Monday, January 31, 2011

Yummy Homemade Yogurt Granola Bread

I was reading through some blogs/websites yesterday and came across Chickens In The Road. They have tons of recipes for homemade foods. I, of course, being one who loves food went through pages and pages of recipes drooling. I eventually landed on her Yogurt and Granola bread recipe. I had some homemade granola and homemade yogurt already on hand that needed to be used up so this was the perfect recipe. I did change a couple things in the recipe though.

3 cups all-purpose flour ( I used 1.5 cups whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 2/3 cups plain yogurt (I used my homemade version)
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/4 cup of organic coconut oil)
1 cup granola (I used 1.5 cups of my homemade granola)
1 cup chopped dried fruit (optional) (I did not put any dried fruit in mine and my granola didn't have any either)

This bread is so good The Man is already asking me to make another loaf. I have to make some more granola first. My loaf did take more than the hour the original poster suggested so next time I think I will separate mine into two loaf pans to cut down on size and baking time a little.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

5 Weeks

If 5 weeks my parents will be here to visit and see their newest grandchild be born. I think I am more nervous about this baby than I was with my other 3. I am going to be having another c-section but this one will be at a completely new hospital. My boys were all born at the same hospital. We are also supposed to have visitors all throughout March and April. I am afraid of becoming very overwhelmed. I like visitors but I also like my own space and as always I like to be able to do things my own way with a new baby. Please if you are a praying person put in a prayer for peace and sanity through the next few months. Thanks

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Enter To Win Large Family Logistics

Head on over to Raising Olives today and enter for your chance to win the Large Family Logistics book. The giveaway ends January 27, 2011. I have entered as this is a book that I had put on my Wish List. Being a family of almost 6 now I think we are verging on being a large family. The reviews of this book are great and I would love to be able to read some suggestions on running my household a little more smoothly. So please head on over to Raising Olives and enter to win and while you are there take some time to read her Not Me posts are they are quite funny. Please let her know that Andrea from Striving For Peace send you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tax Return

Yay!!! We filed our taxes and found out that we will be getting a nice sum of money back. We are going to spend it on three things.

1. van tires- Our vans tires are getting a little lower on the tread that I would like so we are replacing them before they get a chance to go bad. This is our family vehicle that carries us all regularly and that we can drive longer distances to travel. With the weather here I find that I am a little more cautious with the tires and brakes on our vehicles.

2. bank loan- We have a loan that we took out to buy our minis. This will pay this loan off and the money used to pay the payments can go towards paying off something else. They are our fun cars and great on gas for small errands especially in the towns where the streets and parking are much narrower. If we don't have to go out as a whole family these work great. The Man's mini also makes a great commuter car for him to drive back and forth to work. It is very cheap on gas costing us only about $20 every other week.

3. My mini repairs- Older cars seem to have to have work done every so often. My mini is in the shop because The Man tried to do something under the hood and knocked out all of my brake lights and signals. The shop is going to have to replace the wiring that goes to the lights. While they are in there I have also asked for them to double check that my car has been converted to unleaded gas vs. petrol. This will make life much easier when we bring these cars back to the states as I don't think I have ever seen leaded fuel and so I would have to put an additive in my gas tank every time I filled it up. They are also going to double check and make sure there are no other major engine/hose/seal problems for me. We are putting this money aside to pay the bill when it comes time and that it wont hurt our normal monthly expenses.

If there is any left after these 3 things then we will have a little fun money to spend on non necessary items. We find that getting this money in a lump sum is nice so we don't have to save it ourselves and then we can pay for larger things at one time. In the past we have used the money to pay off a car, ship our dog to England, pay off credit cards, or purchase large home furnishings. What do you do with your tax returns if you get them?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My New Gift Card

Today I received my free $25 gift card for cashing in Mypoints credits. I earned most of my credits by clicking the links in emails for 5 points each. These are actual gift cards sent and not just ecards. This makes it nice because they can be used by you or you can use them as a free gift for someone else. I am going to hang onto mine until Bath & Body Works has a free shipping deal.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chili - Our Ulitmate Thrifty Meal

We make chili regularly in our house. It is pretty simple and lasts for a few meals for our family of 5. It is versatile and can be adapted to suit the tastes in your house.

Our basic recipe:
1 lb ground beef browned
2 large cans diced tomatoes
4 cans of beans undrained (I usually use 2 kidney, 1 black* and 1 white or navy beans)
chili powder
seasoned salt

I do not measure my spices I just kinda wing it by taste. I also have been known to add other spices such as cayenne pepper or chili flakes or add extra veggies like shredded carrots, corn or diced bell peppers. I find this is a very easy way to sneak vegetables into my children's diets. You can also use dried beans instead of canned beans. I am just not a very good planner and seldom have my dried beans ready for this. You can also make chili with ground turkey or chicken as well.

On our first meal of chili we always eat it with rice or cornbread. After that there are several meals we use to finish up the rest of the chili.

leftover chili and rice/cornbread
chili dogs
chili cheese burritos

If we get tired of eating chili before it is all gone this also freezes and thaws very well. For us this is a no waste meal. I make a pot about twice a month now that I have found out how easy it is for us.

*I do drain my black beans and rinse them when I use them because I do not like the juices in the can. If the chili isn't wet enough for you, you can always add a little water to the chili to moisten it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free Stuff, Cash Back, Gift Cards

Who doesn't like to get a bit of extra money for doing things that they would normally do?  These are some of the ways that we get a bit of extra money for doing the things that we would normally do.

Swagbucks is a search toolbar similar to others. This one once downloaded though gives you points for your searching that you can redeem for prizes and gift cards. They also have a referral system so you can earn extra points when others sign up under you and win points. I earn enough points on average to earn myself a $5 gift card. It isn't much but it helps a bit when I would be searching and shopping anyway.

Mypoints is a deal website that allows you to earn points from shopping online or getting emails about their deals. I would sign up for this one with an email that you don't mind lots of emails going to. Several of their emails have a click here and earn 5 points just for clicking, no purchase necessary. You can also get points for printing grocery coupons and redeeming them. The points can be redeemed for gift cards. They also have a referral system to help earn extra points (if you would like a referral you can send me a message with your email and I will send you a referral). I earn about 1 $25-$50 gift card per year.

ShopAtHome is a newer one to me. This one you can get a $5 sign up bonus when you sign up and place an order within 60 days. This site gives a percent of your online purchases in cash back. They also have some coupon codes available for a good portion of their affiliates. Just go on to their site and put in whatever online retailer you are planning to shop through and they will tell you if they have any coupon codes and what percent of your purchase you will get back. This one takes $20 in cash back to get your first check so I have not cashed out yet (I am about half way there now).

This is another shop online and earn cash back site. They also have coupon codes for their affiliates. You would sign up and search for whichever retailer you are planning to shop through and it will give you their cash back percent. The cash out point for ebates is only $5 so it is easier to get paid quicker on this one. They also give you an option to get your cash back via paypal.

Usborne Books and More
I found these great books and signed up to sell them. They are an awesome quality and they have books for all of my children. I signed up and got their starter kit which included a great variety of books. I did have to sell a small amount of books to keep the discount of the starter kit but I ordered that amount in books for my own house. I now am set up and can get a discount on any of the books I want to order for my children. It does cost extra if you want to keep your website up and running after the initial starter period. I have received one outside order and the commission I earned paid for my website to stay active. If nothing else check out my website and enter the free monthly drawing for a chance to win free books.

This website doesn't earn you cash back but you can sign up and they send samples and coupons in the mail. The samples I get usually has a single size sample then a higher value coupon for myself and a few lower value coupons to share with your friends. They also have a message board and surveys that you can take to shape future programs.

Do you know of any other discount or freebie sites to help with the budget?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Laundry.... Again

I posted a month ago that I had finally caught up with laundry and had planned to keep up on it from that point forward. Well I am sad to update that due to illnesses running through my house I am backed up again. 4 out of the 5 of us caught some kind of tummy bug that ran a nasty course through our house. I had to wash tons of extra blankets, sheets, clothes, towels, and throws due to the illness and so now I am behind again. Now that we are all feeling better I am going to try to get caught up again but it will probably take me a week or two to get totally caught up again. It is amazing how many clothes and household linens 5 people can go through. I would love to be able to own 2 washers and dryers but since we do not have a home of our own right now that is not an option. I hope to try for this when we actually buy our own home if there is enough space to safely do so.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Many Faces Of Mom

I read in one of my friends Facebook status how she felt like a bad housewife because she wasn't perfect at it. It made me sad. I am a stay at home mom and housewife as well and know that I am not perfect nor should my husband, children, or anybody else think that I am. It made me think of some the things I do for my household. It will probably have to be edited as I think of more but I am going to start a list so when I have one of those days I can look back and feel good about the things I do for my family. Maybe, just maybe it will help another mom or housewife who is having a bad day see that she also probably does tons of things for her family.

-entertainment planner
-coupon clipper/sale finder

I will come back and add more as I think of more as I am tired and drawing a blank right now but this list is not complete. I am the one who keeps this house running as smoothly and organized as it does. I know that The Man could do it without me but I like to think things run just a tad bit more smoothly with me taking care of certain important aspects of the house.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Pregnancy Week 30

I am now 30 weeks into this pregnancy and very glad to be nearing the end. This pregnancy has been rougher than any of my other three. It started with the morning  all day sickness that subsided about 20 weeks or so. And now I have gestational diabetes and am having to watch my blood pressure due to it being elevated a week ago.

The gestational diabetes is frustrating. I didn't have it with any of my 3 boys so this is a new experience for me. I took a 3 hour glucose test at 27 weeks and it came back as a big fat fail. Since then I have had to poke my finger 4 times a day and test my blood sugars. I have been doing pretty well controlling it with my diet so I hopefully wont have to go on any medications to control it. I have found that portion sizes along with variety of type of food helps me the most. I have also been losing weight since doing this. Since I am overweight to begin with they are not worried.

My blood pressure a week ago was 141/71, which is too high and could point to signs of preeclampsia. I guess that any number over 140/90 is considered too high in pregnancy. I think it was elevated because I was super stressed going in to the doctor's office that day. I was afraid they were going to put me on diabetes medications. Today it was better so they aren't as worried and I will not have to go back in for 2 more weeks.

On other news everything else is going good. Baby is growing on target. Heartbeat is great. We also found out at an ultrasound around 18 weeks that our final baby is supposed to be a girl. The idea of a girl is exciting and scary. This will be the first granddaughter on both sides of the family so they are not too happy that we are here in England. I am sorta glad that we are here because then they cannot try to show the favoritism. If they try I can stop it because anything they would send has to be sent via mail and I get to control what comes into the house that way.