Category: Frugal Living Tips

Create a Family Cookbook for Christmas

My husband’s family shared their favorite family recipes in order to create their family cookbook. They also included family pictures and anecdotes. I think this makes a creative and wonderful Christmas gift the whole family can treasure. Your family’s favorite recipes are kept forever in the family and passed down to future generations. Check out The Family CookBook Project website to create a family treasure below.


TMR Frugal Living Tip #84

hollyjollychristmasToday’s thrifty living tip is take your own Christmas pictures. When I received photo studio coupons in the mail, I would bring my son for his Christmas pictures to save money. The catch was you could only pick the first pose. The whole time I had my fingers crossed the picture turned out nice. I know some photographers would retake the picture if I wasn’t happy with that pose, but many of them are making minimum wage. Taking my child’s perfect Christmas picture is not high on their priority list.

I began taking all of my son’s Christmas pictures when he was about 5 years old. I was already taking pictures of the items I sold on ebay so why not take his pictures. I take shots in front of the tree, in front a white sheet (just like the studios), outside, and maybe on location. I do not own a high quality digital camera, but it is a decent camera. I upload all my pictures on Snapfish. I can edit all the pictures and have the ones I wanted printed. You can add fun borders and other neat options. I’m not sure if you can order the pictures with borders. I think that might be for online use only. I usually spend $20-30 for many pictures in different sizes such as 8×10, 5×7, and wallet. This price even includes the price of shipping.snowflakes

You might be thinking…well, I don’t know. This idea might not work so well if you want to be in the pictures such as a family picture. You might be lucky and know someone who takes good pictures that might do you a favor or barter for taking your pictures. I have a couple of people in my family who love to play photographer for fun. They would never dream of asking for money. Save some money and have fun taking the pictures. I also love the editing. The picture shown is one I took a few years ago and added a fun holiday border.

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

broccolicasseroledish

I first learned how to make this very tasty broccoli casserole when I was a teenager still living at home. I love to eat this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is one of those dishes that many people in my family ask me to bring or to make at the holidays. I wanted to share this very easy yet very yummy broccoli casserole recipe. I have to add my husband, who loathes broccoli, absolutely loves this broccoli casserole and will go back for seconds.

Broccoli Casserole

Recipe Type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Author: Thrifty Momma Ramblings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-12
I normally make this casserole for the holidays which consists of rice, cream of chicken soup, cheese and broccoli. My family can’t get enough of it.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice (2 cups cooked)
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli (I use a whole small bag like Picsweet)
  • Velveeta cheese cubed (at least 1 small 8 oz loaf)
Instructions
  1. Use a 9×13 glass dish like pyrex and you will add enough water to barely cover the bottom. Then add both cans of soup and stir and add in the broccoli. Cook in the microwave uncovered on high for 5 minutes. Take out stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir again.
  2. Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well. Now you want to spread it out and smooth out the top.
  3. Finally you will put it in the oven uncovered on 350 degrees for 20 minutes and the cheese should bubble. Then take out and let it cool off.

I usually buy Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup as I find it goes on sale often around the holidays. As for the broccoli, I use Pic sweet frozen florets and one small bag. I usually get them on sale 2/$3 and I use the whole bag. You could use chopped but I just prefer the florets. I prefer to use Velveeta cheese as it melts so well and has a great cheesy taste. I will admit I usually buy the small block of Great Value brand as it’s usually cheaper. I will buy the Velveeta Cheese when I can find it on sale with a a coupon! I will use at least 3/4 of the smallest block. I do slice them into small cubes. It will be easier to mix into the casserole.

I have a smaller microwave so I put a small amount of water along with both cans of soup and the broccoli. Mix it as well as you can and put in for about 4 minutes. I take it out and stir it again. I microwave it for another 4-5 minutes. You might have a couple of pieces of broccoli that are still a little frozen but this is alright. It will finish cooking in the oven.
broccolicasseroledish

Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well.
broccolicasseroledish

Last you will spread it all out after you mixed it well. You kinda just want to smooth the top so it looks nicer. I use a Pyrex glass dish. I find those glass dishes are so easy to cook with, and you just serve from that same dish once cooked. They also clean easier and won’t stain. I have owned my Pyrex dishes for at least 10-12 years. They just last.
broccolicasseroledish

Now you will put the broccoli casserole uncovered into the oven for at least 15 minutes at 350. I personally find 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to have it cooked and the cheese a little bubbly. The edges may be a little browned but it’s fine. I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner, and there was just enough leftover for me. I was happy everyone enjoyed it so much, but I just wished there was a little more left. If you try this broccoli casserole recipe, then please let me know if you and your family enjoyed it as much as my family does.
broccolicasseroledish

Relax This Holiday Season


The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving almost here. Thanksgiving is the signal that Christmas will be here in a month. Oh no! I still have to buy the turkey and trimmings, clean the house for the guests, then start decorating for Christmas, buy the presents, wrap them, and send out cards. Whoa! Slow down and take a deep breath. Do the opposite and take time for yourself this holiday season.

While this tidbit sounds great in theory, didn’t you just see all of the things I still have to do. Believe me I understand, but take your finger off the panic button and relax. I’m going to list a few tips on how to take time for yourself and learn how to relax which will make the holidays even more enjoyable.

Make a Plan:
Everyone needs a plan of action. Make a list of all the items you need to make for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner. Make a list of all the people you buy presents for or make treats. I realize I’m a little late planning this post as I wanted to write this last week, but this is still useful for Christmas. I always make a list of the people we buy presents for, and I always buy a couple of extra items for those last minute gifts. The plans are also good for cleaning or maybe with traveling.

Delegate:
I realize some of you are probably laughing, but I want you to delegate that list to others. Get your husband involved, the kids (if they are old enough), friends, and other family members. If someone asks if they can bring something for Thanksgiving, then tell them yes. It could be soft drinks or desserts. Maybe they make a wonderful side dish that everyone enjoys. You aren’t superwoman so stop trying to act like one.

Indulge Yourself:
I am very serious. As women we try so hard to please everyone else, that we neglect ourselves. I know I’m not useful to my family if I’m stressed out and snapping at them over trivial things. When I start to feel my breaking point, then I take a deep breathe and lock myself up away from everyone. You don’t have to make a dramatic exit, but just excuse yourself for a few minutes. I realize some moms don’t have as much time to get away, but honestly even five minutes of peace and quiet makes a huge difference in your attitude and well being. Below are some things I like to take time to do for myself.

  • Take a bubble bath. (I have occasionally brought a glass of wine to sip while soaking).
  • Do some reading. (It could be as simple as thumbing through your favorite magazine).
  • Do a craft. (If this truly relaxes you then go for it).
  • Enjoy a glass of wine or beer by yourself. (Maybe a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate instead).
  • Pray or meditate. (I know I feel more at peace after saying a prayer or two).
  • Eat a piece of chocolate. (Seriously I love a piece of dark chocolate and just savoring it).
  • Go for a walk. (This really helps to clear your head).
  • Exercise or dance. (Along the same lines but it really does help to soothe frazzled nerves).
  • Listen to music. (I even do this while taking a hot bubble bath).

I think you get the idea. There are times I just lock myself up in my room for a few minutes. My latest guilty pleasure has been writing. I find it really enjoyable to put my thoughts down on paper. It has proven to be quite therapeutic and relaxing for me. Please take some time for yourself this holiday season. A few minutes to yourself daily can make quite the difference in your attitude.

Get Bowled Over-Tupperware Bowl Set Thrifty Momma Ramblings Giveaway


With the holidays coming, who can’t use more bowls? My mom sold Tupperware when I was growing up. She still has pieces from over twenty years ago and still going strong. I naturally bought Tupperware as an adult, and I have containers and bowls from ten years ago that still look great. I really believe they make quality bowls and containers that will last for decades. You definitely don’t loan out your Tupperware to anyone! I will to my mom but that’s it.

I sold it a couple of years ago and amassed quite a collection. One lucky reader will receive a Tupperware Wonderlier 5 piece Bowl set! This set is brand new and still wrapped. I did take it out to show the colors of the set you will win in this giveaway. I’m not asking anyone to go to the website, and I don’t have a link to the site either. I just thought it would be fun to do a giveaway and I know many women love Tupperware. It is pricey but it’s a great investment and I got mine discounted. I want to share the love with my loyal readers.

THE PRIZE:
The bowl set you will win is a 5 piece Tupperware Wonderlier® Bowl. The colors are different from that set above. Look below to see the actual bowl set. The set includes one of each 2-cup/500 mL,3-cup/700 mL, 4-cup/1 L, 8-cup/2 L and 12-cup/2.8 L bowl. I also have all the lids. This set will not come with the salt and pepper shakers shown above. You will only get the 5 piece bowl set with lids! This bowl set is worth $60.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
This is super simple. Just leave me a comment telling me why you love Tupperware. That’s it. This giveaway is only open to US residents 18+ please. Make sure you leave your email in your comment. Only one entry per person or email address please. I am including extra entries so check below. The winner will be pulled by Random dot org.

The giveaway will end on November 30th at 11:59 PM CST! I will need your mailing address to ship the bowls to the lucky winner. It will be shipped priority mail so it will arrive quickly. Again only open to the US. Please no anonymous posters. Thank you. No purchase necessary.

EXTRA ENTRIES:
2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Thanks again for reading this blog and enjoy the giveaway! Below is a picture of the actual bowl set the lucky winner will receive. Good luck to all who enter.


TMR Frugal Living Tip #83


Today’s thrifty living tip is to stop throwing money in the trash. You read that correctly. I am guilty of buying perishables that never get eaten. Fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, yogurt, etc. It never fails I will buy items that just don’t get eaten before they go bad. I don’t do it too often, but I’m still throwing a few bucks away each time. Sale items are the biggest temptation. It’s not a good deal if you won’t use eat it in a timely manner. One method I now use is by keeping track of which items were getting thrown out. Now I rarely have to throw out bad food.

A Guide to Sucessful Budgeting

Budgeting is something a lot of us would like to be better at. But the thing is, successful budgeting isn’t actually that hard – you’ve just got to go about it in the right way.

So, what should you do to create a successful budget?

Well, first of all, it’s important to understand what budgeting is all about.

It’s about having full understanding and control of your finances – your income (the money you earn) and your expenditure (the money you spend).

To create your budget, start with writing down absolutely everything you earn each month (that includes your wages, any benefits you receive, child maintenance payments, etc.).

Once you’ve got this written down, you need to move onto your expenditure. You should write down everything your household is spending each month. Start with your priority debts (your mortgage/rent, secured loans, utility bills, etc.), and your everyday expenses (food, transport costs, etc.).

At this stage, you shouldn’t include your non-priority debts (credit cards, unsecured loans, etc.) – as you’ll account for these later on.

Once you’re happy that you’ve written everything down, you should subtract your essential expenditure from your income – this will leave you with what’s known as your disposable income.

Your disposable incomeis basically the money you have available to pay towards your unsecured debts each month – as well as saving and spending on non-essential/luxury items.

Working with your disposable income
Now you know how much your disposable income is, you need to figure out if it is enough to cover your monthly unsecured debt repayments.

To do this, simply subtract the amount you spend on debt repayments each month from your disposable income…

If your disposable income is more than enough to cover the cost of your debts, did you know you could save yourself a lot of money in interest if you paid more towards your debts each month? So, if you’ve got spare money left over after covering the required monthly payments, you should consider overpaying your debts. Just find out if you’ll be hit with any ‘early repayment charges’ for doing this.

For advice on how to make the most of your income, you could read some of the budgeting, debt and money saving guides on this website.

If your disposable income isn’t enough to cover the cost of your unsecured debts, you should take action straight away. You need to contact your creditors and explain your situation, and it might also be a good idea to seek professional debt advice.

The right advice can help you improve your situation – you might get a few tips on how to tighten up your budget, for example, freeing up the money you need every month.