Saving Money

Looking for great dates but don't have the cash? Here's ideas to try.

Great Date Nights That Don’t Break The Bank

It’s so fun to go out on a fantastic out of this world date with my honey. But there’s a lot of weeks that we just don’t have the money and still want to go out. So here’s a list of great dates nights that don’t break the bank. .

Go to the Park

The park isn’t just for kids. We’ve have some great dates on a picnic. We bring most or all our food. Sometimes we’ll get Subway and bring the rest and just sit and talk. We can walk on trails that they have there and hold hands. It might not be the most romantic place but it’s still really nice.

Groupon

I know I’ve listed them before but Groupon has great date nights for very little money. You can get restaurants cheap or look into things to do and go ziplining or go to a shooting range or a cooking class. There’s also beauty and relaxation, so grab a massage or a gym class.

Walk, Bike or Stroll

A great way to spend time together with the added bonus of being physically active. Find an activity you like, that you can still talk through, and do it together. It could be walking, biking, yoga or any other activity.

Find a Hobby Together

I had a friend who loved to fish with her husband. Now, I can’t figure out why that would be fun, but she loved it. We garden and can together. Sometimes, we cook together. You can find many other things to do. Painting, woodworking, crafting, photography, and I’m sure there are many more than I can even think of. You can even find classes to take online to take together. I love Skillshare for learning new things.

Game Night

Pull out some old board games or learn a new one. When my husband and I were dating we used to play Gin Rummy. I thought we might brush up on the rules and there are hundreds of card games you can learn.

What other things do you do together?

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Creative ideas to show love without spending a lot of money.

Showing Love on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this year money is tight. When special occasions come and your budget is in short supply, sometimes you feel like it’s hard to celebrate the day without having a lot of money. You don’t know if showing love on a budget is possible. And you’re not sure if you should try. Celebrate anyway. Giving to someome else comes from the heart, not the checkbook. There still are a lot of things you can do but the trade-off is that it will take more time. But you can do it.

Be Creative

I love The Dating Diva’s site for so many different printable that you can print off for free or very reasonable. One year I bought empty pill capsules and then wrote little things I loved about him and put them in the capsules with instructions for 1 a day. But you could do the same thing with a deck of cards or a letter. You could fill out a coupon book or write letters. Your imagination is the limit.

Cook or Bake Something

For Valentines day, have a pink and red food theme. We’ve had pink pancakes, and heart shaped cooked eggs for breakfast. Tomato soup with little heart shaped cut croutons. You can use heart shaped cookie cutters on just about everything. I have a heart shaped bundt pan that makes a great red velvet cake. But if there’s a favorite recipe make that. There are a lot of food that’s red and pink. Beets, tomatoes, apples, are just a few.

Going Away

It’s not true that you can’t go away on a budget. First decide if it’s an evening, a day trip or overnight. There are a lot of fun things to do on a budget. I love finding great deals for dinner or things to do on Groupon. You could find a romantic dinner or go play laser tag. There’s usually something for everyone. They also have getaways that can be more than half off. You can also get meal discounts at Restaurant.com or hotel nights on Hotwire.

Do a Project for or with Them

If they have something they’ve needed to be done, surprise them and do it. Organize a drawer, sew something, repair something that’s broke. Do a home project or cook together. Our neighborhood grocery store has cooking classes, check yours. Or you can cook their favorite meal. Maybe set up a bubble bath or a back massage. Fill your room with candles.

Showing Love To Children

Some of the above tips can be used with children. My children love pink heart pancakes and heart-shaped pizza. Beets, not as much. Of course, almost any dessert goes well. But you can buy or do little things for your children that make them feel special. The Dollar Tree has so many cute pencils, erasers, treats, play-doh and more. Have a special ice cream night or a tea party with lemonade and cookies. Give them a Valentine or write them a note. Spend time with them.

What other ideas do you have for showing love on a budget?

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How I Get My Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegatables

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables? Here's how to get them to eat more of them.

My kids love to eat fruits and vegetables. And I often get asked how I get my kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here’s how…

Let Them Help Make It

When they help make meals, let them help. If they are the ones making the salad, they’ll be more inclined to try it. Have them help make a veggie tray or fruit salad. Make dips with either. Kids love to dip fruits or vegetables. You can use a ranch dip or peanut butter with a variety of vegetables or even the peanut butter with apples is a favorite treat at my house. There’s great dips for fruit too.

Praise Them

Make sure everyone know what recipe was made and by who. “And we have these wonderful candies carrots made by Johnny. ” or “Susie made the salad tonight.” Also, when we make salads, we always put all the extras in different bowls and they can pick their own toppings.

When they try a new fruit or vegetable, praise them. “Good job eating your peas.”

Make them try it. We have a rule you have to try a little just to be polite. And a lot of foods thy need to try several times to like it.

Let Them Pick It Out

When you go to the store let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable. We’ve tried some very different ones we might not have ever tried by doing this. We only get one or a small bit if it comes in lbs and everybody tries it. Some are great and we add them in our menus and some are flops. But you don’t know unless you try.

Garden

We have almost always had a garden and the kids have always helped. They love picking them and showing me the vegetable that “they” grew. It’s much easier to get them to try something new that they helped with and they grew. The only thing you have to watch out for is they will eat everything and you won’t get any for dinner. Smile. We grew sugar snap peas and the kids ate every one before they even came in the house. And I have one daughter who even now will eat every cherry tomato she can.

Hide Them

You an sneak fruits and vegetables into a lot of different meals. I put a lot of shredded vegetables in my spaghetti sauce. Zucchini has very little taste and can be added to many things. Butternut squash can be added to any cheese sauce. I have also dried vegetables and added them thicken sauces.

What ways do you do to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?

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Top 10 Products for Getting Meals on the Table

Top 10 Products for Getting Meals on the Table

Mom life is hard. Getting everyone fed, with healthy foods, and on a budget is even harder. So I’m sharing my favorite products to make your life and dinners a little easier.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.” 

Instant Pot

As you know from my last post, that I love my Instant Pot. I can cook cheaper cuts of meat that fall apart that when you pick them up, they’re that tender. And if I forget to thaw it, you can put your meat in and still have dinner, only a little bit later.

Accessories

This accessory pack has the basics you will use. I love making the sou-vide egg bites and trying different flavors. The springform pan makes cheesecake a breeze. Making rich flavorful stock with the steamer basket is a cinch since all you do is pull out the basket. Yum, Stock ready and waiting for you.B

Stack N’ Cook Pans

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these Stack N’ Cook pans. I make custard in them almost every week. All kinds of casseroles, quiches, puddings and reheating leftovers go in these pans. It has 2 lids, 1 has holes to let the steam out. And they stack so you can have different foods in each pan.

Food Sealer

I use my food sealer to save money. When I buy meat by the case, I repackage it in meal-sized portions. You can also cook directly in the bags. I have a marinade container that quickly infuses meats.

Slow Cooker

I use my slow cooker to start supper after breakfast. I make up a lot of freezer meals and then, it’s just dumping and cook. And coming in after being out of your home; the smells are incredible.

Stand Mixer

Having a stand mixer makes cooking faster, easier and uses more variety. Cakes, breads, pies, muffins and you can even shred your cooked chicken in your mixer. I can leave it mixing and work on another part of dinner while it’s kneading my bread.

Freezer Meals

Mega Cooking is my all time favorite for freezer cooking.

Both of these cookbooks not only have the main dishes but sides, desserts, and sauces. I use them all the time. Not Your Mother’s Freezer Book also has meal plans done for you.

Imersion Blender

I use my Immersion Blender to use in a hurry or for small jobs in the kitchen. But my favorite way to use this is in pureeing soups. I puree part of the vegetables to thicken the soup instead of using a thickener. More veggies in for healthier eating.

Vitamix

I have had a Vitamix for over 20 years. They make quick healthy smoothies, pulverizing the ice so it’s just nice and creamy. Fruit ice cream, soups, sauces, mayo just to name a few of the many dishes that can be made in your Vitamix.

What are your favorite products for getting meals on the table?

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Cooking in a Really Small Kitchen

I learned so many tips  cooking in our small camper kitchen!

We have moved and are living in a  camper this summer. Our camper has a very small kitchen with teeny tiny counters. So while  I love to cook I have had to get very creative. My instant pot has become my best friend. Both because it takes the place of many different appliances in the kitchen and because it is cooler cooking with it in the kitchen.


So here are some tips on cooking in a really small kitchen.


Eliminate unnecessary items in the kitchen

Make sure everything that is in your kitchen you’ll actually use. A lot. I have packed many of the items I only use on occasion like cake decorating supplies and specialty pans. I packed most of my bigger pans and duplicates away too. I also only kept out about half of my utensils. I just have to wash dishes more. But since we don’t have a dishwasher, that way I have to keep up with it too

. Make what is in your kitchen do double duty.

As I said my Instant Pot is my best friend in the kitchen. I have made roasts in it; taco meat, custards, cakes, potatoes, eggs, breakfast casseroles, and so many more things. Just search for IP recipe of whatever you are looking for. You can find either a Youtube video or recipe for just about anything you want to make. My daughter wants to try steamed bread next week.

Keep Up with the Cleaning

Make sure you keep up with the dishes. When you only have two feet of counter space you don’t want it covered up with dirty dishes. Keep the dishes washed after every meal. I know it’s something that I should have always done but it hasn’t always been. But when there’s not a dishwasher and you have to look at them you’ll be glad for empty sinks and counters. I’m hoping this habit will carry over to our new house.


Watch How Much You Buy

The hardest thing for me cooking in a small kitchen is not actually in the kitchen. It’s in the grocery store. I have to watch how much I buy. I used to love stocking up on great bargains. But it’s not a great bargain if you have no room for it or end up throwing it out. And that’s no matter what size your kitchen is.


Simpler Cooking

While I love to cook, camper life is not always conducive to gourmet or even large recipes. I’ve learned to cook pizza on the grill. I didn’t want to turn on the oven when it’s 90 degrees. We make a lot of grilled meats for easy cooking. I make a lot of 1 pot meals either in the Instant Pot or on the stove. We try not to turn on the oven.  I still want to eat healthy though so it’s not all sandwiches and s’mores. If it’s not a one-pot meal it’s usually a grilled meat and vegetable and maybe rice or potatoes for the children. I try to keep fruits and vegetables on hand for snacks.

Be Thankful for the Kitchen You Have

While I know my kitchen is temporary, I know many of you have permanent tiny kitchens. My daughter, when she moved into her apartment felt ready to cry when she saw her kitchen. It’s very small. But she is efficient and makes the most of what space she has. She even puts meals up in her freezer each month. She uses a seal a meal to make as much as possible fit in her freezer at a time. She uses her kitchen very efficiently.

So, what tips do you have for cooking in a really small kitchen?

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