situation calls for the extra income and health insurance, so I have learned to be grateful to have a job that is flexible, allows me to be home most of the time, and is something that I love and find rewarding.

4. What is your favorite and least favorite color? Favorite is yellow, though not to wear. I just like how cheery it is. Least-maybe gray?

5. Did you go to college and get a degree, If so, where & what? MSU, BSN

6. How many children do you have? How old are they? I have a daughter that is 2 1/2. We have struggled with secondary infertility for quite some time now...hopefully our family will be blessed with an addition sometime soon.

7. What’s your favorite and least favorite food? Pizza and Mexican food are my faves. I'm not too picky of an eater, but the first thing that came to mind was jello with carrots in it. YUCK!

8. Are you right or left handed? Right

9. Do you play any instruments? Not anymore. I played the saxophone throughout school. I wish I played the piano.

10. What are your hobbies? I love scrapbooking, and doing other crafty things that aren't too complicated. I'm not much of a sewer (yet). Also reading and outdoor exercise like running, biking, and tennis. I've always enjoyed shopping and getting a good deal, so lately I've gotten really into the couponing thing and tried to focus my energy on saving money instead of spending it!

Make You Think...

11. What did you want to be when you grew up? I've actually wanted to be a Mom and a Nurse for as long as I can remember, definitely since I was a young child. So score, I accomplished that!

12. What is your biggest fear? Something happening to my makes my breath literally catch in my throat

13. Who has touched your life and influenced you the most and why? I know we're supposed to answer one specific person, but I feel like I carry around bits and pieces of a lot of people that together help influence me and mold me into the person I want to be. My mother, amazing friends, random mothers from church who were examples to me, home and visiting teachers, etc.

14. If you could accomplish just one thing with your life, what would that be and why? Same as everyone else, raising a family that is strong in the gospel. My lifetime personal goal is to have the kind of steadfast, immovable faith that allows me to face anything life throws at me without doubting, questioning, or complaining.

15. What is your worst habit and if you could quit it, would you? Rrrrghhh, you got me. I am quilty of getting caught up in gossip now and then. Part of working with a bunch of young, catty women. Yes, I am constantly trying to quit!

16. Who would play you in the movie of your life? Who would play your husband? This one's hard for me, I really don't know. Maybe Kate Hudson? Not because I look anything like her, but because I think she can be sweet but also pretty spunky and a little sarcastic. That's probably a bit like me! And maybe John Cusack for my husband? He has dark hair, and it seems like he always plays the nice guy...

17. What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life and why? My soundtrack would have the biggest variety of music you've ever heard. My ipod has everything from Kenny Chesney to Beyonce, with a little Josh Groban and a band from the 70's! I get bored listening to the same thing, so I'd have to say my life soundtrack would have to "keep it interesting" as well!

18. If you could meet any one person in history, who would it be, and why? I'd love to go back and meet some of my ancestors. My great great grandparents came over from Germany. My great grandparents were farmers who had 13 children. I love listening to the stories from my grandma's childhood. It always makes me realize that I am a bit of a whiner, and we don't realize how good we have it!

19. If you lost everything you have tomorrow, what three things would you save and why? You guys make me feel quilty with the whole "my scriptures" thing. Am I horrible for thinking I could just get more? Granted, I would miss all my markings. But it would be good motivation to start studying again! Aside from my family I would grab my scrapbooks, my safe with important documents and picture CD's etc, and an heirloom such as the rocking horse Mitch's grandpa made for Skyler.

20. What is your favorite quote and why? I love President Monson's motto "Find Joy in the Journey." And my favorite scripture has always been D&C 121:7-8, "Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high..." I always try to keep in mind that this span of life is just a small speck in the eternal scheme of things. And that I need to enjoy this time and find happiness, instead of getting caught up in the small insignifcant things. I say try, because, well it's a work in progress!

Just For Fun

21. Do you sleep with the closet door open or closed? I guess I would prefer closed, because that would mean my room was clean. But in all honesty, it's probably usually open!

22. What is your biggest pet peeve? I have a lot unfortunately, but for some reason they aren't coming to mind. My husband does this thing that drives me CRAZY. Whenever he does dishes, he leaves the drain thing off, so that the sink gets clogged and I have to go fishing in disgusting filthy water and unclog the drain. I know, I know, at least he does dishes. Good thing I love that guy, I guess I'll let it slide!
23. Where are the top three places you'd like to travel to? Hawaii, Europe, and Australia

24. Do you ever dance for no reason even though there’s no music playing? Of course!

25. What size is your bed? Queen-it's perfect. A full wasn't enough space, but if we had a King my husband wouldn't cuddle with me at all!

26. What do you drink with dinner? Usually milk

27. What movies could you watch over and over and still love? How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Just Like Heaven, Serendipity, The Family Man, Boys and Girls, A Walk to Remember, Elf

28. What was the first concert you went to? I think it was Backstreet Boys in high school. Embarassing! In my defense, it was for my younger sister who was completely smitten!

29. What is on your perfect pizza? Pepperoni and green olives, with a thick crust!

30. What's the most exotic place you've traveled to? I haven't done a lot of traveling. I went on a curise to the Bahamas with my family in high school, and a cruise to Mexico with my husband last year.

Saving Money and Heidi Show and Tell

My daughter is tall and skinny (wish she'd gotten that from me). This means that her pants never fit. By the time they fit in the waist they are too short in the leg. The solution? Altering. Here are her 18 month pants cut off for summer shorts. I also added a belt on one of the pairs. I also made some capris out of another pair but she was wearing and napping when I took these pictures.

These aren't fancy but they are one way I can "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" (one of Pres. Hinckley's favorite sayings).

We bought these sweats at the thrift store. She wore them long until they were just too short so then I cut them off to be shorts. The flower covers up a little hole. Doing a zigzag hem stitch is easy and cute.

I bought these on clearance at Target. She wore them as long pants until her legs got too long. Now they are cute shorts. The embellishment on the pocket was already there and I just used a metallic thread for a zigzag hem to match.

These are my favorites. I originally bought the pants at the DI while we were in Utah. She wore them until they were both too short and she'd worn a hole in the knee. I added the fabric cuff and tie belt and a matching heart on the back pocket (not shown). I love that this pair of pants are in their third life.

This skirt was a dress. The bodice was cute but never fit her well. It was too low and gaped. I cut the skirt part off, removed the zipper and sewed it back together. She put it with this belt of mine and it just cracked me up. She looks like a little gypsy.

The thing I like most about all of these projects is that I didn't have to buy a single item for them. I used scraps and fabric and buttons and things I just had or re-purposed things. It is a great way to be frugal and creative and earth-friendly all at once.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spotlight Member

This week's spotlight member is


Stephanie, you can find the spotlight member survey here. Copy and paste it into a new post, fill in your answers and if possible, include a recent picture of yourself. We can't wait to learn more about you!

Getting Money-Saving May rolling...

In the past 6 months, what has something you have given up in an effort to spend less?

Nursery Mother's Day craft

Does anyone have a good idea for a Mother's Day craft to do in Nursery this Sunday? Our leader to child ratio is 1:5.

White Rabbit's Color Book

This is a cool book for teaching how colors mix together to form other colors. If you have red, yellow, and blue paint on hand, you can even do a follow-up activity of color-mixing on paper.

It's the return of Money-Saving May!!

It's Money-Saving May! All month, post your questions and tips about money: mainly how to use less and save more!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Show and Tell - Bethany V

A friend gave us some chairs. I wanted to re-do them to match (as close as possible) the table and chairs we already have.



Original chair

Look-a-like chair

I spray painted the chairs a "metallic" color. I was going for a mirrory finish like the original chairs but I don't think I can get that from spray paint. I found yellow "marble" looking fabric and also bought vinyl. The original chairs are vinyl, I love that I can wipe them right off, great for messy toddlers! The vinyl helps make the "new" chairs seem finished since the fabric I bought was apparel and not upholstery. I did the project over a few days, split up by weeks. So in reality, it took me about 3 1/2 weeks to finish but the actual time working on it was probably only a days worth. This was a fun project. 

Calling any pizza experts!!!

Our family LOVES to make homemade pizza, we usually do it almost every week. BUT, we just cannot seem to find a great pizza dough recipe/techique. We have tried the Jiffy pizza crust mix, the Pillsbury refrigerated dough and a few basic recipes I have found online (basically, flour, oil, water, yeast, etc.) Most of them are ok, but just sort of bland. Most of the crusts come out real thin. When we try to make them thicker- they turn out really dense instead of fluffy and airy. (Does that make sense?)

So, does anyone have a great pizza dough recipe? Or have any of you worked at a pizza place and have some techniques or tips to help me make better pizza dough? Thanks