Friday, July 31, 2009

10 Steps to Conquering Back to School Spending

As the summer sun warms the thick August air, the real heat for parents of school age children is coming from back to school spending. With the price of everyday necessities burning a hole in your wallet, you will be relieved to know that there are many effective ways to cut the cost of those expensive school purchases. From sneakers to scissors, these 10 steps will help you stretch your school supply budget and still send your kids off to school in style:

1. Make a complete list. Include clothing and school supplies such as scissors, notebooks, backpacks, lunchboxes and all the other specific items each child will need. If you already have a supply list from your child's teacher, use this list when making the master list. If you do not already have a supply list, ask the school to provide a generic list of items that children in the relevant grades will need. Many retailers offer these lists in their stores. Call ahead to see if your local Wal-mart or Staples has the list for your child's school and grade.

2. Take inventory. Include both new and used items you already have in the house. You will be surprised at how many supplies you can check off your list just by going from room to room. Items like scissors, backpacks and rulers may not need to be purchased again for this school year. You can also use items you already have to spruce up inexpensive supplies. For example, if your child wants the expensive decorated folders but the plain ones are on sale for 5 cents, he/she can decorate the inexpensive ones with stickers or stencils you already have at home.

To see all the great money saving tips for back to school spending click here

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coffee Filter Sunflowers

Some of my favorite crafts are ones created with items that are often found around the house. This big, beautiful sunflower is a great example. All you need are coffee filters, crayons, scissors and a glue stick!

What you need

5 (per flower) - basket type coffee filters
2 - crayons (yellow and brown)
1 - pair of scissors (or safety scissors for small children)
1 -Glue stick

To get the instructions for this adorable coffee filter sunflower click here

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dill-Licious Recipes!

Dill is one of the most popular homegrown or store bought herbs around. Whether you harvest fresh dill from your garden or purchase fresh or dried dill at your local grocer, you'll enjoy these Dill-licious recipes!


Baked Egg Scramble

6 large eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk -- or cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 large tomatoes -- diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh dill -- finely chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese -- plus 2 tablespoons, divided

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease quiche dish or shallow baking dish. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir in green pepper, tomatoes, basil, and dill. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese over bottom of prepared dish. Pour egg mixture over cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese melts and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.


Cucumber Dill Dip

1 medium cucumber
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped OR
2 tsp dried dill, crushed
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

Peel, seed and finely dice the cucumber. Using a colander, squeeze out any excess water from the cucumber chunks. Place in a bowl and blend will with the pepper and dill. Blend in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill. Makes about 3 cups of dip.

Dipper suggestions: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Radishes, Carrots, Onion Crackers

Dill Snack Crackers

1 package ranch dressing dry mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dill
1 box oyster crackers

Stir together all ingredients except crackers. Add crackers, mix well and bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.

To see the rest of these great dill recipes click here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Building a Basic Backyard Sandbox

There's no doubt about it, kids love sand. Digging, burying, sifting, pouring, shaping, smoothing, and shoveling! Building a sandbox is actually easy enough that the kids can be quite involved in the process. This is an ideal project for Grandpa or Dad and the kids. A sandbox can bring forth hours of fair weather entertainment for your kids. All you have to do is build it, and they will come! To build your sandbox, you will need the following materials and tools:


3 8'- long 2" x 6" cedar boards
4 1" x 2" -18" wooden stakes
40 square feet of WeedBlock Landscape Fabric (can be purchased by the roll)
25-30 50-lb. bags of play sand (we used 27)
4 #10 sinker nails
4 2-1/2" galvanized screws, rust resistent


sledge hammer
electric screwdriver
staple gun
saw (optional)

Visit for instructions on how to build a backyard sandbox

Monday, July 27, 2009

Is it Really Possible to Balance Work and Family?

Many times women feel overwhelmed and stressed by trying to balance family and career. Just last year, many people discussed whether Sarah Palin would be able to keep a sense of balance between being the vice presidential candidate and having five children. Have you ever heard someone say that about a man? Here are a few ideas to help you keep it all in check:

Routines are extremely important: when you do the same thing over and over again, not only do you get really good at it, it becomes second nature. You can have several sets of routines for your entire day. It is helpful to write down everything you do, or need to do, to get to bed at a decent hour, to get out of the house in the morning without rushing, to get dinner on the table quickly and easily. I suggest writing out lists of what needs to be done at each section of your day. As we get older and more forgetful, it is helpful to have a reminder of what needs to be done. When you are rushing around, it is easy to forget something important.

It's okay to say "NO": we hear this all the time, but do we practice it? As women, we are people pleasers and we don't like to upset others or feel like we have let someone down. Instead, we need to feel that way about ourselves. Think about how upset you would be if you add one more thing to your "to do" list. Say no for your children as well, don't let them be involved in too many activities.

To read the rest of this article about balancing work and family click here

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dog Bites: Prevention is Key

Summer is the time when most dog bites occur, and children under age 15 are the most likely victims. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 400,000 children each year seek medical attention for dog bites. American Humane urges parents and dog owners to learn how they can help keep their neighborhood children safe.

"Any breed of dog may bite. And even family pets, not just dogs that are unknown to a child, have the potential to bite," said Dr. Bill Torgerson, DVM, vice president of Animal Protection Services for American Humane. "Relationships between kids and animals can be so positive and meaningful - on both sides - it would be tragic to discourage that because of fear. At the same time, the worst thing that could happen is for a child to get hurt."

According to American Humane, adults - both dog owners and parents - play the most important role in keeping children safe and ensuring that the interaction is positive for both the children and the dogs.

To prevent dog bites, adults should teach children:
  • Never to approach an unknown dog or a dog who is alone without its owner, and always ask the owner's permission before petting it.
  • Never approach an injured animal - go find an adult who can get it the help it needs.
  • Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or has something it likes - like a bone or toy - because it may feel the need to guard it.
  • Don't poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog - the dog may not realize you're just playing.
  • Don't chase or run from a dog.
"Adults need to realize that children must be supervised whenever they are playing with any dog because children often don't realize what their actions say in 'dog language.' Babies and young children should never be left unattended with a dog, not even the family pet," Torgerson said.

Read more of this article: Dog Bites: Prevention is Key

More You Might Like:
Pet Adoption Guidelines: Choosing a Pet
First Aid for Cat & Dog Injuries
The Family Dog & Your New Baby
Puppy Love