Homemade Breakfast Freezer Sandwiches 

In an effort to save money and eat better I’ve been trying to do more ‘homemade convenience’ foods. I’m not the best cook and everything I do typically takes longer than it should but because the good of cooking at home is the best for me and my family I will continue to try to learn! Here was my try at homemade Egg McMuffin-type sandwiches.

Homemade Breakfast Freezer Sandwiches

Ingredients:
1 doz Eggs
Milk (optional)
Salt/Pepper (optional)
12 slices Swiss Cheese (or your choice)
12 slices Deli Ham (optional)
1 doz English Muffins
Freezer bags

Pre-heat oven to 350*
Whisk your eggs, milk, salt and pepper (to taste) and put about 1/4 cup into greased muffin pan cups. Cook egg mixture for 14-17 minutes. After baking, remove from pan so they can cool.

Cut each english muffin in half and put egg, cheese, and meat on it.

I cut my egg muffin in half because it was pretty thick. I also subbed out swiss cheese and grated colby/jack cheese for half of my sandwiches.

Place labeled sandwiches in the freezer!

After all of that work I had to have one and although I didn’t take a photo before I ate it, (sorry not sorry) it was delicious! I warmed it in the microwave for about 30 seconds (I would try at 50% power and possibly egg only first so you don’t overlook the egg) and it was perfect.

There were some recipes that didn’t use a scrambled egg mixture and only broke eggs into the muffin tin. The issue some were having was some of the eggs would be overcooked because volume is different with each egg. Thats why I decided to go with a scrambled egg. Also, I was able to control the amount in each muffin cup so they were all cooked to perfection.

Did the recipe work for you? Or do you have any tips that made your recipe better?

DIY ‘Sharpie’ Mugs

I assist my husband with some of the administrative side of his job and he hosts a monthly meeting. At each meeting we like to give a small token of thanks to the team he heads up. It would be a lot easier to just pick up some $5 Starbucks gift cards and call it a day but we REALLY want the team to understand that we value them and their help. We also like to give them things that have the team logo on it and since our current budget could be described as frugal we have to get creative. I keep seeing the DIY Sharpie mug all over Pinterest-land and I LOVE them! So I thought, lets give that a shot! It looks awesome, fits the budget, and doesn’t look too hard. So here is my journey on the Sharpie mug and what actually worked for us.

First we (finally!) found plain white coffee mugs at our local Dollar Tree. You can purchase oil-based Sharpie markers at Home Depot. Maybe Hobby Lobby or Michaels? I borrowed ours from a friend. I had that same friend do a little research on how to do these successfully and her genius husband, who works for a company that is heading toward making outer space travel achievable (for billionaires of course) said this success of these mugs lies in the preparing the surface area.

Washed Mugs

Step 1: I hand-washed the mugs so I could begin on a clean surface.

Prep Space

Step 2: I prepped the surface with rubbing alcohol. (I would recommend a higher percentage. We used 50% and I feel like if we used 70% or higher we would’ve had better results.)

Designs

Step 3: Decide on your designs and print them out. Unless you are incredibly artistic and plan to free-hand your designs!

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Step 4: Color the back of your design (heavily) so you can trace the design onto your mug.

Mug

Step 5: Tape the design to the mug and trace the design. The lead on the back of your paper design should transfer onto the mug. Press really hard when tracing!

Adult Mug

Step 6: Following instructions of the oil-based Sharpie for use I then traced the pencil design onto my mug. As you can see my marker was a medium tip and there is a bit of a learning curve. I would recommend to test it out, get a good feel of how the paint flows, then do intricate designs. You can use the rubbing alcohol to ‘erase’ and begin again if you don’t like how it looks. You can also see the pencil lines. After you let your mug dry, recommended 24 hours, you can gently use water and paper towel to wipe the pencil outlines off.

Mug Steps

As I told you, I was making 15 so here they are after the design transfer. And this took me a good part of the day, plus my toddler was sick. So I was distractedly creating these. My next step was to do our logo design on the back of the mugs. I traced the logo and used the marker to trace it…and hated it! Our logo is a good mix of curves and sharp lines and the medium tip marker just didn’t allow for precision so I erased it with the rubbing alcohol and went back to the drawing board. I really wanted our logo on there. Then I remembered seeing designs that were created with dots! I think its technical term is stippling?

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Anyway, I printed the logo on card stock, painstakingly cut it out, taped it to the mug and started making dots. Below is the end result. I loved it! It took awhile, but I just caught up of my DVR and continued on all of my mugs.

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Step 7: Wait 24 hours for paint to dry. Maybe you don’t have to do this, but most of the tutorials we referenced said to, so we did.

Step 8: Place all mugs into a cold oven. Turn on oven to 425* and when it reaches 425* THEN set a 30 minute timer. You might want to open some windows or turn on the exhaust fan. The fumes were a little strong, but we did 15 mugs. You may just be making a few and it might not be as stinky as it was for us.

Step 9: After 30 minutes turn off the oven but leave the mugs in the oven until oven and mugs are cool. If you take them out right away its possible they could crack from the extreme temperature changes. I’m not sure if it would actually crack, but after all of that work I didn’t want to risk it!

Step 10: Use them! We put a few things in ours because they were gifts.
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image14(I forgot to take a picture of all of them when they were done, but here are a few of them.)


TIPS:

-If you mess up while using your marker use a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to ‘erase it.’
-Use an oil-based Sharpie.
-Look on Pinterest for coffee mugs sayings.

Are they dishwasher safe? I have no idea. Most tutorials say to gently hand-wash. Some say they put theirs in the dishwasher and they were just fine. We told our team that hand-washing the mugs was probably preferable, but if they want to try the dishwasher that was fine too. It’s their mug, after all!

Where we messed up: I first tried baking at 350* and when I pulled them out of the oven the paint was just scraping off with my fingernail. I was SO disappointed! I text my friend and she said the last ones she tried she baked at 425* so I touched up a few issues and baked them (again!) at the higher temperature. image11

Although this was a time-consuming project our team LOVED them!

Organization is the Key To Serenity (For Me!!)

I realize not everyone is like me, but I love neat, tidy spaces. That doesn’t always mean clean, but picked up helps me keep my mindset peaceful. Since oftentimes the mom ‘sets the tone’ or the climate of the home I try to set myself up for a win and stay on top of my housework. That doesn’t mean my house is squeaky clean ALL the time or that I am completely OCD about everything because again, most of the time, our mood or attitudes set the atmosphere of our homes. Or our relationships. And for me, if my home is chaos my attitude will follow. So if you are yelling a ‘SERENITY NOW!!’ mantra through your head throughout your day this may be a help for you.

Since I am still new at this stay-at-home Momma gig I am slowly learning things that would have done me well to learn a long time ago. So as I cross that 30 year mark this year (gasp!), I guess it’s time to but my big girl undies on and to learn how to be an adult. So to help me keep the peace in my home I use a cleaning schedule. I have chosen a ‘week at a time’ type list. I focus on one room a day and by doing so I know what I am expected to accomplish on the maid side of things and then things aren’t piling up and becoming a ‘there’s no way I can do this.’ Also, if I have plans to be out of town, or grocery shop, then I know what I need to accomplish ahead of time or after-the-fact. Or maybe I get a little crazy and decide I am going to take a day off of housework! Then I can plan. Because for my personality, planning helps me wrap my mind around things and again, puts everything in a neat, tidy box. Like a waffle. With syrup. Mmm.

Since I like pretty things I literally have a cleaning schedule. Printed out. And taped to my fridge. Well, I did until I got the hang of things how I like them and then I took it down. But I want to share some with you! I got on Pinterest and took the time to find some of my favorites and want to share them with you! Again, these are not my own creations but I will link you to their creators.

Weekly Cleaning ScheduleBlue & Red Pennets from Emily over at Bonfires and Wine:
http://www.bonfiresandwine.com/2014/06/weekly-cleaning-schedule-free-printable.html?m=1

myweeklycleaningroutineBlue Checklist & Editable from Karrie at Happy Money Saver:
http://happymoneysaver.com/my-ultimate-happy-home-cleaning-routine-plus-free-printable-checklist/

Cleaning Schedule_FINAL_ClassyClutterSimple Blue from Mallory over at Classy Cutter:
http://www.classyclutter.net/2013/04/weekly-cleaning-schedule-spring-cleaning-day-1.html#.UbtD_cikryQ.email

These ladies have some great printables and I’m glad they put them out there for us to find! I find I’m less stressed when I have a tidy home and one of the perks is for the most part, if an unannounced guest shows up I am less or not embarrassed at all about the state of my home.

Do you have a personal cleaning checklist that is tried and true?

My Favorite Homemade Granite Cleaner

Like I mentioned yesterday, I am on a quest to live simply and frugally. In my cleaning cabinet I have 4 bottles of cleaner. I have an all-purpose, a granite, a floor, and a glass cleaner. I wanted to share my go-to granite cleaner today!

Granite Cleaning Ingredients

DIY Homemade Granite Cleaner

1/4 teaspoon liquid dish soap
1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
2 1/2 cups water

I used an empty nondescript spray bottle (which isn’t very pretty!) and mixed the ingredients together. I give the bottle a little shake, spray, and use a white cloth to wipe down my counters. Some cleaners will leave a cloudy residue and this one certainly doesn’t! My counters are still as shiny as the day we moved in.

Granite Bottle

Maybe someday I’ll work on making pretty labels for all of my homemade bottles. My first priority was getting a recipe that worked, and worked well.

Do you have a different recipe you like?

My Favorite DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

As I grow older (30 this year!) I have been trying to transition our family to a more natural way of living. When I looked at the ingredients in my go-to all-purpose cleaner I was appalled. I couldn’t pronounce half the items in the list and I was using a “green cleaner!” I began to search for DIY recipes to replace my normal cleaner and I found one that I love. Because I went with a do-it-yourself version I know EXACTLY what I am putting on my surfaces and with a very busy toddler at home that eases my mind. Which means if he happens to lick the bathroom counter immediately after I’ve cleaned it? No big deal. 🙂

All-Purpose Cleaner

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

2 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp dish soap
1 tsp baking soda
Essential oil (your favorite fragrance)

Mix all ingredients in an empty spray bottle. I got a 3-pack of empty generic bottles at Home Depot but you could re-use your old all-purpose cleaner bottle after rinsing it out.
When you add the baking soda to the mix it bubbles and foams a bit so don’t put the trigger or lid on right away. There is a lot of pressure built up! I let it ‘settle’ for 5-10 minutes. It normally depends on how distracted I got after making the cleaner.

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

Here is my final product. I would like to make fancy labels but I am afraid of ink smearing while I’m halfway focused on cleaning, halfway focused on my curious toddler.
I love that I don’t have to run to the store to pick up cleaner if I run out and that I’m spending pennies on the dollar of what I used to without a second thought.

Do you have a favorite DIY all-purpose cleaner recipe?

 

NEVER Pay Full-Price for Satellite!

If you are anything like me it irritates you to pay full price for anything and especially when someone else is paying less than you for the same thing! It is common for companies to offer great incentives and rates to get you interested in their company and services and get you locked into a contract. For the first 6 months to a year you are typically happy, paying the low rates, then when your promotional period is up you hardly notice the increase in your bill. Or maybe you do, like me. Most people just accept that is the way things work and pay full rates for the duration of the service they’ve chosen. The truth of the matter is, you should never HAVE to pay full price. Often people choose to pay full-price because they don’t want to take the time to sit on hold with customer service and try to negotiate something better. Here are some tips on how to never pay full-price for satellite again.

1. Shop around!
If you are just entering into a brand-new contract with a new carrier don’t just take what is offered on the website. This will usually include a promotional rate, free movie channels, and sometimes sports channels. If you are calling anyway, ask then representative what else they have to offer. Sometimes they can give you more movie channels, free HD, or other bill credits.

2. Negotiate!
Do your homework and use other companies’ rates as leverage to negotiate. EVEN if you are in an area that the service coverage doesn’t cover where you live. The rep doesn’t know that! 😉 All they can do it say no. It that doesn’t hurt anyone.

3. Call Often!
Call your company often. I usually call every 3-6 months and end up saving $20 minimum, but usually up to $40 EVERY month. When you call don’t just talk to a regular customer service representative, talk to the retention department. That means when you call the customer service line you state, “cancel my service.” The automated response will say, “you want to cancel your service is that correct?” You respond yes, and typically that will get you to a customer retention area and they have more goods to offer you than a standard customer service representative. Now here you will probably need to bluff a little, but remember, YOU have the power. Just state that you noticed you bill is $xx.xx per month and you’re not happy paying that. Do your homework and quote other companies rates/offers and can DirecTv or whatever company you’re negotiating with do better? I will often use, “I know that this (rate quote) is their promotional rate, but even AFTER the promotion runs out it is still cheaper for me to go with this other company!”

TIPS on Negotiating:
1. Do your homework on other companies. Write them down so you can reference them throughout the call.
2. Only talk to who you want. Customer service departments are usually large so if you get a rep that doesn’t see things the way you want them, “drop the call.” In other words, pretend as if your phone ‘dropped the call’ hang up, and call back until you get someone you can work well with. I have found that men are easier to negotiate with.
3. Bluff! Tell them you’re not happy with the rate you’re paying and considering cancelling. The truth is you just want a better rate! Some may call your bluff and if they do, ‘drop the call’ or mention you need to talk to your spouse to see what direction you are going to decide before final plans are made.
4. Call early in the week when reps are fresh. They get tired at the end of their shift too!
5. Always ask if there’s anything more they can offer. Even if you’re ecstatic about the deal they’re offering.
6. Ask if accepting the savings they’re offering extends your contract. Sometimes it does and I don’t like to go with those deals.
7. Pray before you call! God cares about the things that matter to you. Even if its saving $15 off your TV bill.

That is one way I get our monthly cost down. I have done this successfully with DirecTV, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T Internet. If you have trouble paying your utility rates they often offer low-income programs or you can choose a level pay plan that averages your yearly usage makes your monthly payment around the same.

Were you successful negotiating your bill? How much did you save?