Home Maid Simple: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Mango Bread

Originally this would've been my Tuesday tip, but it's now thursday. Life gets busy when you're trying to move!  
I went late night shopping with my neighbor yesterday.  She shops sales, and pretty much has prices memorized. So she KNOWS what a good deal is.  We left the kids at home with the dads, which really made for a peaceful shopping trip.  Whoa, little ramble there. Back to the point!
There was a basket of overripe bananas on sale (ok apparently ripe bananas are cheaper elsewhere, but that didn't stop me).  I love buying overripe bananas! It means instant banana bread, no waiting and hoping no one eats the ripe bananas before I can make the bread.  Now I purposely bought one less banana, because I wanted to experiment! 
Here is the recipe I created, with my mom's recipe as a base. See if you can find my cooking tip!

Whole Wheat Banana Mango Bread
Ingredients
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 overripe bananas
-4 eggs
- 3.5oz banana mango baby food
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- not quite 2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt

Directions
1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together.
2. In a separate bowl mix the last 3 ingredients.
3. Add the dry to the wet, and mix well
4. Grease 2 loaf pans. Pour batter in. Bake at 350 F for 75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean

Did you find the tip? It was an ingredient in the wet mixture.  That's right, baby food!  We have an 11 month old who has decided to stop eating most baby foods.  She much prefers "real" food.  Last fall we stocked up, and I mean stocked up on baby food.  So what in the world was I going to do with all this baby food? Cook with it of course.  It will add some extra nutrients to our food, and works great when missing a simple ingredient (like one banana).  The plus side, I couldn't taste the mango, but the banana flavor popped out more. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Moving with a Climber

Enough said

Monday, March 28, 2011

We're Moving!!!

I really had doubts that this would ever happen!  But it is!  We are moving into our first official home this week!  We've got lots to do, and not a lot of time, but I believe it will all go smoothly.  Here's my checklist - 
Tuesday - sign papers, officially close
Wednesday - get keys between 3-5pm.  Start moving the storage unit. 7pm Dad's coming to help move large items from the storage unit.
Thursday - Finish off storage unit (really, why pay another month if we don't have to?)
Friday - Start painting the kids rooms.  We'll paint the rest of the house as we live there and figure out our style
Saturday - Finish painting, start removing mice infested shelving in cold storage room

First full week in April is Spring Break (Mark is a school teacher, so yay!). We will move the rest of our stuff, and spend time unpacking and enjoying the new home.  I'll get out in the garden that week if the weather is nice, and see what kind of good stuff is growing, and what I want to plant.  I'm open to suggestions for a first time gardener!


Here's a teaser of what will be Princess V's room
Way too much color for me.  It will probably end up all pink, or all purple. We're letting Princess V choose.


And just a reminder, Friday is April 1st.  That means our Big Moving Event will be kicking off.  We've got at least 5 giveaways (may end up with 1 or 2 more).  So make sure you come back for your chance to win!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pepper(s)

As I was cooking dinner last night, I found this.  I've never seen a pepper growing inside a pepper before, and it looked pretty cool!  After taking the picture I decided to examine it closer (I was curious). I found another smaller pepper growing on the other side as well.  All these peppers started to get me excited for gardening!  We close on our home in 5 days!! It's already landscaped and has some great garden space.  This pepper inspired me last night.  I'm going to plant some peppers.  I may even just plant the seeds from the pepper.  I've always bought the seed packets, so I have no idea how it will turn out.  What is the difference?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shopping Trip

Whoo, I was a little worried about this mornings shopping trip.  I had all 3 kids, and I wanted to go to a couple different stores.  I've never done the multiple stores shopping before.  My kids barely can make it through one store without a meltdown from either them or me. I spent naptime yesterday going through Sunday coupons and ads, and making a meal plan for the week.  
Here is what we got!

I spent $35 on all this plus some produce (onion, pepper, and broccoli).
That still seems like a lot to me, looking at all this (compared to what I've seen some get). But then I looked at my savings.  Normally, all this would've cost me about $50.  I'd say that's a pretty good savings.  And just to add more perspective, last week I spent $58 and didn't use any coupons.  

Now I have a question for you.  I keep getting these coupons for Farmland Deli Meats.  But I can't seem to find who sells them.  If I could've used that coupon, I would've saved even more, and been able to get more than just one package of meat.  So who sells Farmland Deli Meats? Anyone know?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flowers!

There's not much that can top fresh flower in the home.  All I can think of is happy kids and husband, and a clean home.  Flowers really pull things together and just beautify the home, don't you think so?
I felt so especially lucky yesterday when I won Heavenly Savings 1-800-Flowers Giveaway.  They arrived today, and I am loving them!!!


Cleaning up the Dumping grounds

Everyone has one in their home.  If you don't, please tell me the secret!  Our dumping ground takes flight and moves around a lot.  I'll get one cleaned, and the next day it has just moved.  I need a war strategy to fight this!  But in the meantime, we'll keep taking it one battle at a time.
awww, that looks so much better!  The best part is, it really only took me about 10minutes.  Walking past it though, it felt daunting and like it would be a day long task.  I need to remember that things look worse than they really are.  Any bets on how long it will stay this way?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Home Repairs Anyone Can Do

I realized the other day that there are a lot of simple repairs I can do .  I usually wait for Mark to do them, but I don't have to. I can actually be quite handy myself! When we first moved in, we had a picture continuously fall off the wall in the Princess' bedroom.  We eventually took it down, but not before it killed the outlet cover. Well, we've lived here for almost 9 months now, and it has been this way for the most part.  Mark finally went out and bought a new cover. And then it just sat there.  Boy are we lazy or what? I actually got mad at myself for being so lazy the other day.  No more! I will no longer just leave these things for a later date!  Really this fix took all of 5 minutes.
And ta-da! Outlet is fixed, no longer dangerous, and I did it! And of course we can't forget the child safety covers.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Home Sweet Home

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home..." said Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, while clicking the heels of her awesome red shoes!  I left home last wednesday night to come watch and care for my grandma.  I do this every week, but usually its just for 2 days a week.  My parents, and siblings, were however headed out of town for the weekend, and so I said I'd stay over the weekend.  It really worked out great, because my brother was getting his Eagle Scout Sunday night.  It's now Monday though, and I am still here.  The thought here was, why drive home Sunday night, just to drive back Tuesday morning?  Really, with gas prices the way they are, this just made more sense.  So I've tossed some laundry in, so we still have clean clothes, and then just vegged out on the couch.  I really truly do miss my home though.  Despite the fact I'm sure there are dishes to  be done, garbage to take out, and not to mention the load of laundry I left in the wash (should probably call the hubs about that).  Maybe if I put on my red heels and click them together I too will wake up in my bed...Wishful thinking.  But these shoes do make me smile!
What makes you smile when you're missing home?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Couponchief.com Review

I was so excited last week when Couponchief.com contacted me last week to review their website.  Since I decided to start couponing this year, I've been looking for all different types of websites.  Most have very similar coupons - manufacturers that you print and take the store.  That is where Coupon Chief is unique.  All the coupons on Coupon Chief are for online products and services.  In this age of technology and busy schedules, many people have started shopping more online for even the basic needs.
Here is a list of things Coupon Chief offers - 
1. Free to join and submit coupon codes
2. Pays-2-Share program pays YOU when coupons you submit are used*
3. Over 50,000 coupons to over 15000 stores
4. Easy to search for specific stores or products
5. Coupon clipping made easy with one click access to store.

I have been using Couponchief.com for a week now, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I personally don't do a lot of online shopping (although diapers.com has me considering it more), but I get emails and flyers with coupons codes all the time!  I hated throwing the flyers away and deleting the email knowing there were plenty of people out there that could use it.  Now I have an easy place to share these codes, and get paid to do it too!
It is my belief that everything has room for improvement.  Couponchief.com does not miss the mark in that belief, but from my experience, there is not much it needs to change.  When you click on a coupon, it pops up a handy bubble "Did this coupon Work for you?"  It only gives you two options, yes or no.  There have been many I've clicked on that I ended up not even using the coupon, because I didn't buy anything.  I think adding that third option in would help make their stats more accurate when calculating how effective the coupon was. Last I would add in the personal profile.  You can see the coupons you've uploaded, but you can't click on them.  So if you want to use a coupon that you had uploaded, you have to search for it, and then go through the many coupons similar to find yours.  Not impossible, but it could be made easier.

*Pays-2-Share program does not work with all coupons submitted.  Select stores have partnered with Couponchief.com to give back to members submitting coupons. When submitting a coupon the site will tell you if it is a pays-2-share participant.

**I was compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own from personal experience using Couponchief.com.  My opinions were not influenced in any way by this compensation.  I strive to bring my readers knowledge based on personal experience. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Tips

This is going to be fun!  Every tuesday I want to start sharing household tips.  Whether it be cleaning, organizing, or exercising.  I was sitting around during the week, just thinking about life in general.  That happens periodically.  When the thought came to me...vacuum the kitchen!  Now before you think I'm crazy, I don't mean the whole kitchen.  There are vacuum's out there that have a hard surface setting, and work great.  My vacuum actually has that setting, but I've only used in a quick pinch and usually just over the edge of the carpet.  So here is where my tip comes in.  What's the hardest place you find to clean on your kitchen floor?  For me it is between the fridge and the counter and the corners under the cupboards.  
I always think I've swept it good enough, but then I mop and my rag comes out covered in crumbs.  I hate crumbs on my mopping rag!  From now on, I will always run the vacuum hose into the corner before mopping.  It makes so much sense, I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner!  I'd love to hear any tips you have!

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