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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Reading Program-4-H Fun Week 1

We went to the library activites again today. Tuesday's are 4-H Fun days. Today they let the kid's make ziplock bag ice cream. The kids loved it! Then they ate it and they gave them a lunch. This was one of the things one my kids summer fun list that they wanted to do. Here are some pictures from today and the recipe in case you want to do this with your kids.

Ice Cream in a Bag
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup of Half and Half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size Ziplock bag
1 gallon-size Ziplock bag
ice cubes
Fill the gallon size Ziplock bag with ice cubes and then add rock salt. Seal the bag. Put half and half, vanilla, and sugar in small Ziplock bag and seal it. Place the small Ziplock bag inside the large one and seal again carefully. Shake until mixture is ice cream or about 5 minutes. Wipe off top of the small Ziplock bag, then open carefully and enjoy!

Not So Big Bad Banana Muffins

I made 4 batches of these today. I tricked the kids with the 50/50 whole wheat and white flour and they loved them. I am freezing the rest for an easy breakfast on a busy morning this summer!
Not So Big Bad Banana Muffins
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 Cup White Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Egg
2 Large Bananas, mashed
1/2 cup Applesauce
1/4 cup Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease entire cupcake or muffin tin including the top of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In another bowl mix egg, sugar, applesauce, and bananas. Add wet to dryand stir just until combined. (A few lumps are fine.) Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared tin, filling all the way to the top. Fill unused cups with 1/3 cup water to prevent burning. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool before serving.
Notes: You can freeze these muffins and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds for a great, easy breakfast.
Makes 10 servings at 3 Weight Watchers Points each.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pizza and a Movie Night

My kids love pizza and love to watch movies, so why not do both in one night? This summer my kids made a list of fun things they wanted to do this summer and Pizza and a Movie night was one of those. I really like to do these nights because it's a time for my family to spend together doing something fun. We usually get our movie from the Redbox, which cost $1.00, but we have also gotten movies from the library for FREE. I don't cost the count of the pizza because I make it homemade and we would have had dinner anyways. So, I think this is a pretty frugal summer activity.

Here are the recipes that I used to make our pizza, pizza sauce cheesy breadticks, and Monkey Munch (our movie snack):

Pizza Hut Style Pizza Dough or Cheesy Breadsticks
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornmeal
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp yeast
Add ingredients to bread machine, according to manufacturer’s settings, and run dough setting. After the machine beeps, roll out the dough. You can roll the dough into two 9×13″ pizzas (great for kid’s lunches!) or into two medium pizzas or a large pizza and an order of breadsticks (as instructed above). Parbake the crust with a drizzle of olive oil on it at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Remove the crust and add sauce and toppings. If making breadsticks, add your breadsticks at this time. Place into the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes or until golden and bubbly. Enjoy!
You can freeze your pizza dough for an easier night.

Easy Pizza Sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings.
Makes 3 cups
You can freeze this pizza sauce easily.

Monkey Munch
9 cup Chex
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Put cereal in large bowl. Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over Chex cereal, put into a large plastic bag with powdered sugar and shake well to coat.Spread mixture evenly on wax paper and allow to cool.
This does not last long at my house!
We will be doing this several more times this summer. I hope you get to plan a Pizza and a Movie night for your family this summer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Our family gets together once a week, usually on Monday night and does something fun together. It's a great way to make sure that you take time for your family. So, each week, I'll post something about what we did for fun.

On our summer fun list (that my kids made) they wanted to make pine cone bird feeders. They love the birds and were really excited about this. We have two huge pine trees in our yard and I kept seeing these beautiful pone cones on the ground well we started collecting them and I knew I was going to do something with them. So here's what we did.

Pine Cone Bird Feeders
Materials you will need:
Pine Cones
Peanut Butter
bird seed
Place string on the end of the pine cone leaving a loop to place the feeder on the tree. Place peanut butter on the pine cone and get into the underneath parts of the pine cone. We made 4 feeders and it took a whole jar of peanut butter. Next, I got a casserole pan and place the bird seed in it and the kids rolled the pine cone in the seed. Then we hung them on a tree.

Bird seed- $1.00 (we used half a bag)
String- $1.00 (from Dollar Tree and there is lots left over)
Peanut Butter- FREE (for me but this might cost you a little more.)
Pine Cones- FREE
So, for under $5.00 we had a really fun family time and also accomplished an activity the kids wanted to do this summer. The kids were really proud of their feeders and can't wait to see the birds eat from them. I am really glad that I waited to do this activity when my husband was home because every kid wanted you to help them. The extra hands came in handy.

So, if you want to have fun this summer with your kids, consider pine cone bird feeders.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Edible Play Dough

I have been watching a lot of reruns of Jon and Kate plus 8 and I saw the Valentine's Day one where she made edible play dough and I knew I wanted to try that out with my kids. We have played with lots of other homemade play dough and the kids love it. So, I knew they would love this and we would also have a snack! I did not tell my kids that it was edible, but they figured out. Actually my 2 year old figured it out first. This lasted about an hour and half of playing with and eating. Make sure you get your kids to wash their hands before playing with the edible play dough. My kids also loved helping make it!

Here's the recipe:

Jon and Kate plus 8 Edible Play Dough
Mix equal parts of powdered milk, honey, and peanut butter.
Add flour to reach play dough consistency.
Play and enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Frugal Summer Fun- Redbox Movies

Are you looking for fun activites for your kids this summer, but you don't have a lot of money to spend on that fun? Well, that's how I felt, so my family made a list of things they wanted to do this summer and most of them were pretty frugal activites. One activity was getting movies from the Redbox using the free movie of the month codes. We actual got to use the first one this week. We had popcorn and sodas, which cost maybe $2.00-$3.00. But all of those things were already in my pantry, so it felt like I did not spend much at all. We enjoyed watching Hotel For Dogs as a family.
Redbox is a great service for families not wanting to spend much money on family fun. You can find Redboxes in many locations. My closest one is in a Walmart, but I also have one near me outside of a MacDonald's. You will need to go to the Redbox website to find where the closest Redbox is to you. Once you find out where your closest Redbox is located go to that place. It will be hard to miss because it is a big red vending machine. You will have to have a credit card to rent a movie. The movies cost $1.00 per night. I think that is pretty frugal family fun. But, wait, on the first Monday of the month throughout this summer, you can go online and get a free movie code, we usually post it on Busy Mommy too. You need to hit the rent with promo code first and then proceed with your order, you will still need to use a credit card. If you want more than one free movie, all you have to do is use a different credit card. As long as you bring the movie back before 8 pm the next evening your credit card will not be charged. Also, if you register your e-mail on the Redbox website, they will give you a free first movie code to use and send you e-mails about upcoming movies. Another feature that I really like about the Redbox service is you can go online and reserve a movie, so when you get to the Redbox the movie will be waiting for you. You can not use movie codes on reserved movies though.
I have been using the Redbox movie service for over a year now and I have been quite happy with it! I did however have a movie that would not play. I e-mailed Redbox about my problem and they sent me a free movie code. So, I also think that they have great customer service !
So, if you are looking for a fun frugal family night this summer check out your local Redbox.

Summer Fun Plan 2009

Last Friday was my kids last day of school. So, now it's time for me to entertain them all summer until school starts back. But, what can I do that won't put a huge strain on the budget? This year, I decided to get creative after reading an article from Momadvice. I let my kids decide what they wanted to do. I already do a lot of fun frugal activites with them so they had some ideas already in mind. It was interesting to me that they put a lot of those activites and lots more that were very frugal on the list. It was also a fun family time as we sat around talking about what we wanted to do this summer. We posted a list of the activites we want to get done this summer and placed it next to our family message board. We will be marking things off the list as we do them to make the list even more fun. I will also be posting about these activites here as we do them, so stay tuned. Here is my family's list of of the things they want to do this summer to give you an idea of what you can do for a little or no money. I am sure your family will come up with their own great ideas.

Family Summer Fun List 2009

1. Go to Burger King Playland and Eat

2. Go to the Summer Library Programs

3. Make Homemade Slushies

4. Have a Homemade Pizza and Movie Night

5. Make and Play with Homemade Play dough

6. Go get some shaved ice from a local store

7. Spend a night with Granny

8. Go to the Park

9. Make Pine Cone Bird Feeders

10. Have a Family Bake Night

11. Make Smores

12. Go to the Movies

13. Go on a nature hike

14. Go to at least 1 movie night at the park

15. Get a free Redbox movie each month (They have 1 free movie code per month)

16. Go Swimming

17. Have an ice cream sundae night

18. Read a LONG book with mommy

19. Go on a picnic

20. Make homemade ice cream

21. Make homemade bubbles and play with them outside

As you can see most of these are pretty cheap. We do take the kids to the movies in the summer which will be the greatest expense but we do go to the matenee to cut cost. There are lots of free movies during the summer at some locations but we don't live near any of those or we would take advantage of that.

Why don't you make a list with your kids before summer gets started. You may have to give them a few ideas, but it is interesting to see what they will say they want to do.

Hope you have a fun frugal summer!

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