Froggy Girl Designs

A glimpse into my daily life of crafting, frugal living, and being a mom!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Frugalista Bible....The Tightwad Gazette

I have been a fan of The Tightwad Gazette for many, many years. Even before I had kids! But since I've become a mom, this book has become even more useful. I own The Complete Tightwad Gazette, which is the compilation of all 3 of Amy Dacyzyn's books, and it is a must for anyone wanting to make their way with a frugal lifestyle. I admit, I do not recycle aluminum foil (except when I take it to the recycling center), or baggies (I get them generally for free or pennies with coupons and a good sale), but as you will see over the coming weeks, we are quite frugal, in ways we don't even realize sometimes, but I'm going to start using this book alot more and taking advantage of all the great ideas.

You can find it quite cheaply at Amazon or I definitely recommend purchasing this book, because if you're anything like me, you'll want to make notes in the margins, highlight, and read it over and over and over again. The cheapest I saw at these two sites was $9 used (this is a BIG book, over 400 pages) at Amazon, and that's a great price! A good investment for sure!

Why my blog has been so dead! Pregnancy!!!

Well, it's official! We are expecting baby #4 on June 26, 2007!!! Right now I am 4 weeks and 6 days along. I actually found out almost 2 weeks ago that I was expecting, but have been battling major fatigue so my computer time has been quite limited. We are so happy, this will be my husbands first child of his own, although in a years time he will also be adopting my youngest son! This is a wonderful development for our family, and yet another inspiration to kick our frugality into high gear. I will be posting LOTS more in the coming weeks and months, as much as my body and mind will allow so keep coming back for lots of hints, tips, and awesome recipes!

This will be quite an endeavor for us, I am a very high risk pregnancy as my middle son was born 8 weeks early due to a placental abruption and IUGR (intruetrine growth retardation), my other two term pregnancies were both spotted with preterm labor and other issues, plus I've had 11 miscarriages. I've already went to the OB, and am also set up to visit a maternal/fetal specialist. If it's of your belief, please add us to your prayers as this baby is so wanted and loved!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 help with Ebay..FREE!

As you know, I sell part time on Ebay to help bring some extra cash into the house. I specialize in childrens clothing, so it's nothing very high dollar lol. Recently, a friend turned me on to Auctiva which has a whole slew of tools to help you manage, and pretty up, your Ebay auctions for FREE. Now, as a frugalista, Free is my favorite word. They have a great feature which puts a rolling gallery into each auction showcasing each of your other auctions. Great way to get additional sales! Also, they offer really bice templates to make your auctions look nicer. There are a TON more options, so go check em out!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Catching up!

Hey everyone!

Well, the wedding is over. I am now a married woman! It's all still new, but dang it's cool! The wedding was beautiful. We were blessed with a perfect October evening, not too cold or windy, and a gorgeous sunset. We had a major issue with the wedding cake which could not be repaired, so we joked it off (thank goodness it was a small occassion!). Here is the arbor we got married under. The heart to the side is a tribute to my new DH's mother, who passed away 10 years ago today. My parents asked if we would leave the decorations up all month as they are beautiful and would like to recognize his mother as well.

So now you will see a large flux of posts over the next few days, I have lots more to share for you other frugal lifers!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Massive Cooking Session/Patchwork Casserole

I had a 5 pound chub of ground beef I needed to use up today, so I decided to make some things for my wonderful fiancee to put in the freezer for his work lunches. I've made Hamburger Helper (ew, but he loves it), this casserole, swedish meatballs, and regular meatballs. The Hamburger Helper is something I only make about once every 3 months or so, because I really can't stand eating it, although he and the kids think it's great. I do buy it when I can get it for .50 or less a box, mostly because I haven't figure out how to make the seasonings myself yet.

This casserole is from my Slow Cooker, Casseroles & More cookbook, which is a huge 370+ page book which has over 500 recipes in it. The first time I made it, my fiancee literally ate on it every day for a week, exclaiming every time how great it was. Personally, I'm not a huge fan, so this batch was made specifically for him for the freezer.

As usual, my notes and substitutions are at the bottom.

Patchwork Casserole

2 lbs. ground beef
2 C. chopped green bell peppers
1C. chopped onion
2 lbs. frozen Southern-style hashbrown potatoes, thawed
2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 C. water
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 t. salt
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. black pepper
1 lb. pastuerized process American cheese, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown beef in large skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, drain off fat.
3. Add bell peppers and onion; cook and stir until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes, tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, basil and black pepper.
4. Spoon half of mixture into 9 x 13 pan or 3 quart baking dish; top with half of cheese. Spoon remaining meat mixture evenly on top of cheese. Cover pan with foil. Bake 45 minutes.
5. Cut remaining cheese into decorative shapes; plac eon top of casserol. Let stand loosely covered until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

My notes: I made this with half ground beef and half ground sausage, gave it a much better depth of flavor than hamburger alone. I also used Italian seasoning in place of the basil. Added in one can of chopped Portabella mushrooms. Turned out good!