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Patriotic DIY

If you are looking for a great DIY for the summer, I’ve got just the thing for you! This idea is cheap and easy and makes for a great porch or yard decoration.

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The very first thing you will need is an old window. My mom happens to have a lot of these but you can usually find them at sales, or sometimes people have them out for the trash. You may be able to snag some on Craigslist or in the newspaper when people renovate. After you clean the window, the next step is to tape off the stripes and stars box. For this, we first measured the square part to be even on all sides. These measurements will vary depending on your window size but for mine it was about 8″ x 8″. After we measured the square, we measured and taped for the stripes. Again, this will vary depending on the size of the window but for mine each stripe is about 1.75″. We taped off every other stripe to allow for alternating colors.

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Next we took Waverly Chalk Paints in red, white and blue. These were found at Walmart. We used foam brushes to apply the paint to the back side of the window. (Remember this when taping so you don’t end up with a backwards flag.) First we painted the blue square, and then the red stripes. After the first coat dries, apply a second and third coat as needed.

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When completely dry, remove the tape and carefully paint the white stripes. Again, apply a second and third coat as necessary.  After all of your painting is done, spray with a top coat to protect against rain and sun damage.

 

Lastly, we purchased a gold star garland or wreath. Ours was from Amazon and can be found HERE. One garland was enough to make both wreaths. Using a staple gun, we fastened to the top of the window. You could also hot glue but I’m not sure how it would hold up in the rain.

 

Here are the final projects ! Perfect for the 4th of July and Labor Day.

 

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home · recipes

5 Meals for $50

For most people, coming up with a weekly meal plan can be difficult, time consuming and expensive  depending on what you plan to cook.  I enjoy creating a meal plan for the week simply because if I don’t , I feel lost and have no plan when I come through the door at 4pm.

This week I created an easy meal plan for 5 nights of food all for under $50. Seems sort of impossible with grocery costs these days but I did it and it was awesome ! Lately, I have been shopping at Aldi which makes spending less on groceries so much easier. I was able to get everything I needed for all the meals for a total of $ 49.00 !

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Meals :

French Bread Pizza and Onion Rings

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Ground Beef Goulash

Creamy Italian Crockpot Chicken

Cheesy Chicken Brocoli and Rice

Grocery List:

  • Onions (2-3)
  • Green Pepper (1)
  • French Bread Loaf
  • White Bread Sliced
  • 2 Jars of Pasta Sauce
  • 1 bag of Shredded Italian Cheese
  • 1 bag of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • 1 bag of Onion Rings
  • Sliced American Cheese
  • Ground Beef
  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • Egg Noodles (2 bags)
  • Packet of Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1 block of Cream Cheese
  • 1 can of cream of Chicken Soup
  • Chicken Breasts (enough for 2 meals- I got a pack of 6)
  • Bag of Steamed Broccoli Florets
  • Rice ( I used brown rice)
  • 1 Container of Chicken Broth
  • 1 can of tomato paste

Here you can see all the items I purchased for all the meals along with prices. The only items I did not get at Aldi were sliced cheese for grilled cheese and onion rings (only because I forgot them). Both of those I purchased at Weis. I also did not include in my grocery list items that are pantry staples including onions, garlic, olive oil, butter and seasonings. These are things that I always have on hand and do not need to purchase on most shopping trips.

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Meal 1- French Bread Pizza and Onion Rings

  • French Bread
  • Sauce
  • Italian Shredded Cheese
  • Pepperoni
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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Cut bread in half and place on a baking tray.
  3. Spread sauce, sprinkle with cheese and place pepperoni on the bread.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.

 

Meal 2- Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Sliced Cheese
  • 3 cans condensed tomato soup
  • Shredded cheddar
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Milk
  • Parsley, Italian Seasoning and Garlic Powder

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Directions:

  1. Heat 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup shredded cheddar together on the stove until melted and smooth.
  2. Add in condensed soups and diced tomatoes. Mix well.
  3. Stir in extra cheddar if you wish, let simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add seasonings including parsley flakes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder (as much or as little as you would like)
  5. Make grilled cheese ! ( We all know how to do that, I think ) However, we use a panini maker to make our grilled cheese sandwiches and they get delicious !

Meal 3- Ground Beef Goulash

  • Onion
  • Green Pepper
  • Ground Beef
  • Garlic
  • 1 Jar Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • Egg Noodles
  • Shredded Cheddar
  • Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups Water

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Directions:

  1. Fry onions, green pepper and ground beef on med high heat until cooked.
  2. Drain fat, add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and tomato paste.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add bag of noodles, stir and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
  5. When noodles are cooked, remove from heat and stir in 1-2 cups of cheddar cheese.

Meal 4- Creamy Italian Crockpot Chicken

  • Chicken Breasts (3-4)
  • Packet of Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1 block of Cream Cheese
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup

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Directions:

  1. Place frozen or thawed chicken in crockpot.
  2. Stir together Italian dressing mix, cream cheese and cream of chicken soup. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cook for 8 hours on low.
  4. Shred and serve with rice or noodles.

Meal 5- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice

  • Chicken Breasts (3-4)
  • 1 cup of uncooked Rice
  • 1 bag of steamed broccoli or 1 head of fresh broccoli
  • Onion
  • 2  cups Chicken Broth
  • Shredded Cheddar

(T0tally forgot to take a picture of the ingredients !)

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken breasts into cubes. Cook with onion over medium high heat until cooked through.
  2. Add in 1 cup of rice. Pour 2  cups of chicken broth over chicken and rice mixture. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in brocoli and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in 1-2 cups cheddar cheese.

I should also mention that each of these meals was more than enough for 2 people. Cole and I ate each meal for the lunch the next day also. So each meal made enough for 4-5 servings. I also chose a lot of meals that didn’t need side dishes to make cost per meal less.

All of the meals were delicious, easy and affordable !

Enjoy !

 

 

 

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Winter Fun with Kids

If you are in need of a snow day activity or just a fun winter project to do with the kids, try this ! Last weekend, my mom and I helped Layton make pinecone bird feeders to hang on the trees outside. This is a super fun and totally inexpensive activity great for any age !

Supplies Needed: 

Pinecones

Peanut Butter

Bird Seed

String or Ribbon

Knife or Spoon to spread the peanut butter

Steps: 

1.) Tie a string around the pinecone to make a loop to hang on the tree branches.

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2.) Cover pinecones in peanut butter using a knife or spoon.

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3.) Roll the pinecones in bird seed. We put our bird seed in a bucket to make this part less messy.

4.) Hang your homemade bird feeders on a tree outside !

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Enjoy and like this post for more family fun activities !

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family · home

DIY Valentine’s

Layton and I spent our snow day making Valentine’s for his daycare party. I wanted to make his Valentine’s instead of buying the standard store bought ones. I found this idea on Pinterest and decided to run with it. They were super easy to make and I love the way they turned out !

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Item needed: 

Mini Cereal Boxes

Ribbon

Spoons

Tags ( I printed mine out from HERE and then placed them on red cardstock)

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After we gathered all the supplies, I punched a hole in each tag and slipped it onto the ribbon. I wrapped the ribbon around each cereal box a few times and then tied it off. After, I slipped the spoons behind the ribbon ! That was it ! Super easy and a cute non-candy Valentine for the kiddos.

If you are looking for a last minute idea ! Try these !

family · home

Gone Camping !

 

My husband is a mountain man , pretty much born in the mountains, raised in the mountains, heck his middle name is even Mountain. No I am not kidding on that, his name is Cole Mountain. That being said he loves camping and being in the woods and we frequently take trips involving these two things. Typically we find a nice location several hours from here where we can spend the weekend in a cabin, hiking and exploring a new area. We are also very fortunate to have a cabin about 30 minutes from our home where we can escape to whenever we want. If we can’t get too far away, we head to the cabin and enjoy a quiet family and friends weekend !

At the beginning of this month, we picked a weekend and decided to stay at the cabin. I have created a super simple way to prepare for the weekend that does not require a lot of prep. When we like to go , we like it be very low key, low prep, and relaxing.

I have started to keep a tote in the garage filled with all of our camping needs. Some of the items in this tote include paper products, utensils, cups, garbage bags, tupperware containers, bug spray, pots and pans, and fire starters. Pretty much if you can think of it, I have thrown it into this tote. It makes it so much easier on us when we decide to take a quick trip ! We grab the tote, pack some clothes and head out for the weekend. Over the last few years, I have collected old pans, dollar store garbage bags, pot holders and placed them in this tote to create this inexpensive ready to go camping tote.

The next big thing for us is food for the weekend. Typically we pick the easiest meals we can think of including pre-made foods to make the meal prep easy on us. We usually decide on hoagies one night that we can pick up on the way. I also usually do hot dogs and burgers for lunch/dinner. The burgers and hot dogs are super simple to just throw on the grill and all you really need, to go with them, is rolls. For our latest trip, I pre-made Chicken Noodle Soup (recipe to come in a later post.) It was super easy to heat up on the stove and enjoy. No extra meal prep necessary. For breakfasts, we do granola bars, bananas, fruit or cereal. All things that are cheap and easy. If we are spending more days, or are traveling further, I like to do a nice dinner of chicken or steak on the grill and potato packets.

So there you have it. The easy way to have a weekend camping trip. Pack your camping tote, grab some groceries and prep ahead of time, pack some clothing and jump in the truck ! Enjoy a weekend in the woods with your family !

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Essential Oils – Am I Crazy?

As a Christmas gift, my mom got me an oil diffuser and essential oil set. The diffuser is a cheap version from Walmart as are the oils. Now I say cheap, not because I think what she got me is cheap. I just mean that it was much cheaper than the diffusers you typically can order from Amazon or doTerra or another essential oil company. I wanted to try this out first, so that I didn’t waste $150 + on something I wasn’t sure of.

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Let me tell you. This thing is amazing. Now a few years ago, if you would have told me about essential oils. I would have been like okay, but probably not for me. (I can sometimes take a lot of convincing to try something new). Every day since, Christmas I have diffused oils both downstairs and in our bedroom. I like it so much, I wish I got another one. Unfortunately, I think these were a Christmas item and I can’t find anymore in stores. This was $20 and the set of oils was $15. Now they may not be the same quality as other places but for me they are great !

The diffuser itself came with two oils, lavender and lemon. The extra set came with peppermint, orange, lavender and clove. I first started diffusing orange and lemon in the kitchen just to make it smell fresh and for purification and it was supposed to improve mood !  I don’t know how much it really helped but it smelled amazing and I did seem more awake ! Then I started to diffuse peppermint and lavender in our bedroom. The lavender is obviously good for sleep and it helps with anxiety and nervous issues. I like to add the peppermint for help with headaches, reduce stress and promote immunity. This combination just smells really good and I have been noticing that I fall asleep easier, stay asleep more soundly and my anxiety has been good that last few days!

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My husband doesn’t notice much difference sleep wise but he doesn’t really think about that kind of stuff ! It’s probably helping him (he just won’t admit it-you know how men are.)

I also purchased another set of the oils. This one came with eucalyptus, tea tree and another lemon. I have been diffusing tea tree, peppermint and lemon for immunity to protect against all the bugs going around. It smells great and it’s nice to know that it could be helping us too !

At this point, I am 100% sold on the essential oil bandwagon ! I am not totally sure that it’s solving problems or preventing anything but even if it’s not, it smells amazing !

I am looking to get more into uses for the oils and topical treatments ! I’ll keep you guys posted.  Let me know if you have any oils that you love and how you use them !

I found the link and they are still available online ! Snag one and you won’t regret it !

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Essential-Oil-Diffuser-Moroccan-Scroll/48278643

You can also find other versions on Amazon here ! Turns out they aren’t actually to expensive on there either !

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_ss_i_0_3?k=oil+diffuser&sprefix=oil

family · home

Burgers and Donuts! Are you drooling?

Have any of you ever heard of Benchwarmer’s in West Reading? You haven’t ! Well you need to visit this place ! It is a cute little coffee shop in West Reading, Pa with (wait for it) DONUTS ! That’s right, they have the absolute best donut I have ever eaten.

A week ago we decided to take a little trip to West Reading for lunch. We ate at Nonno Alby’s which is this adorable little restaurant specializing in brick oven pizza and burgers. The burgers are totally delicious (my mouth is watering just thinking about it.) Afterwards, we traveled down the street to Benchwarmers for our dessert. Benchwarmers makes their own donuts, fried right in front of you and then topped with whatever your little heart desires. They have several specialty donuts including a smore’s donut, a maple syrup and bacon donut and a standard chocolate frosted with sprinkles. You can also choose your icing and your own toppings to create your version of a perfect donut. Each donut costs $2 but it is so worth it ! We got the chocolate frosted with sprinkles and had to eat it with a fork ! It was warm and delicious and gone in about 15 seconds ! Thinking of heading in to West Reading, stop by and check this place out ! You won’t regret it, if you’re a donut lover like me !

Layton and I enjoying our donut !

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http://www.nonnoalbys.com/index.html

http://benchwarmerscoffee.com