I love a daiquiri, be it frozen or straight, strawberry or banana. It’s all good.http://ift.tt/2rKT64r
Friday, June 23, 2017
We don’t have parties often, but I love it when we do. Even though they can be expensive and a ton of work, it makes me so happy to have a houseful of friends and family. Even when they get hectic, it just makes my heart feel full. To help with some of the issues of the expense, I’m offering up some easy ideas for party planning on a budget.
10 Tips for Party Planning on a Budget 1. Skip paper invitation.
If all or most of your guests are online (and regularly check their email), a service like Evite is a great option for free invitations. Of course, an even more low tech option, while still being paperless, can be emails or phone calls.2. Make your own cake.
If the party is a birthday party or another event that will involve cake, consider skipping over a store bought cake and either make your own cake or go for something like cupcakes or pies if you’re working on party planning on a budget. Personally, I’m a big fan of cupcakes. They are individually sized and there is no pressure on someone to cut a cake perfectly. (Here’s my favorite frosting recipe.)
If you’re determined to have a theme to your party, explore your home looking for supplies and other items that you might already have that would lend themselves to party decorations or supplies.4. Throw a potluck.
If you want to have a meal but just can’t afford to invite all of your friends for a large meal, invite them to a potluck instead. It would be best if you provided the drinks and main dish (soups, grilled out meats, or something of that nature) and then had friends or family bring sides and desserts.5. Decorate with things you can reuse.
When we had a very large birthday party for Molly one year, we bought balloons to blow up ourselves as well as pink crepe paper. Those were our only single-use decorations.
I also picked up a “Happy Birthday” banner that could be reused as well as LED white Christmas lights to put on the trees and our porch in the backyard. Because they were LED, they were bright enough to light the dark backyard for all the kids that played outside throughout the party. Those lights were not cheap, but we enjoyed them for many years afterward, as well as for additional parties and gatherings.
If you have the kinds of friends who say, “What can I bring?” or “What can I do?” – let them help. Now, I will admit that I almost always decline those offers.
However, that said, I admire someone like my friend Amanda who trusts people enough that she had her sister-in-law (who is a friend of mine as well) and I make the cakes for her twin sons’ First Communion party. Other relatives also brought some other desserts.7. Avoid mealtimes for your party.
Food adds a large expense to party planning. While I think it’s nice to have some type of food at a party, having it at a meal time will either cost you a lot of money or will leave your guests disappointed when your party time that starts at noon includes only cake and punch. Have your party well after a meal time so you can get away with something like only cake and punch to save money on your party planning on a budget.8. Make food from scratch rather than packaged foods.
If you would like to feed people, as I often do, it’s much cheaper to make the food yourself rather than heading to the grocery store or club store to buy prepared foods.9. Skip party favors.
Who really needs party favors, right? The only time we’ve ever done party favors was the year that Molly had a princess birthday party at home and the girls got to each pick a tea cup to use at the party and then take home. However, we got them all for $1.00 or less per cup by visiting Goodwill.
Now, I’m not talking about something like a pizza party type of location if you’re trying to save money. I’m talking about something like a local park. Some parks will let you rent a shelter for free or a small cost and then party guests can do activities like playing on playground equipment, sports, trails, and other activities.What are some of your favorite budget savers when it comes to parties?
Other Posts You May Like:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. They don’t change the price you pay. However, when you shop through the links, we may receive a small compensation. Thanks!
Thursday, June 22, 2017
In our classic outdoor lounge space blog post, we gave you a guide for creating a look that’s elegant and timeless. This time, we thought we’d give you steps for creating an eclectic look. The vibe is funkier and laid…
Quesadillas have to be my favorite go-to food for lunch. They’re just so easy to make! Especially when you have tortillas and cheese in the fridge, which we almost always do.
One way to take a quesadilla from snack to a meal is to add some protein, like chicken, beef, or in this case shrimp.
First marinate raw shrimp in a little lime juice and chili pepper. Then sauté the shrimp and add it to your jack-cheese quesadilla along with red onion and cilantro. Serve with some sliced avocado, sour cream, maybe another squeeze of lime juice, and you’re set!http://ift.tt/1uVwQnW
Have you ever wondered how easy it is to make homemade rose water? In the past, I’ve purchased rose water but it can be expensive. If you have roses you can make your own rose water, and it’s so easy to do too.
Some of the links in this posts are my affiliate links. When you buy through them I can make a little money at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support in this way. See my disclosure page for more information.
Making homemade rose water at home is pretty simple. I was surprised at how easy it really was and wondered why I ever had purchased it? Since we’ve been growing roses at our current home for about 20 years in the spring and summer I have a nice supply of roses on hand.
But it never occurred to me to make DIY rose water until I had a bunch of roses that needed to be trimmed before a few days of rain arrived.
I thought it would be best to get the huge blooms off the rose bush before they filled with water and broke the stems or the petals were knocked off all over the ground. I didn’t want to have to clean up a huge rose petal mess.
But I didn’t want to just throw those beautiful roses into the compost. I put some in a vase to enjoy and the rest were used to make this homemade rose water.
I made a video to show you how easy it is to make your own homemade rose water. View it below or scroll down for the basic written instructions.Homemade Rose Water, Step by Step
✳︎ Start with organic roses. When making products from flowers it’s important to use organic flowers. You don’t want to have those pesticides or herbicides ending up in your homemade beauty products so be safe and use organically grown flowers.
We grow our own roses organically and treat them with natural pest deterrents. Our roses aren’t perfect but they thrive and look good in general. They aren’t perfect but then again what in nature really is and if everything was perfect how boring would that be?!
✳︎ Remove the rose petals from the stem. You can do this one at a time or you can grab the full head of the rose and twist a little at the base of the bloom and most of the petals will come off. We tried both ways.
Some roses were easy to remove all at once, others it was easier to do it one petal at a time. Use whichever method works best for the roses you have.
✳︎ Wash the Petals. Once the rose petals are removed you want to wash them. We found a few bugs and a little dirt on the rose petals. Put them into a bowl with water or in a colander and rinse them well. Then drain.
✳︎ Simmer the Rose Petals. Once the petals are nice and clean place them in a large pot and cover them with distilled water. You just want enough water to cover the petals. You don’t want too much water as it can dilute your rose water. The petals will float a little that’s ok.
You’ll want to simmer the rose petals on low until the color is gone from the petals. They will look pale and a little droopy. I let mine go about 15 minutes. Then remove them from the burner and let them sit to cool a little.
✳︎ Strain at Rose Petals. Once the rose water has cooled, strain the rose petals out of the water. I like to scoop the rose petals out and then as I’m pouring the rose water into a clean canning jar I strain it through a tight mesh colander.Storing your Homemade Rose Water
Once your rose water is cool place a lid on your jar and store the rose water in the refrigerator. I place mine in the back of the refrigerator to keep it cold and to help it last longer.
You can use rose water as a toner. I place a small amount of rose water in a bottle and soak a cotton ball with it. Rub on your face like you would use a toner. You can dilute the rose water 3 parts water and 1 part rose water if the straight rose water is too astringent for your skin.
You can use rose water to set makeup. Place your homemade rose water into a spray bottle and spray a little on your face to set your makeup.
Add it to your bath. Add a cup or two to your bath for a rose scented bath to soak in.
Use Homemade Rose Water to freshen your skin. In the hot days of summer, you can use your rose water to spray on your skin to freshen it. Plus the lovely rose smell is a great bonus.
What do you think? Is making homemade rose water on your list of things to do now that you know how easy it really is to make? I hope so. If you give it a try be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.
When you make your own DIY rose water you can save money and be pampered at the same time!http://ift.tt/2tynjos
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
For years, iceberg lettuce got a real thrashing from chefs who thought of it as tasteless and nothing but texture. What’s wrong with great texture?
Cut up a head of iceberg for a classic wedge salad, add blue cheese dressing, smoky bacon, and a few cherry tomatoes, and even the worst kitchen snobs will change their minds!http://ift.tt/2rD3knm
Between feeding a family of five and working on home organization and DIY projects around the clock, I run a lot of errands. Given my location, I try to consolidate my trips whenever possible. I live 20-60 minutes from the majority of my favorite shopping sources so I will typically hit up HomeGoods, Home Depot and a couple grocery stores all in a single outing.
Over the years I have attempted to organize my trips and handbag with a variety of checklists and pouches. Expandable files for coupons, envelopes for receipts, a small card holder for store cards and folded stacks of ideas and lists. Each individual attempt has been OK, but when combined it just created a jumbled mess inside of my purse. Or things would get misplaced, and transferring the items between totes would cause some to become separated from others. And sometimes the pouches and lists would get left in the car and then I would end up in our other vehicle. Not the end of the world, but I really wanted to find a way to keep everything together in one harder-to-lose organizer.
Maybe my situation is unique and not everyone will have the same needs as I do, I know many of you rely upon on your device when out and about, I am just not 100% there yet. That said, I did want to share because I sure do love my current setup and it really has helped to make my outings much easier to manage.
To assemble my shopping assistant, I began with a standard mini-binder from Container Store, which can also be found at Amazon, Target or any office supply store. Back when Staples offered a plethora of amazing Martha Stewart for Avery items, I picked up some secure-top page protectors and divider tabs. Although their offerings have since dwindled, Avery continues to offer a lot of similar options (again at Amazon, Target and office supply stores). I use page protectors/pockets to hold coupons and receipts, business card pages for store cards/gift cards, and added pages in the back for keeping track of my shopping lists. Let's take a closer look.
I continue to utilize my meal planning printables every week for coming up with our weekly meals and grocery shopping list. It typically lives inside of my pantry door throughout the week for the family to easily reference (in one of these clear sign holders), but when I leave for my shopping trip I use a clip to attach the list to the inside cover of the binder.
Although I use my phone for coupons every trip, I also receive a number of offers in the mail or print some from emails and websites or clip coupons from the newspaper and even the backs of receipts. I use one pouch to hold coupons for groceries and another for everything else (like haircuts, clothing, oil changes/auto maintenance, etc...).
Each pouch was labeled with my label maker and my favorite clear/gold tape.
When it comes to receipts, I generally only hold on to any that relate to my business and possible return items. I also like to keep my grocery receipts to check against our budget each month (and then they are recycled). I log my business expenses weekly and then permanently file away those specific receipts. Due to our location, I generally find myself over-purchasing for projects to be sure I have options and to prevent any last minute delays and trips. That also means I may have to manage quite a few returns and need to keep track of those receipts.
Business card sheet protectors were the ideal solution for all of my store loyalty cards and gift cards.
Because I may shop for project and home good materials at different times and locations than I will for our groceries, I keep those items on a separate list from our weekly meal planner. It is easier to utilize a separate printable to list the item and any specific details as a project progresses, or when multiple projects are taking place at once. And I love mini-tape measures because they are ridiculously helpful out on shopping trips to the hardware store or when measuring for bins and baskets (I find the small tape measures at craft stores, here is a similar one).
I have two free versions of this Shopping List printable for you, both designed to fit a mini binder! One to account for the center binder rings, and another that just allows the list to be centered on each page. The printable is designed to print on 5.5" x 8.5" paper, duplexed.
On occasion, I am out looking for an item that works with a specific paint color or I have inspiration pics clipped from catalogs/magazines. A small pocket on the back cover was added to organize those smaller items.
I also use a spare pocket to hold a calculator and pen as both come in handy at times.
All of these items tuck away nice and neat and the binder is still able to close flat without trouble. And best of all, I am able to carry this mini-binder in the majority of my handbags and totes. And if not, it is still portable on its own.
Whether you have a deck, patio, or porch, you can create an outdoor lounge space that’s not only cozy and comfortable for you and your family, but for guests, especially during the summer. We’ve created a guide that will help…
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Enter the New England classic—Blueberry Slump! (or Blueberry Grunt if you’re from some parts)
A slump is made entirely on the stovetop, no need to heat the kitchen with your oven. Into a pot go blueberries, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar, which you heat until the berries are bubbling.http://ift.tt/2sxMTKe
5 simple money management tips to help you get control of your money. With these tips, you can take control of your money instead of letting it control you.
Money some people can do very well on a little money, others don’t do well with lots of money coming in. What makes the difference? It’s all in how well you manage your money.
If you struggle to have enough money to last until the end of the month, these money management tips can help.
In this Frugal Family Home podcast, I’m talking about getting intentional with your money. There are a few things you can do to set yourself up for money management success. These tips are ones we use in our home when setting up our budget and they work.
If you need help setting up a budget be sure to check out the budgeting series. It’s a step by step plan to help you make a realistic budget you can stick to.
1. You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
If you don’t track your where your money is going it will just go. By having a budget you can track where you are spending too much and where you have extra money. When you manage your money you can have enough money for the really important items and know where your money is really going.
2. Don’t Let Perfection Stop You from Managing Your Money
It’s easy to not set up a budget until you have the perfect budget. Don’t let perfection keep you from making and implementing your budget today. You can always adjust as you need to.
3. Write Your Budget and Start Using It
The first step in money management is writing down where your money will go with a budget. Then start to use your budget and do your best to stick to it.
4. Review your Budget Regularly
Review your budget regularly. You don’t want to make a budget and file it away in the drawer, that won’t help you manage your money. But when you make a budget and refer to it through the month you can see where you are overspending and correct it as you go along.
5. Adjust Your Spending as Needed
When you review your budget you might find you need to adjust your budget to fit what you are actually spending each month. When you are reviewing your budget regularly, you’ll see where your budgeted amount is working well and where it isn’t so you can adjust as needed.
Managing your money doesn’t have to be stressful at all. You can keep your money under control so you can reach your financial goals.
When you put these 5 tips for successful money management to work for you with a realistic budget you can make your money work for you, instead of you constantly working for your money.
You have two choices, you can tell your money where it will go, or it will just go to whatever you want at the time. Be intentional with your money and choose to manage it.
What do you think? What could you add to these 5 tips for successful money management? Let me know in the comments below.
Links Mentioned in this Podcast
Monday, June 19, 2017
If you’ve ever traveled to visit family and friends, you probably have stayed in a few guest bedrooms. Some of them may have hit the mark and made you feel welcomed. Others, well, they may have made you wished that…
Enjoy a virtual visit to the Mediterranean with these Greek-inspired open faced “sandwiches” with grilled chicken. They’re perfect for a summer supper!
Souvlaki — small pieces of meat or vegetables grilled on skewers — are popular all over Greece and often served with warm flatbread. Top this with a tangy yogurt sauce and a riot of fresh vegetables and you’ve got a knockout dinner.
This is fast food at its finest: simple, delicious and healthy! Eat them by folding the flatbread in half around the chicken and chowing down.http://ift.tt/2tFpt4U
This post is brought to you in partnership with Frigo® Cheese.
These cheesy spinach and feta breakfast wraps make life easy, whether you are serving them at a big potluck brunch or just for your family during the week.
Frigo’s tangy Feta Cheese and spinach are such a classic and irresistible combo – doubly so when paired with the soft scrambled eggs in this recipe. The wraps are so quick to assemble, though you can also make them up to two days in advance and reheat in the oven or microwave. What’s not to love?!http://ift.tt/2rIr1ip
It’s Monday and time to make sure we have our menu plans ready for this week. If you need a few ideas, scroll down to see what’s cooking at our house this week.
This week we’ll be eating from the freezer a few nights. I’ll be making Italian chicken and London broil from my freezer this week.
I’ve also planned a couple easy skillet dinners too. It’s nice to have skillet dinners on the meal plan to keep from heating up the house when it’s warm out.
I also added breakfast for dinner for a quick and easy dinner this week. Plus I added pizza one night this week. If it’s too hot to bake in the house we will grill the pizza.
What’s cooking at your house this week?Here’s our Meals for this Week,
Soft and Crisp Tacos, Refried Beans, Chips and Salsa
Eggs, Sausage, Hash Browns, and Toast
Beef and Celery Over Noodles, Salad, and Fruit
Leftovers most days
Tortilla Chicken Wraps, Chips, and Fruit
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Chips, and Fruit
Toast with Eggs
Chocolate Chips Scones, Eggs, and Sausage
Waffle, Eggs, and Sausage
Do you need help planning your menu? Find my menu planning tips here with a free printable menu planner page and here for frugal menu planning tips.
Find more menu plan ideas at Org Junkie too.
This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support.http://ift.tt/2tkNdft
Sunday, June 18, 2017
When the weather starts to warm up, you probably can’t wait to get outside. The blue skies. The sunshine. The fresh air. What more could you ask for? How about an outdoor lounge space where you can kick back and…
10 Things Every New Homeschooler Needs to Know is from contributing writer Jen @ Forever, For Always, No Matter What
Here are 10 things that every new homeschooler needs to know – some been there, done that tips! Starting on this journey is scary but oh so rewarding. Have joy in your journey and know that you are not alone.Homeschooling Advice: 10 Things Every New Homeschooler Needs to Know 1. There is no perfect curriculum
Don’t spend your every waking moment searching for the perfect curriculum, it’s not out there. You will find methods that work better than others, but nothing is absolutely perfect and will probably take a bit of tweaking here and there.
Read More: Letting Go of Curriculum Guilt2. Relationships are more important than books
Sometimes it’s necessary to put aside the books and work on relationships. Homeschooling is a family lifestyle, not just another form of school.3. Do what works for your family
Keep your eyes on your own work and don’t fall into the comparison trap.
It’s challenging to have a perfectly decorated home, a spotlessly clean home, laundry caught up and a gourmet meal on the table every single day. It’s okay to let one (or more!) of those things go. You haven’t failed as a wife, mom, or teacher.
Read More: Keeping a Tidy Home While Homeschooling5. Be flexible
Be willing to put the books away if a friend calls and invites you on a picnic. Be willing to be spontaneous and flexible; it can be some of the best learning days.
6. Set goals
How do you know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you started?7. Write a mission statement
Write down your “why” so you can refer to it on those crazy “why am I doing this?” days
8. Expect criticism
Not everyone is going to agree with your decision to homeschool. Be confident you are making the right choice for your family.9. Everyone feels like quitting at some point
It’s true. Everyone feels like throwing in the towel at some point. Really.
Read More: Homeschool: When You Feel Like Giving Up10. Have fun learning together as a family, but every lesson doesn’t need to be fun!
Some things in life just have to be done whether we find them fun or not. Same is true of school. Sometimes we have to buckle down and do hard things.
Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling!Other Posts You May Love:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Shopping through them doesn’t change the price you pay. We may receive a small compensation when you make a purchase, however. Thanks!
10 Things Every New Homeschooler Needs to Know was originally published on July 15, 2013. It was updated in June 2017.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Opening a pool. It’s something you may or may not look forward to doing. From cleaning to adding water, reinstalling deck equipment and setting up the filter and pump, it may take you time to get yours ready for the…
I’ve made so many variations of these scones over the years that I can’t even remember which ones were first! The basic dough is extremely adaptable, and I love coming up with different fruit, spice, and glaze combinations depending on the season.
For this early summer version, I just folded fresh blueberries right into the dough, then topped the scones with a puckery-sweet lemon glaze.http://ift.tt/2rHSdsy
Friday, June 16, 2017
I love the fourth of July. I love the festive nature of it and taking the time to celebrate the founding of our nation. (Confession time: I cried when we went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence.) Earlier this week, I shared a free Patriotic Fun Printables Packet. Today, I’m sharing twenty ideas for festive desserts for the 4th of July.
20 Festive Desserts for the 4th of July
It’s so easy and fun to make festive desserts for the 4th of July! By simply using a red, white, and blue color scheme, you’re already on your way. If you manage to throw in some stars, it’s even more fun.
Here are some great choices for festive desserts for Independence Day from around the Internet for all kinds of skill levels.
And, of course, though I mentioned that these desserts are perfect for the 4th of July, these are also perfect as Flag Day desserts, Veterans Day desserts, and for any other number of patriotic holidays.
Want to work on some 4th of July Crafts as well? Here are some posts that will be perfect for you!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. They don’t change the price you pay. However, when you shop through them, we may receive a small compensation. Thanks!