Friday, July 30, 2010

FRANTIC FRIDAY PREPPING

Good morning everyone out there in the real world! How are you doing this beaming Friday morning? I am wonderful actually! For once, I woke up and there was no rain. Plus it's my beautiful daughter's birthday! I feel super old LOL! Going to start all the cooking and major decorations today. Busy Busy Busy! Whiy, today already in the past hour I have taken out the trash, made DD her birthday omelets, washed all the dishes, fed all the animals, gave kids meds, and cleaned cat boxes LOL.

OK folks, I saw this article about frugal budgeting and I wanted to share it with you in case some of US needed some help LOL...

How To Create a Frugal Budget
By Erin Huffstetler

A well-planned budget can help you to achieve your frugal goals. Learn how to create your own frugal budget.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 1-3 hours

Here's How:

Assess your monthly expenses.

Make a list of all of your regular monthly expenses, including any money that you spend on fun things like eating out, entertainment and hobbies; and any minimum payments that you have to make towards your debts. You can use a budget form for this purpose if it makes the job easier.

Total your earnings.

Calculate how much you make per month, including any money that you receive from investments and other forms of residual income.
Subtract expenses from earnings.

Test out the effectiveness of your budget by subtracting your monthly expenses from your earnings. This will show you how much you can expect to have left at the end of the month.

Rework your budget.

If your budget comes out on the negative side, rework it until your numbers crunch. To do this, go back over each expense, and look for places to make cuts.

Build in money for debt reduction.

If you have debts, your budget should already include the minimum payments that you have to make each month. Now you need to find the money to pay down those debts. Look at your numbers again, and determine where you are willing to make sacrifices to get out of debt.

Build in your savings and investments.

Now it’s time to budget money for your financial goals. Do you want to have an emergency fund? Retirement investments? Vacation savings? Make a list of what you hope to achieve, and then survey your budget once more to find the money that you need to reach those goals. If you have a lot of debt, you may need to skip this step for a while, and that’s okay – debt reduction should be priority one.

Put your budget to work.

Once you’ve created a budget that covers all of your monthly expenses and financial goals, it’s time to put your budget to the test. Try to live within your budget, and see how it feels.

Assess your budget.

At the end of each month, look over your expenditures to see if they are matching up to your budget. If they aren’t, determine if you need to work harder to stick to your spending plan; or if you need to rework your budget to reflect your actual spending.

Assess and assess again.

A frugal budget is never finished. Continue to look over your budget every month to catch areas of overspending. Then, crunch the numbers again until you’ve made it right.

Tips:

Be honest about your spending habits, and you’ll end up with a much more realistic budget.

Don’t forget to budget for fun; budgeting isn’t about total deprivation.

Don’t be afraid to change your budget; a good budget is always evolving.



I didn't get much sewing done yesterday, as I had to take things over to my mom's for the party then we stayed and visited for a spell. I DID however get Madison a very cool gift made in the morning before she even woke up! Isn't that neat looking? She told me once that she would like a few different purses, and then at the end of the school year, the one she was using broke on her. So I took some squares of 2 different music note fabrics and made a "patchwork" purse. I also made a cell pouch to go with it using both the fabrics. It's really cool and I think she will love them! At least, I hope LOL!

Ok, so as you probably have figured, I am not going to be able to do any sewing on the Christmas Challenge either today or tomorrow... BUT I found you another neat little craft to consider making. I saw this and I thought about if I had any little girls I could make these for. But then I thought how even I would use them for like a night out to a holiday party or something where I didn't need to carry much more than my wallet. So check this out!



Craft Idea of the Day: Pot Holder Purse

I am always looking for those unique ideas for handmade gifts or personal items, or even sellable items. Combined with my obsession for purses and totes of all types, this is a surefire winner LOL!



Hold on to your knickers kittens cause its time for more FANTASTIC EDIBLE FLOWERS! Today's little beauty we will discuss is the Pansy... which happens to be my grandma's favorite flower. Pansies have a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor. If you eat only the petals, the flavor is extremely mild, but if you eat the whole flower, there is a wintergreen overtone. Use them as garnishes, in fruit salads, green salad, desserts or in soups. I've found a few various recipes that I am pretty sure you adventurous folks will like. So Eat & Enjoy my darlings!

Pansy: Viola X wittrockiana

Tastes like: very mild sweet to tart flavor



Crystallized/Candy Edible Flowers:

Candied flowers and petals can be used in a variety of imaginative ways - to decorate cakes large and small - all kinds of sweet things, such as ice cream, sherbet, crèmes and fruit salads, cocktails.

Ingredients:

1 egg white or powdered egg whites
Superfine granulated sugar (either purchased or made in a blender or food processor - just blend regular sugar until extra-fine)
Thin paintbrush
Violets, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, rose petals, lilac, borage, pea, pinks, scented geraniums, etc.
Wire rack covered with wax paper

Directions:

Carefully clean and completely dry the flowers or petals.

Beat the egg white in the small bowl until slightly foamy, if necessary add a few drops of water to make the white easy to spread.

Paint each flower individually with beaten egg white using the small paintbrush.

When thoroughly coated with egg white, sprinkle with superfine sugar.

Place the coated flowers or petals on wax paper on a wire rack. Let dry at room temperature (this could take 12 to 36 hours). To test for dryness, check the base of the bloom and the heart of the flower to make sure they have no moisture. Flowers are completely dry when stiff and brittle to the touch.

NOTE: To hasten drying, you may place the candied flowers in an oven with a pilot light overnight, or in an oven set at 150 degrees to 200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours.

Store the flowers in layers, separated by tissue paper, in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.



Pansy Popsicles

These popsicles will amaze your kids. Don’t think they will be afraid to eat a flower, they might think it’s really interesting and cool.

Ingredients

Either regular or Pink Lemonade made from dry mix and water
Fresh pansies and/or violas

Directions:

Mix lemonade as per package instructions.

Pour into forms or paper cups about ¾ of the way full. (Use small paper cups like the ones used in bathroom dispensers) If using paper cups it is advisable to place cups on a baking sheet.

Place a few pansies or violas into the lemonade and place cups or forms in the freezer.

If using cups wait a few hours then when mixture is hard enough but still soft insert popsicle sticks and continue freezing until hard.

Pop out of form or cups and serve.



Melon Salad with Pansies or Violas

Serve this salad at a ladies luncheon or breakfast. It will certainly create a lot of talk.

Ingredients

¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
dash of salt
dash of fresh ground pepper
3 cups assorted melon cut in ¾ inch pieces
2 small cucumbers, sliced thin
Salad greens
Pansy or viola flowers

Directions

In a tightly covered container combine vegetable oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.

Shake to combine well. In a bowl combine melon pieces, greens, cucumber, and pansies or violas.

Right before serving pour on dressing and toss to combine well.



Herb and Pansy Salad

This salad is so simple. The dressing is just lemon juice. Pansies and violas give it a great deal of color so it looks like you are eating a rainbow.

Ingredients

4 cups mixed salad greens
¼ cup fresh dill springs
¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced crosswise.
1 large lemon, halves
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup toasted pecans
¾ cup feta, crumbled
1 cup pansies or violas

Directions

In a salad bowl combine greens and herbs.

Squeeze lemon juice (remove seeds) over and season with salt and pepper. Toss.

Right before serving add walnuts and feta and toss.

Sprinkle flowers on top and serve.



Spinach Pansy Quiche

Serve this colorful quiche and you’ll be the talk of the town.

Ingredients

1 deep 9” pastry shell
4 medium green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
½ stick butter
1 packet frozen spinach, thawed-drained-chopped
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup cottage cheese
2 medium eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup fresh pansies

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a skillet sauté onions in butter until tender.

Add spinach and toss until heated through.

Spread cottage cheese mixture over bottom of the unbaked pastry shell.

Spread onion/spinach mixture over top. Sprinkle on Swiss cheese.

In a bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add pansies and pour over top of Swiss cheese.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until set.

Let cool slightly and serve with a few fresh pansies on the plate.

Surprise everyone by serving flowers on your lunch or dinner table.

Well folks, that's all I have time for today. I have to get off of here and get dressed so I can go pick up the rental chairs and then start cooking and prepping like crazy for the party tomorrow. Cakes, briskets, potato salad, you name it and I have to do it... but hey 16 is a big milestone and I have a super awesome daughter, so she deserves whatever I can do for her! I love her so much! Be safe in whatever you do today and remember to give someone the gift of a smile and/or a hug... you could really make a difference. Until tomorrow... HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM"July 30, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    Happy Birthday to my Madison!!! Getting older and prettier by the minute. And turning into quite the responsible adult. Its a good feeling for a parent when you see a child getting older and being a responsible human being in this crazy world we live in. I am pretty proud of her myself as I had a hand in it as well. Thats my girlie! By the way, she will love her gift you made her. Its adorable!
    I love this weeks theme. It is very imaginative and yummy too! Never seen so many colors of pansies as in that one picture you put in the blog today. That WOULD be like eating a rainbow. LOL And even if you dont want to put flowers on your food that is a very good recipe for quiche. In fact, I think I would even add crumbled bacon to it! YUMMY!! It sounds wierd but wouldn't it be kind of neat to sit down and munch on some candy flowers? I think I would do it in front of other people just to freak them out because most people are very humdrum and wouldn't try something wacky like that. It would be a good conversation starter too. Cant you see it? "Excuse me. Is that a flower your are eating?" LMAO
    Ok. Me and Renee are definitely going to be busy, busy, busy today so remember, Friends come and go, but family will always be a part of your life. Enjoy them as much as you can. Til next time....

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  2. I think your daughter will love that purse. I think its great. Those pansies are so pretty. I dont think I could eat them because they are too pretty. And those little potholder bags are so cute. I want to make me one or two or more HAHA. Take care. And tell your daughter Happy Birthday.

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