A White Dish

This weekend was the base wide sale, and for the second year in a row I wasn't disappointed! If you live near a military base look up their number and call and ask if they hold an annual base wide yard sale. I spent three solid hours looking at yard sales on our base - and I am pretty sure I missed homes because the housing layout is a bit confusing! So when you call and ask if they host a yard sale, ask if they have maps available too :)
Ours had an abundance of baby, kid and women clothing and accessories, toys, books, household accessories and furniture. A lot of the clothes, toys and furniture were from Germany and were nice quality. There was a noticeable lack of men's things - though just about every other house was selling one of those massive all-in-one workout machines :)

I haven't had a chance to take pictures of most of the treasures, so I'll save those for later this week. This is the one treasure I picked up with Rhoda in mind... I was looking at a table of home decor items and this white dish stood out to me and made me think of Rhoda's white dish collection. I thought "Oh, I'll pick that up for Rhoda!" Silly me! I have never met Rhoda. You know you spend too much time online when you're shopping and start thinking about a blogger you have never met.
After much debate in my head I decide that I would buy it for myself anyway... maybe this will be the start of my own white dish collection!

Does anyone know what this dish is suppose to be used for? It's fairly large - bigger than a candy dish would be.


I picked up 4 pairs of shoes at a yard sale for Judah, and this is the first thing he did with them - one shoe from each pair went on his horse :)

Check out Rhoda's for more yard sale treasures!


My Boys

My boys make me laugh harder than anyone has ever made me laugh before. They are a pure joy to be with all day, and I am grateful for a husband who makes it a priority for me to be at home with our children.

Judah prays every night before going to bed, and while we ask him "what/who would you like to pray for?"we don't influence what he chooses - and it is SO funny to see what his little mind latches on to and what he prays for.
Aside from various friends and family members he regularly prays for cookies, elephants, colors (crayons), eggs, swimming, his pillow, white juice (milk), money, rubber bands, monkeys, ice cream, mail and pepperoni.

Wesley is showing signs of being a daredevil. He climbs our stairs every chance he gets. He likes to stand in his high chair and lean as far back as he can. As of today he has been attempting to stand unassisted and also spent a lot of the day going into the starting position for a summer salt (head on the ground) and just staying like. He's an odd one.
But a cute odd one!

Ice Cream Juice

Last weekend I put the boys in the car and did something I have told myself I would never do when it comes to yard sale-ing - I went to individual yard sales.
While I came out of it with some nice finds, it reinforced to me that neighborhood and church yard sales are the most efficient, have the best prices and the best selection.

I had mapped out my route - I religiously check craigslist GARAGE SALE section all week - and there were no neighborhood yard sales to be had. But my addiction had gotten the best of me, and I decided that it didn't matter that the homes were spaced far apart.

In the end I had a good morning out with the boys. Neither of them were feeling very good, and they enjoyed being in the car for most of the morning. I hear that's odd for kids to be content sitting in their car seats watching the world go by, but mine sat for three hours and were happy as larks.

Judah (2 yrs old) got out at most of the yard sales, and when we would leave one he would say "Mommy, more houses? See more people?" I couldn't have been more proud of that boy! After the two hour mark he says to me "Mommy, Judah ice cream please?"
I'm not sure where he got this sudden craving for ice cream. He's had it less than a handful of times in his life. But if he was ever going to pick a time to ask for ice cream, he picked the best time!

Tip for any 2 year olds reading this: spend two hours doing your mommy's favorite activity, rooting her on and having a joyful attitude, and then politely ask for the snack you desire. It'll work.

I went through a McDonalds drive thru and, making a quick smart-momma decision, opted for a (lidded!) milk shake for him over an ice cream cone in the back seat of my car. When I handed it to him he said "Momma, not ice cream!" I told him it was "Ice cream juice."
That did the trick! He enjoyed his "ice cream juice" and now every time he sees the Golden Arches (why ARE they all over the place?!) he asks for more ice cream juice.

Anyways, back to the yard sales.

I found a wonderful yard sale full of size XS, S and a few M womens clothes. Her husband was selling the clothes and he told me everything was $1. I think the wife would have died if she knew how cheap her clothes were being sold for! She had designer and name brand clothes in near-new condition. I only bought two pieces as I won't fit in those sizes for a long time.

After all was said and done this past weekend I picked up 6 pieces of clothing at $1/piece. I googled the items and found 5 of them - the retail price for those 5 items was over $170! I was thrilled.

Here are two of my yard sale finds:

Blue. Lace. Charming.

This is in the top running for my favorite clothing purchase ever. In fact, I like it so much I am almost wishing it was cool enough to wear it! A blue, 100% leather jacket. I love the contrasting white stitches. It fits me perfectly. This was at the sale where the husband was selling his wifes clothes for $1!

Tomorrow is our base-wide yard sale - there are 5 'neighborhoods' on the base participating and it will be HUGE! I went last year and have dreamed about it happening again since then. From what I saw last year there weren't many people out shopping. I don't think most people realize you can easily drive onto your local military base. If you live near one call and ask if and when they hold their base wide yard sale.
Last year I spent about $25 on Judah and completely clothed him from 18 - 2 T clothes (including pajamas, dress clothes and a leather bomber jacket), got him several pairs of shoes in various sizes (that he promptly outgrew - that boy has BIG feet!) and also bought him several classic wooden toys.

Check out Jen's blog for more participants in her Frugal Fashionista and to see her great trenches!


Chocolate Cake in a Mug

My Aunt sent me this recipe and this is Dangerous Stuff I tell you! Chocolate cake baked in a matter of minutes in your microwave. I realize it's a bit more spectacular for me since my oven doesn't work and a regular baked chocolate cake isn't an option at all. But even if my oven did work it's a pretty fabulous thing.

Chocolate cake in three minutes flat! You can't beat that!
While it isn't the best chocolate cake in the world, it is still good, and definitely worthy of being mentioned :)

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.

Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
I think the recipe can be tweaked to make it better, but I haven't attempted that yet. I doubled the recipe and think that it was a bit too eggy, so if doubling again I think I would just use one egg. I used raspberry creme filled chocolate chips and they were delicious!

Let me know if you try this and what you think of it :)

I am linking this up to Jen's Tasty Tuesday since I don't have a new food post for today!


A Can of Spray Paint

These chairs from my yard sale adventures on Saturday have been transformed to this:

I decided to spray paint them Cobalt Blue and then spray paint an old table we had lime green (instead of my original idea of painting the chairs lime green!)
Paul's not so fond of it, but I like it!

And yes, I kind of have a thing for canning jars - they're so cute to serve drinks from and even cuter to drink from!

Freezer Meals Pt 2

I have had a lot of Google searches for Freezer Meals leading people to my blog, so I thought I would repost my series from the Fall, but rather than doing it all in one week like before I think I will do one post per week for the next 5 weeks. It will be posted each Tuesday morning.

Freezer Cooking - Why It Is For Us

Freezer and batch cooking may very well be a sanity-saver, as well as a money saver
, for busy couples, families and singles. If you currently are making your own meals than you can do this with minimal extra effort, money and time.

As I touched on before I believe that having a second freezer is essential to maximize your money saving abilities. It is also going to be a huge, huge help if you would like to do freezer meals and batch cooking. We bought a large upright freezer in near-new condition for $75 on www.craigslist.com. If you are uncomfortable buying second hand then check the 'scratch and dent' section of your local appliance stores. The size of your household and how fully you want to embrace freezer cooking will help you to determine the size of freezer you should get.

Freezer Meals and Batch Cooking works so well because you are simply multiplying what you are already making. When we make one batch of cookies it takes very little effort to triple the recipe and make three batches - we then freeze all the extras for last minute hosting or when we feel like snacking.
That is where the sanity saving part of it comes in. Having meals prepared and ready to pull out and heat at the end of a hectic day is marvelous!

To save money you simply make freezer meals or prepare batches of the things you find on sale at your store.
For example, I once found boneless skinless chicken breast for $1/lb. I bought 10lbs of it and seasoned and baked some of it to use on salads or in wraps, made some into a casserole and cooked the rest in the crockpot for pulled BBQ chicken. I pulled out enough to use for supper that night and the next night, and then the rest went into meal sized portions for the freezer. It took very little effort to make 15 or so nights worth of meals as opposed to just that nights' meal. We face a few unique challenges in our home, and we have found having food ready in the freezer is the solution to these challenges.
  1. Last minute company. We like company. In fact we kinda love company and often decide to have people over at the last minute. Having both larger-sized meals and baked items in the freezer means that within one hour I can have a hot meal on the table or freshly baked items to serve without having to spend any money.
  2. Paul traveling. Paul travels a lot with work, and I always try to send food with him to eat so he can eat better and save some money. Sometimes we are given short notice that he'll be traveling and I don't have anything in the house to send with him other than prepared smaller portion freezer meals that I can heat up, pack up and send with him.
  3. Lazy or Sick Days. These days seem to happen frequently around here lately! It is a situation that would normally be overwhelmingly tempting to get in the car and get take out or eat out somewhere, but having yummy meals sitting in the freezer solves the "what should I make for dinner?" dilemma.
  4. Grocery Budget. We stick to a monthly grocery budget - no matter how good the deals we don't spend more than our alloted monthly money. All of the meals and food in our freezer have come from previous months' alloted allowance for groceries. Sometimes when we are trying to save a bit more money to pay off unexpected bills we cut back on the current months' grocery budget and "live" out of our freezer for "free."
  5. Sale Shopper. I plan almost all of our meals around what is on sale at the grocery stores, having that flexibility allows for great money saving opportunities. Meat is our biggest grocery expense, and it is also what I stock up on when I find it for 50% off or more. I am usually only able to find one type of meat on Managers Special at a time - if I were to feed us on that one type of meat until the next time I found another type of meat on sale we'd get bored and so sick of the meat! Having the variety of meals in the freezers lets me choose from a variety of meats without having to count on it being on sale!
Freezer Meals - Part 1; Why OAMC Isn't For Us

Next: Freezer Meals - Part 3;
What's In Our Freezer


Easy Fried Icecream

I saw this recipe at The Happy Housewife's blog the other day and I couldn't get it out of my mind. It looked SO yummy and so easy, so against my better judgment I picked up the ingredients at the grocery store this weekend. My weight loss goals are officially on hold. We have had this two nights in a row now and it is YUMMY! And seriously super easy.

You will need:
Icecream (I used coffee flavored for fun!)
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
Chocolate Syrup

Roll the icecream into balls.
Roll in crushed cereal.
Put under the (preheated) broiler for 30 seconds
And *voila!* Easy Fried Icecream!
And as if that we're enough calories - pour chocolate syrup on top for even more yummy-ness!

The first night I followed the full instructions, which involve putting the balls of icecream back into the freezer after you form them, and then putting them back in again after you have rolled them in cereal. That's probably the smartest way to do it.
But if you're in a rush and want Fried Icecream in about a minute and a half, you can totally skip those steps and just do it all at once. I know because we couldn't wait for the freezing time so just went ahead and broiled. :)

Check out Jen's blog for more Tasty Tuesday recipes and her very funny story about grilling meat :)
And Andrea for recipe link ups with Tuesdays at the Table

Yard Sale Finds

Here are some of the things I picked up this weekend - I got some fabulous clothes too, but those will wait til Friday so I can link up with Jen's Frugal Fashion finds!

These three pieces came from the same home, and I got them all for $15, which was about $10 less than the prices on the three items, but I asked her if she'd take $15 for all (and 10 Dr. Seuss books!) and she said yes.

This little shelf is on our back porch, holding our 'porch' dishes.

I haven't decided where to put these two chairs, but they're solid oak and I like the look of them. I am considering painting them lime green, thanks to an image I saw in one of my Home Decorating magazines, and then putting them on our covered front porch.

This piece looks like it was built into this corner, so I think I will just paint it the same color as the wall whenever we paint the walls. I'm not sure what to put on it since I have Littles that get into everything and this is just at their height, which at their age is pretty much an open invitation to explore :)

I already linked up the boy clothes I found and posted earlier this week, but I thought I would add this post to Rhoda's Thirfty Treasures too!


Play Time!

I love my sons imagination!

I left him playing with his family of potato heads and came back to find these:


It's a Wet & Rainy Kinda Day

Angel Food Ministries

I am curious if anyone uses or has used the Angel Food Ministries for food? We use to, but in the nearly two and a half years we have been down here we have only done it once. I don't always like the food items offered, so I would have to play it month by month, but Junes menu is pretty decent.

For those that have never heard of Angel Food it is a nation wide, church based, non profit ministry. Its purpose is to "provide grocery relief and financial support." There are no income requirements or restrictions. I have been to churches where it is middle/upper class people picking up the food, and other churches where it is very poor people picking up the food, so both ends of the board use this!

They sell food by the "unit" - a medium sized box consisting of fresh and frozen foods. None of the foods are seconds, damaged or near expiry. One unit, at the cost of $30, is suppose to feed a family of four for about one week.
Like I said at the beginning, I don't always like the food they offer. Sometimes there is a lot of breaded meat. Or meats we don't eat. Or I can get all of the food cheaper at our grocery store. But I do love the concept of Angel Food, and am thinking of starting back at it.
The food, on average, retails for $60 if bought at the store.

The menu for June (which you can currently order) includes:

1.5 lb. Ribeye Steaks (4 x 6 oz.)

2 lb. Homestyle Lasagna Dinner Entrée

2 lb. Beef and Bean Burritos (8 x 4 oz.)

2 lb. Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast Chunks

28 oz. Jumbo Beef Pattie Entrée with Gravy

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 lb. All Meat Hotdog

10 oz. Individually Wrapped Sliced Cheese (16 slice)

20 oz. Shoestring Fries

1 lb. Broccoli Cuts

12 oz. Peanut Butter

1 lb. Rice

1 lb. Pinto Beans

1 lb. Margarine Tub
(Zero Grams Trans Fat)

32 oz. 2% Shelf Stable Milk

Dozen Eggs


There are some items we wouldn't use, such as the sliced cheese, the margarine and possibly the dessert, depending on what it is. Desserts have varied from nice, large pies to gross pudding packets, so you never know what you'll get for dessert!

I would also have to add in salads, which we eat daily, and other hot vegetables to balance out the meals. I would also need to buy all our fruit and our breakfast items.

On top of the regular box for $30 they offer special boxes - either all meat boxes or, more recently, all fruit boxes. The all meat boxes consist of various steak cuts, or bacon wrapped meats. Generally they are nicer meats and the price of the 'special' boxes works out to anywhere from $2 - $5 per lb on average.
In the past we have ordered steak boxes and used them for date nights at a significant savings over a steak house or even from buying the same cut at a local grocery store.

I think we are going to order 2 regular boxes for a total of $60. I have worked out a 2 week menu plan with those items and the additional groceries needed to complete lunches and suppers and to make breakfast would cost right about $60, for a total of $120 for 2 weeks worth of meals.
If anyone is interested I will post the recipes and meal plan based around the Angel Food menu later this week.

Check out their website for more information, to find local host sites, and to see their May menu (which is too late to order!)


Dressing Boys for Less

My boys are almost 1 and 2 1/2, and they have been blessed with an abundance of clothes since the day they were born. Gifts, hand-me-downs and a super excited Aunt kept them stylishly dressed from the day they entered the world.
But with them getting older the clothing gifts have slowed down and Judah is almost the same size as his friend that was passing down the clothes, so I have started to stock up on clothes at yard sales.

Judah currently wears size 3, but I have clothes up through 5 T stashed away for him to grow into. At .25 to .50 cents a piece I almost never pass up gently used (or never used!), stylish pieces for him to grow into.
I keep the clothes organized by size in bins, so the next size up is easy to find.
I don't keep a written list of what clothing pieces I already have for him, I have a general idea in my head, but if he ends up with 6 pairs of 4T jeans, having paid only .50 cents a piece I can easily get my money back by listing them on Ebay or Craigslist.

It is almost unbelievable the amount of new or nearly new kids clothing people sell at yard sales! Here are a couple of outfits Judah modeled for y'all. And yes, I bribed him. He enjoyed more ARMY MEN GUMMIES. These are mostly clothes he will be growing into.

We've got our SPORTY LOOK
Long sleeve dino-on-a-motorcycle shirt Size 3T .25 cents
Gap Sweat Pants Size 5 .10 cents
Blue shoes size 9 .50 cents
Football found in the backyard of our new house free!

The Dino shirt stayed on for the rest of the pictures, I had to layer over it because he didn't want to take it off! :)

These .50 cent shoes have become our favorites! He wears them all the time.

Gap Sweater size 5 .50 cents
Dress Pants size 4 .10 cents

Black dress shoes Size 11 .50 cents

Gap Dress Shirt size 5 T .50 cents
Dress Pants Size 4 (same as above) .10 cents

Gap Jacket size 4 .50 cents
Guess Jeans size 4 .10 cents
Gap T-shirt size 4 .50 cents (can't really see it!)

Check out Rhoda's for more Thrifty Treasures and head over to Jen's to see more frugal fashion finds!


Book Basket

Judah loves to listen to us read him books, but it hasn't always been this way.
When he was almost a year and a half we decided that we wanted to commit to reading him books every single day - but he wanted nothing to do with them!
So we started out by locking him in the room with one of us and we'd read several books out loud to him while he played.
It took a bit of time, but he eventually stopped playing and sat on our lap as we read him his books. He (and now Wesley!) get read at least three books a day, so we love when we find unique children's books!

Here are some of our current favorites for our 2 year old and 11 month old:

Would You Rather Be A Bullfrog is a great conversation book - it is full of "would you rather be this or be that?" questions.
Judah would rather be a butterfly than a bullfrog. And he would rather be the color green than the color purple. Just if you wondered.

The Foot Book is so fun to read! Not only is it fun, but Judah's got his left and right down... at least when it comes to the feet :)

Heedley Pecked Me in the Eye is fun. I have mentioned it on here before, and we still love it! It's a story about a chicken that pecks someones eye that he mistook for a worm. Seriously. Who thinks of books like that?! I want to get more by the author.

Guess How Much I Love You. *sigh* Our kids have no choice but to love this book. Paul bought it for me just before we got married, how sweet is that?! I grab Judah's ears when I read him this story, because that's how the bunny starts the book, and because it makes him laugh.

A Fly Went By - whew! This is almost a tounge twister book! It's a super fun, fast pace rhyming book... well, I suppose it would be slow paced if you read it slow, but when you've got a fly and a pig and a fox and a cow and a ton of other animals running past you - and running fast! - you can't really read it slowly. It's soooo much fun to read!

Where the Wild Things Are. This book gets read to the boys every single day. I bought it just over a month ago, and have maybe missed a handful of days reading this one. I just LOVE this story and Judah likes to yell "BE STILL" to the Wild Things. They are making a movie of this book coming to theaters this summer and I can't wait! It'll be a mommy/son date :)

Daddy Could I Have an Elephant is another fun favorite. A little boy wants a pet, so he asks his daddy for an elephant and slowly works his way down to smaller and smaller pets until his dad says he can get a dog. I love that the boy is never rude to his father and I also love that his dad explains in very realistic terms why he can't have the bigger animals - an elephant would get stuck getting into the apartment, a gorilla would climb out the window and down the wall and visit unexpecting neighbors, a sheep would BAA at bedtime, etc. It's a cute book with a great dialoge between father and son!

By far my favorite book is one my sister wrote - and illustrated! - for the boys. It's a collection of two short stories involving penguins and a whale and with names like Wiggle, Pickle, Plop and Peploe you can't help but giggle along with the story!
She gave it to the boys for Christmas and I think it's one of the greatest gifts ever!! Hopefully she'll be adding to the short story collection (hint hint!)

Those are a few of our favorite books! Check out some more BOOK BASKET suggestions at The Happy Housewife.
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