September Meal Plan

Back to school is a busy time for many families. But that doesn't mean giving up the homemade meals. The September Meal Plan features easy family favorites.Easing back into the school routine means the rush of activities that can hamper mealtime. You need meals that can be prepared in advanced, cooked in a Crock pot or convert easily to freezer meals.

This September Meal Plan uses a lot of techniques where you can freeze parts of meals or the leftovers for similar dinners later in the month. See “Your #1 Ally: The Meal Plan” for more tips on how I use a monthly meal plan to save money and time. [Read more...]

Got the Munchies? Make Homemade Granola

Delicious and healthy homemade granola -- the perfect 'take anywhere snack.' A nutritious recipe with great texture and a hint of sweetness.Granola makes a great snack or breakfast food. It is very easy to make, store and take with you.

One of the best parts is that you can customize it so it is just the way you like it. Want dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries? Maybe some chocolate chips? Sure, add them in.

My base recipe is very healthy and uses no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, so it is also much better than what you can buy. It is also very inexpensive to make. It comes out crunchy with lots of oat clusters, and tastes great in a bowl of milk. [Read more...]

How to Maximize Freezer Space


A reader asks how she can maximize freezer space in her apartment, to save money on food. My top 6 tips and advice from other readers.Dear Sunnybrook,

I would like to try some of your frugal living suggestions, like freezing leftovers and produce, but I have a problem. My freezer is just TOO SMALL!

I live in an apartment and only have a limited amount of space. Should I just give up trying to cram more food into the freezer or is there some magical solution to making it work? [Read more...]

Baked Lasagna with Homemade Sauce

Homemade Lasagna is a Labor of Love, but so worth it! This recipe, featuring a zesty sauce, makes enough for a gathering or to freeze extra meals.Oh Homemade Lasagna, how I love thee!

So much so that I even shelled out money for an actual Lasagna Pan deep enough to hold all the layers of deliciousness.

Previously, I was using my 9X12 baking pan, but could only fit about half the layers and had to stick other baking sheets below it to catch the inevitable overflow. Since I have been making homemade lasagna more often, now that we have lots of fresh garden tomatoes for sauce, I felt it deserved an appropriately sized pan.

My word, it make the entire process – from arranging the layers to cleanup – so much easier! As my husband says, you have to have the right tool for the job. [Read more...]

When Back to School is No Fun

For some kids, back to school is not a time of excitement, new classes and old friends. Here are ways I am helping my autistic son cope with the transition.If one more person asks my son if he is excited about going back to school, I think he is going to lose it.

For him, there is little to look forward to, and a lot of Summer fun to give up. When I asked him a couple weeks ago to go through the papers in his binder from last year, he dumped the entire thing into the trashcan. (Recently, I found I had still saved every paper and essay and drawing from grade school through college.)

It was hard for me to get his attitude at first. [Read more...]

Hard Drive Failure: Lessons Learned

After a recent hard drive failure, I decided to make some changes to the way I use technology. Here are tips to help others manage digital information.I really wish I wasn’t one of the people who ‘have to learn the hard way,’ but I am. Very much so.

One morning recently my computer started making a weird clicking sound, and then was entirely dead within minutes. It was a very good computer, and had no issues before that, so I was stunned to experience complete hard drive failure. I was also very unprepared for that to happen.

I have an external hard drive, and had even backed it up a month or two before, but it was a half-hearted attempt at really saving important information. [Read more...]