Memorial Day Activities From Food to Fun

Midge copyGuest Blog by: Midge

Hiya! I have been searching high and low throughout the world wide web in order to compile this pretty cool list of Memorial Day Activities for you and your family! We will travel all the way from food to fun in this roundup of links! So, pour yourself a cup of joe (or a diet beverage of your choice ~ my favorite) and start planning your weekend!!!

 

Dinner and Dessert Ideas

For the Salad: STRAWBERRY BBQ CHICKEN SPINACH AND QUINOA SALAD WITH BACON, AVOCADO, AND GOAT CHEESE I would probably substitute the goat cheese with a bit of Gouda but ~ man oh man~ if the title of this salad doesn’t just strike me as delectable! 

For Dinner: COFFEE INFUSED BABY BACK RIBS ~ Seriously, WHAT? Wow, this sounds interesting and delicious! Now, you can have your coffee and eat it too.

For a Side Dish: JACK’S POTATO SALAD  Everyone has their own “secret” recipe for potato salad (at least most of the grandmas I know have one!). But, this one is distinctly from “Jack”, I suppose, and it looks OH so yummy . . .

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE PANCAKE LAYER CAKE One look at this dessert and you may just fall out of your chair . . . and its gluten- free. It is a bit of red, white, and blue with a whole lot of scrumptious. Who’s up for trying something new?

Fun for Kids 

Gardening: PLANT A SURPRISE GARDEN This blog post warmed my heart. Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend for planting a few small container pots with your children.

CraftsPreschool: FUN AND MESSY AMERICAN FLAG! Oh yes, I love it when my little one plays with glue and glitter. Well, okay, not really . . .  glitter is my least favorite crafty item! BUT, this flag looks so fun to make I may just have to let my sweet one glitter away!

For School Aged Kids: FREE E-BOOK WITH TEACHING IDEAS FOR KIDS AND WORKSHEETS! This is a very complete study guide regarding ideas for helping your children learn about Memorial Day and celebrate it with style!

Fun and Crafts for Moms
PATRIOTIC SAND CANDLES Super simple craft with colored sand and candles!

DRIFTWOOD FLAG What’s trending?  Driftwood and painted driftwood . . .  need I say anymore? Click on the link to check it out!

RECYCLED PALLET MADE INTO A PORCH SWING There is something always “hip” about taking a pallet and turning it in to a useful and rustic looking “something else”. This porch swing takes the cake!

 

What are your plans for Memorial Day? Are you planning a weekend full of activities or a weekend full of napping?  Hope your Memorial Day weekend is wonderful no matter what you decide to do! ;)

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Feedback Friday~ Simply Spring

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about affordable, spring decorations for home or entry way (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to see what ideas I came up with. Molly

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Dear Midge,

Freshing up the look of your entryway and home for spring doesn’t have to be an elaborate (or expensive) task. Sometimes little changes are all you need to transform the space. I found a cute site HERE that shows pictures of simply changing out a wreath on the front door to match the season. Easter decorations can double as spring decor for awhile, take a look at THIS ENTRY WAY. If you want to try your hand at upcycling some items you may have around the house, CHECK OUT THESE IDEAS.

Have you been through any local thrift stores lately? Taking a find like THIS and transforming it would be super cute in your entryway! HERE are a few simple ideas you might like to pull ideas from. If you decide to try out #6 with some of Grandma’s recipe cards, please be sure and send me a picture! :)

Love ya,

Molly

 

 

Sneak Peek Monday~ Organizing With Molly

Take a sneak peek into my Molly Gets Organized- All in One Place E-Book today!

“I have to confess that I love organizational stuff—boxes and tubs, cute little containers and fancy folders, racks and files—I could spend a lot of money on that kind of stuff! But I don’t. I do look at garage sales and thrift stores and have found some real deals that way. Here’s a list of organizing ideas using recycled and repurposed objects you may have lying around the house. They’re serviceable, and feel free to pretty them up whatever way you like!”

To get the list of organizing ideas, CLICK HERE to purchase Molly Gets Organized- All in One Place as a single issue. Once you get to the checkout, you will ONLY be charged $1 (good only for the month of March)!

Molly members (who have paid the one-time yearly price) already have Molly Gets Organized- All in One Place in your member page! Members who pay month-to-month will have this available after the 2nd month of membership. Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search it out.

If you’re not a Molly member and you would like to take advantage of BIG savings, please visit our SUBSCRIPTION PAGE to sign up now!

Feedback Friday~ Easter Brunch

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about a chic, Easter brunch on a dime (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to read my fun (and frugal!) ideas. Molly

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Dear Midge,

You had my attention at the word “chic.” Immediately my mind went to the “shabby chic” method of decorating, I’ve loved that look for years! So for once, I’m going to chat about decorating FIRST. . . before food. I know, it surprised me too. :)

Decorating your home doesn’t have to be expensive, creativity can go a long way! Shabby chic (in my opinion) is all about taking what you have and reusing it to make your space beautiful. When it comes to Easter and decorating your home, why not start with an Easter wreath on your front door? THIS SITE has 9 easy, DIY Easter wreath & garland ideas. There are kid friendly wreath ideas here as well as some sophisticated (chic) ideas. What are your thoughts on this shabby chic, EASTER WREATH?

Looking for some Easter themed decor to use as a center piece for the table or for around the house? Check out THIS SITE, you’ll find many Easter-inspired crafts there using eggs as the main attraction. THIS EGG SHELL ART is one of my favorites. While I think it would take some time and patience to complete this project, how beautiful would these be in a small bowl as an Easter decoration?

Now. . . on to chic, brunch ideas. One of my favorite things to say is “be fabulously frugal!” That statement is the exact thing that came to mind when I saw THIS SITE and all of the yummy, (and cute!) Easter brunch ideas.  If you scroll down the page a bit (#18 and #19), you’ll come across certain foods that may be on your mind. :)

Sometimes the kiddos in your group may enjoy tried-and-true recipes such as: pancakes, french toast, breakfast sausage (did you know you can make your own?), fruit cups and/or donuts, muffins and yummy, quick breads. THIS SITE has some simple yet scrumptious recipes for a beautiful brunch.

Happy planning!

Love, Molly

 

 

Members Only Monday

hWell, it’s February. We’re full swing into the new year, and I’m busy organizing, planning, and scheduling everything!

As a busy mom, I don many hats: wife, mom, teacher, accountant, maid, chef, chaperone, and bus driver. The fun never stops around here! However, in order for everything to run on schedule and smoothly, everything must be well organized and planned out.

Tax Time and Budgeting For The Year

I’ve just sent in my income tax statement and I know I should get a refund check in about 5 weeks, around the middle of March. This year’s refund is about the same as last year’s. Being a big family, we depend greatly on that refund to help supplement our income for the year.

Last year, we took an out of state trip and fitted one child for contacts. The total of those expenses took about $1000 from our yearly budget and savings. Although that may not seem like much, that extra $1000 expenditure made things very tight for us during the last few months. I will be glad to see that IRS refund this year and plan to use it, or “not use it” wisely. I don’t want to be in a tight bind, financially, this time next year.

Plan It All Out
In order to do this we must budget well. This year, I have a child who will not only be starting dual credit at the community college, but also gets her driver’s license and will be spending a week this summer at our local university for String (Violin) Camp. Whew! This will all be figured into the yearly budget. To budget accordingly, we have to plan the whole year out. We’ll sit down with our calendar and make a list of events and expenditures we already know about this year. Those amounts will be figured into our yearly budget so that there will be no surprises or short comings when the need arises.

Molly The Debt Free Frugalista

In this month’s issue of The Molly Green Magazine, I share with you strategies for saving money, living on a budget, getting out of debt, and being debt free.

Also, we talk about being content, enjoying what you have, living within your means and learning to minimize, recycle, and reuse. It’s not always easy being a frugalista. Sometimes it means just doing without. However, sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring how to get the things my family needs in creative ways.

All our needs are provided for and we live well within our means. That gives me a sense of accomplishment and a desire to share what I’ve learned with all of you.

I hope you will enjoy this month’s magazine. Take a little time each day to read over all the articles. Bake up a batch of pancakes with your DIY Baking mix. Sew a comfy new bed for the family cat and spend some time asking yourself, ” Are you content?” and ” How can I enjoy my life and family more?” Make the most of every moment and share with others your experiences and what you’ve learned.
Molly 2013 MGM_Molly-Membership-Ad1-202x300
Share a Copy
“Do you know someone that is struggling to make ends meet? Do they need help learning to budget, becoming debt free or finding affordable health insurance and medical care options?

Show them this magazine and let them know we’re here to help. As always, they can get their own copy for just $4.95 a month or become Molly Members for a yearly price of just $3.85 a month. Becoming a Molly Member will gain them access to all of the wonderful money saving, debt busting, economy- busting resources Molly has shared with you. Pass it On!

Members-Only Monday

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What is your initial reaction when you hear the words “sewing” or “seamstress?” I can only imagine that some of you may jump up and down with excitement about a current project. There may be some of you that shudder at the thought of even sewing on a button; sewing may not be your area of expertise AT ALL! If you’re interested in sewing, there’s always an opportunity for you to begin learning. It’s never too late!

HERE’S A FAIRLY EASY PROJECT, you may want to keep this in mind for when the summer months come around. I know I’m already planning this for my boys especially. We’ve got quite a pile of jeans with holes in the knees! If you look closely at the post mentioned above, you’ll also find a link to a cute tutorial for a little girl’s twirly skirt made from old blue jeans. :)

If you’re a Molly member, you’ll be pleased to know there is a GREAT sewing 101 project in the FEBRUARY 2011 back issue! Remember, you receive access to ALL MOLLY MAGAZINES with your membership! All you have to do is go to your member page, click on the link for the 2011 digests and search out “MOLLY SAVES IN THE BEDROOM.” You’ll find this project beginning on p. 36! Here’s a little snippet explaining the project:

“When I think of my bedroom, I think of a comfortable retreat. It is the place where I can unwind and read a book or sit and talk with my husband and children. I always keep an extra blanket or throw on hand for impromptu naps or wrapping up in when the weather turns cold. It is difficult to have too many of these around, so this month, I will demonstrate how to make a simple throw from old wool sweaters. This will require at least three felted, adult-size wool sweaters, a sewing machine, a sharp pair of fabric scissors, and about three 250-yard spools of thread in a coordinating color. My finished throw measures 42×50 inches, but if you have more sweaters and thread, it can be made much larger. This project is perfect for beginners to sewing. Anyone able to make a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine should be able to complete it.”

You should be able to find some old wool sweaters at your local second hand or thrift stores. Try calling around to friends and family and ask if they have any in their closet that they’d like to get rid of. All you need is 3 adult sized sweaters for this throw, you should be able to find that with minimal effort and cost!

If you’re not a Molly member it’s not too late to take advantage of our discounted annual membership price (ending January 31)! The price is still set at $39 an entire year (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE DETAILS OF EVERYTHING ELSE THAT COMES WITH THAT MEMBERSHIP!). Once you become a member, you can immediately go to this project and begin.

Happy sewing! Molly

 

Midge’s Love of All Things “Mini”

Guest Blog by: Midge

I have always wanted to collect teapots.  I started my collection with one teapot and cup that was mistakenly shattered during a massive “clean before my guests arrive” kind of moment last summer.  Now, with having an active toddler who would love to play with all of my knick-knacks, I have had to put that dream on hold.

When I was a little girl, I had a collection of stuffed animals and dolls.  This collection morphed into a love of comic books featuring a funny cat and all of his friends, which in turn led into a collection of all things related to baby harp seals.  As I grew older, I desired to develop a different kind of collection, which could one day be passed on to my children and grandchildren.

 

My nieces and nephews discovered recently (during our pomegranate escapade!) that I have already started my own collection of “mini-ware” in the kitchen.  I have an extreme love of all things miniature.  It started with a small glass bowl with a lid.  While admiring it at a booth at our local fair, I knew I had absolutely no use for a bowl as big as my thumb but… it was so cute!

That is how most mini things end up going home with me.  I have a mini art easel and canvas, a mini strainer for my small berries or pomegranate seeds, a mini ladle in case I want just a little bit of soup, and a mini coquette which I use as a butter dish.  I suppose my love of all things mini has become a collection of sorts.

Maybe the next item I buy will be a mini tea pot!   I can keep both collections going… (just stored on a very high shelf!).

 

Do you have any collections in your home?  Are you hoping to add to this collection on Christmas?

 

By the way, Molly shared a cool site on her facebook page about making your own gingerbread playdough.  This past week, I made some to give away to the kids in my daughter’s play group.  I packaged them in “mini” boxes!!  Here is the link: GINGERBREAD PLAY DOUGH LINK

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Learning to Save Money on Almost Everything, Especially at Christmas Time!

Financially, times are tough. Everywhere you look, stores are closing, prices are rising, and great deals are getting harder and harder to find.

We here at Econobusters understand everyone needs a helping hand. That’s one of our main principles, everyone working together to bust through these hard economic times!

Easy Ways to Save Money

Search the weekly ads and use coupons. Most grocery ads come out every Wednesday and retail ads come out on Sundays. The age of the giant Sunday newspaper full of ads and coupons has almost passed us by. Now days, you might find good deals in the Sunday paper, but your best bet is to hit the web. One of the best ad websites for supermarkets and retail chains is SundaySaver.com. They post links to almost all of the national chain stores.

Have you read The Coupon Craze: Chaos or Common Cents issue of Molly Green Magazine? Check it out!

Major Coupon Networks and Companies

Most coupon lovers are familiar with the  inserts found in the Sunday newspaper. The three main companies that provide these coupons are Smart Source, Red Plum, and Proctor & Gamble. All three companies also provide coupons online. Providing printable coupons on the Internet makes collecting and sharing coupons with others very simple. In fact, one website, Coupons.com, usually hosts them all in one place.

Make Shopping a Game

Create a monthly challenge. Each month, make it a goal to save more than the month before. Find ways to collect more coupons, stack more deals, and earn more rebates. Over time, shoppers learn pricing and predict when items will go on sale. Look for deals all year long: garage sales, thrift stores, second hand stores, Goodwill, and Salvation Army.

Don’t Forget FREE and FREEBIES

You might begin by signing up for your local Freecycle group. Anytime you need something for yourself, the home, or the kids, ask your Freecycle group first. This is an easy way to receive TVs, electronics, small appliances, clothes, toys, and books. You can also list things you no longer need on this group!

Speaking of books, we all know about Amazon, but occasionally, you can find what you want for free on Paperback Swap. You post the books you no longer want. Other people request those books from you. You mail a book to that person, (at your cost), and then you get to pick a book to be mailed to you! If the book you are looking for isn’t listed, check Deal Oz. This website does the book searching for you and finds the best deals on the web for books, CDs and DVDs.

Lastly, you might be interested in these points incentive programs: MyPoints, Swagbucks, and Amazon. You can earn points toward free gift cards simply by reading MyPoints daily emails, (no purchase required). If you use Swagbucks as your search engine, you also can earn points toward free gift cards, but it’s not as easy as MyPoints. Amazon has started a new incentive program where you agree to review products. If you are chosen. They send you the products free of charge to keep!!! It’s called the Amazon Vine. Check it out!

What great deals have you found that save money, especially during the holidays?

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Feedback Friday~ Storing Keepsakes

If you get my Freebie Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about storing keepsake items (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner of the blog). Read below to find out my ideas on protecting memorabilia! Molly

Dear Midge,

I may be biased but I do think those booties turned out pretty cute, didn’t they? Some of my favorite keepsakes are baby items! It is so precious to be able to look back at tiny locks of hair, a coming-home outfit, a first pacifier or a first pair of shoes/booties. If you want to put a few things on display but still protect them, you might think about using a shadow box. Especially after the holidays are over, you might be able to find a great deal on a shadow box or two. Keep your eyes open for just the perfect size and style to showcase those precious booties! Here is an idea to get your creative juices flowing, what a cute way to display keepsakes!

If you’re not too keen on the idea of displaying those baby items, you might like making a memory box. A memory box doesn’t have to be big, possibly a shoe box size, it can just hold those precious items that are too bulky for your scrapbooks. You might like to decorate the outside of the shoe box and personalize it for that child by writing their name, birth date, time and weight at birth. This type of box might be good for holding baby teeth that have fallen out, a lock of hair, baby’s first shoes, a favorite outfit or even one of those plaster hand print keepsakes.

Of course there is always the option of storing pictures digitally vs. storing many photo albums. You can choose to use some of your favorite pictures to make memory gifts such as a coffee mug, calendar or even a mouse pad with your child’s picture on it.

I hope this gave you some ideas on ways you can begin to store or showcase some of Sarah’s baby items. Let me know which method you choose, I’d love to see the final product!

Love ya, Molly

What do you do when showcasing or storing special items or baby keepsakes? Please share!

 

The Unexpected Expense of a Toddler

Guest Blog by: Midge

Let’s face it children can be budget breakers.  When we were first contemplating having children, one of our main concerns was how we were going to pay for all of the big things like: the delivery room, the nursery room, and the fact that we just needed to “make room” for all of the baby groceries and diapers which would accompany our sweet little bundle of joy.  According to this June 2012 article written by Sam Hananel, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is now estimated at $235,000 which equals about $13,000 a year!

Mr. Hananel continues: “The cost per child decreases as a family has more children. The report found that families with three or more children spend 22 percent less per child than those with two children. The savings result from hand-me-down clothes and toys, shared bedrooms and buying food in larger quantities.”

This is just one more reason I like learning about being frugal from MollyEven with one child, I have learned to use some tools and tricks to help save our family money each month! 

But, I digress… the reason for writing this blog today is not because of the fixed expenses for housing, car, clothing or diapers.  It is the unexpected expenses of having a child that sometimes catch me off-guard.  For example, I now own this moose (see picture below) because my very cute, yet slightly unbalanced, toddling daughter knocked it off the shelf.  It then hit another trinket as well and $35 later I was the proud owner of two slightly broken items.  I am sure they will look great after I hot glue them back together and display them in our guest bathroom.

My husband looked at my slightly broken expenditure and raised his eyebrows… I said, “Don’t ask.  Just write it down as an unexpected toddler expense.”

 

Moose Lost Antler: News at 6

Have you ever had an extra toddler expense like my broken moose?  What do you think about the cost of raising a child over 18 years?  Was it a number that you expected?  Do you think that $13,000 a year for one child is a realistic number for your family?