Freebie Friday 2/17

It is creeping up towards the end of February. The weather outside your door is either A. Snowing/Cold B. Warm and Spring Like or C. All the Above (depending on the day)

The February Blues can get to all of us. Whether we are hiding from the cold, or suffering from spring fever due to teasing temperatures, spring just seems to call out our names!

There is no need to wait for spring cleaning to make a fresh start! Here are some freebies fit for an organization frenzy!

Better Homes and Gardens has wonderful customizable storage labels for printThere are more label printables and ideas on this page as well.

Creative Mamma has a beautiful 2012 calendar printable available! Perfect for keeping all of your important dates and appointments organized!

The Pretty Blog offers free printable mason jar labels. These are perfect for organizing your pantry goods, and is a wonderful alternative to writing on the lid itself.

Design Finch has comprised a list of wonderfulorganizational printables. Everything from menu lists to blog weekly planners! These are must have!

Here is a neat way to help young ones remember their morning routine. Cute little routine flash cards to display thanks to Living Locurto.

Here is a wonderful free ebook from Money Saving Mom’s, downloadOrganize for a Fresh Start now!

I hope the coming week finds you refreshed, organized, and encouraged!

Disclaimer: All these products were available at the time this post was written. All deals are subject to change at the discretion of individual sites.

Transforming Your Tee

My friend Sarah Duggar has me hooked on repurposing old t-shirts. I hope you enjoy the projects she has found for you!

Everywhere I look these days, something else has been made out of an ordinary old t-shirt.  If you think about it, this really a frugal and earth-friendly idea!  I have made a few scarves from t-shirts, and they are always a big hit.  But, the ideas I have found lately are way beyond just plain scarves, they are tons of fun!    One of my favorites is the shag rug made from t-shirt rag pieces.  Wouldn’t it be fun to get some use out of a favorite tee even after it is too small or to worn to wear?  Another favorite idea is to crochet or knit dishrags from ‘t-shirt yarn.’ There are numerous methods for making ‘yarn’ out of t-shirts.  These rags make up really quickly because of the size of the ‘yarn’ and they are super absorbent.  So, go clean out the closets and drawers and start repurposing all of those t-shirts that are just taking up space.  Check out the ideas on these web pages, each page has tutorials, links, pictures, and more ideas for repurposing t-shirts.

http://hellogiggles.com/diy-t-shirt-scarf

http://myblessedlife.net/2011/10/t-shirt-scarf-tutorial.html

http://simpleorganic.net/refashion-repurposing-t-shirts-and-more/

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2010/06/18/memorable-ways-to-repurpose-old-t-shirts/

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2010/06/18/memorable-ways-to-repurpose-old-t-shirts/

http://www.ehow.com/how_4895298_make-tshirt-shag-rug.html

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – I might be in trouble!

Guest Blog: Featuring Midge

Hi Everyone, Midge here!  My cousin Molly asked me if I could do a guest chat on her blog every week.  I am super new at being a homemaker.  My husband and I were only married for a year when we found out we were going to be parents for the first time.  Sarah Rose was born in July of 2011, and for the first time in my career-focused life, I am home all day long.  All things “kitchen” are somewhat foreign to me, but I love researching for my new stay-at-home mom career. I am so glad that Molly asked me to write this every week so I can share what I learn!  Hope to have lots of fun learning and growing with you through my trial and errors!

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – I might be in trouble!

Tonight was Valentine’s Day and I thought I would try to bake something special for my husband.  Awhile back, my niece and nephew were really into this made-fo- TV musical and one of the songs included a kid singing about making really great Crème Brulee.  I actually looked it up on the internet to see what this dessert was all about.

http://video.about.com/frenchfood/Creme-Brulee.htm

The video really makes this dessert look too easy to make.  How hard could it be with so few ingredients?   Here are the ingredients that the website listed: 1 1/3 cups of cream, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of sugar, and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

My daughter, who will be 7 months old on the 16th, was very content playing in our family room on her special blanket.   I decided that today was the day to give this recipe a shot.  It should be done in time for our after Valentine’s Dinner treat and my husband will be so impressed with the fancy title of this dessert.

Our kitchen has a cute little breakfast counter that opens up into our family room, so I was able to keep an eye on little Sarah Rose while standing at the stove.  I put my apron on and pulled out the half-and-half (I abhor heavy cream), measured it out and set the pot to medium heat.  Have you ever tried to heat a dairy product up slowly?  It seriously felt like it was taking FOREVER!

So, the short story is this . . . since it was taking so long to heat up the half-and-half, I left the stove to quickly change Sarah’s diaper.  After tidying her up and putting her in her swing, I came back to the kitchen just in time to see the half-and-half bubbling like crazy.  In my haste to get it to heat quicker, I had turned the knob up to medium high heat and thought I would be back just in time to pull it off the stove.

Although Crème Brulee is literally translated from French to English as “Burnt Cream”, I was pretty sure that what I saw in the little pot was not what the original chef had in mind. Having ruined the first batch of half-and-half I only had enough left to modify my recipe and make one Crème Brulee.  I moved Sarah, who had fallen asleep in the swing, into her crib for a nap and there was no way I was going to wake her in order to run to the store for more ingredients.  So I set it heating again, this time on low heat, and got out the rest of the ingredients to mix together.

It is in the oven now, so I will have to let you know next week how it turned out!  After Sarah wakes up, we get to run to the kitchen store and get a fun new kitchen tool; a hand held blowtorch!  It shouldn’t be too much money, right?

O,h and if I get creative, I saw another recipe for Crème Brulee that uses only egg yolks.  We have a kitchen tool for separating egg yolks that we received for our wedding . . . can’t wait to try it!  How do you separate egg whites and egg yolks?  Do you use a special tool or do it the old fashioned way?  Oh and what do you use the egg whites for after you separate them?  Do you save them or toss them?

Thanks for reading and happy Valentine’s Day! – Midge

Freecycle

As I get ready to do some decluttering around my house, I wonder if you are all aware of Freecycle?

Freecycle is a non-profit movement of over 5,000 local groups.  They work under the premise of one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  You join your local group and post for FREE any items you want to discard.  You can also “shop,”  for FREE, things your fellow group members’ are discarding.  Whether you call it a swap or a free online yard sale, the purpose is to keep items out of landfills.

I’ve seen tools, tvs, boats, clothes, and beds.  It is definitely a wonderful resource for people who are trying to save money.  You can find your local Freecycle group at their main website.

A Few Last Minute Tips and Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Whether Valentine’s Day is a big deal in your home or you simply choose to prepare a special meal and give home-made or store bought valentines to those you love like I do, today’s the day to finish up those valentines and complete our meal planning.

If I wait until tomorrow to pull it all together,  I’ll be stressed out trying to fit in an extra trip to the grocery store that will inevitably result in overspending and lost valuable preparation time.  And the irony is that I’m likely to take that stress out on those I love.

Whatever we have planned special for tomorrow, let’s make sure we save our time, energy and money, and get ready for it today.

There are endless ways to say “I Love You” that don’t cost anything more than the time to be thoughtful. Let’s spend some time today thinking about those we want to be intentional about sharing our love with tomorrow and identify a few small ways we can demonstrate that love that will be meantingful to each of them.

If you’d like to avoid associating Valentine’s Day with sugary-sweet candy, you might be inspired by these super-cute valentine stickers for fruits (originally designed  by Kathleen at Twig and Thistle).

A few other Valentine’s Day Links:

Free Printable Valentines (especially for girls) from Delightful Distractions

Heart-Shaped Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hershey’s (chocolate kisses) website offers a variety of Valentine’s Day recipes and craft ideas here.

Update:  Another freebie I just found from Megan at Contented Sparrow.

Freebie Valentine Crafts, Books & More!

In continuing with Freebie Friday, here are some more wonderful “Valentine Freebies” to share your love, with loved ones and friends!

With the weekend ahead, the little ones may want to make some “loving” crafts to share at home and school! Just go to Make and Take Crafts and you will be pleasantly surprised with these little treasures! An additional freebie to go along with these wonderful crafts, is the book “Easy Valentine Crafts To make With Young children”, By: Michelle Buvala. For a limited time, it is available for download to read on any “Kindle”  device or app, Easy Valentine Crafts !

With some winter weather finally upon us, the little ones may want to cuddle and snuggle up with you and read either of these lovely books:

A Lovely Day: a Picture Book For Children By: Sujatha Lalgudi

Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Month, Read Online, Read-aloud For Kids:

Guess How Much I Love You By: Sam McBratney

There are so many cook books out there, but how about a “Valentine, Vegetarian” cook book?  I know, I am always looking for new and unique vegetarian recipes, and can’t wait to try some of these! You can get yours for free right now, in the Kindle store to read on your Kindle, phone, or pc!

33 Vegetarian Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipes By: Shelley Lynne

Finally, with Valentine’s Day upon us, love is certainly in the air! If you are a “bride-to-be”, or “mother of a bride”, you can get a free issue of “Bride Guide” magazine in print here, Bride Guide ! I personally get “Bride Guide” myself and love it, for all of the exquisite pictures of the beautiful dresses in it! A wonderful freebie for sure!

Freebie Friday 2/10

Valentine’s Day is just right around the corner! Here are some lovely freebies ranging from DIY Crafts to Classic Stories!

Martha Stewart always has fantastic ClipArt. Check out theValentine’s Clip Art for cards, labels, and other decorations!

Just for simply “Liking” Living Locurto’s facebook page, you can print out their Valentine’s Party Collection! This includes 2 Circle Tags, 4/6 Card and Mini Tags, and Water Bottle Labels! This is perfect for a valentines day lunch with the family. The circle tags make fabulous cupcake toppers!

You may want to add these cute DIY treat bags to your lunch party via TwigandThistle.com. These are easy to make and even easier to download!

Speaking of treats, when I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of wonderful Desserts! Here is a free Valentine’s Dessert Cookbookthanks to MrFood.com!

Diabetic? Check our these Sugar Free Treats thanks to Diabetic Gourmet Magazine.

Gluten Allergy? Here are some recipes for you as well from Elana’s Pantry!

FairyTales are the perfect fit for this day of love and care. You can find free audio stories like Cinderella and The Sleeping Beautyon StoryNory.com. Natasha is a perfect narrator and you can not  help but love Prince Bertie the Frog!  The audio stories are free to stream as well as download! I will admit, although these are geared towards younger children, I have a few StoryNory’s sitting happily in my iPod.

Looking for a novel instead? Download “Pride and Prejudice“, one of the most famous novels about family, love, and independence. The full novel is available for your listening joy via LibriVox Recordings.

PBS.org is streaming the “LA Philharmonic performs An American in Paris. Gershwin wrote some of the most timeless love songs in history. This is a truly great performance, and can be a perfect end to your day.

Disclaimer: All these products were available at the time this post was written. All deals are subject to change at the discretion of individual sites.

Valentines on the Cheap!

Valentines Day will be here next week, so I wanted to share two simple and inexpensive things that I have found can make a big difference in any household:  Dry erase markers and bath tub crayons.

When Mr. Green and I first married we started writing notes to each other on the bathroom mirror using dry erase markers. We always kept the notes loving and encouraging and never used them for shopping lists or dry cleaning reminders.

As we had children, I found how handy bath tub crayons were for leaving special notes to the kids.  They went from being new and unexpected to something everybody looked for.

Leaving special notes on mirrors, in the shower, in lunch boxes or sock drawers is an easy way to remind the people you love just how much you love them on Valentines Day and all year long!  And remember:  Keep the grocery lists on the refrigerator and reminders on the calendar!