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2013- Happy Family from Taking Action

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Batty Banner Take Two

Batty Banner

I am still in the process of decorating my mantle because I simply love love love having the ability to start decorating for the holidays. Being low on cash I decided to use what I had on hand.

  • 3-4 cardboard boxes like frozen pizza or cracker boxes
  • stencils of a bat, rat and raven printed off the computer
  •  black paint -I used spray paint because that's what was on hand but acrylic will work
  •  electrical tape or string to tie your animals together and string on the mantle

I traced the stencil onto the cardboard boxes and cut them out. I ended up cutting out five bats and only one rat and one raven because they were just a real pain in the butt. Of course that could be because I only had kid scissors to cut them with.

My helper  here sprayed them all black.

Once they dried (mostly) I strung the bats together with electrical tape.

I decided that the rat and raven could be used elsewhere on the mantel.

Your imagination is your limit. You could do pumpkins or witch's hats. 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going Batty This Halloween

I'm guest blogging over at Doodles and Doilies about the awesome bat garland me and the 4 year old made together. Come check it out.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Awesome Recipes for Pumpkins

How to Roast and Use Pumpkins!
by Tawra Kellam

Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin -- Now what does he do with it?

How to Roast a Pumpkin
You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.

To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.
To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.
To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1/2-1 hour more or until crunchy.
*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Smoothies
1/2 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 ice cubes
whipped cream (optional)
sprinkles (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2-3 glasses. Serve with a small amount of whipped cream on top. You may also add orange sprinkles if you like. Serves 2-3.

Pumpkin Crunch
1 package yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) solid packed pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup nuts
1 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Then sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, served chilled. Serve with whipped topping.

Homemade Pumpkin Muffins
1 cake mix (any flavor works, but chocolate is our hands down favorite!) 1 can pumpkin or 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
Beat together with electric mixer until smooth (It will be really thick). Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips and stir. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups and spray with non-stick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to put batter into muffin cups (I can get 24 muffins from one box of mix). Bake at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. Cool and frost if desired. My family likes them just as they are when they are hot from the oven.
Spice cake mix is great - add white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.
I have made pumpkin muffins with white cake mix and yellow cake mix too. They have around 120 calories apiece with the mini chocolate chips and are virtually fat free. If you are on weight watchers, they only count as 1 point.
This is a fabulous way to sneak some vitamin A rich veggies in on the kids. Just don't let them see you put the pumpkin into the muffins and they will never know it is there. These are more moist than very expensive name brand double chocolate chip muffins.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Combine ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice Mix together until well blended.
Visit for more easy recipes!

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How's That Working for You- 100 Day Checkup

Virtually everyone has heard Dr.Phil say "How's that working for you?". Well I'm asking you the same thing. Have you started implementing your changes so that your life is different at the end of the 100 Days Challenge? We've started with the routines, slowly adding 1-2 items in the morning and at night. My exercise routine is working out 30 minutes approximately 2-3 times per week. And I'm writing everyday to start boosting my business. There are still things to work on and I'm taking it one day at a time.

What have you done to reach your 100 Day goals? Even one small change is progress. The next 100 days will go by regardless of what you do or don't do. The question is do you want to be right where you are or worse at the end of this year or do you want to start the year as a better you than this moment in time?

Tomorrow I'll post the link to my Halloween craft project. I'm guest blogging with Doodles and Doilies Spooktacular this month. Oh and I should mention I'm learning to make furniture. Yes furniture. Thanks to Ana White and her awesome inspirations. So come back to see my attempt at a coffee table from scrap lumber.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

But it's All Their Fault

Keeping with our goals of creating better relationships with family and friends and our 100 day change your life challenge, I want you to take a look at how many times a day you blame someone else for what's going wrong in your day. I have noticed that I am where I am because I became good at blaming someone else for why things didn't go well.

This happens without our knowledge. We decide to hit the snooze button one too many times in the morning. Then we're running around making sure everyone's up, throwing on whatever clothes happen to be clean and throwing Pop Tarts or some other convenience food at our kids for breakfast. When Tommy has a meltdown or Sarah can't find her shoes then we start to fall apart. We begin yelling or complaining that we're going to be late because Sarah didn't put her shoes in the right place or because Tommy wants to throw a tantrum.

On your way to drop them off at school, because they missed the bus, you get behind someone driving the speed limit. You get so frustrated. Why can't they go faster? What's wrong with them? Don't they know your kids are going to be late to school AGAIN?

This only spirals from one thing to another. You are so wound up that it seems like everyone is in slow motion. The checkout person at the grocery store is taking way too long. You have to clean up dog pee and poop from the carpet because you didn't have time to take him on his walk before you left with the kids. You forget to lay out the meat for that night's dinner and have nothing to fix at four o'clock. Then you end up ordering pizza or going through the drive-thru.

All of this makes you extra cranky when it comes time to help with homework and bath time. Instead of enjoying your kids you are short with them and maybe even yell a few times. Why can't they just hurry up and finish their homework? Why do they have to hose down the bathroom?

All of this because you wanted an extra 15-30 minutes of sleep. Was it worth it? Did you feel you deserved it because of the crazy day you had before? See the cycle? Instead of blaming others for why you are overweight, in debt, stressed out, removed emotionally from your husband and children; take a good look in the mirror.

What daily tasks can you accomplish that will allow you to change those unwanted realities of your life? Get up that extra 30 minutes and actually have breakfast with your kids or even with just you. Creating a quick and healthy meal is possible and eating it in a relaxing atmosphere instead of in the car helps you with the peaceful time before attacking the world's demands.

Plan your meal for that night in the morning or the night before. Set out the clothes you want to wear the night before. Help your kids do this too. Those that can dress themselves won't be asking you where their socks are because you took 5-10 minutes the night before to prepare for tomorrow.

Know what you want in life and take baby step EVERY day in order to reach those goals. We're implementing routines at night and in the morning to help eliminate chaos. None of the kids likes picking out their clothes the night before but they are enjoying having them ready in the morning. Stop using "but it's all their fault" and start being proactive in your daily life.