Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Electric Skillet Pizza

Looking for easy meals to make in an electric skillet? Want to impress your spouse with pizza made from scratch? Try this easy, skillet pizza that won't heat up your kitchen and tastes just as good as takeout pizza.

If you're like me and have a small kitchen that gets hot in the summer, this dish is easy to prepare and cooks in 12-15 minutes. For a quick, easy meal add a side salad and some fruit for dessert. The recipe makes 2- 12 inch square pizzas  (9 small squares each pie), so you should have enough leftover for lunch the next day or freeze for later.

I have been reading some new blogs lately and have really been inspired to create some fun, budget-friendly meals. I am raising my son on a budget and am always on the lookout for ways to save and earn extra money. Making some of our meals from scratch is one way to save money by not spending more for box mixes or takeout.

I can't take credit for the pizza dough recipe because it is not mine. I used a recipe from Food Network credited to Chef Bobby Flay. It is a good recipe but I improved it just a little. I used self-rising flour in place of all-purpose and used milk instead of water. It makes the crust soft and chewy like bread and rises really well. If you have little ones that leave the crusts because they're too hard, you won't have that problem with this dough. It rises really high and it's super filling, so two pieces with a little salad is a perfect serving size for adults and one for kids.

Pizza Dough Recipe (courtesy of Food Network)

3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups warm, fresh or powdered milk 110 degrees
1 packet yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs oil

Heat milk to 110 degrees. You can test with a finger and it will be just barely hot. I use whole fat powdered milk and just run the tap until the water is hot enough and add the milk. Add sugar and yeast, stir together and let sit for 1 minute. The yeast will puff up and sit on top of the milk.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt and oil. Add milk and stir to incorporate flour. When you can stir the dough into a ball, add enough flour to make it workable. When mixed, work the dough into a ball and rub with oil. Put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Separate into two balls and set aside.

Pizza Toppings

1 jar prepared pizza sauce
Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sugar
1 package pepperoni
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
vegetables of your choice ( black olives, green onions, sliced peppers, etc.)

Roll the dough out onto waxed paper and form into a square shape. Add some oil to the skillet (cold) and work around the bottom and up the sides. Lay your dough into the bottom of the skillet and stretch to the edges. Add 3 tbs of pizza sauce, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and a dash of sugar to the middle of your dough. stir slightly and spread over the dough. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the dough and place pepperoni on top. Turn on the skillet and set heat to 300 to 325 degrees. Top with a piece of tin foil and set the timer for 15 minutes. While the pizza cooks you can make your salad or whatever side dish you like.

This is really an easy meal and we love it. To save time you can make the dough the night before and wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the skillet pizza. For those moms who work, if you prep it the night before it only takes 30 minutes to put together and cook when you come home from work. It's a nice way to serve your family healthy meals from scratch even though you work.

I'd like to hear how you liked this recipe. Try it out and let me know what you think, or if you have any substitutions you added that made it better for you. There's always something we can learn from each other.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On Potty Training and Pull Ups

Have you decided it’s time to start potty training your child?  This is a stage in your child’s life and should be undertaken with care and understanding.  Most children between the ages of 2 and 4 start using the toilet either on their own or with some encouragement from mom and dad.  You should be aware, however, that although they will use the toilet sometimes it is perfectly normal for them to still have accidents up until they are four or five years old. Here are some potty training tips and things to remember when starting on this new adventure.

All children are different and do things at their own pace. Some children just aren’t ready to potty train at the same age as other children. We all know someone who swears that their child was potty trained by 1 ½ to 2 years of age. This may be ideal for some parents, but not all children are ready at this age.  Most children are incapable of holding their bladder until they are at least 3 years of age. They will go in the potty if you take them in time, but they could not hold it on their own if there was no restroom near by.

My Own Potty Training Story

My little boy turns 3 years old in January and has already started potty training. We started him earlier, and he did really well, but a few setbacks caused him to stop using the toilet entirely. I was OK with him continuing to use his diapers because I have raised 3 other children, and I know that this is normal for his age and development.

I used cloth diapers with him because I loved the cute styles of pocket diapers and didn’t like spending so much money on disposable diapers. I had planned to keep using them until he was potty trained but as he grew older and bigger, his bladder capacity was larger too. He would wet right through the pocket diapers getting the couch, his clothes and anything else nearby all wet.  I decided it was going to have to be pull ups or nothing because the cloth diapers just weren’t cutting it anymore.

Potty Training Basics:
  • Let them go naked
  • Put them on the potty chair or  the toilet every 30 minutes to an hour
  • Save diapers for overnight use
  • Give them plenty of liquids to encourage them to go
  • Get a potty chair or potty seat
  • Lots of praise and encouragement (it really works)

The first thing we did when we started getting him to start using the toilet was letting him run around naked. This is one technique that is advocated in the book “Potty Train in Three Days” as well as other similar titles. It works because you can watch them more closely for signs that they may need to go, and they are more conscious of the fact that they are not wearing a diaper so sometimes it is easier getting them to the toilet.

Although you may be worried that your child will have an accident (and they will the first few times) this method works to start them using the toilet. Put diapers or pull ups on for overnights because it will be a while before they are able to stay dry all night on their own.

Take them to the potty often during the day and right before bed. Little ones like to use the potty excuse as a way to stay up a little later, but it is good to let them go if you think there is the slightest chance that they will go.

Measure your success by how often your child uses the potty and how long your diapers or pull ups last. We started at a rate of one box of 72 count pull ups lasting one week (we have two children potty training) to them now lasting two weeks and the boys’ beds are staying drier.  I have not had to change his bedding in the middle of the night for some time now. Never compare your child’s progress to another’s because they may be in different developmental stages, and not all kids are ready at the same time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Buying Cloth Diapers on a Budget

Looking for cheap cloth diaper options?

If you are looking for a cheap way to start cloth diapering you've come to the right place. I was broke and had no money to spend on cloth diapers but found the cheapest method of purchasing diapers that will work for anyone. It is definitely worth switching to cloth, you save so much money not buying disposables. And your trash won't stink from diapers so the person picking up your cans every week will be grateful for that. I use these diapers for two toddlers and have saved a lot of money over buying diapers and pull ups.  Here is a detailed account of how I accomplished it....

When I started cloth diapering I was broke and literally had no money for diapers. I loved the cute bumGenius and Thirsty's pocket diapers, but couldn't afford $20 a piece for them. My first diapers cost me all of $22. I had 4 prefold cloth diapers and 2 covers that I used along with my disposables until I could add to the collection a few diapers at a time.There are lots of good cheap cloth diaper options for moms who are on a tight budget like me.If you want to switch to cloth diapers, but think you can't afford it, think again. I'll show you how to build a diaper stash for any budget.

Building up a Diaper Stash

.....the economical way to buy cloth diapers

The first thing to consider when buying cloth diapers is what kind of diapers you want to use on your baby. The cheapest options for parents on a tight budget like I was are pocket diapers and prefold cloth diapers with covers. For an infant you will need 3-4 dozen diapers and can expect to wash about every other day. For toddlers you will need about 2 to 3 dozen size 2 diapers and will wash every other day as well. This will be your stash of diapers and can be made up of all pocket diapers, pockets plus prefolds or just prefolds and covers. It's up to you, you can use any combination you wish. We'll look at each option and their pros and cons.  

There is no right or wrong way to buy cloth diapers. You can buy a dozen or so at a time or just a few, whatever your budget allows. A little here and there works just as well. Buy what you can afford at the time and add to it each payday. Eventually, you will have a nice little stash built up and can stop buying diapers. They can be saved and used for a 2nd or 3rd child.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Pocket diapers are made with a waterproof outer layer and a soft absorbent fleece layer on the inside to keep your baby's skin dryer. There is an opening in the back to stuff a microfiber insert or small prefold. When stuffed, the diaper is very easy to use. Just lay baby on the diaper and fold and secure the diaper using the aplix tabs or snaps, whichever your diaper has. When soiled just remove the insert and place both pieces in your diaper pail or straight into the washing machine. The cost for pocket diapers are between $10 and $18 for most budget brands. Kawaii diapers run between $10 and $12 and come in size 2's for older babies and toddlers. 

"Cheapest Diapering Option"

When you have little to no money for diapers...

Prefold diapers used with a snappi and a waterproof cover are one of the best options for saving money when cloth diapering your baby. The diapers are made from unbleached cotton and are super thick. Each prefold is sized to fit your baby, be sure to check the size you want. They come in preemie, infant, regular and toddler sizes ranging from $1 to $2 each. Just buy the amount you can afford each payday until you have two to three dozen diapers. Pair with a waterproof cloth diaper cover for a leak-free diaper that is frugal and eco-friendly. They are very easy to launder as well. Just wash and hang or tumble dry. Do not put covers in the dryer though, shake them out and hang them up to dry.

Econobum Cloth Diaper Starter Kit

Econobum is made by bumGenius and is a lower cost option for cloth diapering. The Econobum cloth diapers are thick, diaper service quality cloth prefolds. They fit perfect inside the waterproof covers for an economic diapering option. When I started my collection I couldn't afford the starter box so I bought the trial kit which is two diapers and a cover. I bought two of them which gave me 4 diapers and 2 covers. This was the start of my diaper stash.

I use these diapers every day and can tell you that they are good quality and recommend them as an affordable brand of cloth diapers.This starter kit has everything you need to start using cloth diapers. It includes 12 cotton prefolds, 3 waterproof covers and a wet bag. Econobum is a product of Bum Genious in the economy line of products. The quality of the diapers is the same as diaper service brands, and they hold up very well.
A very economical way to get your stash quickly would be to purchase two of these kits which would give you 2 dozen prefolds, 6 covers and 2 wet bags for under $100 with free shipping and a featured freebie.

Build a Diaper Stash for Under $100.00

(this will work for any budget)

So If you want to build up a cloth diaper stash but have little money, here's what you do:

Here is how I built my stash for around $100. I wanted to start cloth diapering but could not afford the prices of a new diaper stash. I decided to find the cheapest diapering options I could and use a combination of them to fill my stash.

1. I bought two Econobum trial sets for $22. That is 2 diapers and 2 covers, I tried them out and decided that I could do this everyday. So I started watching diaper shops for clearance sales and bought a few covers and a half dozen cotton prefolds. The covers were seconds, but I didn't notice any flaws in them. I paid $4 each for the covers at clearance, normally they are $8.99 for Econobum cloth diaper covers.The prefolds were $2 each because I needed a size two for toddlers. 

2. The next payday I bought 12 cotton prefolds at $2 each and two more covers at regular price. I spent around $30-$40. I now had a few more diapers to use and was getting the hang of diapering and washing the diapers. I had to wash everyday with just a few diapers, but I knew it wouldn't be for long.

3. I started watching eBay for diaper sales and discovered someone selling cheap pocket diapers from China. The shipping was free so I figured I didn't have much to lose if I didn'tlike them. I bought 5 Babyland pocket diapers at $.99 cents to $4 each. I waited until the last 5 minutes of each auction to make sure I was the last bidder. I got the diapers two weeks later and was a little disappointed because they were small. There was no sizing option despite being called one-size diapers. They fit very snug on my toddler but it gave me a chance to try them out.

4. I discovered Kawaii diapers after reading some good reviews from an AP parenting forum. I found good prices on Kawaii heavy wetter one-size diapers at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. I paid $10 each for 3 large, size two pocket diapers. Each one comes with 2 large microfiber inserts and I got free shipping. These fit much better and were more absorbent than the Babyland diapers. I also received my order very quickly, in fact,it shipped the same day I ordered it.

5. The following payday I bought another 12 prefolds and two more covers to add to my growing collection of diapers.  I now had 2 dozen prefolds, 8 pocket diapers and 6 covers. I was able to start washing every other day and have been cloth diapering now for 4 months and continue to add to my stash a little every payday. 

To follow these steps, just decide how much you can afford each week or each month depending on your budget. Watch for sales and just buy what you can afford. Many of the diaper shops offer reward points that can be redeemed for gift certificates when your account reaches $10 or more. This means free diapers or other baby stuff if you save up your points.

Now you see how this method will work for any budget. If you have sewing skills you can also make your own prefolds from old t-shirts and pocket diapers from fleece sweatshirts. There are many sites on the web that offer how-to instructions for making your own. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keeping Little Ones Cool in the Summer

Summers are a great time for swimming and outdoor fun, but remember to keep little ones hydrated and use plenty of sunblock when they will be out for any length of time. There are a lot of good sun protection products for babies to help keep their delicate skin from getting burnt. With all the products on the market these days  it is hard to know what type of sunscreen is best for children, but this article posted on Baby Center may help you when it comes to choosing sunblock for your child.

When you live in the desert like we do staying hydrated is very important. The past few days it has been in the low 100s here in Las Vegas and staying cool has taken top priority. We run fans, the air conditioner and keep our windows covered during the hottest part of the day. The kids want to go out and play, but we restrict them to going out in the afternoon when it is a little cooler. We try and keep them in between the hours of 10am and 2pm if at all possible. When we have to run errands with them we always try to keep plenty of water and juice on hand and keep them in the shade during the hot time of the day.

Here are a few tips to beat the heat and stay cool in summer:

1. Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator for a cold drink. Kids and adults need water to stay hydrated when the temperatures rise. Restrict sweetened beverages like ice tea, juice and soda to meals because drinking sugary drinks does not help in the heat.

2. Drag out the kid’s wading pool or turn on the sprinkler. A quick way to cool down is to fill up the pool or bathtub with cool water and let the little ones splash around. We just recently bought the kids a new pool and it is big enough that the adults can sit in it after the kids have gone to bed on those nights that it stays hot later. A sprinkler is also good for cooling down and keeping the lawn watered at the same time.

3. Place fans in different rooms facing the windows. If you want to stay cool but don’t want to run the A/C too much put a box fan in one of the windows in the front of the house and one in a window in the back to create a cross breeze and draw cooler air into the house when the sun goes down.

4. Dunk your head under the sink. A quick way to cool off when it’s hot is to get your hair wet. I take Aiden in the stroller when I go the grocery store which is right down the street and to keep him cool, I’ll wet both my hands and run them through his hair and over his face, then when the air hits him it’s like being in front of the air conditioner.

I’m a green mama and we walk just about everywhere, so keeping the kids cool and protected from the sun is a top priority.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My New Parenting Resolutions for 2013

I have implemented my new parenting resolutions and am off to a great start.  I know this is late, but I wanted to post it anyway. Instead of the usual New Year's Resolutions to quit smoking, quit drinking or lose weight I have decided to become a better parent. I always believed that there was a better method of disciplining children besides spanking and now the experts have proved me right. An article written by pediatrician and baby care expert  Dr.William Sears outlines "10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Child." There has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the forums and chat rooms lately.

I admit that with my other children I did use spanking as a method of discipline but decided that I would make better choices with my youngest child. Aiden is two years old now and of course he is doing everything that other toddlers do including climbing on the furniture, touching forbidden objects and chasing the puppy. The terrible two's are trying times for any parent but may be especially trying for parents attempting to introduce new discipline techniques. I want to try using positive discipline techniques to teach and reinforce good behavior and punish less often.

I made the decision not to spank when Aiden was born and followed the principles of AP parenting. We breastfed until he was 10 months old and he weaned himself, we co-slept with a side car sleeper and I wore him in a sling as often as I could to form that nurturing bond. I got this portable sleeper,The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper as a gift and I loved it, until he got too big for it. It is a very safe way to sleep with your baby. No worries about rolling over on the baby, he has his own little bed that can lay right on your bed beside you or in the middle. Dr. Sears also advocates using a side by side sleeper for safe co-sleeping and I agree.

Co-sleeping worked very well for us and we were both able to get sleep and have fewer restless nights. Aidan actually slept more peacefully when he slept with me. As he got older and outgrew the sleeper bed, he would snuggle up right next to mommy and fall asleep.

Now that he is a toddler, we are dealing with biting and hitting issues. Not because we hit him but because he was hit by another child of the same age, so he hits back when the other child takes his toys. We are trying to teach him that biting hurts by getting him to remember being bit and hit by someone else and how it isn't nice to treat your playmates that way. I want him to learn that

Here is a post with suggestions for gentle discipline techniques. I plan to use these and other helpful techniques or tips for disciplining with love and teaching proper behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. I live with 4 children age 2-6 and think that they will all benefit from these techniques as well. The 6 year old has ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Punishing his bad behavior just seems to make it worse, we are trying to encourage him to have good behavior by expecting it and telling him what a good job he is doing in school.

My parenting resolutions are to:

  • Choose alternative consequences
  • Use positive discipline techniques
  • View misbehavior as an opportunity to teach, rather than scold
  • Spend more time having fun with my child
  • Have more patience
  • Give him a voice and tell him why certain behaviors aren't acceptable

So these are my parenting resolutions for 2013. Any other parents with experience in raising toddlers with AP or gentle discipline techniques, I would love to hear about how you tackled these issues and the results that came out of it. You can leave a comment or send me a message.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Shopping

I am vowing to get an early start on my holiday shopping this year. In years past, I had to wait until the week before Christmas because that was pay day. This year I promised myself I would start early and take advantage of online sales and discounts since I never shopped online in the past.

I have been looking for places to get Aiden's Christmas gifts and since I am an affiliate with some children's programs, I have access to coupon codes for discounts from PBS Kid's Shop, The Land of Nod, and the Corner Stork. I also have codes from e.l.f, Ulta and Stila cosmetics if anyone is interested.

Black Friday, November 23-November 25th you will get 20 percent off purchases at PBS Kid's Shop by clicking the link and entering the promo code BLACK20 at checkout. Black Friday - 20% Off at PBS KIDS Shop!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Pie recipes-Old favorites

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am digging out my recipe box to get ready. If you will be making pies like me, here is some information and a few good recipes for the Top 5 most popular holiday pies. We love pumpkin and apple in our house, but we welcome new flavors as well. What kind of holiday pies will you be making.Comment back and let me know what your favorite holiday pies are.

I just published this lens on Squidoo for Thanksgiving Pie recipes. There are some old favorites and links to some new ones.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Top 5 Best Baby Bouncer Reviews

I am adding some of my reviews on baby products to my blog. Here is one of my squidoo lenses covering my sons favorite bouncer.

Baby bouncers are great learning toys that supply hours of fun and enjoyment. Baby can play with toys that turn and spin and exercise their legs while bouncing on a springy pad. My son (pictured left in his) loved this bouncer and didn't want to give it up even after he had grown too big for it. He used this bouncer up until he turned a year old and got to where he could lean over the side, we had to put it away for safety. We bought it when he was 4 months old and he loved it. All the bright colors and toys to play with. His favorite is the frog spinner. Read more.....Top 5 Best Baby Bouncer Reviews

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Being a WAHM


Baby Shower FavorsIt's been a while since I was able to post anything on my blogs. I have been busy trying to get some new writing clients to be able to continue being a WAHM. I made the decision to not go back to the regular tedium of the 9-5 world when Aiden was born. I worked while all 3 of my other children were growing up and felt like I missed so much of their childhood.

When Aiden came along, I decided I would find a way to earn an income from home so I could be with him to nurture him and watch him grow. I was lucky enough to find a few decent content mills to earn a regular paycheck from.

My Squidoo lenses have started to earn some residual income from ad revenue and from a few Amazon sales. So I decided to devote more time to my lenses and try to increase my affiliate sales. I signed up with a few programs through Commission Junction for kids and babies.

One site I love is Corner Stork baby Gifts, it almost makes me wish Aiden was still a tiny baby....I am an affiliate of the site so I make a commision on purchases made through my blog, but I make it a policy not to promote any site I would not personally buy from. They have some great gifts for moms-to-be and for baby showers. You can check them out here...Shop Baby Gifts Under $25

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Free Baby Sling Carrier

Are you looking for a baby sling at a great price? Seven Slings is offering a great gift for parents, a free baby sling carrier valued at $39. All you have to do is visit the website here and use the promo code"free" to get the price of the carrier reduced to"0". All you pay is shipping and handling! This is a great way to try out a sling for almost no investment.

Get a free Seven™ brand baby carrier (Reg. $39) when you use promo code “Free”! *While supplies last! SevenSlings.com