Summer Vacation and our Contest Winner

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by Liz

Summer is just about over, many schools are back in and the weather isn’t quite as hot…well, I assume that is the case in the majority of the country.  Here in Texas, the weather will continue to be summer-like until Halloween.

pensacola

The majority of us have taken their summer vacations, I know we finally did and MAN was it great! Although we tried our best to schedule and plan appropriately, unfortunately, due to work schedules, the entire family did not get to come. We spent a week at Pensacola Beach, Florida.  I would love to be able to write a post about all the ways we saved money on the trip, but we hadn’t taken a vacation in over 2 years and we budgeted and saved for the last 2 years for some extravagances, like enjoying many meals out that included “grown-up” drinks. And we enjoyed renting a pontoon boat for the entire day to enjoy over at Crab Island, Florida and of course the souvenirs, let’s not forget those. 

naval-air-museum

We did manage to save some money; it wasn’t a total “open wallet” experience.  For instance, we drove from Fort Worth to Pensacola with a fully stocked cooler of sandwiches, snacks and drinks.  We rented a condo on the beach that included amenities that allowed us to cook and prepare some of our meals; (we ate all of our breakfasts and at least 3 dinners here) and the ability to do laundry (what a God send!). We went to the Naval Aviation Museum that does not charge admission hoping to catch the Blue Angels practicing, but alas, they were not practicing that day; and of course we spent lots of time in the ocean, playing like kids, jumping waves and getting sandy and many long walks along the seashore collecting seashells.

crab-island

Now that our Pensacola vacation is behind us, we will start saving for our next vacation, not sure where that will be yet, but nonetheless, we will start our savings.  In addition to that, it is time to get back to work, and as promised, we have chosen a winner of our first ever Fort Worth Homemaker give-a-way.

Congratulations to Sergio N. of Austin, Texas.  He is the winner of the August, Fort Worth Homemaker give-away!

We reached out to Sergio N. to ask him which of the items he would like to receive for his prize, either our elegant coffee cup or our decorative journal to help organize his days.  Sergio N. responded in kind:

“I love my coffee, especially on early morning weekends when I get time to sketch, draw or research for future artworks. With that being said and the colors of the beautifully styled Fort Worth Homemaker coffee cup noted, I’m more than sure it will make people do a double-take when they see me sipping my coffee from it, or sitting on my drawing table next to my current work in progress art.”

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Thanks so much for the compliment Sergio N. of Austin, your coffee mug is on its way! (Sorry Sergio, breakfast scones, not included).

Be sure to check out my blog page, and feel free to share with your family and friends as we will continue to bring you money saving tips, easy and delicious recipes and words of wisdom from this experienced homemaker!




It’s Almost Give-A-Way Time

time

Don’t worry…there is still time left for the first The Fort Worth Homemaker give-a-way! Summer may almost be over, and you may have spent your time this season taking care of your home and family, but now it’s time for a little “you” time and reward yourself for all that hard work you put in this summer.

Since recently launching my site, I thought I would invite you to come and visit. And so, to say thanks, on August 18th, 2017 I will be giving away some of my custom merchandise.

merch

How can you be a part of this?  All you have to do is subscribe to my FREE mailing list to be entered.  Don’t worry, The Fort Worth Homemaker will never use your email information for spam, nor will we share your information with any third party companies.  One winner will be chosen at random on August 18th, 2017 and announced on both my website and Facebook page , https://www.facebook.com/Lizthefortworthhomemaker/ on or about August 18th, 2017.

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If you have not checked out my site as of yet, feel free to browse around, there are tips, recipes, money saving advice and my real life experiences when it comes to managing a family of 7.  Don’t forget to check out some of my archived posts as well, I think you will find them informative as well as entertaining.

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So if you haven’t already done so…subscribe for FREE to the Fort Worth Homemaker to be eligible to win one of my Fort Worth Homemaker pieces of merchandise, either a cool coffee mug to enjoy your favorite beverage or a blank, 80 page, lined journal to help with all your organizational needs. Please feel free to share with all of your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well and GOOD LUCK!!!




It’s Give-a-way Time!

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by Liz

So here we are smack dab in the middle of summer.  July 4th has come and gone, the stores are stocked with lots of back to school items already, maybe you have already taken your annual summer vacation. You may be asking what is next because there is still plenty of summer left. You have come to the right place.  The Fort Worth Homemaker has some exciting news…we are having a give-a-way!

Since recently launching my site, I thought I would invite you to come and visit. The Fort Worth Homemaker site is my little slice of what it takes to manage a family of 7 plus 4 dogs all on one income. My articles are written based on our real life experiences so I am sure that many of you can relate to our everyday situations, even though your household may not be as large.  And so, to say thanks, on August 18th, 2017 I will be giving away some of my custom merch. 

merch

How can you be a part of this?  All you have to do is subscribe to my FREE mailing list to be entered.  One winner will be chosen at random on August 18th, 2017 and announced on both my website and Facebook page, on or about August 18th, 2017.

If you have not checked out my site as of yet, feel free to browse around, there are tips, recipes, money saving advice and my real life experiences when it comes to managing a family of 7.  Don’t forget to check out some of my archived posts as well, I think you will find them informative as well as entertaining.

So if you haven’t already done so…subscribe for FREE to the Fort Worth Homemaker to be eligible to win a give-away of one of my Fort Worth Homemaker pieces of merchandise, please feel free to share with all of your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well and GOOD LUCK!!!

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Simple Strawberry Dip

strawberry-dip

By Liz
This is the easiest strawberry dip you will ever make and is wonderful to serve during strawberry season.

There is no shortage of summer seasonal produce in New England, and when I lived there, every summer I would take the kids strawberry picking at one of the local farms. Needless to say, we would wind up with an abundance of strawberries.

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Even after making several containers of strawberry freezer jam, strawberry muffins, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry pancakes, it always seemed like we would barely put a dent in this wonderful, summer fruit and I would have to eventually throw out this summer splendor.

Then I came up with this recipe when I was hosting one of my kid’s birthday parties at the house and thankfully, it was a huge hit with kids and adults and just like that…the rest of my strawberries disappeared.

Don’t be fooled by the name though, you could use this dip with any berry: raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, or any combination of those mentioned.

strawberry-dip
So here is my simple and delicious recipe:
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup whipped cream cheese

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1. Combine both ingredients in a medium bowl and blend until well combined.
2. Chill, serve and enjoy!

strawberry-dip

You could also use this recipe, spread on some graham crackers and sprinkle on your favorite fruit, serve open faced or sandwich style.  Please enjoy the printable recipe card below.

Simple Strawberry Dip
Serves 12
The easiest and most delicious fruit dip you will ever want to make.
Write a review
Print
26 calories
4 g
4 g
1 g
0 g
1 g
9 g
4 g
3 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
9g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 26
Calories from Fat 10
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 4mg
1%
Sodium 4mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 4g
1%
Dietary Fiber 0g
0%
Sugars 3g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of Marshmallow Fluff
  2. 1 cup of whipped cream cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine both ingredients in a medium bowl and blend until well combined.
  2. Chill and serve.
Notes
  1. Use with any kind of summer berry or summer berry medley.
beta
calories
26
fat
1g
protein
0g
carbs
4g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

Feeding my Family on $80 for a Month Part III

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By Liz

If you are just tuning in, feel free to check out Part I and Part II of this series.

So how did I do this week with only $32.10 of my $80 for my Penny Pinching June?

We are really getting down to the wire here and although my dry pantry staples and freezer are still in good shape, it is really things like my perishables I am having issue with. 

We are starting to miss a lot of dairy, items such as cheese, margarine, yogurt, sour cream and now that summer is here, ice cream.  I have been substituting real butter for the margarine, and while agree it tastes better and is better for us, real butter is expensive and does not stretch as far as margarine in certain recipes so I had to break down and get a tub.

Again I went to Aldi, I think I have been doing this to avoid Winco, there are just too many options at Winco, and I feel like I would be overly tempted to purchase more and blow through my cash budget.

Here is a snapshot and list of what I purchased this week:

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1 tub margarine

1 package cream cheese

1 package tortillas

2 dozen eggs

2 rolls of ground turkey

4 avocados

4 peaches

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I spent a total of $14.63 at Aldi.  Shortly after I got home, I realized I forgot to pick up milk, thankfully one of the boys was already out for the day, so I texted him and asked him to pick up 2 gallons, but he only brought home 1 (kids…insert big sigh here). I repaid him the 97 cents for the milk at dinner time. So my grand total spent for the day was $ 15.60, leaving me $16.50 for my final week of this challenge.




So what did we eat for this week?

Monday: Chili Dog Enchilada Casserole/ homemade potato wedges.

Tuesday: Pork Chili

Wednesday: Hamburgers/macaroni salad.

Thursday: Pizza (prior to the month I had found some rather large take and bake pizza’s that were discounted at Walmart so I picked up a couple and had them in stored in my freezer).

Friday:  Lemon Chicken Penne/garlic bread/salad.

Saturday: Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce (I had a spaghetti squash in my fridge for quite some time, so I made this for me instead of the pasta to cut back on the carbs.

Sunday: In honor of Father’s day and in an attempt to spoil my husband who is also a fabulous dad…I made steaks on the grill (that I butchered from a roast)/garlic smashed potatoes/green beans with lemon/sourdough rolls/dark chocolate cake with fresh raspberries.

One more week and it is going to be a huge challenge since our micro garden is now exploding and I need to put those ingredients to use, personally, I am starting to have cheese withdrawal and its summer so my kids want to know…WHERE IS THE ICE CREAM???

 

 


Drunken Strawberries for Two

drunken-strawberries-01By Liz

So what to do with all of those strawberries this summer? Here is a decadent recipe if you will be entertaining (recipe can easily scaled for more than 2 people) or if you just want a nice, uncomplicated dessert for the just the two of you.

*Please note, this recipe is not recommended for anyone under the age of 21.

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Ingredients:

½ pound of strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced in half

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

1 ½ teaspoon Imperial Granulated Sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoons Confectioners Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Almond Extract

Fresh lemon or orange zest, optional

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Directions:

1. In a medium sized bowl, combine strawberries, lemon juice, Grand Marnier and sugar.

2. Gently toss to coat evenly, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no longer than 24 hours (gently tossing occasionally).

3. While chilling prepare the whip cream. Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk beat the cream to the desired consistency.

4. When ready to serve, using slotted spoon to retrieve strawberries,  spoon an  even amount into 2 cups, bowls or glasses. Top with approximately 2 tablespoons of whip cream on top of each and garnish with fresh lemon or orange zest.

* Note: the key to really good whip cream that holds its consistency is that it needs to be really cold. I highly recommend pre chilling the bowl you will be using to whip it in and make sure the cream has been sufficiently chilled.

Drunken Strawberries for Two
Serves 2
A light, simple and elegant dessert.
Write a review
Print
306 calories
23 g
82 g
22 g
2 g
14 g
221 g
26 g
16 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
221g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 306
Calories from Fat 197
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g
35%
Saturated Fat 14g
69%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 82mg
27%
Sodium 26mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 16g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
18%
Vitamin C
138%
Calcium
6%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. ½ pound of strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced in half
  2. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  4. 1 ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  5. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  6. 1 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  7. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  8. Fresh lemon or orange zest, optional
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine strawberries, lemon juice, Grand Marnier and sugar.
  2. Gently toss to coat evenly, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no longer than 24 hours (gently tossing occasionally).
  3. While chilling prepare the whip cream. Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk beat the cream to the desired consistency.
  4. When ready to serve, using slotted spoon to retrieve strawberries, spoon an even amount into 2 cups, bowls or glasses. Top with approximately 2 tablespoons of whip cream on top of each and garnish with fresh lemon or orange zest.
Notes
  1. Not intended for anyone under 21 years of age.
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calories
306
fat
22g
protein
2g
carbs
23g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

Saving $500 or More in One Month

 

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By Liz

Living on one income, there are certain times throughout the year that make me anxious.  For one reason or another, we hit those irregular bills and I watch our account dwindle a little to the point it makes me start to wonder if leaving the work force was the right decision.  So much so, that I usually start dusting off my resume and start looking at the job boards again.

My husband will tell you that I over react during these times and that he could set his watch by them.  Looking at our books, I know we are fine, but when we hover around or we go below that “cushion” number in our account, it starts to make me lose sleep.  We have always rebounded, and brought that “cushion” back up, but there is always the looming question…what if we don’t?

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Summer time is one of those times of the year that make me feel financially uneasy.  I guess it stands to reason with payouts that include; increased electric bills with more people being home during the day watching T.V., playing video games, charging laptops, phones, etc…not to mention the A/C running to cool the house down in the Texas heat. Our water bill goes up, due to watering the lawn, the garden, extra showers, and laundry;  our food bill increases with hungry boys and one girl in and out of the house all summer; and then there is summer vacation and we all know how expensive that can be.

water

Now believe me when I tell you, I have done what I can to economize in ALL of these areas.  The A/C is on an automatic timer and is at a reasonable setting; laundry only gets washed when there are full loads to be done; showers are timed; and there are some years we don’t take a summer vacation, we didn’t last year, and I have to tell you, this year it is much needed. That leaves me with our food budget and while not completely out of control for a family of 7 and 4 dogs, it could still use some trimming.

Our average monthly food budget is approximately $600 for 7 people and 4 dogs, that breaks down to roughly $6.75 per person, per meal. Some would say this is to high, some will say that is low. Personally, I think it is too high and I want to start cutting back in this area in order to help reach some financial goals.



This past winter, I instituted “no spenduary” during the month of February.  After the holidays, I took inventory of our pantry, freezers and fridges and did a little bit of stocking up on staples that we plow through, things like potatoes, flour, sugar, coffee, pasta, rice, etc… Also, during the month of January if I saw rock bottom prices on meat, chicken or fish, I bought an extra pack or two then during the month of February, I did not do any grocery shopping.  We made do with what we already had in our inventory.  I did give myself a very small cash budget for the month to purchase some perishables such as milk, eggs and some fresh produce like lettuce, onions, bananas (since these things don’ t keep well for an entire month), but there were no large hauls, no overspending and in fact we wound up saving about $300 that month.

With summer just about to start, and having that “irky” feeling about our account again, I have decided to take the same action and I am instituting penny pinching June in our house. I have gone through our inventory, and have concluded that minus those perishables we have more than enough in our stash to make it through the month of June.  I am also giving myself a VERY strict, cash budget of only $80 to buy perishables for the month (crazy…right?).

beans

Now you might be thinking that, I will be feeding my family a steady stream of rice and beans, peanut butter and jelly, eggs made up, six ways to Sunday, but I want to be able to show that with a little creativity, we will have a variety of menu options by making do with what we already have on hand.  For the next 4 Mondays, my entries will be about my accountability and what we are eating and how far I can make that $80 stretch.

 

money

My goal is to be able to save $500 for the month of June.  This may not seem like a lot in today’s economy for a family of 7, but just like in February, I found myself and the rest of my family trying to save and economize in other ways as well, such as using the library more, car pooling with each other or friends, not buying that much “wanted” new video game (obviously, that one was for the kids), finding free or low cost entertainment, ditching the sodas for water, finding the locations for the lowest gas prices, etc.. It did my heart proud as the family followed my lead and took their own initiative to save some of their hard earned cash.

I know there are going to be times that myself or a family member will have a craving for some fast food or take out, or I will be tempted to pick up that amazing deal at the store when I walk in with my tiny amount of cash, earmarked for only the few perishables I will need and I will want to give in and take out my credit card, but I am hoping my resolve will be strong. In fact, I will be leaving the credit card at home. So follow me on my penny pinching June journey and see if my goal is truly reachable.