My Target in Owasso has 50% off all their items in the $ Spot that are marked with a green dot. Usually, these green dots are right above the price on the item. Yesterday, I bought a Charlie Brown mug (there were some other character mugs as well) for 50 cents. I also got some little lotions for 50 cents a piece. There were quite a few other things like packs of ribbons (would be cute for all sorts of different projects), other lotions and spray gels, etc...Worth checking out for those stocking stuffers :)
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We have visited this topic before, but I felt it worth repeating. This time of year, I absolutely fall in love all over again with my slow cookers. I have two, one that was a present from my husband one Christmas and another a friend gave me. The one from the friend, she gave up because she felt it cooked slower than it should. It works perfectly for me on those days when we will be gone most of the day and I leave out early. Since my other crock seems to cook too fast, I use the freebie one and my food is perfect by the time I get home!
Not only are crock pots great for throwing food into and forgetting about, they are wonderful for cooking up tougher cuts of meat into nice, tender morsels of heaven! One of my favorite things to make is pot roast. Yes, you can do this in your oven, but in your crock pot, it is pretty much just throwing the meat (which I usually use the cheapest cut I can find on sale) into the slow cooker, add your other ingredients, cover it, turn it on for when you want to have dinner ready and walk away :) For my pot roast, I usually add some left over coffee (sometimes I add 'coffee cubes' which is coffee I had leftover in the coffee pot, frozen in an ice cube tray). This helps to make a really rice gravy after your pot roast is cooked. I throw in whatever spices I want, onions/onion powder, garlic/garlic powder, carrots and potatoes cut into wedges. Easy enough and so delicious!
Soups, stews, chilis, I could go on and on. It's also terrific for dumping dump chicken into and heading on out the door. Dump chicken is taking whatever chicken you want, placing any marinade you like into a baggie with your chicken and freezing it. When you want to cook it in the crockpot, you can either have it slightly defrosted from the night before or just throw the whole frozen mass (minus the baggie ;) into your crock. Turn it on, and go on about your day!
You can also use your crock pot to help with your freezer meals. Such as the example above with the dump chicken, you can also precook a big amount of chicken to seperate into meal size portions and freeze. Cook a huge batch of spaghetti sauce and when it is ready, place it into seperate containers for the freezer (use one portion for that nights quick spaghetti dinner :). I love cooking my dry beans in the crock. I soak them the night before and turn them on early in the morning. I add whatever seasonings when they are tender and keep cooking in the crockpot. Then, since my seasonings for my refried beans and my chili are about the same, I take out some for to place in the freezer for whatever meal (chili or refried beans) and then finish the rest of the beans in the pot for the other meal.
I could go on and on, but I will let you find out for yourself. If you have a crock that has been sitting in your cupboard, take it out, dust it off, and do a search for crock pot meals. There are a wealth of sites with great recipes for your crock. Allrecipes.com has a great section of all sorts of crock pot/slow cooker recipes. You can even learn to make bread or cakes in them!
And the best thing of all, even though this nifty, little appliance is sitting attached to an electrical outlet all day long, it cost a fraction to run versus your oven or stove. For an 8 hour cooking session, your crock will cost you about 10 cents (this may be a tad more or less depending on the electric company you are with). Pretty good deal. Plus, the time you save not babysitting your food or preparing extra meals for a later time. Well, you add up the savings on how much all that is worth to you. For me, it's priceless! Off now to start some potato soup in my crock to go along with some homemade bread and enjoy this rainy, cool day here in OkieLand!!
For the past two years, we have had a new tradition of making a big spider out of trash bags to hang on our front porch. It is fun to make and design a different face for the big fella each year :) To see my post from last year, go here. For directions on how to make the spider yourself, go to this new link Creepy Spider . One thing I did do differently this year was to put the legs on the spider BEFORE stuffing it. To me, it was much easier. Also, if you are going to hang the spider from your porch, or tree, etc...don't overstuff as I did-lol! We are in the process of figuring out how to hang him without the plastic ripping (and it might also be, this year I used Great Value bags instead of Aldi-perhaps Aldi's are stronger?).
Now, on to this cute lil fella:
Isn't he just adorable? I call him Batty (or maybe that is the name I heard when my husband was describing me to a friend? hmmm....)
He is super easy to make. Take one black trash bag (all of ours are the 30 gal. size). Take a corner of one bag at the closed end and make a 'pigtail' out of that corner. This is going to be an ear, so you can make the ear as big or little as you like. I think bats with big ears are cute, so I made mine sort of big (though, Imust admit, if my bag were green, my bat would look more like Yoda-which would be cool too :). Use a twist tie to make the pigtail. Do the same with the other corner of the closed end of the bag.
Next, fill your bat's head. Newspaper is terrific for this and you can reuse it in your fireplace after Halloween. Or, I use the colored ads which I will not burn in my fireplace. Be sure to recycle these when you are done with Batty! I would say you want to fill it about 1/3 of the way of the total bag. As you can see by my picture, his head is about 1/3 the size of his whole body. Use a twist tie again to close off the head. Now, stuff the body. And, once again, use one of those niflty twist ties to close him up. I think he looks cute with a little tassle of bag at the bottom :)
Now, since this was my first year making Batty, I was not too sure how to do the wings. My 2nd oldest DD gave me the idea of just cutting diagonally across another trash bag. It did work, but I hated waisting that other side of that bag. I might have to make some small spiders of something :) But, I cut from one open end to the opposite closed and of the trashbag. You might have to snip some plastic a bit so your wings open right. Then, look at your wings and decide which way they will hang from the back of Batty. Use a stapler to staple the wings to his back (if you happen to catch some newspaper when you staple, it helps to support the wings and keep the plastic from tearing).
Now, you can have fun making his face. I used wide tape to attach his face and made sure it covered all my paper so it would not get ruined in any rain or dew.
Then, you can attach some string (you might tape around the holes or perhaps you can find a better way than I suggest and if you do, please let me know ;) and hang Batty in a nice place where he can hang out and let his wings flap in the breeze. Oh, one more thing I did is to place some washers on the back side of Batty's wings...this really helps to keep the wings from winding around and around when they are being blown by the breeze. I just taped them on to the very bottom corner of each wing.
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Target is now giving out samples like Walmart! Go here to check out what they have today!
Are you a member of Vocal Point? I love Vocal Point and if you are not a member, you might try signing up. They often give away freebies. If you are a member (or you decide to join now :) look on your home page at Vocal Point for a coupon for a free box of Barilla Pasta!
Welcome to OkieDebbie. I am just a regular mom trying to save money is this crazy, expensive world! I am not one of those couponers who can hit the store, ring up $200 worth of stuff and only pay $5 :) But, Im learning, and trying, and my goal is to get to that point one day. So, jump on in and join me. Perhaps we can learn together!!