DIY Thanksgiving Decor

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Can you believe it’s already November?  CRAZY!!  During this month, Two Frugal Gals will be featuring some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes and crafty, creative do-it-yourself Thanksgiving decorations to help make this time of year fun for your family.  Who knew creating your own Thanksgiving décor could be so simple and fun?  The greatest thing about these fall decorating ideas… they are simple and easy enough for your whole family to join in.   Totally upcycled and frugal!!!  And decorations you can go back to year after year.  So sit back and give thanks my friends to a wonderful time of year! 20131102-075152.jpg Thanksgiving Tree Centerpiece.  This is a fun custom holiday décor. This tree was put together gathering fallen branches with the kiddos near our house.  We placed them in a beautiful clear vase wrapped and tied a beautiful ribbon and added a few fall flowers found at our local craft store.  We cut out paper circles and punched holes in each of them for the family to write their thanksgiving blessings to hang from the branches.  It’s a beautiful handcrafted look, making a perfect addition for your own seasonal decoration piece.20131018-091857.jpg Why buy a new vase for your fall bouquet when nature provides the perfect one this time of year?  We filled a pumpkin with a full bouquet of fall flowers in our medium pumpkin for a beautiful centerpiece.  The pumpkin should last two or three weeks, and the fresh flowers and other items up to two weeks. For maximum use, pull out any wilting flowers and add fresh ones. Since it likely is a large bouquet and the container is small, remember to add water often.20131102-075458.jpg

Wine cork Pumpkins.  I love they way they turned out!  My sister in law found this on idea on pinterest.  What a great way  up-cycle my wine corks. Just paint the ends of your wine corks, hot glue them together and add pretty leaves and viola!

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Make this framed Thanksgiving Menu using an old frame.  All you need to do is remove any glass in your frame, hot glue your ribbon/twine to the back or front of the frame at the appropriate height to center your menu.  Use mini clothespins to hang your menu from the ribbon.  You can find a free printed menu by going to bystephanielynn.com and selecting your size.  That’s all!  Hang it! Lean it against a wall.

Happy frugal planning ya’ll!

Grocery Price list

Two frugal Gals thought it would be nice to put together a little rock bottom price list that you can print out and keep on hand as a reference when you’re shopping. Keep in mind that this list is based on our experience, so your personal rock bottom prices may very.  If you’re just starting, every item you purchase has a retail price, a sale price and a rock bottom price. A price log is a simple way to keep note of what you’re paying for an item.  Just take a sheet of paper and write out 10 or 20 items that you buy every week, then, every single time you walk into the grocery store, write the price of that item down on the paper.  You’ll need to do this for 6 to 8 weeks.  Yes, it’s tedious but you’ll suddenly notice the price changes of your items and this will determine how low your prices can go and how ling you need to stock up.  Once you find that rock bottom price, that is when you use your coupon then you stock up!

Two Frugal Gals Grocery Price List

Groceries $ Baking $
Canned   Tomatoes Free – .50 per 16 oz. can Baking Powder Free-.50 per can
Cereal 1.00-1.75 per 8 oz. box Baking Soda Free .50 per box
Dressing (Salad) .30-.80 per 12 oz. bottle Brownie Mixes .50-1.00 per box
Ketchup .50-1.00 per 12 oz. bottle Cake Mixes .50-1.00 per box
Mayonnaise 1.00-1.75 per 24 oz. container Corn Starch Free .50 per container
Mustard Free – .50 per 8 oz. box Flour 1.99 per 5 lb. bag
Pasta Free – .50 per 14 oz. box Frosting .50-1.00 per container
Sauce   (spaghetti) 1.00-1.25 per 45 oz. jar Salt .20-.50 per container
Sauce (Steak) Free – .50 per 15 oz. jar Sugar 1.49-1.99 per 4 lb.bag
Syrup 1.00-2.00 per 24 oz. bottle Yeast .50-1.00 per 3 pack strip
Tomato Paste Free – .50 per 6 oz. can
Vegetables (Frozen) .50-1.00 per 11 oz. bag  Meat  $
Waffles (frozen) 1.00-1.50 per 12 oz. box Beef (ground) 1.99-2.99 per lb.
Beef Roast 2.49-3.49 per lb.
Dairy $ Beef Stew 1.99-2.49 per lb.
Chicken   (boneless skinless breast)
Butter 1.50-2.00 per lb. tenderloins 1.99 per lb.
Cheese (cream) .50-.99 per 8 oz. Chicken (split breast) 1.19 per lb.
Cheese   (shredded) 1.19-1.69 per 8 oz. Chicken (whole) .69-.99 per lb.
Eggs .69-.89 per dozen Fish (fresh) 3.99 per lb.
Margarine free-.50 per 15 oz. Fish (frozen) 2.99 per lb.
Milk 2.59-2.99 per gallon Pork Chops (bone-in) 1.49-1.99 per lb.
Sour Cream .50-.99 per 8 oz. Pork Chops (boneless) 1.79-1.99 per lb.
Pork Roast 1.99-2.99 per lb.
Breads $ Snacks $
Bread 0.99 per loaf
Buns   (hamburger) 0.99 per 8 ct. pkg Chips (Doritos) 1.99 per  oz. bag
Buns (hot dog) 0.99 per 8 ct. pkg Chex Mix .25-.50 per 12 oz. bag
Cookies 1.00-2.00 per package
Produce $ Crackers 1.00-1.25 per box
In Season Popcorn 1.00-1.25 per box of 3
Apples .99-1.99 per lb. Chips (Fritos) 1.50-1.99 per 10.25 oz.
Bananas .39-.49 per lb. Paper $
Cantaloupe .99-1.50 per lb.
Grapes .89-1.19 per lb. Toilet Paper .19-.25 per sq ft.
Green Peppers .25-.50 per lb. Paper Plates 1.00-2.00 per 45 ct.
Lettuce .99-1.29 per lb. Paper Towels Free-1.00 per roll
Peaches .79-1.39 per lb. Baby $
Strawberries 0.99 per lb.
Watermelon 2.99-3.99 per lb. Baby food .30-.35 per jar
Baby wash or Shampoo 0.99 per 16 oz. bottle
Toiletries $ Diapers .10-.18 per diaper
Cleaning $
Dental floss Free-.50 per container
Deodorant free – .50 per stick Dish Detergent 2.00-3.00 per 30 loads
Shampoo,   Conditioner Dishwashing Soap .50-1.00 per 12 oz. bottle
Hair Spray .50-1.50 per bottle Laundry Detergent 2.00-3.00 per 30 loads
Bar soap free-.50 per 3 pack Liquid Fabric Softener 1.00-2.00 per 40 loads
Hand soap .30-1.00 per 12oz. Bottle Bottled Cleaners .50-1.00 per 24 oz. bottle
Toothpaste free-.50 per 4 oz. tube Toilet Bowl Cleaner 1.00-1.50 per 24 oz. container

Click below to download price list!

Two Frugal Gals Grocery Price List

Frugal Fun

Frugal living doesn’t mean having a life without fun.  In fact, you might be surprised how easy it is to trim your expenses with a little patience and planning.  My family has made a tradition of going to the Texas State fair every year since we moved to the Big D. This year was especially important because we wanted to see the new Big Tex. Depending on the day, you can save some serious cash if you plan it just right.  General admission is $17 and paying for parking costs another $15…this doesn’t include the yummy food and fun games/rides.  For a family of 5, you’re looking at a pretty expensive outing.   Instead of letting go of one of our favorite family traditions, I did a little research and came across some great savings.  Kroger had a can food drive on Wednesday which made admission only $3 for each visitor bringing 3 cans of food for area food banks. We ended up paying only $9 total for our whole family while also helping out a great cause.   We also saved a few bucks in parking and found some great free activities and shows the kiddos loved.  Being frugal does not mean that you can never spend money; it just means that you spend your money wisely instead of blindly. 

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Howdy Folks!

 

 

Ice Cream Cake

Seriously… I would have 0 problems with eating this cake all day, every day.  It’s that good!!! Considering this was my first attempt at making an ice cream cake, It turned out better than I thought.  With a few YouTube videos and my own final touches, Russell’s birthday cake was a winner.  This is just a basic recipe for ice cream cake.  You can use any flavor of ice cream or cake mix you like.  Russell wanted chocolate cake with cookies and cream ice cream (Bluebell of course!).  Also, If you’re looking for a good frosting to decorate your cake, check out two frugal gals buttercream icing  You won’t go wrong.  Enjoy my friends!

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 What you need:
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 gallon ice cream, softened
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Prepare the cake accoding to the package directions, then split the cake batter into two 9″ round cake pans and bake.  Once the two cakes are completely cooled, cover each of them separately with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer overnight (cakes are easier to work with when frozen).  Before you’re ready to assemble the cake, let your carton of ice cream sit out until it’s nice and soft.  Once the ice cream becomes easy to spread,  place the first cake on the bottom and use an ice cream scoop to cover the cake evenly with a ~2″ thick layer of ice cream.  Make sure the ice cream layer is completely even before adding your top layer of cake (you can use warm water to help even the ice-cream layer).  Once you’ve added the top cake layer, you might need to trim the cake and/or ice cream so that the edges match.  Place assembled cake back in the freezer until very firm, then remove from freezer and frost/decorate as desired.

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Trust me…it tastes better than it looks…my decorating is still a work in progress

Creamy Chicken Primavera Bake

One main lesson I’m learning in my frugal adventure… the better I stock my pantry the quicker I can make a delicious and wholesome meal.  I typically try to stock my pantry with a variety of convenient foods and pantry staples that I can grab quickly when I’m planning for the week.  Depending on what’s on sale, I try to purchase more of these staple items to save money. Pasta, rice, marinara, broth, and salad dressing are all must-haves in my pantry.   Basil pesto is also a good item to have.  It’s a simple delicious stir-in for pasta, salads, and sauces.  Check out how to make and freeze your own Basil Pesto for a quick fix in a meal.

This casserole is a tasty one I found in  Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Money Saving Meals recipe book.  It turned out really good and  makes a quick freezer friendly go to meal as well.

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8 ounces rotini pasta

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen Italian-blend vegetables

1 jar (16-ounce) Alfredo sauce

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 pound chicken breast or rotisserie chicken cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta for 7 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, cook and cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.  In a covered, microwave-safe dish, microwave vegetables on high setting for 6 minutes.

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In a large bowl, stir together Alfredo sauce, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.

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Add pasta, vegetables, chicken and mozzarella cheese, fold to combine.

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Transfer to a 3-quart casserole dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until heated through and bubbling.

Re-fashioned T-Shirt

Every year, my daughter Kinley has college week at her school.  Each day involves a theme and one of the days she needed to wear her favorite college shirt.  Unfortunately we didn’t have one in her size but no worries… we found a way! My sister-in-law and I began researching “no-sew” fitted t-shirts and found this DIY project.  We took one of my husbands old college shirts (out of about 1,000) and found a simple and cute way to dress it up.  This project took about an hour total and cost me an old t-shirt = FREE.

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We went through Russell’s closet and selected this one for our Project.  We cut off the bottom so the edges would roll up. Then we cut the sides of the shirt all the way up the side and even the sleeve. Note: Make sure the cut is as straight as it can be, the only thing that should be still stuck together after this step is the neck of the shirt.

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Then we cut about one inch strips all the way up the side and even the sleeve.
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We tied the strips into knots, like you would tie a shoelace or string into a knot. (don’t pull too hard but make sure its tight enough so the knot won’t fall out). Do this step to both sides of the shirt.
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 Cut the neck as big as you wish and cut the end of the sleeves off of the shirt. we decided to tie knots all the way around the sleeves but you can design or make unique for your liking.
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The rest is yours to decorate how you would like.  We added a few bows and made a cute headband to match.
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Go Red Raiders!

Boiled Chicken

My favorite store had their whole chickens on sale last week for $.67 per lb. I had to stock up! The great thing about boiled chicken meat is it’s called for in many other recipes, and is a wonderful basic recipe to have for many uses. You can make casseroles, wraps, chicken salad, etc… I did some research on the best ways to cook up this gregarious bird and this is what I came up with.  Also, if your looking for tasty ways to use some of this chicken, check out a few of Two Frugal Gals favorite recipes!

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Freezer Friendly Creamy Chicken Casserole

Copycat Cafe Max Chicken Salad

Copycat Corner Bakery Chicken Salad Recipe 

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What you need:

1 whole chicken

1 celery rib

1 carrot

1 onion

4 garlic cloves

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If your not sure if your getting a good deal on meat, use the unit price to see what the price is per pound.

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Bring 1 whole chicken and enough water to cover to a boil in a large pot.  Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic cloves.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 40 minutes.

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Remove chicken, and discard vegetables, reserving broth.  Remove chicken from bones, and shred.  Place 2 cups shredded chicken in labeled quart-size freezer bags.  Seal and freeze.

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Strain broth, cool, and refrigerate.  Freeze broth in airtight containers or freezer bags for soups and other yummy recipes.

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