Sunday, May 9, 2010

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Well a bright and early Happy Mother’s Day to you! I hope this entry finds you happy and well. I am doing pretty good today. I have a dozen yellow roses, handmade card, and chocolate covered strawberries for a great start to Mother’s Day! I gotta thank Jean for the nice card for my mom. We got it and I took it to her…



Ok, its time for a cute mommy story in honor of this special day LOL! (She’s gonna kill me LMAO! But I told her I was gonna do this LOL!) Plus this satisfies Tabitha’s request too! I love you mom! LMAO……… ok once my mom was feeling better in the hospital, she started getting back to her normal self and wanting “a real salad”. So, being the good daughter nurse maid LOL, I went to the store and got one of those Dole Salad kits and took it home. I cut up a lot of veggies I had gotten… broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. and put some cherry tomatoes out of my garden with it too. Put it on a big plate with a lid and smuggled it in the next day (it wasn’t really smuggling people LMAO, the doctor and nurse both said we could bring her stuff LMAO we just joked like it was a “naughty thing”)… along with some fresh cut fruit and a bottle of diabetic friendly salad dressing LOL! She was a happy camper! She arranged and sorted that salad to her liking and then the only thing I heard every 2-3 bites was “Ummmmmm” LMAO! Oh it was great! I told her I HAD to have a picture LOL! Here she is with her BIG salad. She was so cute, I even have this as the wallpaper on my phone! LMAO! I can’t believe she ate the whole thing LOL! She was miserable, but happy LOL! A day or so later though… she wasn’t as happy LMAO!!!! Ladies and gents there IS a thing as too much of a good thing! LMAO!!! So what’s your cute mommy story? I want you to post a comment and tell us cause I love hearing from all of you!

Now, when I was at my mother’s house yesterday, we couldn’t get the new oven to work properly. So I had to nix the idea of making Loaded Baked Potato Soup for lunch for her. That’s on tap HOPEFULLY for today (If Dad figured out what’s wrong with the oven… I have been told he has LOL). So anyway, I had to scrounge around in the pantry and figure out something to make for her lunch. So while she was sleeping and then showering, I was opening cans and quick thawing meats and such to throw together what I called an “Italian Pork Vegetable Soup” LOL! Mom was super digging it! She said it was so bloggable! LOL! Then I told the DH about it and he wanted to try it, so I stopped by the Grocery store on the way home, picked up the same stuff I used and made a small batch for him and the kids when I got home. They were loving it and said it was bloggable LMAO! So you think everyone wants it on the blog? LMAO! Well look for it soon, cause I guess they deem it worthy LMAO!



Well it’s time once again to earn my title of the Frugal mom! I found an article this morning on Yahoo which really caught my eye because this is a huge concern of mine, especially now since I just recently turned on the AC units. I’m used to $500+ summer electric bills, so I am hoping I can find something useful in here! And HOPEFULLY so can you!

10 Ways to Reduce Your Summer Utility Bills
Maura Judkis and Kimberly Palmer, Tuesday May 4, 2010, 1:14 pm EDT

Before the summer heat--and summertime utility bill--starts to make you sweat, you might want to consider making a few changes to cut your energy consumption. You can shave dollars off your monthly bills without sacrificing comfort as long as you plan ahead and get creative. Here's a room-by-room guide to saving money this summer--and benefiting the Earth at the same time.

In the basement: Geoff Godwin, division vice president of Emerson, the country's largest provider of heating and cooling systems, says cleaning air conditioning filters every month and getting your system checked by a professional once a year will ensure that it's functioning as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. "A lot of people don't do that--they ignore the AC system until something goes wrong," he says, then they end up buying an entirely new unit instead of making minor fixes.

If you need a new air conditioner, an energy efficient one might be eligible for a tax credit (check at http://www.energystar.gov/). When you're shopping around, look for a unit with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio of 16 to 21, the highest level of efficiency. Another option is a geothermal heating and cooling system, which utilizes pipes running from the more stable, ambient temperatures found five feet underground year-round into your home, where they pump heat in or out, depending on the season.

Throughout the house: "Make sure your house is leak-free," says Alliance to Save Energy spokeswoman Ronnie Kweller, or else "nice, cold, expensive air is going out the cracks." You might want to consider assigning this task to a professional. Through the Energy Star online directory, you can find a local auditor who will use diagnostic equipment to test your home for areas where air conditioning might escape. Your auditor will probably do what's known as a blower door test, which lowers the air pressure in your home and reveals leaks. He or she may also take a photo of your house with a thermographic camera, with the red areas of the photo indicating where better insulation and sealing are needed.

If you don't want to shell out money for an energy auditor, you can perform a casual energy audit yourself. Efficiency experts recommend feeling around baseboards, windows, doors, light switches, and electrical sockets for air leaks. Air can escape or enter anywhere that two different building materials meet. Kweller also recommends walking around your house with incense to see if the smoke blows in when you pass windows. Kweller says old, wooden windows are especially prone to this kind of leakage

If you find problem areas, seal it with foam or caulking, which you can find at the hardware store. Insulation that meets certain efficiency criteria is also eligible for the federal tax credits. Kweller says properly sealing your house can save up to 20 percent on your utility bill.

Using a programmable thermostat so that the temperature automatically rises when no one is home during the day can yield annual savings of about 30 percent, says Godwin, with much of the savings in the summer, since air conditioning runs with electricity. While some 25 million households own programmable thermostats, only half of those people take advantage of them, says Godwin.

Replacing older light bulbs with compact fluorescents not only reduces your electricity bill, it can help save energy on air conditioning since fluorescents generate less heat, says Kweller. She estimates that each bulb can save about $50 over the course of its lifetime.

In the living room: There's nothing wrong with hosting movie nights this summer, but make sure you shut your entertainment center down when the evening's over. Simply turning off a television set doesn't put a stop to so-called "vampire power"--the power that devices consume even when they're not in use. That's why you should either unplug your electronics or use a Smart Strip, which cuts power when it's not needed.

If you're in the market for a new television, check energy efficiency ratings. The Energy Department bestows its Energy Star rating to sets that use about one-third less energy than regular televisions. In general, LCD televisions use less energy than plasma screens, but both use more than older sets.
Remember to turn the power off or unplug your digital photo frames when you're not gazing at those illuminated photos. Over the course of the year, leaving one on costs about $9--not a lot, but when thousands of people are doing the same thing, it adds up.

In the kitchen: Baking a cake or casserole in the summer will force your air conditioner to go into overdrive. Plus, eating hot food will only make you want to turn the thermostat down. But you don't have to survive on cold pasta salads and gazpacho this summer. Instead of using your oven, consider an outdoor grill or toaster oven for small amounts of food.

If you're up for a challenge, try baking cookies on your car--yes, your car. Nicole Weston of Baking Bites developed a method of baking chocolate cookies with the heat that collects inside cars on steamy days. She suggests parking in the sun, using a thermometer to help monitor the temperature, and protecting your dashboard by putting a barrier between it and the baking sheet. (It should be at least 95 degrees outside and the baking process takes around two and a half hours.)

In the bathroom: If you don't want to spend money on a low-flow toilet, you can still make yours more efficient by dropping a soda bottle filled with sand or water into the back. It will use less water each time it flushes. Ivan Chan of carbonfund.org adds that small steps such as turning the water off while brushing your teeth or shaving can save a substantial amount of water (and money on your water bill) each year. He also recommends installing a water conserving showerhead.

In the bedroom: Stay cool while you sleep with an overhead fan instead of pumping air conditioning throughout the entire house. Shutting the doors and vents of unused rooms can also lighten the load of your air conditioning unit.

Outside: A way to reduce cooling costs in the longer run is to plant trees or shrubs so that your house is more shaded, especially on the sunnier side, says Kweller. (For a quicker fix, draw the blinds or shades when you're not home.)


Ok now… what’s say we make something really cute shall we? To Anna, the Fabric challenge was put on hold when my mother got hospitalized, but now that she is home, it will be coming back soon. I have been making scrub tops almost every night, and the one I made last night finished off another one of those bolts, so it will be soon! Now, I saw the neatest craft idea a couple of days ago… so neat that I want to go buy a special cake pan just to be able to do this LMAO! Now if you see a cute cake pan at a garage sale or Goodwill/thrift shop, you can think of this craft!



Craft Idea of the Day: Decorative Cake Pan Stepping Stones

It is time to get out in the garden. I wanted some new decorative stepping stones. My patient, wonderful husband dragged out some ProFinish Quikrete blended mason mix (80 pound) and mixed up a batch.

Using a Wilton cake pan (I don't plan to use again), he used it as a concrete mold. We let the mold dry for two days and it came right out. As you can see it turned out really well.

By tedebear from San Jose


OMG did you hear that? That was my tummy rumbling. But not just any rumble, a early morning “your not hungry but you eat anyway cause someone else is…” nevermind I won’t finish that LOL! Anyway, I ALWAYS have food on the brain in some fashion. Be it what to serve at Madison’s Sweet 16 party, what to make for dinner, what recipe to share with all of you, what I am watching on TV, etc. Today is chicken! As you know I eat a lot of chicken. And when I saw chicken and Sargento cheese I was just drooling! So try this one on for size and have a party in your mouth!



Cavatapi with Chicken Ragu, Mozzarella and Basil

Ingredients

8 ounces cavatapi or penne pasta, uncooked
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 (24 ounce) jar spicy red pepper pasta sauce
1 cup Sargento® Shredded Reduced Sodium Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Add chicken; saute until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add pasta sauce; simmer 10 minutes.

Drain pasta; transfer to four shallow bowls. Top with chicken ragu, cheese and basil.

Well folks, that’s it. Great Mother’s Day crafts, food, and stories. I am off to spend some time with my mom on this day of days and I think my family is up to some evening sneakiness, so I better get dressed and get out of here. I love you all and I will see you tomorrow! HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM"May 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    OK. So now everyone knows what I look like....a 50 year old hippie. To my defense, I WAS in the hospital when Renee took that picture. And she's right when she tells you I love my fruits and veggies! After looking at what I think was supposed to be grilled chicken breast or maybe flank steak with absolutely no taste I was ready for that salad! And boy was it good. Nothing better than a fresh crisp piece of carrot or cucumber to eat! Sorry to everyone for making Renee suspend her Fabric Challenge but it wasn't intentional. She has been sewing her fingers to the bone though, making a different scrub top daily to make me smile......all colors of the rainbow, so that kind of counts, dont you think?
    I hope all of you are praying that BP gets their mess cleaned up soon. That oil spill is really growing and starting to make an impact. I saw on the news that oil covered pelicans and sea birds are starting to be rescued from this mess. I want to cry every time I think about what this company is doing to not only innocent animals and sea life but the people who depend on the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihood and supporting their families. Many of these families are just now getting back to a comfortable life after being destroyed by hurricanes over the last few years.
    Well, I'm off to catch up on my entering of all the sweepstakes, surveys, giveaways, and freebies that I missed during my hospital stay, not to mention cutting all the coupons that my own mother collected for me all this time. Happy Mothers Day to my Mom out there. She is always in my thoughts. Til next time....

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  2. OMG that is the cutest picture I have ever seen! HI Frugal Mom's MOM! You are just so precious!

    Ok cute mom stories. Well, when my mom was with us she tried to be all lady like and soda would give her "gas". ONe day she was very thirsty and my brother poured her a sprite and she thought it was water. She let out a huge burp and was blushing. We thought it was adorable!

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