Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Howdy do there boys and girls! How are you doing this humid and down right sticky yuck day? I am dreading walking outside because I know as soon as I do, I am gonna burst out into a sweaty downpour! EWWW not really attractive if you ask me!

Before you ask, I didn’t do a stitch of sewing last night because all the running around and loading and unloading chairs and such wore me out more than I thought it would… but its ok, I need the exercise! LOL I told mom if I haven’t lost at least 10 pounds through all of this so far, I am gonna scream cause something ain’t right LOL! She chuckled. So anyway, I came home, grilled some burger patties on my stovetop grill slate my dad gave me, watched DWTS and passed out! That “almost-done” purse hasn’t moved yet… sickening huh? I was SURE the sewing fairies would have finished it up for me LMAO but alas, guess they had the day off. Oh well, I’ll get to it tomorrow (maybe) LMAO!

OK, so my mom found a link in one of her magazines and told me about it yesterday. I checked and it has some great info on it! Since summer vacation is just around the corner (starts June 4th HELP!!!! NOOOOO!!!!! LMAO), I should really start working on things to do with the kids this summer. AND since I have a sweet 16 to host this year, they need to be frugal! I always hear about the best places to go shopping and eating, etc… butit helps to have lots of money for that stuff. NEWS FLASH! I am a mom with 3 TEENS who are in extra-expensive school activities and who have brought home lots of friends to adopt. Plus, like every other red-blooded American, I have normal bills… including skyrocket electric bills! I HAVE NO MONEY LOL! SOOO Having said that… let’s explore some FRUGAL entertainment, shall we? After all, I am called the Frugal Mom! LOL!

Ok, so did you know that you can tour many factories for little to nothing? Remember how I told you we visited the Blue bell Ice Cream factory in Brenham, TX last year? We had a ball for like $15 for all of us! I know you can also tour the Mrs. Baird bread/bakery factory and the Dr. Pepper factory too. Well, mom found a frugal gold mine! It is a listing of factories all over the USA that you can tour! Just click on your state and then find a factory close to you and click on “more details” and it gives you prices and times, etc. Cool huh? For example, in my area of Texas, to tour Mrs. Baird’s would be free! Dr. Pepper is only $2.50 per adult, and Jardine Foods is free too! Now, I happen to know that there are a lot more places than are on this list in my area, but maybe for a newbie to the frugal world, or a new mom, or just anyone looking for a new adventure, this is a great site! So head on over to Factory Tours USA and check your local area! You might be surprised!

And of course, you can check out the list of 33 Things to do in Houston for $2 or less that I posted from April 8th… our local KHOU news featured this article awhile back and I think it was great! Oh not in the Houston area? Just look up free or cheap things to do in your area on Google or call your local visitor’s center or Chamber of Commerce and they should be able to tell you! Admission on these is free unless there is a price note besides it.

33 Things to Do in Houston For $2 or Less

1. Art Car Museum

2. The Orange Show- $1

3. Lee & Joe Jamail SkatePark

4. Sam Houston Boat Tour

5. Houston Center for Photography

6. Discovery Green

7. Lights of Buffalo Bayou

8. Contemporary Arts Museum

9. Beer Can House- $1 admission for grounds, $5 for private tour

10. Miller Outdoor Theater

11. Museum of Fine Arts Houston- free all day on Thursdays

12. Buffalo Soldiers National Museum- $2

13. Dunham Bible Museum

14. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

15. Holocaust Museum

16. Project Row Houses

17. Gulf Greyhound Park- $1

18. Buffalo Bayou Art Park

19. John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science- free admission on Thursdays 2-5 p.m. There is an admission charge for special exhibits during these Free Family Thursday hours. The price for Planet You is $3 per person. The price for Backyard Monsters: The World of Insects is $3 per person.

20. The Heritage Society

21. Kemah Boardwalk- just to walk around is free, but the rides and restaurants DO cost… some getting kinda pricey! They have carnival like games, lots of rides, and great shopping and food! It’s only 12 miles from me, so we know about this place VERY WELL! LOL! Rock the Dock returns in May and continues each Thursday evening through August. Concerts are held on the Plaza and begin at 6:30 p.m. each week Find out more along with a list of upcoming concerts HERE!

22. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft Garden

23. The Water Wall

24. The Jung Center

25. Houston Museum of Natural Science- The permanent exhibit halls are open free for patrons every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Special Exhibitions require paid admission.

26. Byzantine Chapel Museum

27. Lawndale Art Center

28. The Menil Collection

29. The Children’s Museum of Houston- Free Family Nights are offered every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m

30. Rothko Chapel of Houston

31. Houston Public Library

32. Blaffer Gallery

33. Rice Gallery

Now I am gonna show you a couple more things I want to add to that list that I personally know about and think you should too!

1. Houston Zoo- While admission is $11 for each adult and children 2-12 are $7.00, there are certain days and ways you can enjoy the animals completely free! First off, if you are a low income family and receive Lone Star, etc. you can fill out their form and get a free pass (see the Lone Star Card Admission
section on their hours and pricing page). If you are NOT on assistance, then there are also certain days to go when its totally free… Bring the gang for free admission on MLK Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and the Friday after Thanksgiving. You can check all that info out on their website!

2. San Jacinto Monument- Now the last time I went there it was free to walk around the museum but to ride to the top of the tower to the observatory did cost a bit. Now, after recent renovations, etc. according to the website, it’s $4 to go to the observatory and some of the other exhibits cost a bit (check out the “visit us” section on their site). So maybe just take in one thing, pack a picnic, and enjoy yourself! Of course, $12 per person isn’t real bad to experience everything! Now the Battleship Texas, which just turned 96 years old in March 2010, is across the road and it is an awesome thing to visit too. But it too is a bit pricey (about $10 per person) but children 12 and under are free, so it might just be worth it to you… I think it is!

3. Go on “World’s Largest tours around Texas! If you have the time, the reliable vehicle, and the gas money, how about packing up and driving around Texas to find all the “World’s Largest” items such as the fire hydrant (Beaumont, TX), rattle snake, fly rod & reel (I’ve seen that!)(South Padre Island, TX), wooden nickel, strawberry (Poteet, TX), bee, saxophone (Houston, TX), oatmeal container, cowboy boots (San Antonio, TX), and lots more! Seeing these sights may not cost anything, but getting there just might, depending on where you live LOL!

4. Texas is full of old Forts, State Parks, and Jails. Many of these places have free museums and/or tours you can go on. The Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, TX houses the old electric chair (“Old Sparky”) which is part of the Capital punishment exhibit, Prison Contraband exhibit, Inmate Art, and even a Prison hardware exhibit. Its rather interesting to see how inmates fashioned weapons out of common items like magazines, rubber bands, etc. Its right off I45 North and makes for an interesting day trip! Admission is only between $2-4 with lots of discounted rates available for certain conditions… check all that out on their “locations” page. And don’t forget to visit the gift shop for some very unique items for sale!!

5. If you are heading north from Houston, you can always go have lunch at a very well known sausage producer here in Texas… Chappell Hill Sausage! OMG driving past this little old piece of yummy heaven would lead you to believe that you have just entered the heart of BBQ America! You can smell them LITERALLY like a half mile or so away and boy does it make your mouth water! Visit them on the web today to see some of the great stuff they have and read about the eatery!

6. The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony- About 250,000 of Houston's bats live within the crevices of Waugh Drive Bridge. These Mexican free-tailed bats emerge nightly to stretch their wings and feed on area insects. Visit the City of Houston website for a listing of best viewing locations and bat viewing etiquette.

7. Traders Village- Traders Village is Houston's largest, flea marketplace with more than 100-acres of open-air shopping, festivals and special events every weekend. There are free summer concerts, every weekend. I set up a craft sale there once a long time ago. I personally like the Cajun Festivals and the annual Pow-Wow’s myself.

8. National Museum of Funeral History- Ok before you start looking at me with that half-cocked eyebrow, check this out. Although it sounds bizarre, National Museum of Funeral History actually provides an interesting look at the customs surrounding burial practices. View funeral memorabilia and artifacts that belonged to famous political and celebrity personalities in the "Funerals of the Famous" section of the museum. Equally intriguing is the "coffin" room that is filled with out-of-the-ordinary coffin themes, including giant fish, cars and a full-size replica of King Tut's sarcophagus. It’s a little bit more pricey side ($10 per adult), but how many people can say they have visited a funeral museum??

So see, with a little research and imagination, you can fill up the lazy days of your summer with crazy memories you are sure to enjoy! It doesn’t have to cost a lot, if anything at all, for you to have adventures you and your family will talk about for years to come. This is when Google and the library can both be your best friend LOL! Terms like “Free things to do in…” or “local attractions”, “free events”, etc. can all open up a plethora of fun. You can visit your local library for books like “Free Texas”, “Day Trips from Houston”. “Oddball Texas” (or for whatever state you are in), and all kinds of other guides. Have fun, make memories, be safe, and be frugal in whatever you do!

Now this may upset some of you out there, but since I was incredibly tired last night and I’m not feeling the craft bug today, I think I am going to skip a craft idea for today. I thought about it and searched it and nothing struck me as “OH gotta post”… so no craft today kids! Sorry. But let’s move on to another one of my favorite things… FOOD! Now I’m not a drunk (anymore LOL) but I will admit… me likes me some whiskey LMAO! And I figure since mom mentioned baby backs, I’d bring a little zing to them! Baby backs are fairly easy to find in your local grocers and price will vary from moderate to OMG LOL. Catch them on sale and stuff them away for a sunny day of BBQ.

Amazing Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs


2 (2 pound) slabs baby back pork ribs
coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground red chile pepper
2 1/4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring
2 teaspoons whiskey
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1/2 tablespoon ground red chile pepper


Preheat oven to 300 degree F (150 degrees C).

Cut each full rack of ribs in half, so that you have 4 half racks. Sprinkle salt and pepper (more pepper than salt), and 1 tablespoon chili pepper over meat. Wrap each half rack in aluminum foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions in oil for 5 minutes.

Stir in water, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, liquid smoke, whiskey, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, dark molasses, and 1/2 tablespoon ground chili pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours, uncovered, or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and set sauce aside.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

Remove the ribs from the oven, and let stand 10 minutes. Remove the racks from the foil, and place on the grill. Grill the ribs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Brush sauce on the ribs while they're grilling, just before you serve them (adding it too early will burn it).

AND I also decided that along with a grilled entrĂ©e each day, I will bring you a grilled DESSERT each day too! It could be a simple grilled fruits, as many are super yum when grilled… like pineapple, cantaloupe, peaches, and even BANANAS! YUMMMMMM!!!

Campfire Banana Split


6 large bananas, unpeeled, stems removed
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows


Preheat the grill for high heat.

Spray 4 sheets of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap bananas, with cooking spray.

Slice the peel of the banana from stem to bottom, while slicing the banana inside lengthwise. The bananas can be cut into slices instead if you like, (while still in the peel) for easier handling later.

Carefully open the banana just wide enough to place the chocolate chips and marshmallows inside the peel with the banana. Stuff with as much of the chocolate chips and marshmallows as desired.

Wrap the bananas with the aluminum foil and place on the grill or directly in the coals of a fire. Leave in long enough to melt the chips and the marshmallows, about 5 minutes. Unwrap bananas, open the peels wide, and eat with a spoon.

Now that I have made myself absolutely starving LOL, its time to close for the day. I have had so much fun bringing you all these great foods, attractions, and frugality! I hope you have enjoyed yourself and come back tomorrow! I’ll see what other kinds of neat things I can dig up for you LOL! So until then… HUGS!


  1. Debbie "MOM"May 18, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    Morning everyone. To start:
    To Tabitha - you made me cry. I am so proud of you and so happy for your new little family member Pounce. You sincerely rock girl. Nothing is better then the unconditional love of a little cuddly friend. I call my cats, my little hairy babies. LOL Congrats on the new addition.
    To RustyCrystal - sometimes when I post it looks like my comment didn't go through either. After you do post go to the bottom of the post and it should say your comment has been posted in highlights. Sometimes I have to refresh the screen to see my post. Maybe that will work for you. Love to see your comments each day.
    OK. What can I say about baby back ribs? How about YUM YUM YUM!!! With homemade potato salad and grilled corn on the cob.....the perfect summer dinner for me. Top it off with some grilled pineapple slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream......I'M IN HEAVEN!!!
    All the places to visit free is wonderful but it doesn't have to be a family thing to do. I saw a few things listed that even a couple could do if you wanted a night (or day) out together. If you're in the position of having your kiddos grown already or you're just a couple without kids, its nice to occasionally go out and have some fun, especially if its free or cheap! My husband and I sometimes just take rides in the truck and explore areas that we haven't been before. Ever gone by a road and said "wonder where that road goes"? We have went down that road and found out. All our rides costs is the price of gas. So I agree with Renee, go out this summer and have some fun ....for free!! Til next time......

  2. WOW I wish I lived in Texas as those things look really fun! I am gonna have to look up some of the thins in my area to do for free. Didn't know that there was so much out there you could do for almost nothing! Thanks for so much frugal inspirations! The food looks so good! Can't wait til dinner!

    To "MOM"- I am so sorry I didn't mean to make you cry! Now I feel bad!