Month: May 2014

Inspired

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Grammi and Heather

Of all of the ways my mother has inspired, helped with, and taught me… the most imperative thing she taught me was how to raise a kid who needed creative, hands-on parenting. In my heart, I know Mr. Awesome wouldn’t be my son, if not for my mom (She literally is the one who told me to open my eyes and heart to Mr. Matrimony. She also said, if YOU don’t call him, I WILL!). My son also wouldn’t be the person he has become. Not that I nor my mom are the reasons for his awesomeness…. He did that on his own. Being the catalyst to help get him out of his situation is more what I was responsible for. He was 17 when he entered my life. Emotionally, and socially, he was much younger.

I don’t think I was the easiest kid to raise. Not that I was bad. I was just all over the place. I was always the one at the top of the tree. Or the fence. Or the rock…

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Precocious is a word I’ve often heard to describe how I behaved as a child. We didn’t know it back then, but my type of “precocious” had a label. ADHD. I’ve asked Mom if she would’ve changed anything about the way she raised me had she known about ADHD meds. She told me, “NO”. It wasn’t so much her answer that soothed my questioning heart, it was the way she answered. Her response was swift and unwavering. Now that I’m writing about it, it makes me think… I wonder if it was something Mom had asked her own self. It must have been. It isn’t a question one can answer immediately without thought as to weighing out the pros and cons.

Or is it?

This is me…

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I was like, 2 weeks old when I was born. Or more. I look like a 3 month old, don’t I? This picture was taken before they took me home for the first time!!! My poor mom… I was 10 lbs. 3 oz. She had me with NO drugs. Once, I asked her if they even had drugs back then. She told me they did, and I asked her if she was crazy!!! Well, she’s not. She didn’t think it would be good for me. She’s so awesome. She has put her kids first since day one. Now, we are at approximately day 17,948 since my brother was born, and her journey putting us first began. Even though thousands of miles separate us, I know that I’m still at the top of her list.

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I was off at a run from the beginning. I’m fairly sure I ran before I walked. I also talked a lot. Like a LOT. Mom says my first word was a paragraph and it started with, “I do it my-TELF!” Probably she’s not exaggerating. Most of the pictures of me when I was little are with my mouth open….

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Okay, maybe my mouth wasn’t always open…

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Mom was always keeping us kids involved in all sorts of activities. She was my Brownie and Girl Scout leader, my chauffer for piano, violin, viola, and cello lessons,

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my long haul truck driver for horse shows (it was because of her that I loved them since I was very little),

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and my driver’s training teacher. She took me to Friday Night Ice skating (she taught me how to skate on the cow pond we lived next to when we lived in Missouri)

 

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and Saturday Night Dances with my LDS friends from “over-the-hill”. Mom taught me to cook (the good ol’ Southern way), and bought me a corsage when the creep I asked to the Sadie Hawkins dance didn’t have one (I think she had a back up corsage for every dance, just in case they were all creeps).

My mom crafted a lot and pretty much taught me everything she learned as she went along She took me with her to tole painting classes, helped me pour wax into the sand at the beach to make candles, and showed me how to cross-stitch. We painted on clothes together, dried and arranged flowers, and made wreaths.

Here is Mom’s craft room when I was growing up….wpid-wp-1399779155585.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

And my craft room nowDSC03108

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete with my own cement block wall (just like hers!)

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Every time I find an old box of stuff in the basement, something from my past with mom and crafts is uncovered. Just last week in a box she left when she moved back to her childhood home, I found these books….

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The lessons Mom taught me about crafting are all tied in to my love of the 100 year old house Mr. Matrimony and I are restoring.

Here is our home now….Front of House Summer 2012

And how it was when we were first married….

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Restoring my parents own 100 year old home, Mom worked her fingers until they bled. I really don’t remember my dad doing actual “hands-on” work like my mom did. Here’s what my childhood home looked like after Mom worked her magic on it. wpid-wp-1399793878019.jpeg

Note: In the near future, I’ll do a story on the house I grew up in; complete with period furniture, wall & window coverings, appliances, and all the other lovelies we had back then.

Most of all, she surely she was also my guardian angel because I was injured so often (something like 9 sprained ankles, a concussion, ski-injury-knee that required surgery, and 2 broken toes at the same time) there’s no way I would’ve survived without an angel, or at the very least, a prayer warrior looking out for me. That was Mom. It could have been worse. She could have left me to my own devices and who knows what would’ve happened to me! But no… she parented me. That was my ADHD medication. My story was written on my mom’s heart and she turned each page, making sure none were stuck together. When pages were frayed, and the letters smeared with my tears, her own tears wiped them away. She savored those chapters. Not with joy, but with necessity that is takes for a mother to help get the story right.

Mom, I want your story to be written on my heart so that I will not forget and you will have a legacy to continue until the end of time. We have many more chapters together and each one is better than the one before. The one we are in now, is especially good! Thank you for guiding me. For teaching me. For parenting me.
Thank you for never giving up.
Thank you for being there until I finally got things right (i.e. Kelly and “The Call”).
Thank you for being my inspiration for this blog. For helping get my creative juices flowing. (I really am going to do the post with the plant starters!)
Everything good that I am is because of you. Without you, I wouldn’t have my relationship I have with my husband, my son, or with God.

Sometimes, I wonder what it would have been like to be your friend when you were young.

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But in researching for this post, I’ve been reading the comments in your yearbook, notes from your friends, and writings from the backs of pictures of cute boys. I’ve decided you were too precocious for me. Being your daughter has turned out better than any other relationship would have. I guess God really does know what he’s doing.

Thank you for being the one BFF that has lasted my entire adult life.

I love you Mom.

 

My mom and I a couple of years after I realized we were "friends"
My mom and I a couple of years after I realized we were “friends”

 

My Pinterest Birthday Party ~ Part I , The Colors

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Pinterest Party Cover 1

My awesome son, Mr. Awesome, gave me the most awesome birthday present this year. He gave me a Pinterest themed birthday party! He actually wanted to do something even more extravagant for me, but Mr. Matrimony steered him in a less costly direction. My son seemed disappointed when he talked to me about what I wanted and I assured him, I wanted a party… a real BIG GIRL birthday party!

Boy did he come through!!!

First, he hired Singing Honey Bee Designs (her ETSY, blog, and Facebook links are listed at the end of this post) to plan the party. Her specialty is kid’s parties. This was her first real BIG GIRL party, so she was just about as excited as I was! I knew right away I wanted a Pinterest Party. Honestly though, when I thought of that idea, I was picturing a party where the guests would bring food they found via Pinning and then we would make something I found on Pinterest. Not a party centered around Pinterest. Then I realized she was thinking of a Pinterest themed party.
Wait.
WHAT???

THAT.
IS.
GENIUS!!!

Pinterest Part Title

This was the most fun party I’ve ever had! My friends sure seemed to think so too. I don’t think one single person didn’t tell me how much fun it was and about half (there were 20 total!) of them said they want to have a Pinterest Party as well. Because I love Pinterest, set-up was very entertaining. We used Pinterest ideas (and some originals) for all of the decorations. I’m really into using what I have to get what I want. That meant even my flowers were cost-effective… Mr. Matrimony went outside and picked me about a hundred, as he calls them, long-stemmed dandelions! For food, each guest was asked to bring a finger food they found on Pinterest. We also asked them to share the recipes and let everyone know what Pin they used. That made the food side a breeze! Plus, there was plenty for everyone, and everything was so different. We also made two Pinterest ideas I had previously made for myself. I had all of the supplies on hand. Giving the finished item to each friend was my party planner’s idea of  “Big Girl Party Favors”. How cute is that??? We made homemade laundry soap and Chalkboard Yardstick Crates. Is was a lot of fun to be working around 4 tables with so many of my friends! They made new friends, learned they have more creativity than they thought, and ate super yummy food. It was a GOOD day 🙂

There will be more posts on the party, but for today, let’s get started with…

My Color Scheme

When Melissa, from Singing Honey Bee Designs told me her color ideas, I was a tad disappointed. I originally pictured a bunch of pastels, like this…

Chair

We couldn’t have ended up further away from that color scheme unless we went with black and white! And guess what… I loved it.
I mean lovvvvvvvved it!!!

The colors were just so happy. I can’t take any credit for this short part one of the story. All I can say is, when a professional has been hired for planning a party, trust them! She really has a gift with colors, and how to put things together by using those colors. Red seemed obvious with a Pinterest Theme party, and turquoise is very complimentary to it. With hints of yellow intermingled, the main colors were really set off.

The colors are pretty complimentary to my skin tone in the picture display that greeted my guests at the front door…. Don’t you agree?

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Ok, maybe it is more complimentary to that faded 70’s photo matte look and not my natural skin tone. Still…. I likey!

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We used quite a bit of spray paint. For the turquoise (or aqua, if you prefer) we used Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch in Seaside (gloss). For the red, we used whatever I had around. Something around here always seems to be painted red, so I always have at least a few cans. Red spray paint can be picked up at hardware stores for .98 cents a can. Sometimes, even dollar stores have it!

 

 

 

 

 

I painted a lot lot lot of stuff!

Wine Bottles and Squash

 

I spray painted wine bottles and Singing Honey Bee provided the letters. From her ETSY store, she does custom orders in different sizes with many fonts to choose from!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinterest Party Mantle Decorations 2We displayed the wine bottles with my name on the fireplace mantle. I put them up days before the party and didn’t want to take them down until days after. That’s just how great they looked! The candle sticks on either side were topped with some of the painted (fake) squash. My “Happy Birthday” bunting banners were above and below the display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was as if a Pin had stepped right off of Pinterest and into my living room!!!

Wine Bottle Vases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Double Pie Server

This is a two-tiered pie server, painted red. On the bottom, I placed a simple plate which served as a holding place for our cute little red and white checkered fry boats. The top is where the napkins were. The spray painted basket fit perfectly in the pie server. I painted a plate the also fit perfectly, in the basket. They are the same color, so the plate just looks like the bottom of the basket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had cake pops instead of a traditional birthday cake. They were the first ones Melissa has ever made. She was not impressed with the process… or the outcome!

She was the only one who thought that.

According to the internet and every cake blog ever written, the first cake pops a person makes are going to flop. Not so with these! I wish I could share how delicious they were. I’m salivating right now. Seriously. I just got up from the computer and walked into the kitchen to find something sweet to eat. I fear no matter what I find, I’d be disappointed. They just wouldn’t be Melissa’s cake…
sigh….
Anyways, more on that later. I’m getting distracted. This is what made me tell you about the cake…

Cake Server 2

 

Cake Server

 

Since I didn’t have a “regular” cake, I didn’t need a “regular” cake server. So I made this! It’s actually 3 plate stands I had made previously. The only thing I changed was to paint the red one. The picture below has an extra plate stand on it. I just set it up there for the picture. One of the fun things Melissa did for the party was ask everyone to place the finger food they brought on a server that matched the party theme. I’m not sure how something so simple brought so much joy to me! I wasn’t the only one either. There were a lot of compliments on the look it created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a tiny preview of how my “cake” turned out….

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I had some cute little decorative (fake) squash. The colors they were looked really good in my living room. I figured I can make them so again, and why not just go all out for the party. So I did 🙂

Painted Pumpkins 1

Of course, we made paper flowers of various shapes, sizes, and colors. We borrowed this one from the church. I thought it looked great with our chair swing (tutorial link below!) we made. Conveniently, the swing is painted with the same color of teal. We were outside, on the porch for most of the party doing Pinterest crafts (more on that in another post!). So, the swing came in handy. I think it was very loved ❤

Chair Swing and Flower 2

There was quite a bit of shipping paper left-over from our move. I offered it up to Singing Honey Bee designs, and she transformed the plain brown packing paper into these….

Shipping Paper Flowers 1

 

They are BIG and they are spectacular! When she does a post on this design, I’ll make sure to offer a link. She did this really neato twisty-thingie with the center. They became honest-to-goodness realistic! Painted with spray paint, they really tied in as a valance across my dining room windows.

 

 

 

 

Shipping Paper Flowers 3

 

Here’s a bit of a close up of my favorite one. Wouldn’t these be fun with a ombre style paint job? Say in orange and pink? Mmmhmmm…

 

 

 

 

I was going to cover the other flowers in a different chapter of this post. I decided though, that they were more suited here since I was talking about the colors and showing you the ones we spray painted.

Paper Flower Garland 3

One of the projects Melissa and I worked on together was this “garland”. The flowers are not connected, but were hung from a support beam in a way that made them seem so. Since I knew only one kind of flower to make with tissue paper, I was quite proud of myself when I came up with the idea to make sharp corners on one, rather than rounded.

Poinky Red Paper Flower

Then The Singing Honey Bee started making all sorts of flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This one looks like a bow tie. Wouldn’t that be sweet for a baby boy shower?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Double Paper Flower

Her “double” is wonderful! The oblong shape fits in neatly with the other flowers that are almost always round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broom Shipping Paper Flower

I don’t know what to call this  one, but it seems like the end of an antique broom.  This one may be my favorite design. As I was typing this, I realized how cute it might be with striped paper. This one is made out of shipping paper so was next to free to make!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Blue Paper Flower

 

And of course, we made regular tissue paper flowers. Don’t you just love the twine? Melissa left it long so it would hang down and naturally twist a bit. That little bit of detail really made a big difference!

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa had Pinned a tutorial on making tissue paper poppies. They were so different and unusual from the normal paper flowers you always see Pinned everywhere. They took more time and effort to make, but really turned out fabulous!
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Well, that’s all for this post. Tomorrow, I will start working on another one. I think this will be fun to follow. Melissa is going to do some posts on it as well, so you can get another person’s thoughts and ideas on having a Pinterest Themed Party right along with my ideas!

Links for Melissa at Singing Honey Bee Designs….

https://www.etsy.com/shop/thesinginghoneybee
http://singinghoneybee.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/singinghoneybeedesigns

 

 

Vintage Laundry Room Organization

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I wanted to title this post, “How to Organize Your Laundry Room and Make it Look Cute When You Can’t Afford To” but I have a hard time using so many words.

HAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!

Those of you who know me in real life can stop laughing now.

I really would love to have one of those “perfect” laundry rooms. Wouldn’t you? If you do, that’s awesome! I hope you can still use some of my ideas. If you do not have one of those laundry rooms, this post is for you! Realistically, most of us won’t be able to custom order a new laundry room with our new house. This will be another of my REAL posts for REAL people with REAL rooms and REAL budgets. Our own laundry room is a former back porch that was enclosed years before it was ours. On one side, the wall is covered with ancient exterior siding that has two windows in it. Also, it has a lot lot lot of holes! Holes in all sizes and shapes. They might be from the old knob and tube electrical wiring, or clotheslines, or shelving. Maybe someone may have tried to hang things up with copious amounts of nails until she found a place that was “just right” for the items to hang. Maybe. Before Pinterest taught her not to do such a thing.
Maybe.

Moving onward, there is a small, side wall that still has an original window on it. The remaining walls are wood paneling. Probably from the 70’s. These walls have “modern” windows in them. They also are probably from the 70’s. In other words, ours is not the prettiest of laundry rooms.

One of these days, I’d like to completely revamp the laundry room. Did I mention the walls are 80’s green and blue? The blue that goes with geese wearing bows? Thankfully, our laundry room is sans geese, but for now, the green and blue stay.

I did some organizing, that I think looks kinda cool. I’ve had some nice compliments on it as well. People think it’s cute and fun. And it is, thank you very much! 🙂  By the way, this is the room we keep our pantry in. Since you’ve already seen that, today I’ll only be concentrating on the end that contains the laundry area. Plus, I have to clean it up for the pictures and where else but the countertop would I put all the stuff??? lol…. I kid, I kid. It really is pretty organized, so as per my usual m.o., I’ll be showing you the realistic pictures.

Here’s the view that greets our visitors who enter our home through the former back porch….

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First, I bought (what I thought was) a decent organizing hamper. One with a nifty rod for hanging clothes on. It pretty much immediately fell apart. So, I went back and bought a more expensive more-than-decent sorting hamper. It’s made of metal and heavy duty fabric. I know it isn’t, but it seems almost indestructible! We are pretty (very) rough on it and it’s held up for years with only a couple tightenings of nuts and bolts. FYI, I found it at Wal-Mart. You can find one at this link…

http://www.homedecorators.com/detail.php?parentid=04764&aid=google.push&cm_mmc=SEM%7CHDC%7CG%7CPLA&gclid=CNLByP_Xjb4CFcJqfgodHkQA3A&kwid=productads-plaid

Here’s mine….

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We’ve probably had it about 5 years. In that time, none of the stitching has ripped or even stretched. You can see how stuffed I keep it, so it’s definitely heavy-duty. The canvas bags can be removed and machine washed. They don’t even shrink!

I sort our laundry in this order…

  • Whites
  • Lights
  • Brights
  • Darks

Next, above the washer and dryer, I’ve hung some tiny little bookcases to the wall. I love using things for other than they were intended! These were, if I remember correctly, .50 cents each.

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The baskets I keep on the shelves are from the dollar store. They have removable liners that are safe for the washing machine. Here’s what I keep in them….

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  •  Purex 3-in-1 Sample 3 Pack (Perfect for Mr. Matrimony to take on deployment)
  • Dry Cleaning Substitute
  • Bleach Pen
  • Machine Cleaning Supplies (I just toss the sponge in with a load after I wipe down the washer!)
  • Mesh Bag for Delicates

 

 

 

 

 

wpid-photogrid_1399058430007.jpg       Stain Fighting Supplies

  • Resolve All Stains
  • Hair Spray (Used for permanent marker stains!)
  • Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Clothespins
  • Nothing (One of the good things about keeping things organized means you have empty containers next time you need a place to store something!)

 

I have one other dollar store basket in which we keep fabric softener sheets. I’m out of those right now, so if I showed you a picture, it would be of an empty basket. For this one, use your imagination 🙂

And of course, this is where I keep my yard-stick-chalkboard lonely sock crate….

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I found this neato rack for holding my ironing supplies…

Ironing Board Holder
Here’s a link to buy one of these…. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Neu-Home-Iron-and-Ironing-Board-Holder/8810694

And here is what it looks like, hanging up in our place….

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Mickey Mouse is holding items that need to be ironed. By the way, Southern California dollar stores have all sorts of high quality reusable shopping totes from area amusement parks. Don’t spend the extra money for them at the park! At the thrift store recently, I found an ironing board that is wall mounted, so I’ve sold my other one that used to hang on the rack. The ironing board leaning against the wall is  vintage. I use it for displaying items on when I take pictures. But, my dream is to someday using it for a laundry folding table. For that, I’d hafta fold laundry.

ar ar ar….

We keep our pet supplies in the laundry room. I like to buy leashes to match my outfits. Okay, that’s a lie. The only reason we have so many leashes is because I usually forget to take them on trips. Dollar stores have decent leashes… *sigh* The reason we have so many dog clothes is because we live in an oft cool climate and we have hairless dogs. Actually, that’s a lie as well. We have all the doggie clothes because I think they are too cute and I buy all the clearance ones I can get my hands on! By-the-way… my dogs hate me. Here’s proof…

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Since we have so many accessories, we need a place to keep them. A while back, Mr. Matrimony made this storage unit for me….

wpid-photogrid_1399058761410.jpgwpid-photogrid_1399058719232.jpgThe piece itself is made out of a shelf. He enclosed it on the front and sides, so the doggie clothes won’t fall out. After I painted the whole thing purple, he attached these sweet little doggie bums! They are from IKEA and I think they are only a couple bucks each. To give them added strength, and to keep them from being bumped and falling off, he added a nail to the top of each of them. They are so stinkin cute!

This little antique cabinet is the last piece of furniture my father restored. It has the original wooden wheels! I was so blessed to be able to keep it after he died. ❤

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In the mirror, you can see the bag keeper I found at IKEA. We have others as well. They are great for using in closets to keep kids socks in! In the drawer of the cabinet, I keep winter hats, earmuffs, and gloves….

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On the top, I have a container (it’s a kitchen gadget container I found at Wal-Mart) in which I keep gloves without their mate….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underneath, inside the cabinet, I keep my larger size laundry supplies….

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Lastly, take a look at what I keep on the top of my dryer….

wpid-photogrid_1399058653374.jpgI make big bins of laundry soap at a time. The container is just what I keep a smaller amount in for daily use. A small trash can for lint keeps it from floating all over the place. I attached magnets to the bottom of that place mat. It’s sort of a catch-all for the lint. It seemed like a spectacular idea when I came up with it. Honestly, I’ll let you know, lol. It seems cumbersome at times. The real truth about why I keep it is because it reminds us to keep the top of the dryer tidy! ha…

Here’s a picture of the entire area….

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Sorry about the glare. My “curtains” are an old quilt and a very used goose down comforter. These windows are going to be replaced someday. Until then, every winter Mr. Matrimony will hang up the “curtains” and leave them until the weather is warm.
It may not be perfect, but it’s ours, and it’s a great place to accomplish a not-so-great chore!

Do you have a dream laundry room or is yours vintage?

 

 

 

Freezer Bag Smoothies

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I know…. yummy, right???

 

I cannot take credit for this idea. My friend The Singing Honey Bee came up with it. She is a busy girl! Freezer meals and snacks is one way she saves time so she can spend more of it with her family. I hope you will check out her blog with all of her wonderful ideas. Here’s a link….

http://singinghoneybee.blogspot.com/

Earlier, I wrote a post about buying clearance items at our local Albertson’s (here’s that link… https://dumpsterdivingdarling.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/my-adventures-in-clearance-shopping-at-albertsons/ )
One of the things I clear the shelf out of, when available at clearance prices, is yogurt. I usually find the 4 packs for .99 cents, quart containers for $1.59, and individual ones for .59 or .79 each (the individual price may seem high, but that is for the Greek kind that regularly can run upwards of $2 each).

So, one might pose the question, “What do you do with 37 yogurts that will expire in 2 days?”

Well, lemme tell ya!

Disclosure… These particular smoothies are pretty health conscious. If you want something a little more sweet-snackish, you may want to add a little bit of sugar. In the smoothie pictured, Mr. Matrimony placed one pack of Sugar in the Raw. He said it made it “perfect”. I’ll take “perfect” any day, and thanks Honey ❤

The Ingredients~

  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Veggies (This is a scary one for some… it’s optional. That’s why I didn’t include a picture of it. I used frozen kale. Spinach is a great option as well. I promise!)

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Aside from these fruits, I added raspberries from the neighbors garden and over-ripe bananas we had previously frozen.

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These are the yogurts I added. There were more of some kinds. Use whatever you have. Don’t be afraid to mix stuff that sounds weird together. Their really are no rules aside from 1… “It’s all good!”

Once again, I got ahead of myself and forgot to take pictures of much of the process. I do however, have a picture of the dirty over-sized mixing bowl I used to mix everything in…

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All you do is combine the ingredients in a large bow. Stir it up. When it is thoroughly mixed, place the mixture in freezer bags. I used quart size and added what I guessed was the equivalent of 2 servings. Here’s a neat little trick I learned a long while back (I can’t remember who taught me, or I’d give them credit!). When you have filled the baggies, remove as much air as possible without getting any on the seal area (it won’t close tightly if it has fruit in it). Then, place them laying down on a cookie sheet. Freeze all of them together. When they are thoroughly frozen, remove them. Take them off of the cookie sheet and put them back in the freezer. This way, you can stand them up individually or stack them neatly with your other freezer items. It makes so much more room in your freezer! Also, it keeps them from forming to each other in clumps so that they are difficult to separate. The best part is, they won’t sink down in the shelving made of wires. Aside from a complete thawing of the freezer, they are near impossible to remove when that happens.

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When you are ready to make the smoothie, simply remove a bag from the freezer and let it thaw a tiny bit (like, less than 5 minutes). Leaving it in the bag, mush it up and squeeze it into the blender. There is no need to add ice or milk. The consistency as it is should be just about perfect.

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When you get everything mixed, taste it. You may be okay with how it is just like this. Maybe the yogurt you use has extra sugar added, or the fruit is in syrup. Just make sure you try it before you add sugar. No need adding extra if you like it just fine without!

How do you use up things that are taking over your freezer?