Friday, May 18, 2018

Mother's Day Cheesecake

Mother's Day was a wonderful day spent at home with my beautiful girls.  We kept the day quiet and low key.  Just exactly what we needed.  The girls also loaded me up with candles, one of my very favorite gifts in the world.

We also made a wonderful dinner that afternoon with New York strip steaks on the grill, a big pan of roasted veggies and a lovely green salad.  But the best part of the meal was a cheesecake we made that was soooooo good it really topped off our day.

I know, I know, another cheesecake recipe, but I figured I had better share it with you because it is truly that incredible.

No Bake Keto/Low Carb Raspberry Cheesecake

3/4 cup almond flour
4 Tbs butter, melted
2 packets sweetener
1 cup whipping cream
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 small pkg. sugar free raspberry gelatin
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup sour cream

In small mixing bowl combine almond flour, butter and one packet of sweetener.  Mix well to form a crumbly dough.  Press dough into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a deep dish pie plate.  Place into the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  Place into the refrigerator to chill.

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth, set aside.  In a small bowl combine boiling water and gelatin.  Stir until dissolved.  Pour half of the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese and beat on low to combine.  Pour in remaining half and again beat on low to combine.  Then beat on high for about a minute.  Add whipped cream to gelatin cream cheese mixture and beat well to combine, stirring down the sides and making sure everything on the bottom gets incorporated.

Gently fold the raspberries into the cream cheese mixture.  Fill pie crust and smooth the top.  Place cheesecake into refrigerator to chill for four hours.

In a small bowl combine sour cream and one packet of sweetener.  Spread over the top of the cheesecake.  Chill one more hour.  Cut cheesecake evenly into eight servings.  Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with a fresh raspberry if desired.  Serves 8.

Rich, delicious, decadent, and perfect for any special occasion.  Perfect for company, easy to make too, but your guests wouldn't think so and will think you are an amazing chef!  Plus, it is keto friendly and low carb so you aren't going to break your diet, but you might think you are.  It is really that good!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Christmas Shopping In May

This past Saturday I finally had the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping.  My first stop was to the mall armed with coupons and the JC Penney ad.  It was the day before Mother's Day so there were loads of sales and my plan was to buy some Christmas gifts for my daughter's.

So many clearance items it was overwhelming

When I got there I found exactly what I was hoping to find.  But I also found loads of clearance racks jam packed full of winter clothing at 60 to 80% OFF.  I spent a good while looking through those racks in each department.  I'm not usually a patient shopper, but for some reason I was that day.

Lots of $5 sales at JC Penney

I picked up all season pajamas for my girls and some cute winter tops for them as well.  I even found a summer nightie on the clearance rack for myself and a black camisole/tank on sale for $5 to replace my worn and faded one.  I used a $10 OFF coupon to lower the prices even more.

I picked up this package of brand new gift boxes for 50¢ at Goodwill

Then I got busy and got those gifts wrapped up already in gift boxes I picked up at Goodwill  Saturday and some tissue wrap and paper I already had on hand.  I used handmade gift tags too.  As Christmas draws closer I'll decorate the packages with ribbons and bows so they don't get squished in the meantime.

I found quite a few items at Goodwill to help stretch my Christmas
budget - total spent $2 plus $1.50 on some other items for an upcoming gift project

I also did a little bit of Christmas shopping at Goodwill.  I was hoping to find some items to use in an upcoming project I'll be working on and I found them.  Stay tuned for that post coming at a later date.

A FREE Yankee candle to go into a Christmas gift

After Goodwill I headed to Fred Meyer to pick up my Friday freebies.  One of those items is part of a Christmas project as well.  And best of all it is FREE!  Love that!

Feels pretty good to have a start on my gift list already.  And to have collected some stuff for my projects too!  Yaaaay!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Easy Mousse! - Sugar Free/Low Carb

It seriously doesn't get much easier than this.  Or tastier either.  If you need a quick dessert that is easy to prepare and on the thrift side as well you are in luck!

Sugar Free Mousse

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup water
1 small box sugar free instant pudding

In a bowl mix cream and water.  Add pudding and whisk together.  Use a mixer to beat for several minutes, until mixture thickens and increases in volume.  Chill one hour.  Serves 4

You can make chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla, pistachio or lemon.  Whatever flavor of sugar free pudding you can find.  Serve it in little dessert dishes and dress it up with a dollop of whipped cream if you like.

Low carb or keto doesn't mean we go without at all!  Dessert is definitely still on he menu.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Trip To Goodwill

I had an entirely different set of plans for my Saturday, but I woke up to rain and decided a change of plans would be required.  Instead of working in the yard I switched gears entirely.  My oldest had a physics study group meeting at the high school so rather than drop her off and head back home I decided to head to the mall instead.  I had $10 OFF coupons for JC Penney and you all know how I like to use those up!  I'll share how that trip to the mall worked out later in the week, but after the mall I hit up Goodwill and holy moly am I glad I did!

Brand new Givenchy bag $2!

My plan at Goodwill was to see if I could find some components for a Christmas gift I'm getting ready to work on and as luck would have it I found exactly what I was hoping to find.  When I arrived I found that everything in the store was 50% OFF.  Yippeeee!

Coach bag $7.50! 
My oldest thinks she needs this

My first find was a Coach purse in excellent condition for $14.99.  At half price that made it $7.50!  My next find was a suede purse in mint condition I thought would be perfect for one of my daughters for $3.99 but half price for $2.  And then I found a Givenchy bag with the tags still on it for $4.99 that I got for $2.50.  A quick look on eBay and the Givenchy bag is currently listed, used, for $63!

Grab bag of assorted goodies - $1

Box of miniature ornaments - 50¢
I thought these would be nice for crafts and decorating gifts

Brand new assortment of gift boxes - 50¢

Next up was the Christmas aisle where I found some gift boxes, same ones I paid $4 for at Walmart, in a bag for .99¢ that I got for 50¢, a fun little grab bag of miscellaneous stuff for $1.99 that I got for $1 and a brand new box of miniature ornaments that I thought would be fun for crafts for 99¢ that I got for 50¢.  Plus three items I needed for the gift project (don't want to give away secrets) that were 99¢ each that I paid 50¢ each for.  That made me pretty darn happy.

It was Half Price Day!!!

Then I headed over to clothing with the idea I'd get my oldest some shorts for summer.  It didn't stop there.  I ended up going through every aisle finding lots of great clothes new or like new condition for my girls.  Needless to say, back to school shopping will be a breeze this summer!

Looks great on her and she loves it - $4

I even found my youngest a winter coat from Aeropostle that looks like new for $7.99 so that means I paid $4!  It just needs a button sewn back on.  She absolutely loves it!

Capris $2, J Crew black jeans $4, Old Navy jeans $3

Along with the coat I found her two pair of jeans and a pair of capris.

$1, $2 and $1

Three tops.

$2 each - like new condition!

And two sweaters.

Shorts $2 and $2.50
Aeropostle jeans $4, Flying Monkey jeans $4 and Gap jeans $2.50

My oldest ended up with three pair of jeans and two pair of shorts.  She was in much need of some newer jeans and summer shorts.  At the mall I had found her some shorts on sale for $14.99 a pair, but I wasn't willing to buy those at the time until I checked out the thrift store and I'm sure glad I did.  I ended up getting all of this for the same price as one pair of shorts.  And they are all the brands that are popular amongst the teens these days too.

Mossimo $1 and Gap $2

I found her a couple of tops.

Michael Kors $2

And I found her two cute summer dresses that I knew she would like.  One is a Michael Kors that was $3.99 and I got it for $2.

We found these cuties last year.  Brand new - $7.99

The dress looks great with these shoes we found at Goodwill last year.  Brand new and we paid $7.99.

Express - $2

The other one, my favorite, came from Express and it was also $3.99 and I paid $2.  So cute!

Coldwater Creek - $2.50

I even found myself a little sweater, in like new condition, for $4.99 so I paid $2.50.  I was looking for one earlier that day at J C Penney like this and didn't find one.  I was pretty happy to find this one.

Right now is a great time to shop for off season clothing.  Most people are looking at summer stuff so the coats, jeans, long sleeved tops and sweaters are well priced and the selection is really good.  So if you need school clothes or think you might need something for fall and winter consider shopping for it right now at a thrift store.  You'll spend a whole lot less than at the mall.  That's for sure.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday I woke up tired.  All of the flowerbed rehabbing leading up to prom preparations left this girl plum tuckered out.  What I needed was a day of rest, but that wasn't how it ended up.  Instead my oldest daughter and her boyfriend offered to help me replace the remaining busted fence post leftover from the harsh winter of 2017.  And I wasn't about to turn down good help.  It took us three hours to dig up all of the concrete used to plant and repair that fence post from 20+ years ago, but we got it done and now my fence is straight and sturdy.  Best of all I no longer have that chore hanging over my head waiting to be done.  I had planned to get it replaced last summer but ran out of steam.  I had already purchased the replacement post, so for this project there was no extra cash out of pocket and no extra trips for supplies.  We already had everything we needed to get the job done, which made it really nice.

You might be able to tell in the top picture how the fence leaned a little bit
Not anymore!

After fence post work I poured a bag of top soil into the chicken's pen area so they would have some fresh dirt to scratch around in and dust.  Boy, oh boy, did my girls love that!

My youngest working on homework

Monday I headed back to work where I could get plenty of rest at my desk!  I had the opportunity to work quite a bit of overtime last week which was much appreciated as I have next year's cheerleader fees  for my youngest to pay in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday evening the oldest and I cleaned up around the pond and trimmed the shrubs.  Mostly we sat around and gabbed.  It was fun to work together and visit while tackling that project.  I loved it!  We still have a little more work to do but we made some great progress.

I started a new wellness program at work a couple weeks ago.  Working toward some new gift cards!  Yay!  One of the activities I chose this time is financial wellness and one of the tasks was to check our state unclaimed property site.  I've done that in the past a few times and come up empty, but guess what?  This time I was on there and yesterday I received a check from the great State of Idaho for $8!  No idea what it was for or why it was owed to me, but I'm eight bucks richer!  I plan to put it into my savings account.

Wednesday I came home from work and did a fat load of nothing!

Thursday evening was my oldest's final band concert of the school year.  After supper we headed over to the high school for a fantastic evening of music followed by their end of year awards ceremony.  It was a magnificent evening!

Friday I took the girls to Red Robin for hamburgers.  They were having a special on their Tavern style double burgers and bottomless fries for only $6.99 and I just happened to have a $25 gift card.  They enjoyed their burgers while I enjoyed the keto friendly Avo Cob O salad.  It was really good!  Our only cost out of pocket was the wonderful waiter's tip.  Love it when you get good service!

Saturday did not go at all as planned.  I had a completely different idea of what I was going to do that day, but plans change and you just have to roll with it.  As it turned out, the new plan was a good one and I'll share with you tomorrow how that all played out.  If I tell you now this post will be way too long.  So check back and see how I spent my Saturday.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Replacing A Fence Post

As if flowerbeds and prom wasn't enough to do last weekend we also replaced the busted fence post Sunday.  I wasn't planning on doing that chore at all.  In fact, my plan for Sunday was to rest and recuperate.  However, the oldest and the boyfriend offered and, to be honest, I was loathe to turn down help on a much dreaded project.

I was right to dread replacing this post because the previous owners (20 some odd years ago) had "fixed" it before by cementing a second post in place and bolting it to the broken one.  Needless to say there was a lot of concrete in that hole.

But we managed it and after much digging we removed what looks like a good three bags of concrete leaving a pretty good sized hole.  We planted the new pressure treated post I had purchased last summer, but ran out of steam before we got it done, and then reattached the fence brackets and secured the rails back into place.  We then put the fence boards back on and the 2" X 4"s along the bottom to keep out the varmints from the field.

We removed the big bolts from the rotten cedar fence posts and then cut them into firewood stacking them in the backyard woodpile.  We'll burn them later in the firepot.  After we put away all the tools we had out we got to stand back and admire our work.  Awesome!  The fence no longer leans and I no longer have this dreaded chore looming over my head needing to be done.  Feels so good to have this project completed!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How We Did Prom On A Budget

Prom doesn't exactly occur at the most affordable time.  We still have the residual winter heating bill as well as other utilities, my youngest's cheerleader fees for next year are due, my truck needs to be registered for the year and there are other expenses occurring as well.  That's just how life is.  Can a Thrifty Mom still manage to pull it off?  Well, happily, yes she can!

The biggest expense of prom for any girl is the dress.  Initially we intended that I would make her dress and off we went to try some on and see what style that might be.  We hit the mall and she tried on several.  But then we found the one.  Any mother cannot possibly look at her daughter in the one and not have her heart tug.  Especially when you see the way her face lights up because she has just fallen in love with her first formal gown.  So when I caught a quick glimpse of the tag and saw the price I did some quick math in my head and the decision was made.  We weren't leaving Dillards with out that dress!

You can only imagine how thrilled and excited she was when I said, "I think we should buy this one."  At first she was silent, not sure she heard me right.  Then... "Really?"  When I assured her we could buy the dress she nearly exploded in the dressing room and I got the biggest hug.  That alone made every penny worth it!  I think the other woman in the dressing room was just as happy for her as I was.  All they way home she chattered on about how much she loved that dress and how she planned to where it everywhere.  Oh my goodness, it was priceless.

The rest of preparing for prom would be Thrifty Mom style moving forward and fortunately we were up to the task.

One beautiful prom dress - check!  $149.99 (not bad compared to most of the ones we saw)

Shoes - already had them!  Hand me downs from a family friend who wore them once to a wedding.

Jewelry - already had earrings, a necklace (from the boyfriend), and a bracelet

Handbag - that one was tricky because we had a heck of a time finding the right one.  But a quick stop into a thrift store after work one day took care of that.  I found a 1950s vintage handbag for a whopping $1.99!

Manicure/Pedicure - little sister came in here with her talent for nails.  Fingers and toes were painted to perfection.  Two bottles of polish from the dollar store just $2 and little sis provided the rest.  Very nice!

Hair - we did her hair at home.  She found a picture of what she wanted and by some miracle of miracles I pulled it off.  I have no idea how either because I don't do hair!

Makeup - she did her own with cosmetics she already had and she did it beautifully.  Very simple not a lot of makeup, but very elegant.

The Boutonniere -  to order one from the florist would have cost a minimum of $18 for a simple rosebud.  Having made gobs and gobs of boutonnieres in my life when I used to do weddings it didn't make sense for me not to make this one.  Even though it had been 20 years since I made my last one.  Fortunately I still remembered.  I went to Fred Meyer that morning and picked out the perfect rose to match her dress and she and I made the boutonniere together that afternoon.

Photos - We assumed there would be a professional photographer at the prom, but decided to try our hand at home photography anyway.  Good thing we did because it turned out no photographer!  Again, not quite sure how I pulled it off, but somehow I did.  Other than blog photos, I don't do much in the way of photography but the planets must have aligned that afternoon because they turned out amazing.  And when I went to pick up my prints I was questioned and had to sign a waiver stating these were not professional photos.  Seriously?!  Okay!!!  Total cost of 51 prints including 3 5"X 7" enlargements (you have to know I found a 40% OFF coupon online- Mother's Day special) - $16.56!

That, my friends, is how we pulled off The Prom for under $200.  Mission accomplished!

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