Archives for June 2010

Kids Clinic at Lowe’s: Monster Truck

This Saturday, June 26th from 10:00-11:00am, kids can make a Monster Truck at Lowe’s Build & Grow Clinic. Check with your local store for participation and be sure to register ahead of time.

Lowe’s runs a great clinic. Not only do your kids get to make the project, but they also receive a free apron, pair of goggles, project-themed patch, and a merit certificate for each project. My son enjoys collecting the patches.

There are so many opportunities for FREE family fun on the weekends, which I love to share with you. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to Moneywise Moms via email or RSS Reader and get the posts delivered to you daily.

Meal Plan Monday

This is the first week of the All You Grocery Challenge. For those of you participating, I hope you are off to a good start with your meal plan and grocery shopping. I’m not! We ate out twice yesterday because of our DW trip, to the tune of $70 (yikes!). That leaves me only $55 for the week, so I spent a little under $50 on fresh produce, dairy and a few things to supplement what I had in the pantry and freezer. That leaves me a little to get more milk later in the week if we need it. Here is my dinner plan for the week:

  • Monday–Pork Chops (I breaded theirs but left mine GF), rice, green peas
  • Tuesday–Shredded crockpot chicken (just my lazy chicken–a can of tomatoes w/green chiles poured over frozen chicken), taco fixings like tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, etc., black beans, leftover rice, flour tortillas (for them) and corn tortillas (for me)
  • Wednesday–Tilapia, quinoa, broccoli
  • Thursday–Italian Spinach Pie, cornbread muffins (regular for them, GF for me)
  • Friday--Greek Salad with grilled chicken, pita bread (which I’ll skip) and hummus
  • Saturday–Black Bean Quesadillas (we have 9 people eating here that night, so this was my idea of a frugal crowd-pleaser)

I’m keeping my costs down on meals like pasta by only serving myself the GF pasta and using regular for the rest of the family. Read more frugal strategies for a special diet. For more meal plans and all kinds of recipes, see Menu Plan Monday at

Eating Gluten Free: Breakfasts

Image courtesy of Whatsername?

This is a series of posts designed to help those of you eating gluten-free, or feeding gluten-free kids. If you missed the earlier posts, read about GF Dinners and Frugal Shopping Tips.

In the month I’ve been eating gluten-free, breakfasts have been pretty easy. One reason? I’m boring and like to eat the same thing every day. I have eaten cereal my entire life (I’m somewhat of a cereal fanatic, if you haven’t seen this video yet). Replacing my super high-fiber cereal with GF cereal has not been effective, though. Eating a bowl of Chex in the morning is like eating air. I’m starving 10 minutes later; it’s just not cutting it. So I’ve had to experiment a little with what keeps me full but still doesn’t take long. I’ve organized my findings into three time frames:

For mornings where there’s really no time, I either eat a bowl of Corn Chex with raisins/strawberries/blueberries. There are several brands of GF cereal, like EnviroKids that I’ve seen at Trader Joe’s, and while the Peanut Butter Puffs are delicious, I can’t have them in the house because of my son’s peanut allergy. I haven’t splurged yet on the GF type of O’s cereal*, but I could buy them with the Amazon GCs I earn from Swagbucks. It’s hard to swallow $3/box when I used to spend .25-.50/box!

My other quickie breakfast (and sometimes morning snack if I’m too hungry after cereal) is a cup of Greek Yogurt with flax seed and strawberries/blueberries.


When I have a little more time in the mornings, I microwave a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins, then let it cool while I prep the kids’ breakfasts. I used some Swagbucks to order certified-GF oatmeal* from Amazon.


For home mornings, I can take a little more time and splurge a bit. I saute some chopped green pepper and mushrooms and make an Egg Scramble, or on a weekend I can make a brunch of Savory Omelets and Rosemary Potatoes. If I cook on a weekday morning, though, the kids suddenly want to eat half of whatever I’ve cooked for myself.

Because I don’t need a lot of variety in the morning, I’m happy to eat the same thing every other day. But those of you with more discriminating palates (or picky kids),

What do you eat/serve for gluten-free breakfasts?

Disclosure: I am not a doctor, and I am not giving advice regarding the GF diet. I am simply sharing my personal experience.
*More disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate, which means that if you purchase through my link I get a tiny percentage. Thank you!

Free Mommy Cards at Kodak Gallery

Kodak Gallery

Kodak Gallery is offering 50 FREE Photo Contact Cards, and you only pay shipping of $3.99. These make great “Mommy Cards,” where you can share your name, email and phone with new friends you meet at club meetings or the park. You might also use them as Save-the-Date cards for an upcoming shower or wedding, or you can upload a great photo or kids’ drawing to use as gift tags (just punch a hole!). Since the cards are 2.5×3 inches, they’re perfect for slipping into a note; maybe use them as “We’ve Moved” cards with your new address.

They’re also still running that offer for 20 FREE Birth Announcements. Just choose a 5×7 flat card from the FREE selection, and you can get two sets of 10 and just pay the $2.89 shipping. Some of the designs are versatile enough to use as 1st birthday invites, thank you cards for baby or shower gifts, or even invitations. Get creative when these freebies come up!

And finally, if you are new to Kodak Gallery, you’ll also receive 50 FREE 4×6 Prints. The shipping for those is $3.49. 

Happy Father’s Day!

Hope you have a great day planned for the special dad(s) in your life. We’re headed out for a fun day trip to Dutch Wonderland, but before that we’re having a breakfast celebration with Daddy.

We painted.

We traced our hands.

We podged.

And we made this interpretation of the great projects found at RootsAndWingsCo (I liked the saying on this fabric one but wanted the ease of scrapbook paper so I combined the two projects).

If you’re looking for Father’s Day freebies to take Dad out, check out Centsable Momma’s list of Food Freebies and all the other freebies (from state to state) over at Free Sample Freak.

Gardening this Weekend?

Home Depot Garden ClubWe’re outside pulling weeds and popping off dead flowers…and it’s HOT out today! If you’re doing gardening today, be sure you’re signed up for the Home Depot Garden Club. This morning, they sent me an email with a coupon for Buy One, Get One FREE Perennial Plants, good through July 5th. If you haven’t signed up before, sign up now and you’ll get the coupon right away.

*Disclosure: This banner/link is served by Logical Media, of which I am an affiliate.

Eating Gluten Free: Dinners

Image courtesy of Whatsername? 

This is a series of posts designed to help those of you eating gluten-free, or feeding gluten-free kids. See the previous post for frugal shopping tips.

Over this first month I’ve been eating gluten-free, dinners have been the easiest transition. There were three reasons for this:

  1. Many of our favorite meals were already gluten-free.
  2. Other meals were easily adapted by making a simple substitution, though some experiments didn’t always work (pasta to quinoa, for example).
  3. Making the change coincided with a change in our schedule where I wanted to use my crockpot more, so I started using a fellow blogger’s cookbook, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. Several of Stephanie’s recipes were already our family favorites, and since everything in her book is GF, it was easy to try some new dinners.

My Pineapple Pork Chops recipe was easily adapted; only the soy sauce had to be changed to GF. I was already serving it with brown rice and a green vegetable, so now it’s a complete GF meal.

Changing the soy sauce also made my Asian Fish in a Packet recipe a GF meal. I love how it cooks in the foil with brown rice and bok choy, making it a complete meal with easy cleanup.

Last, the Broccoli Pie I make all the time, which uses Bisquick, was easily adapted by substituting 1/4 cup of GF Pancake/Waffle Mix. This is one of my go-to dinners where I can substitute any cheese, veggies, or meat and make a quick meal on a busy night.

We tried several new dinner recipes from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. The biggest hit with my kids so far was Crockpot Broccoli & Beef (I agree with Stephanie that the sauce is SO much better than takeout Chinese food, it’s not gloppy and gross, and the flavor was fantastic). I served it with long Thai rice noodles I found at Trader Joe’s, which the kids loved.

I had several recipes that didn’t need any adaptation at all: my Spinach Pie, which is already crustless, is one of the vegetarian meals we eat often, so I made some GF cornbread for me to eat on the side, and the rest of the family had regular (it’s less expensive).

Adapting my go-to Pasta Salad was a failure; I simply replaced the regular pasta with quinoa, but the dressing made it too mushy and the texture was odd. Next time, I’ll try this Warm Quinoa Spinach Salad from the Gluten-Free Goddess, and sprinkle our favorite Feta cheese on top.

For a treasure trove of family recipes that are gluten-free, these blogs are so helpful:

  • Gluten-Free Mommy: I’m eager to try her Salmon Cakes recipe, since the one my kids love is full of bread crumbs. This one uses brown rice or wild rice and looks great!
  • Gluten-Free Goddess: Karina is a long-time chef of GF recipes, so look for the simpler ones if you are intimidated by unusual-sounding baking ingredients. She has a whole section of GF/CF recipes if your kids are also dairy-free. Her Kicked-up Macaroni & Cheese looks incredible!

What I’m finding challenging now is eating away from home. We don’t do restaurants often, but many post their GF menus online (Heather at Celiac Family has a handy compilation of those menus). What I’m finding tricky is eating at potlucks, picnics and barbecues–so far I’ve been carrying my own meals just to be safe. Those of you who are eating GF, what do you recommend and what are your favorite gluten-free dinners?

Disclosure: I am not a doctor, and I am not giving advice regarding the GF diet. I am simply sharing my personal experience.

All You Magazine Winner & News

Did you get your email from All You today? I was expecting to receive the Spending Plan to help keep track of my your grocery budget and receipts, but it didn’t say much. It sent me to the Grocery Challenge blog, where I subscribed for updates, but the email also said the Challenge started today–and it doesn’t! It officially starts Sunday, June 20th, so you have another day to get prepared.

Important note–Jan (Grosse Pointe Mom), you won the 1-year subscription to All You Magazine, but you didn’t leave an email in your comment or on your Google profile! Please contact me by midnight Saturday night, or I will have to choose another winner. The new winner is #176 Jessica Kok, who also doesn’t have an email address in her profile (grrr!). Please email me, Jessica!

And that’s a good reminder to all of you–if you don’t have an email address in your profile, please make sure and leave it whenever you enter a blog contest. Thanks!

Friday Finds 6/18

Happy Friday! My babysitter called in sick today, so some blog posts will be a little late. Instead, I’ve been ironing (happens once a year, I promise) and doing crafts with the kids. We’re working on this cute Father’s Day project for this weekend. Making a mess and having fun! Here are my finds for the week:

Today is National Flip Flop Day,and you can get a FREE Smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Thanks for Frugal Friends for the info. If you really want to celebrate, make some Embellished Flip Flops with your kids, too!

Toys R Us has a FREE Family Lego Event tomorrow, Saturday, June 19th from 12:00pm-2:00pm. Check with your local store for participation.

Michael’s has a FREE Father’s Day Card Making session tomorrow, June 19th from 10:00am-2:00pm for kids age 3 and up.

For Father’s Day crafts to make at home, download a FREE eBook of Father’s Day crafts*.

Baby Cheapskate is giving away a $200 credit to, but you must enter the giveaway by Saturday at 10:00am ET.

*Disclosure: This banner/link is served by Logical Media, of which I am an affiliate.