Superbowl Food and Recap! (From Last Year)

superbowl menu plan

:: This was a post from LAST year, but the tips are helpful anytime! ::

Our superbowl night was a lot of fun! No matter who we have over, family, friends or just us, we always have a lot of food. I love to cook and this gives me an excuse to make a lot of the fun and fattening dishes I have wanted to make for awhile.

As a blogger, I have gotten in the habit of taking pictures of everything before we eat it…. Didn’t happen this time! The only pictures I have are of the mess as I was cleaning up!

I have to tell you a story, but let’s keep it between us.

We had a taco bar for dinner, which included taco shredded chicken and taco seasoned ground beef. I let the ground beef unthaw and cooked 3 pounds of it at the last minute and was going to add it to my warming tray with the chicken and some taquitos. I set the pan on the kitchen island and walked into the other room to get all the paper goods. The baby and I were the only ones home and she was asleep, so when I heard some noise in the kitchen I was a little scared.

I went to the kitchen to check it out, walking quietly and slowly to take a look.  I was SHOCKED, completely SHOCKED to see my 75 lb. Labradoodle dog, STANDING on my kitchen island EATING the ground beef! I screamed at him, “GET DOWN!!” The funny thing is that I don’t think he knew I was home and I scared him just as bad as he had scared me! He jumped and knocked the rest of the pan on the floor and he bolted outside. I followed him screaming at him, as he ran!

We had company coming in 20 minutes and I had only a little bit of ground beef unthawed, the rest was frozen in 2 pound rolls. There was not enough chicken by itself and I really needed that meat. I cleaned up the mess, tossed what he didn’t eat from the pan ( I was not about to let him have it) and quickly cooked up the rest. Somehow we managed to feed the 20 people here with the chicken and a little beef, no one went hungry, thankfully!

What is so crazy is that my dog NEVER is even allowed in the kitchen. He wont even eat food that has fallen on the floor, he is so picky. I have no idea what got into his head to do something crazy like that! But the image of that big dog on my kitchen island will stick with me for a LONG time! I have to laugh now, no matter how mad I was because startling him and scaring him was pretty funny!

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For dinner we did a big taco bar with flour tortillas and corn hard shell tacos. We had chicken and beef, with all the toppings you can imagine. I had a huge bowl of fruit and a few sides. There was hot artichoke dip, homemade guacamole, and our friends brought over a big croc pot of Queso.

For dessert we had Nieman Marcus $250 cookies, cake pop truffles, and Hershey’s chocolate cake. My truffles turned out really nice this time and I think I am getting the hang of dipping them so they look good and not a messed up blob of chocolate. One thing that I used which has been worth every penny is my warming tray. It has 3 compartments and is awesome for company and big dinners. I use mine about 5 times a year and every time I am so glad I have it!

I hope you had as much fun as we did, and ate some good food with family or friends!

The best laid plans…

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Well, that WAS our dinner the other night.

I think they are starting to conspire and work against us… the dogs used to only seem to look out for themselves, but lately I am starting to think they actually secretly like each other and have started to realize their best bet is to work together!

Miller, the big dog pulled the chicken off the counter and the little dog started ripping is apart before I could get to them. Miller being older and I think a little smarter, saw me and immediately slinked away, the little dog only just got annoyed I was talking her meal!

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Fast forward to the next morning… Andie tried to make this work for a good 30 minutes. Until both she and the dog were completely annoyed with each other, and she gave up!

Dream big!

 

Thankful for a husband who TAKES the bad jobs in our home.

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I really miss being personal with you guys, and that is one of the changes that I am making in 2015, going back to sharing a lot of family stories with you.

This is necessarily a family story, but an observation that I had last weekend, I posted it on my Instagram page, and wanted to share with you guys my update:

“Currently, my husband is sitting in his car on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck to come and tow his truck away because I wrecked it. I am humbled to think of all the times Paul does the things for us that are unpleasant. Husbands, in my opinion, don’t always get the thanks they deserve now days, and I am guilty of it. No one was injured, but because I clipped a curb, 2 tires and 2 expensive rims were destroyed which will result in about $1,200 worth of damage. He was not mad or frustrated, he asked if we were all ok first thing, then he met me at the car, transferred kids to the other one and sent me on my way. He stayed with his car for 2 hours waiting for it to be towed, making sure we were safe at home.
Last week, a precious pet died. Paul had to be the one to to do the horrible job of collecting our loved one and burying him ( I am not ready to talk about this) something that I am sure I would not have been able to do. He gets the absolute worst jobs in our home, and does it without complaining. I am so grateful for him, and his service to us.”

In 2015, I am making it a point to thank my husband for all the things he does for us, especially the things that I don’t want to do, or have to do!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Dads! *Warning, send kids away*

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The Elf on the Shelf is really popular at my house. Our elf is named Chocolate Buddy and somehow we got a naughty elf.

*If you have kids reading over your shoulder, make them leave now….

O.K.? We good? Kids gone?

The reason our elf is so bad is because my husband is really my 8th child and has for some reason taken it upon himself to be the Elf mover each night. Which is good because I will forget. However, we have had nights where it has been an almost 3 hour long adventure with him creating some crazy scene for the kids to wake up to.

I love that he gets into it so much, it is fun for him and makes it SOOO much more fun for the kids. Even when the laugh is on me. I have woken up with my nose purple along with the kids, and went to bed one night to find Chocolate Buddy in my bed with a Barbie doll in a bit of a compromising position. “Honey! Very Funny! You better move the Elf, I am not explaining to the kids what is going on here in the morning!”

If you want to give your husband some ideas so they get in the spirit, if you have a mischievous elf or even a really sweet elf. There are a few of my favorites below:

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Some of you might remember “fight club” from a previous year. This was my husbands masterpiece one night. The Elf is hanging from a thin thread from the ceiling. He even positioned the other stuffed animals and pinned their hands where he wanted them. The kids were thrilled! 

Well, and not every family will go this route, but I couldn’t help but laugh at my friend Brandon’s idea for their Elf. His wife nixed this one, but all the adults got a good laugh! Actually, I am still giggling because those very cookies were posted to the blog the same day. I wont do this for my little kids, but I have a teenage boy who would appreciate it!

This was another favorite for my kids. OMGosh! Look how much they have grown! Anyway, they LOVED it because unbeknownst to me, my nose was PURPLE as well! Haha, very funny honey…

Chocolate Buddy ended up going on Vacation with us for Christmas. We love staying on the Frio river and stayed at the TreeHouse. This is a deck built around a large tree over the water with a walkway out to it. It must be 40 – 50 feet above the water. I seriously don’t ever want to know how they got that Elf out on that rope swing like that. It was all the men folk, and I don’t nearly have enough life insurance on Paul for him to be doing stuff like this. But the kids FREAKED out in the morning. They talked about it all day long, that crazy Elf!

From She Knows, this has not happened yet at my house…. but my husband has it on his list! I will let you know when it does!

Lastly, I am a fan of The Bloggess ( minus the language ) and about peed my pants last night when I read about their Elf. I am warning you, the language is bad. If you want even more adult funny Elf ideas, here are the Top 11 inappropriate Elf Pictures.

Can’t believe I even just gave you guys that link. It must be Friday!

I know not all Dads find poop humor funny, or want to harass their children, I am sure some do sweet, nice things with their Elves. However, every Dad I know has been the one to do something crazy with the Elf at their house and it is a lot of fun!

If you have any crazy Dad Elf pictures, send them on in and we will get them posted! 

YOU can do so much through couponing!!

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Many of you are “newer” couponers, but some might remember the huge donation drive that we did for the people in Joplin Mo. 3 1/2 years ago when their town was destroyed by tornados.

My husband and son hauled all the supplies YOU guys donated and spent some time helping rebuild. It was a great experience for them to work together. My Mom was also driving through at that time and took some amazing and haunting photos of the aftermath and the devastation. These are her pictures in this post.

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Today on my site a women named Rachel left this comment:

I live in Joplin. I just happened upon this sight in a Google search for sending coupons to the troops. (lol). And yes, I realize this is an old post. And it’s been almost 3 1/2 years later. But I CAN NOT thank you all enough for any donations or help you might have done/sent. It was unimaginable. You could never dream the amount of Volunteers we had here. The people literally walking down the road handing out supplies, or wanting to help you find what possessions you had left, or clean up the debris. My heart goes out to you all. Our hearts, as a community, go out to you all. There isn’t one person in this town that I have ran into since, that wouldn’t tell you the help that poured in was amazing. We never dreamed that so many people would come to help people they never met. Or send the amount of supplies you did. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And honestly, thank you still doesn’t describe how appreciative we are still. You helped us manage a time in our lives that we didn’t know how to go forward.

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I am pretty much still bawling… Couponers are awesome people! I tell you all the time we donate so much! I am so grateful for couponing that has allowed me to be able to give back, because I am no longer struggling to just take care of myself. During this holiday season we should look for opportunities to give back and help one another!

Hitch Haul – Can’t live without item!

::REPOST – We just used ours again this weekend and had someone ask us about it, so I am reposting!::

I know this is a frugal blog but it is also my family blog AND an in general, “how to make your life easier” blog. You didn’t know you were getting all that in one did you?!

This weekend we went out of town to the Frio river for a long weekend. On Sunday as we were eating lunch it occurred to me that how handy the “Hitch Haul” that we have really is. The Hitch Haul is a platform that you can attach to the back of your truck or car to give you added storage space for your vehicle. This is one of the best, if not the best, under $100 purchases we have made for traveling! Well, beside the adapter to charge my computer while driving…

Sunday we used it as a picnic table to have lunch on, and again on Monday!  Usually we use it for the ice chest, water cooler and extra Rubbermaid’s that don’t fit in the truck. We have used it to haul wood, hay and anything else that is dirty to avoid having to vacuum out the truck when done. We used it for boxes when we moved.

We purchased ours at Amazon for around $70. It has been so used and needed I think it is one of the best purchases you can make if you travel!

Nutter Butter Halloween Ghost – Instructions and Recipe ( $1.15 each bag decorated!)


Nutter Butter Halloween ghosts are a long tradition in our home. I remember my Mom making these when I was a teenager.

They are really easy, inexpensive and the kids can help do everything!

You will need Nutter Butters ( $3.47) Almond Bark ($2.98) and either Mini Morsels ($2.28) for the eyes or Mini Reeses Pieces ($1.98).

Chop up the Almond bark and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave. I don’t have a double boiler and so I do mine in a sauce pan.

You have to do this on the LOWEST heat possible and it will take a good 10 minutes to start melting good, but any higher heat and you will ruin the chocolate.

In the mean time, try and keep the kids out of the cookies!

Once the chocolate is smooth and all melted you are going to start dipping the cookies. I remove it from the heat because I let the kids do this. Every now and then you have to stick the pan back on to keep it melted.

Dip each cookie about 2/3 the way in. Shake them a little to get the excess off and sometimes I dip them a second time.

If you have any candy left…

This is where I grab kids and they can help either dip cookies or stick the eyes on.

We did one ghost with mini chocolate chip cookies and one with mini Reeses Pieces. Then we voted. The mini Reese pieces won because they were a little bigger.

After dipping, place them on wax paper, parchment paper or a surface where they won’t stick. You can make the chocolate harden faster by sticking them in the freezer or fridge, but I just let mine harden for about an hour on the counter.

Then you can place them in little gift baggies or boxes and give them away!

I used clear plastic gift bags ($1.99) from Walmart, ribbon from Dollar Tree ($1) and pumpkin and cat cut outs ($1.50 for 12)  from Targets Dollar Spot.

Total cost for 3 cookies in a bag with decoration: $1.15

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Halloween Decorating from the Dollar Stores


This is what I’ve done in the past. I am positing my Instagram picture because it looks cooler than the original!

I was at Dollar Tree one year and thought they had some really good decorations this year and for $1 each I could afford to have some fun!

My mini Christmas trees ended up as Halloween Trees. My husband thought it was a little sacrilegious, but the kids loved it! :) I thought the witches hats as the toppers were really cute. I bought every single thing at the Dollar Tree but the green netting. I got that at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off.

I figured it cost me $18 to decorate the front door. I already had the green netting from last Christmas and the mini Christmas trees.

  • 4 Spiders
  • 3 Black Creepy Cloths
  • 2 Skeleton Sets
  • 2 Spider Wreaths
  • 2 Rolls of Halloween Ribbon
  • 2 Witches Hats
  • 2 Halloween Picks ( flowers)
  • 1 Plastic Rat

Not quite as cool looking this way huh?! Instagram makes everything look cool! Anyway, I am sure some of you much more crafty people could have made this look better, but the kids love it and that is all that matters.

Don’t forget to look at the costume and party supplies. You can make some good costumes with what they have available. Plus, the party stuff is really cute!

Have you decorated with Dollar Store finds before? What did you do? 

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When your 4 year old plays with your phone…

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Well, this is what happens when your 4 year old plays with your phone… $108.24 in apps downloaded. :( One was a $99.99 Batman app. Which is crazy because I have a password lock on my iTunes account, if I want to buy a $.99 song I have to put in my password. How she was able to do this with no password is aggravating.

Have you had this happen? Were you able to get the charges reversed?

Extreme Couponing craze in Tweens!

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The past 2 weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to travel a LOT and teach 26 coupon classes in a few different states. One thing that I have noticed in the past few months is the number of “tweens” who are HUGE fans of the show Extreme Couponing.

In each class I have taught there are always a few tweens who came to say “hi” and who basically begged their parents to take them to the class.

I LOVE THIS!!!

My kids friends are completely addicted to the show and ask my kids questions all the time. Of course my kids roll their eyes and do their best to answer questions, but my kids are hardly impressed :)

When I was a teen, I was super frugal but didn’t have the first clue about how to use a coupon or where to get them. These kids are the ones helping their parents and in some cases doing the couponing for their families. What a smart and thrifty group of teens! The cool thing for me is to imagine how much better they will do financially in college and after. I wish SO MUCH that I had known how coupon in college and even high school. These kids already know how and are doing it!

P.S. Sorry for my dumb smile… they were in the middle if making fun of me for being shorter then them and I could not stop laughing!