Putting Your Preschooler to Work

Nothing makes preschoolers happier than helping their parents.  Studies show that young children are wired to get pleasure from pleasing their mom or dad.  So, instead of ignoring your four-year-old when he offers to help you make the beds, fold laundry or put away groceries, allow him to exercise his independence by lending a hand. In some cases, a preschooler’s attempt at helping is more of a hindrance to parents; however, with a little patience you can turn these heartfelt efforts into teachable moments. When my now 8-year-old daughter was a preschooler nothing delighted her more than being able to … Continue reading

Homeschool Field Trip: Peachy Keen

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of Mother Nature’s bounty and look beyond the walls of your home for some fantastic homeschool lessons. For clans with students of varying ages, a field trip to a u-pick farm can be a real treat.  Most states feature fields, orchards and sprawling acreage designed to give city folk a taste of country life.  These green spaces are bursting with seasonal produce including corn, strawberries, tomatoes and my daughter’s favorite—peaches. Picking sweet, juicy, tree-ripened peaches lends itself to a slew of hands-on lessons.  For starters, a field trip to a peach orchard … Continue reading

Cooking for a Family in Need

This week we are faced with the desire to do some cooking for a family in need. I did a quick meal plan for a few meals plus snacks and quick items. When I added it all up and included disposable packaging, the total cost was more than $125, which is higher than our weekly grocery bill. That would be a blow to our budget, so I made a few changes to allow us to provide hearty, nutritious meals that could be prepared and delivered the same day. I got up very early this morning and got to work putting … Continue reading

Weird Things You Can Freeze

                            I grew up with a grandma who have a very impressive pantry. Her canning collection was enormous, although sometimes digging into it felt like an archaeological investigation. Her freezer stash was equally impressive. Little containers labelled with dates and contents: would that I were so organized. But what was most impressive was the weird things she liked to freeze. Her freezer wasn’t just full of berries – it was also full of all sorts of oddball items that would make you raise your eyebrows. In the … Continue reading

Designing Your Pantry

Yesterday we talked a little bit about why having a pantry is a good idea. But where can you put it? Pantries bring to mind big rooms full of food. Although a walk in pantry is a lovely idea, it’s not always practical. How can you make room for a pantry? 1. Declutter to create room for a pantry. Are there dish sets you’re not using, or big pots and pans that you last used a few years ago? Sell them on Craigslist, and use the money to buy some starter goodies for your new and spacious pantry! 2. Designate an … Continue reading

Ten Staples for Your Pantry

With the snow still falling in parts of the country as a blizzard sweeps across the Midwest, having a well-stocked pantry is something to think about more seriously. After all, when the weather is frightful, the last thing you want to do is go out into the storm for groceries – or go hungry. Having a well-stocked pantry is important for other reasons as well. Four years ago, I got very sick. The weather was also awful, and I couldn’t get my sick self through the storms. I had to rely on what I had prepared in the cupboards, and it … Continue reading

Finding Time to Cook

When life gets busy, cooking at home is usually one of the first things to go. It is tough to find the time to cook, when there is work, school, kids activities, etc., isn’t it? Eating out becomes the normal thing to do. Unfortunately, eating out can be both expensive and unhealthy, especially if it is continued over time. Because of these two facts, effort must be made to do most of the cooking at home. So where do we find the time to cook? Track the Time Commitment Eating out can actually take more time than you think, unless … Continue reading

Creative Leftovering

I’m a master of the sneak. I like to make sneaky menus that incorporate a little bit of last week’s menu. What’s on the table this week? Baking with leftovers. I baked a banana bread with all of the little bits of flour left in containers in my cupboard. I also put in a few halves of bananas, since my daughter only eats half of one at a time. Since she likes chocolate chip banana bread, I put crumbled up some chocolate cookies that we got for Christmas and placed them into the dough.Bread pudding is another good way to … Continue reading

The Best Healthy Food on a Budget

Most of us are familiar with the Ramen every night diet. It isn’t a plan to lose weight, rather a plan to actually afford food, and it has been made famous by college students or anyone just starting out with only a limited budget. But the Ramen Noodle diet isn’t exactly a healthy one. The “meal” contains high levels of sodium and carbs and pretty much zero nutrients. Yes, it will fill you up for less, but it isn’t something you can use to feed a family and keep them all healthy. Another source of cheap food that people often … Continue reading

Don’t Pay For Convenience

As chaotic as most parents’ lives are, it’s no wonder products such as bagged salad, pre-cut cantaloupe and rotisserie chicken are in high demand. Unfortunately, convenience often comes with a hefty price tag.  Think about how much you spend on items that make your life easier.  Even if you purchase four cheap bags of salad each week for an entire year, you’re looking at paying at least a few hundreds dollars.  You could save money by purchasing a head of lettuce, whole carrots and some celery, and then chopping them up yourself, but how do you put a price tag … Continue reading