I know many of you may be looking to get new tablets and such for the holidays so I wanted to mention a couple of trade in offers. These programs can be a great way to get a little cash back to put toward your purchase.
Simply search for the item, click on “trade in” and select a shipping method. You will get a prepaid label. Once they receive your item, it will be inspected and you will be paid for items that meet their criteria. You can choose to have items returned to you (for free) if they do not meet trade in standards.
Here is another fun and easy little craft idea. You can do this in just a few minutes and then you have a cute little banner to string along the mantle or on a holiday table.
This is a really inexpensive craft and the little ghosts can also be used on a chandelier, a window, on a mirror or hang them outdoors from a tree.
Here is what they look like on our mantle:
So to get started you need:
Squares of a white cotton fabric or disposable white napkins
Thin ribbon in black, white, orange or yellow
Twine or fabric of your choice
Something to stuff the head- tissues, toilet paper or I used coffee filters
If you want something that will last and you can reuse year after year, you might want to stop by a craft store and pick up either 1/2 yard or a yard of white cotton material. I paid about $4 for a yard of fabric and that was more then enough to make 7 ghosts.
You can also use white napkins but those obviously won’t hold up year after year. They will also be a bit smaller in size for your ghosts.
Next I laid out the material and found something to use as a template for a square. I used one of my daughter’s books that measures 8″x8″ and cut the squares. You might want to take your first cut and make sure that is a size you are happy with before you cut the rest of the fabric.
You will need sharp scissors for this but don’t worry if your fabric isn’t cut in perfect straight lines.
Next take something you can use to stuff the head. Kleenex would be perfect or I used coffee filters. A giant pack was $.88 at Walmart.
I used two coffee filters per head and folded up all 4 corners of the square to create a little purse. Next I just cut thin black and orange ribbon and tied that around to create the ghost. Don’t tie this too tightly because you will want to slip the twine under the ribbon to string it up.
Once my ghosts were all finished I just cut a piece of twine and fed the ghosts through the twine under the ribbon on the back side (so the ribbon bow will be in front).
I think you might be able to pin the ghosts to the ribbon with straight pins or hot glue might work- this just seemed like the easiest method to me. I just strung each ghost starting with one end and that seemed to work fine.
And the last step is to take a little fine point black marker and draw on the face. Viola! All done.
This looks really cute on a party table:
And this took me about 15 or maybe 20 minutes to do. I was actually going over sight words with the kiddos while making this little guy so it is a fast project.
French Onion soup is one of my favorite things about fall. It is so comforting and savory and rich- plus add on some gooey cheese and fresh baked bread and you have a lovely little bowl of heaven.
I happen to love French Onion soup and I make it all the time at home. I am actually a vegetarian so I only have beef broth on a very rare occasion in a restaurant, most of the time I just substitute mushroom broth. It is a little sweeter but it still gives you a nice rich flavor and it works beautifully with the caramelized onions.
So there are two ways to make French Onion soup and it is incredibly simple to put together. You can do everything in a large pot over the stove or pop it all in the slow cooker.
The pro to the slow cooker is that you needn’t stand over the stove babysitting but the downside is that it does take a long time.
I prefer the stove method myself but I have two variations on the recipe below depending on which you prefer. I haven’t found a big difference in flavor either way.
One little note is that I personally don’t like to reheat French Onion soup. When you add the butter I find it gets a little filmy on the soup- it will still taste good but I usually cut this recipe down so I don’t have a lot of leftovers.
2 cartons of beef broth (32oz) or substitute mushroom broth
baguette, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
Start by drizzling a bit of olive oil on the bottom of a large pot over medium high heat.
Add 2 tablespoons butter.
Next add the sliced onions, thyme and garlic.
Cook for about 25 minutes on medium- low heat. You do not want the onions to burn so be sure to stir them every few minutes. They should start to get nice and brown and caramelized.
Add 2 tablespoons flour to the onions and stir in well.
Cook for 5-10 more minutes just so you don’t have a raw flour taste to your soup.
If you used fresh thyme, remove the stems from the pot.
Add the beef broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer about 30-45 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
If your preference is to go the slow cooker route, it is very simple:
Slice onions and add the onion, butter and a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of a slow cooker. Cook for about 6 hours- stirring every so often to be sure the onions aren’t burning. Add the thyme and garlic and cook about 2 more hours. It will likely take you 8 hours in total to get the lovely caramelized onions.
(The onions will last about 2 weeks in the fridge so you can do all this ahead of time and then have a really quick dinner to put on the table.)
Once you do get the caramelized onions, just add your beef stock and cook about 1 1/2 hours on low. Season with salt and pepper.
You can also add 1 cup of beer or 1 cup of red wine to the recipes above for more layers of flavor. (Add it when you add the stock.) Usually I have fruitier red wines on hand, like Petite Sirah and Zinfandel and I don’t like the sweetness they impart to the soup so I skip this step.
Now you are nearly done.
You should have some lovely french onion soup and it is time to get to the best part- the gooey cheesiness.
You can either sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the soup bowl and broil it and then use the bread for dunking. OR you can slice the french bread, cover that with cheese and pop it on top.
I prefer the cheese bread in the soup so I like to turn on the broiler and broil the bread for just about 1 minute. I just want it to harden slightly and not get brown.
Once I get the bread slightly crusty, I sprinkle it generously with cheese and then pop it on top of the bowl of soup. Put back in the broiler and broil about 2 minutes until it is melted and golden brown.
And now hurry and dig in!!
There is something deeply soul satisfying about a bowl of French Onion soup so I hope you give this recipe a shot. If you have another method of making this soup, please share in the comments.
Oh and I am a traditionalist with the cheese. I like Gruyere. You can certainly substitute Fontina, Havarti, Mozzarella- anything that will melt nicely. On occasion I like to mix in a little Parmesan with my Gruyere to keep life exciting.
This is a random thing but I was so happy to find this little tip I wanted to share it with you guys as well.
Do you have little boy scouts or girl scouts and have to wrestle with those maddening patches? Maybe it is just me but our little Daisy Troop vest was looking mighty sad:
I tried fabric glue, ironing (and I seriously ironed those darn patches for ages)… nothing worked and our little patches were always falling off and looking like a mess.
So the last Girl Scout meeting my husband took our little trooper and he came home and said “Oh by the way… so and so’s husband is a big blah.. blah… (insert football team here) fan and we blah… blah… (insert going to a game or watching a game or playing in a game or whatever it was here)…
So this went on and I pretended to listen politely all the while composing my grocery list in my head. Suddenly he comes out with this little tip- “Oh and someone told me to try a flat iron for the patches. It works better then the iron.” REWIND!
What?! Brilliant! One of the Mom’s in our little group had tried using her flat iron and it worked perfectly. So I took our sad little vest promptly into the bathroom, plugged in my flat iron and viola! Darn if it doesn’t work like a charm! Just get it nice and hot and hold the pressure for about 30-60 seconds.
Since your flat iron is a little thin you need to move it around and hold to get all the sides. This was so much faster and so much easier then the glues and the regular iron I had been fighting with.
And now our patches are now perfectly adhered to the little Daisy troop vest. Boom!
So if you have little boy scouts or girl scouts or kiddos in sports that might occasionally put a patch on, you might want to try this method and see how it works for you.
And these lists are not meant to be stressful but rather remind you to seize the moment when you can . If you follow me on Instagram, I posted this cute little pic of my baby the other day. It was raining (rare occurrence in Sacramento) and the minute the rain stopped we grabbed boots and jackets and raced outside to play in the puddles. What you don’t hear is my girls laughing their heads off. Normally I would have let the moment pass as it was not really a convenient moment (I may or may not have stood on the curb in my pajamas) but it was on our fun list and I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out.
Since it is Back to School time again and some of you might be looking for quick breakfast ideas, I wanted to repost this tip.
Many of you might already know that bacon can be cooked perfectly in the oven. This is a nice option because you don’t have to babysit a frying pan and you can skip a lot of the grease that comes from frying bacon.
You simply unwrap your bacon (fresh or frozen) and line it up on a baking sheet. I like to put it on a rack and line the bottom of the tray with parchment to catch the grease.
This creates a very crispy bacon. If you prefer it to be very moist, just skip the rack and bake right on that parchment paper instead.
You want to cook at 350° for about 30 minutes.
Pull it out and it should be fantastic!
I like to rest it on a plate lined with paper towels. Any leftovers can get popped into a ziploc bag and then placed right in the fridge.
It is nice to have bacon cooked ahead of time and then you can add it to egg dishes, make BLTs or quick fix breakfast sandwiches.
Welcome to My Frugal Adventures! I am Charlene, a recovering Starbucks addict and proud mama of two busy little girls. I am on a constant quest to save as much as I can in some areas so I can splurge a little in others.
This blog is written for those that want to learn to stretch a dollar and still enjoy life and spend money on the things that you love!
I am so glad you stopped by and I hope you will take a minute to have a look around. You will find tips for saving money, ideas for spending time with your children, the occasional recipe and so much more!