Monthly Archives: October 2009

Frugal Family Fun

frugal family fun

The hubby and I loaded up our passel of young’uns and headed for the big city the other day.

Ya’ll know the big city? It’s the one with traffic lights and more lanes of traffic than I have lines on my clothesline.

We aren’t like most folks who head right to the mall when they hit town. No – we drove right on past it and stopped at Goodwill. Figured some other silly person can pay full price, wear it 6 months and donate it. Then we’d buy it for a few bucks.

Works real well.

We also hit the DAV and came away with real nice camo jackets for the whole crew, even found camo hats for a few of them.  We’ll be styling this fall!

Then we headed off to find us some vittles. There were lots of fancy eating places – but we kept driving until we saw Arby’s . The sign said 5 regular roast beef sandwiches for just $5. Now that’s our idea of good eating!

After a stop at the Arctic Cat dealer and a scenic drive we finished our day at Sam’s Club were we had a mid-afternoon snack of free samples.

And that’s what happens when the country folk hit the big city – some might call us cheap, but I think it’s just frugal family fun.

Photo by Leon7 / Wikipedia Commons

Late Night Introspection

Past_and_Present_Number_TwoA recent Twitter post from one of my friends caught my interest.

She said she was laying in bed the night before exhausted and discouraged, thinking about all the things she had done wrong that day.

She had herself so worked up over everything that it carried over into the next day.

I knew exactly what she meant. I’ve done it myself – often.

Years ago, when I was a young mom, a very wise older woman shared with me that I should never review my day just before sleep nor should I make any life changing decisions.

Why? Because at that time of the day I am exhausted and it’s the perfect opportunity for Satan to come in and twist the days events until they are all out of focus.

I would mentally beat myself up over my failings, fall asleep and wake up feeling like a failure.

Instead of replaying the days events, this very wise older woman told me to just give them all to the Lord, confessing your failures and claiming His forgiveness.

Then, in the light of day, armed with scriptures, make the necessary changes.

Don’t doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.

You are His precious child, your loving heavenly Father is ready with open arms to forgive and grant you rest.

“I will both lay down and sleep in peace…” Psalm 4:8

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sheet Cake Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sheet Cake Brownies I was feeding the multitudes – again – and needed a sheet cake brownie.

But I wanted a rich thick brownie, not the cake-like brownies that I associate with one baked in a sheet cake pan.

But the recipes I found all called for almost a pound of butter! Sorry – but I am way to cheap and calorie conscious for that.

So I improvised.

I substituted peanut butter for some butter called for. The result? A really yummy peanut butter lovers dream brownie with a hint of nutrition!  Those teenage boys loved them!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup (12-ounce package) peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 15-1/2 X 10-1/2 X 1-inch jelly-roll pan. In large mixing bowl beat butter, peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; mixing well.

In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chips.

Spread batter into prepared pans and bake 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely; cut into bars.

Makes about 4 dozen bars.


Barbecued Pork

Pork Sandwich I’ve been feeding the multitudes the last few months – with a family reunion, guests, and several potlucks.

My secret to having guests – especially guests with big appetites (read- teenage boys) – is to serve something cheap and filling.

With pork prices so reasonable, I have picked up several pork roasts for $0.80 – $0.99 a pound. These are perfect for barbecue pork sandwiches.

These are so fast and easy to make! You can even make them in advance and freeze them. The recipe can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.

Served on homemade whole wheat buns, these are a filling, but frugal company meal!

Barbecued Pork Sandwiches

4-5 pound roast
2 cups ketchup
1 cup chopped onion (or 8 teaspoons onion powder)
8 tablespoons lemon juice
8 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Roast the pork in the oven slowly until tender. Cool slightly and remove the meat – shredding it into bite size pieces. (Your hands are the best tool for this job!)

Place the shredded pork in a crock pot.

In a separate bowl combine all of the other ingredients. Pour the sauce into the crock pot and mix. Be sure to coat all of the pork.

Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Serve warm on buns.

If you are making this ahead, put the meat & sauce mixture into a plastic bag or container and freeze. When you need it, just thaw, put in the crock pot and heat through.

These should make about 25 sandwiches.


Paintball Picasso

There are some things that our overgrown pastures and deep ravines are just meant for – things like exploring, berry picking and … paint ball.

Yes, paint ball.

We discovered this fact last weekend when a friend from church hosted his birthday paintball party here.

They brought a lunch, birthday cake and a trunk full of paintballparaphernalia to share with my kids.

After decking out in camouflage –

Paint Ball Outfit

My kids learned how to load and handle the guns. Then they did a little target practice on the grain bin out back –

Paintball Picasso

Now we have our very own paintball Picasso!

Then they jumped on the 4 wheeler and headed out to the ravines where they had a blast for hours.

They didn’t even realize how cold it was – or how late it was getting.

We almost had to peel the guns out of their hands.

Now you’ll never guess what my kids want for Christmas!