Dollar Tree Spelling Practice Board (Perfect For Summer Traveling)

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Traveling this summer? This is an easy project you can make for the road (or even just for home) for just $3 at the Dollar Tree.
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Here’s what I used:

  • Cookie Sheet – 2/$1 at the Dollar Tree
  • Leftover scrapbook paper
  • Modge podge (I love that stuff!)
  • Magnetic clips – $1 at the Dollar Tree
  • Alphabet letters – $1 at the Dollar Tree

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All I did was modge podge the scrapbook paper onto the cookie sheet (you could easily leave yours plain if you wanted to.) 

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Then I added the clips and checked out the 3rd grade spelling word list for my daughter to work on this summer, and she can practice next year’s words ahead of time!

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Easy peasy. Love that. Hope you’re enjoying summer as much as I am!

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Looking for ways to save while you travel? Here you go!
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

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The Best Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Folks, this is the best spinach and artichoke dip you will ever eat.

 

Promise.

 

So, if you’re planning a summer get together and need an appetizer to share, here’s the one for you. Enjoy!

Hot Spinach, Artichoke & Chile Dip

Ingredients

  1. 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  2. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  3. 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
  4. 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  5. 12 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  6. 10 oz box frozen spinach chopped, thawed and drained

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Directions

  1. Mix together softened cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl and stir until mixed together.
  2. Add in Parmesan cheese, drained artichokes, spinach, and chiles.
  3. Pour mixture into baking dish
  4. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips – enjoy!

Note – I doubled the recipe and it made a TON – I used an 8×11 Pyrex dish and there was plenty to serve 25 people. 

Need a little more menu inspiration? Go HERE

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The Ultimate Roundup Of Summer Bucket List Ideas

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Goodness, I’m so stinkin’ excited that summer is here! This morning for the very first time in fifteen years, on the first day school was out all three of my children slept until 7:30.

 

Pretty sure this means I’ve officially arrived. :)

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We made a homemade waffle bar, and they’re already off getting things together for a trip this weekend. For you moms of little tiny kids, I promise you kind of get control back one day . . . it just may take a few years! :)

 

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Last night when we were talking about summer, my girls helped me put together our Summer Bucket List (see the one my son helped me come up with a few years ago over here.) We can’t wait to start enjoying some traveling, hanging out at home, and exploring Ohio a bit this year!

 

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Here are a few of the ideas they came up with . . . 

  • Re do bedroom (meaning move furniture around)
  • Do an act of kindness
  • Play Scrabble
  • Catch fireflies
  • Make cakepops
  • Facepaint
  • Get nails done
  • Make a stage
  • Make giant bubbles
  • Play Twister
  • Volunteer
  • Make smores
  • Try to get a world record
  • Have a picnic

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We found so many great (penny pinched!) ideas while scrolling around Pinterest, I thought it would be fun to do a big roundup of Summer Bucket List ideas so you can get started too! Here you go . . .

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Ummmm . . . practicing our spelling might just be on our bucket list too, but I love that they did their list all by themselves!

 

Summer Bucket List Ideas

 

Toddler Summer Bucket List Ideas

1. The Tailored Mama Summer Bucket List for Toddlers

2. More Fun Mom Toddlers Bucket List of Day Trips

3. A Mouse In My Kitchen Toddler’s Summer Bucket List & Free Printable

Preschooler Summer Bucket List Ideas

4. Mary Martha Mama Summer Bucket List Preschool Edition

5. Camp PBS Summer Bucket List 

6. Crafts On Sea Summer Bucket List for Preschoolers

Elementary Aged Summer Bucket List Ideas

7. Creative Family Fun 100 Ideas for Your Summer Bucket List

8. The Pinning Mama 50 Ideas & Activities for Kids & Families

9. Digital Mom Blog 50 Summer Ideas for Kids

Teenage Summer Bucket List Ideas

10. Evan Nickel Summer Bucket List for Teens

11. Sugar Beans Teen Summer Bucket List

12. Parenting Teens 101 Fun Things for Teens to Do This  Summer

Family Bucket List Ideas

13. Keeper of the Home Backyard Bucket List

14. No Time For Flashcards Summer Reading Bucket List (love these ideas!)

15. Summer Bucket List Bingo

16. 101 Almost Free Things To Do With Kids This Summer

 

Have you made your summer bucket list yet for the summer? I’d love to hear what fun ideas are on your list this year ~ leave a comment to share!

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Cake Mix Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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My neighbor Sarah shared this recipe with me years ago for Cake Mix Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake, and I’d forgotten just how yummy it was until I made it again over the weekend!

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My girls helped me mix up two of the cakes for the baby shower we hosted, and it was just perfect. One of the guys couldn’t believe I actually made it myself, and my kids have been fighting over every last  morsel.

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Sweet success :)

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I’m telling you what, I know you should be out making all kind of Memorial Day recipes this weekend, but this is a no-brainer-gonna-be-perfect-I-promise-your-family-will-love-it cake to make too. Here you go . . .

 

Sarah’s Cake Mix Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients

  • 18.25 oz package devil’s food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 5.9 oz package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (plus 1/4 cup extra to sprinkle on top at the end)

Ingredients for the glaze

  1. 2 Tbsp. butter
  2. 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  3. 2 c. powdered sugar
  4. 3-4 Tbsp. water
  5. 1 Tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • Mix together first 6 ingredients.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean (cake will be moist though.)
  • Let cool in pan for at least one hour before turning out on plate.
  • Once completely cooled, drizzle with glaze, and sprinkle with additional chocolate chips.

Directions for the glaze

  1. Melt butter & chocolate.
  2. Add sugar, vanilla and water.
  3. If needed add more water to thin frosting. (Whisk the frosting if there are any lumps).
  4. Drizzle over cake and sprinkle on extra chocolate chips if you’d like. Enjoy!

 

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If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

 

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How To Keep Your Flower Beds Weed Free

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Mulching any flower beds this weekend? Here’s an easy trick to help keep out weeds, that won’t likely cost you a penny.

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Before mulching, spray weeds or grass in your flower bed with a weed killer like Roundup, or weed your flowerbed by hand. Then lay down leftover newspaper (that you’ve gotten from all your coupon clipping) over any areas where you don’t want weeds to creep in.

Thanks to all of you who had great suggestions with alternatives to Roundup – we don’t use it much but have used it with success, so just being honest here! Try out this way to kill off weeds using vinegar – I’ve tried vinegar before and it hasn’t worked for me, but I’m all for trying again. I’ll see if I can find any other homemade weed killer recipes, and update you all on how they go!

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Cover the newspaper with mulch.

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(Because this was a new bed for us we didn’t have any existing bushes to plant around, but if you do have bushes already there just adjust the newspaper around your plants.) 

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It will naturally keep weeds out, and is biodegradable too. It also helps to amend your soil if your soil conditions aren’t great as well, which is an added (free!) bonus.

 

We’ve used weed barrier fabric before and it works incredibly well (and doesn’t have to be replaced for years), but newspaper will do basically the same thing – you’ll just need to add more newspaper to your bed each time you mulch to keep the weeds at bay.

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With a little newspaper you’ll have free weed protection for your flower beds, and hopefully skip weeding during the summer months. If you have any other tips on how to keep beds weed free at your house, I’d love to hear your suggestions!
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

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Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Vegetables Review + Giveaway

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

 

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This week I picked up a few bags of Birds Eye® Steamfresh®  Vegetables and Protein Blends at Meijer (don’t forget to enter to win that $25 Meijer Gift Card Giveaway!), and wanted to let you know what we thought after trying them out this week.

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Over the weekend my hubby handled the grilling, and to make life easy he popped a bag of Birds Eye® Barbecue Sweet Corn in the microwave about five minutes before he finished up grilling the burgers. My husband and I enjoyed the corn (honestly, it wasn’t a favorite for my picky kids ~ they like plain ole’ corn best!)

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But, today I tried the Birds Eye® Southwest Style Protein Blend for lunch and it was fantastic.

 

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It has a whopping 17 grams of fiber per serving and 14 grams of protein, and was probably one of the yummiest easy meals I’ve had here at lunchtime (in fact, I ate about 1/3 of the bag and will save the rest for lunches all week long!) It really was so good (especially for a Tex Mex loving girl like me), and I’d highly recommend it if you need a quick meal on a busy day.

Visit your local Meijer (or other grocery store!) to try out Birds Eye® Steamfresh®  Vegetables – I’d love to hear which is your favorite variety when you try them out. Choose from . . .

  • Barbecue Sweet Corn
  • Ranch Broccoli
  • Teriyaki Broccoli
  • Buffalo Cauliflower
  • Southwest Style Protein Blend
  • California Style Protein Blend
  • Italian Style Protein Blend

 

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And take a minute to enter to win this week’s $25 Meijer Gift Card Giveaway ~ good luck!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Birds Eye® . The opinions and text are all mine.  Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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Baby Shower on a Budget

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Here’s a peek at how we’ve been fluffing up for a baby shower on a budget at our house! Since my kiddos are getting older you can bet I’ve enjoyed every bit of this, so I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

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Here’s what I’ve spent . . . 

  • $7.74 on tissue paper for pom poms

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  • $5 on glass jars from the Dollar Tree
  • $12 on flowers
  • $6 on extra serving pieces from Hobby Lobby (they’re disposable – I think they’re so cute and perfect for chips, pretzels and cookies!)
  • $8 on pennant banner (on sale last week at Hobby Lobby)
  • $6 on onesies (thanks to Kohl’s)

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  • $2 on extra cutting options for my Silhouette Cameo (this is the first time I’ve used it ~ I’m in love and am so thankful to all of you who recommended it!)
  • $3 on craft paper

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  • I already had the fishing wire, jute twine, and dental floss of course (thanks to my couponing!) :)
  • Also used plain brown wrapping paper for the table and added a burlap table runner (had that already as well)
  • Total = $49.74

And here are a few quick tips that might help if you’re looking for ways to save when hosting a party . . . 

  • Use colors that match what you already have (if the shower had been for a baby girl, I would have pulled out the peachy/pink in our curtains)
  • When picking serving dishes (I usually ask for them as gifts), choose things that are pretty timeless and match anything – our plain white dishes work well with just about every occasion, and make decorating for things so much easier!
  • Look for glassware at the Dollar Tree and splurge on fresh flowers ~ that alone makes our home feel so much brighter!
  • Keep it simple. :) You don’t have to do a ton, just select a few special areas to fluff and skip the rest.

And here’s what I’m planning to serve (I could use an extra appetizer idea if you have one!)  

Smoked Barbecue (my hubby is making that ~ the shower is for a person in his office so the guys are coming and he’s in charge!)

Do you have any other suggestions on recipes or decorating ideas? I’d love to hear them!  It’s been so fun getting ready, but I’d love to hear your ideas too. Leave a comment to share!

 

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 5/9/15

 

 

Here’s a peek at our menu plan for the week! Be sure to check out my Menu Planning board on Pinterest where I’ve got all the links to the recipes we’re eating! Head on over HERE to check that out, and I’d love for you to join all the PPP boards on Pinterest too.

 

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Print this handy dandy free printable google doc if you’d like to follow our menu plan – hopefully it makes your life a little simpler this week (let me know if you like it!) If you’re new to Google Docs, here’s how to print your list:

  • Open the document HERE
  • Click “file” in the top left hand corner of the screen
  • Click “print” at the bottom of that menu and print your list

 

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Shopping List
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground beef
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 pork chops
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (substituting for the 1 cup shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack in the Taco Pasta shell recipe)
  • 1 package sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • eggs
  • 2 8 oz. containers sour cream
  • chili powder
  • 18 pasta shells
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • tortilla chips
  • green onions
  • black olives
  • 2 large onion
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms
  • fresh fruit
  • bag salad
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • biscuits (or pick up the ingredients for these 7Up Biscuits – just 1/2 cup sour cream, Bisquick, and 7up)
  • dry white gravy mix for biscuits and gravy
  • egg noodles

 

 

Pantry Staples

  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar
  • butter
  • garlic powder
  • flour
  • chicken bouillon cubes
  • canned, frozen or fresh vegetables for side dishes
Do you have anything yummy on your menu plan this week?  I’d love to hear what you’re having, and if you have any great recipe ideas please leave a comment to share!  

 

 

Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  This post is linked up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday where you can find lots more menu planning ideas! 

 

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5 Minute Baby Shower Decor

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Next weekend we’re hosting a baby shower for one of my husband’s fellow employees and his wife, so I get to fluff up for a baby shower at our house. (Fun!) 

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I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to see what I could find (I love that store . . . ), and when I found this wooden pennant (pre-made, thank you) in the colors I was planning to use for just $8, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

 

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(Anyone else just love Hobby Lobby’s sale when you hit it on the right 50% off week? Yay!)

 

Over on Pinterest (check out my baby shower board HERE), I’d seen so many cute easy ideas, so I swung by Kohl’s (20% off coupon in hand of course), and picked up a few onesies.

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In less than five minutes I clipped those onesies on the pre-made banner, and that project is done – yay!

 

I bought size 6-month onesies (because we all know babies only wear those tee-tiny-newborn-ones for about 3 minutes . . .) but I do think the look would be a little cuter with smaller ones. (The penny pincher in me just couldn’t do it, but now I’m tempted to head back to the store!)

 

I’ll share more updates with a few other ideas next week ~ and would love to hear your ideas for a cute baby shower too!

 

(By the way, those jars are from the Dollar Tree ~ not sure what I’m going to do with them but I’m thinking if all else fails I’ll take the lids off and put a few white puffy mum flowers in them. Other thoughts, anyone?)
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

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Smothered Pork Chops

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

 

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My hubby loves a good pork chop, so when I came across this recipe with amazing reviews for Chef John’s Smothered Pork Chops, I had to try it out. It definitely took a little more energy than most of the recipes I make here at home, but the results were so good!

 

If you’re in a hurry (but remember to slow cook in the morning), these still are my go-to pork chop slow cooker recipe (you may also want to try out these on the grill . . . ), but this one is absolutely delicious when you have a little extra time to put into it. If I was making it again I’d double the onions (I love caramelized onions!), and 4 large pork chops were more than enough to feed our family. Here’s the recipe so you can try it too . . .

Smothered Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 4 large bone in pork chops, about 1″ thick
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion sliced (I would use two next time!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  2. Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat, brown pork on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Set pork chops on a plate and set aside.
  4. Drain excess grease from pan and melt butter in skillet.
  5. Add onion into the skillet with a little salt, then cook on medium heat until onion is caramelized, around 15 minutes.
  6. Add in garlic and cook another minute, then stir in flour and cook 2 minutes longer.
  7. Add in chicken broth and stir, then add in any juices that have drained on plate under pork chops into your skillet.
  8. Add in buttermilk and mix until smooth, then add water.
  9. Bring sauce to simmer, then drop heat down to look, and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until sauce is thickened. (I told you this one is a little more work than normal!)
  10. Place pork chops in sauce, spooning sauce over meat to cover it.
  11. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chops are cooked through, about 10 more minutes.
  12. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve with gravy. Enjoy!

 

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 05/06/15):

  • Pork Chops $1.99/lb at Kroger in select regions
  • Publix Pork Chops on sale $3.79/lb.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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