Saturday Steals: Famous Footwear BOGO – Great for Back to School

famous footwear

 

Yes, it’s Back to School time! School starts for us on Monday, August 4, which seems super-early, but really, it can’t come fast enough in my opinion! But that’s another post.

Back to School time means shopping to get the kids geared up and ready to go – time to replace all the clothes and shoes they outgrew and/or ruined over the summer! Shoes are always the most expensive in our household, as I refuse to buy used shoes for the kids. Clothes, fine. Shoes, no way; they need the support only new shoes, especially sneakers, can offer, in my opinion.

 

Famous Footwear is currently running their BOGO deal: Buy one pair of shoes, get another pair of equal or lesser value for half price. I love this deal. And, to top it off, if you join their Rewards program, you get a coupon for an ADDITIONAL 20% off! If you don’t want to join, but why wouldn’t you, you can still get a coupon for 15% off. Still a great deal.

I ended up getting a pair of Skechers Light-Up sneakers (they both insisted) for each of the kids for a grand total of $40. TWO pairs of SKECHERS for $40. You can’t beat that. They’re happy, I’m happy.

Tasty Tuesday: Barbecue Sausage Dinner

KielbasaCasserole

I love finding new recipes to try, and the newspaper coupon circulars will often have great  ideas. Some of my favorite recipes have been found in those little papers. This one in particular caught my eye many years ago, and has been a family favorite. It’s fast and easy, and super yummy! I’ve made my own little changes here and there, so I’ll post the original recipe, and note the changes I’ve made. It seems to come out a little different each time, but it’s always good!

Barbecue Sausage Dinner

Originally from Hillshire Farms

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 20-oz bag refrigerated new potato wedges (I just cut up regular russet potatoes)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (I’ve also used red bell pepper)
  • chopped onion to taste (my addition)
  • 1 pkg  Polska Kielbasa, sliced (I usually use two packages, because we love this stuff)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I’m sure I use closer to 1/2 cup or more, altogether)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (my addition)

– Combine oil, potatoes, pepper and onion to large skillet, cover and cook 12-14 minutes

– Add sausage and corn, then cover and cook 2-4 minutes or until thoroughly heated

– Remove from heat, and mix in barbecue sauce and cheese, if desired

– Top with additional cheese, if you like. We love cheese around here, so we usually add a lot!

– Serve warm, and enjoy!

Last-Minute Mom: DIY Ninja Valentines

NinjaCardBlog

Well, I guess it’s not really last minute since I still have almost a week to get these done, but still. I feel like I should have been done with my kids’ Valentines last week. I finally, just now, finished designing them, so now all I have to do is get them all printed, cut, and folded. And, then, I have to do the same for my daughter. Sure, I could go to any store and buy Valentines for both of my kids, but where’s the fun? What’s the challenge? I feel that as a ‘crafty’-type person, I should put a little more thought into these silly things. Plus, I love to see my kids’ eyes light up when I present them with the finished product. Its nice to hear “Wow, Mom, that’s awesome!” every now and then.

Unlike last year, when I made what seemed like a million embroidered felt lollipop lips and mustaches, this year I decided to tone it down a notch, and stick with designing cards. A friend of mine had been asking if I could make her some matchbook sticky note holders, so as I was researching those to see exactly what she meant, I came across some matchbook treat cards. Ding! A light bulb went on above my head. I found some super cute clip art on Etsy here and here (so many great illustrators out there!), some printable papers, fired up Photoshop, and I was off. 

I really loved the ninjas I found, and my 4-year old son has recently been claiming that he wants to be a ninja when he grows up, so these were perfect. Done. The owls I also loved, and my 7-year old daughter did, too, so that was easy. Done. The rest was up to me.

Outside of Ninja Card

Outside of Ninja Card

Front Flap

Front Flap

Sweet Treat Inside!

Sweet Treat Inside!

Yes, I know that pack of M&M’s has been opened. I couldn’t resist!

See how the front flap tucks into the bottom part? Matchbook. I was so tickled with how these turned out, I thought I would share them with the world. I made them into a printable file, which is now available in my shop. Right now, I only have the ninjas available, but I’ll post the owls as well, when I have that set finished. There is some assembly required; you’ll have to print them, borderless works best, cut on the vertical lines, fold on the horizontal lines, then staple your treat in. The “From” field is blank on the printable, so you’ll just have to fill in your little ninja’s name, and that’s it! These are specifically designed to hold the fun size packs of m&m’s, but I’m sure other treats would fit nicely, too. The printable file looks like this:

Your file will not have watermarks.

Your file will not have watermarks.

What do you think? Are you making your kids’ Valentines this year, or are you doing store-bought?

Can’t get enough  ninjas? My sis-in-law has some awesome printable Ninja Activity Packs for Early Elementary over on her blog. And they’re FREE! The preschool pack is coming tomorrow, so I’ll be downloading that for my ninja-loving son. Go check it out!

Turtle Talk: I Wasn’t a Turtle Person

sleepyturtle

I have nothing against turtles, really I don’t. I actually kind of like them. Well, sea turtles anyway. Whenever we go to St. Simons Island, we hop over to Jekyll Island and visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. I have a t-shirt. I have a hat. The kids have stuffed sea turtles, and we even have a Turtle tag on the front of our van. We’ve talked about “adopting” a sea turtle at the Center’s hospital to help support it’s treatment. But if you asked me 2 weeks ago if I wanted to have a turtle in my house, you would have gotten a firm “NO”.

Enter my son’s Pre-K teacher. One morning as I was dropping him off, giving hugs and so on, I heard his teacher talking to another mom, and I could tell they were talking about turtles, but wasn’t paying that close attention. Then she looked at me and asked if my boy would want a turtle. A turtle? Sure! We love turtles, so of course he would love a turtle toy, especially a stuffed one. So I nodded, and said, Oh yeah, that would be fun. So she ran out of the door and caught that other mom, telling her to bring it at pick-up time in the afternoon. She comes back and says something I didn’t quite catch, like she’ll bring it and it’s box and stuff in the afternoon. At that point, by brain clicked on, and I said, Oh, wait, you mean a LIVE turtle? She says, yeah, is that a problem? Ummmm….

So, we have a turtle. In the house. And, I have to admit, it’s pretty darn cute. The kids have determined that it’s a girl, so her name is CeCe. She came to us in a little plastic box with about an inch of water, a couple of rocks, and some aquarium gravel. Word spread throughout our extended family, and I was quickly informed by my sister-in-law, the turtle expert (apparently), that we now owned a Red-Eared Slider, that the gravel would have to come out, it needed a bigger home with lights and plants and a “basking” rock. A what? She sent me pictures of her setup, and I immediately thought: I should have kept my big mouth shut.

We managed to keep CeCe alive for a week, then we decided that we should probably do something about her living situation. Luckily, the pet store actually has people that know about these things, and even have an “Aquatic Turtle Kit”, complete with everything turtle-dumb people need. Put it on plastic, please.

The setup

The setup

After some rearranging and managing to keep the kids calm and their hands out of the turtle aquarium, CeCe was in her new home. She seems to love it. She stretches out on that basking rock and stays there all day, nice and toasty under the heat lamp. She swims around and plays in the stream from the filter, hangs out on the rocks we took from her old home (note: not the gravel). I’ve become a turtle person. I’ve sent pictures of the turtle to my parents and other extended family. The family turtle expert approves.

Isn't she cute?

Isn’t she cute?

Homemade Taco Seasoning – Forget the Packets!

tacoseasoning

We’re a big fan of taco seasoning in this house. If we don’t have tacos on Tuesdays, or some variation of tacos, the children will mutiny. So, taco seasoning is used at least once a week. For years I would just succumb to buying the little packets, not even thinking twice about all of the added sodium, preservatives, and numerous other ingredients I can’t pronounce. In my ongoing quest to eat a little better and save money in the process, I decided to start making my own taco seasoning. I was leary, at first, thinking there’s no way the homemade stuff could be as tasty as the store-bought wonderful-ness. I was pleasantly surprised, and very pleased with the result. Here’s the recipe I use:

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part cumin
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 part crushed red pepper

Note: a part can be whatever unit of measurement you’d like to use. I generally add 1 or 2 tablespoons of each ingredient (except for red pepper flakes), depending on how much I’m making at the time.

Mix all ingredients together, and you’re done! I make it up in batches and keep it in a mason jar. And yes, that is the top to a parmesan cheese bottle that I have on my mason jar in the picture above. It fits perfectly!

To Use:

– Add 2 1/2 tablespoons to 1 pound of browned ground beef; stir in 2/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil, and simmer until water is cooked off, stirring regularly.

Yum!

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

SalsaChicken

If you’re a Crockpot nut like me, you’re going to love this. This recipe is so super-easy and fast to throw together in the morning before starting your day.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of salsa or picante sauce (regular size jar)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained, or about 2 cups of frozen corn

Combine ingredients in slow cooker and set on low. Cook for about 4 hours if your chicken is fresh, or 8 hours if the chicken is frozen.

After cooking, I like to shred the chicken while it’s still in the slow cooker. Just take two forks and pull apart the chicken until it looks good to you, then mix it all together with the other ingredients.

I like to serve this dish over white rice and top with sharp cheddar cheese, or it also makes excellent burritos with a little cheese and sour cream.

Enjoy!

Tasty Tuesday: Montreal Chicken

MontrealChicken
It’s Tasty Tuesday! Each Tuesday I’ll feature a favorite recipe that’s been approved by my family. I try really hard to cook most nights, and it’s always fun to try something new.
This week: Montreal Chicken. My friend Jennifer discovered how easy and delicious this dish is, and I had to try it.

Here’s what you need:

  • McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – I used three rather large pieces for the 4 of us
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • About 2 tbsp of butter or margarine

MontrealChicken2

MontrealChicken3

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease your baking dish with Pam, just in case.

Coat both sides of each chicken breast lightly with Lawry’s, then again with the Monterey Chicken seasoning. Place in dish.

MontrealChicken4

Put a little splap (it’s a technical term) of butter or margarine on each chicken breast.

MontrealChicken5

That’s it! Put them in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the juices run clear, then serve and enjoy! Tonight we had rice and veggies on the side, but of course any side will do.

MontrealChicken6

Check back each Tuesday for a tasty new recipe! Do you have a new recipe? I’d love to hear it!