Meatless Monday – Easy Minestrone

One crucial thing to getting kids in the kitchen is teaching them that there is always a job for everyone.  To me, this is also a crucial lesson when it comes to money. 

There is always a job for everyone.

This recipe is great for even the smallest helpers.  You can add all the ingredients before the pot gets hot.  So if they can dump and pour, the job is theirs.

  • 3 Tbs. Vegetable bouillon ( I use Mckay’s beef substitute seasoning)
  • 2 C. boiling water (adult should add this)
  • 1 12 oz. can corn (I use 1 1/2 cup frozen corn)
  • 1 16 oz. can undrained diced tomatoes
  • 1 18 oz. kidney beans
  • 2 Tbs. chopped onions ( I use the frozen ones when I am in a hurry)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni

Dissolve bouillon cube in water in pot.  Add remaining  ingredients.  Cover and simmer about 30 minutes.

If you pre-measure the seasonings in a little bowl then your helper can still “make this himself” cooking-show style.

Now it’s your turn.  Share a meatless recipe with me.  It can be easy, yummy, cheap, or quick.  It can be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It can be an entrée, a side dish, salad, snack, or dessert.  You can share it in the comments, or link up with McKlinky.  We would love to have you.  And check out what everyone else is sharing.

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This Weeks McKlinky Blog Hop is about favorite recipes.  Click below to see the whole list.  And leave me a comment letting me know how you found us this week.

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Debt Free at Age 5

Miss Love owed her daddy some money.

Because she did not take care of his stuff, something expensive got broken.   based on the circumstances, we decided that Miss Love needed $25 to pay daddy back.

$25 is a huge amount of money for her.

This was money that was not going to come out of her Long Term Savings, and it wasn’t just going to come out of Xmas or Birthday Money (Although she did get a $2 bill for Xmas that I let count, because what else is she going to do with it.  Daddy kind of collects them and we are not starting that with Miss Love, but more on that in the future.) This was money that she was going to have to earn.

We have a list of jobs that can be done, and whenever I think of something new I ask her if she wants a job.  It’s not the same as chores.  She can say no if she wants.  At Nana’s house over the holidays she did some work.  They pay more for washing windows than I do, but like Papa said, their windows were bigger, and probably dirtier.  She did a collection of odd jobs, windows, floors, bathrooms, etc. to collect dimes and quarters to pay off her debt.

It took her a couple of months, but today we counted up the money.  And she had earned $23.  I was really proud of her.  When we first agreed on the repayment plan, I was worried that it was too much for her.  She is only 5.  But I think she has felt good about making this right.  She has worked hard and had to give up things that she wanted to buy.  But I don’t think we could have come up with a more powerful lesson on many if we had tried.

But she was still $2 short.

So we made a plan.  We looked at the jobs that she could do, and how much money she would earn doing them.  She chose enough jobs so that she could earn the money (minus tithe) to pay Daddy back today.  She was actually quite giddy when she was dusting the stairs.

I joked that she could call in to Dave Ramsey and yell, “I’m Debt Free!…”

She just looked at me.

I think I am going to have to learn to love that look.

I think she has learned that having debt sucks (can I say that here?)

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Leave me a comment.  Tell me you stopped by.  And do you think I am a terrible mother for making my five-year old earn $25?

Collecting/Organizing Box Tops

I am cheap.  I will admit it.  So any time I have a chance to show support with actually having to give money, I am all for it. 

Saving Box Tops and Campbell soup labels is just the thing for me.  I also have to confess that we are soup snobs.  Unless it is made from scratch, it better be Campbell’s.  We have tried the store brand.  We are not going back.

Usually we don’t have many Box Tops (we’re pretty store brand loyal besides soup), but ever since the big Cheerios stock up, we have been collecting those, too.

The trouble is where to store all these labels.  I hate clutter (don’t look at my sink right now).  Then I got this idea from a friend, who had to admit that they got it from another friend.  I haven’t confirmed this, but that other friend is pretty organized, so I think it was her idea (Thanks Jen).

Unfortunately my camera and my computer are not on speaking terms, so you will just have to visualize this.

  • take 2 or 3 baggies or envelopes (I use the business reply envelopes from junk mail.)
  • Label the envelopes: box tops, Campbell soups, coupons, etc.
  • Open a cabinet door (I have mine by our cups)
  • tape the envelopes inside the cabinet door, make sure the opening is facing out.
  • Put your labels in the envelopes
  • close the cupboard
  • say goodbye to clutter

Even if your kids aren’t in school, or you don’t even have kids, saving Box Tops is a great way of showing support to your local schools.  Box Tops sends an actual check to schools to spend however they need.  And Campbell’s sends out a catalog to help schools get sport or science equipment.

And you can find Box Tops and Labels on many products that you already buy.

If you don’t have a place to donate your labels to you can always send them to me.

And that’s what works for me.  Check out more great ideas at We Are THAT Family.

Meatless Monday – Cheese Enchiladas

Mexican is often my go to meal when it comes to quick, cheap, and easy.  I mentioned these cheese enchiladas when I talked about using cloth napkins

This stage does not last forever

One goal that I have for my kids when they grow up involves them being able to feed themselves.  Beyond proper spoon and fork technique, I want them to be able to cook their own food.  I know this will save them hundreds and thousands of dollars in their future. 

They don’t have to be gourmet chefs, but I don’t want them to only survive off fast food.  I know this habit is the worst during and right after college, when kids are less likely to have that kind of disposable income.

I have many recipes for different kinds of enchiladas, but this is the easiest, and definitely kid friendly for helping in the kitchen.

Basic Cheese Enchilada

  • 1 can 10 oz. Red Enchilada Sauce (we like the mild)
  • 1 Cup shredded cheese
  • 10 fajita size flour tortillas
  1. mix 1/2 can of enchilada sauce with 3/4 c. of cheese
  2. fill fajitas with about 2 T. of cheese sauce mixture
  3. roll and place seam down in a greased baking dish
  4. pour remaining sauce over rolled tortillas
  5. sprinkle with remaining cheese
  6. bake @ 400* for 15 to 20 minutes

The beauty of doing this recipe meatless means you can cut the prep time in more than half.  You don’t have to thaw, or brown any meat before mixing, and the enchiladas are done when the cheese is melted, you don’t have to wait for it to get to a certain internal temperature for any amount of time.

These are great served with refried beans and rice (we just mix a bit of salsa into our rice and ta daa, instant spanish rice). 

I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week for Meatless Monday. Check below the link list to see Monday’s Give Away.

You don’t have to have a blog to participate, you can leave a recipe, tip, side dish, dessert, etc. in the comment section.  We would love to hear from you.  Don’t forget to check out everyone’s links and spread the word.

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For Day 22 of 28 Days of Give Aways, I am giving away some fun vegetable friends stickers in honor of Meatless Mnday.  Link up or leave a comment to be entered into this Give Away (open until Sunday, February 28).

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Getting down to business

Okay, I am falling behind on my Give Away winners.

If you notice that you have won, and I have not contacted you, please let me know.  I am going to post all the winners for February so far, and then I will make sure everyone gets their prize. (some days, usually weekends, have been reserved for local resources, like goodwill, or the library.)


  1. katie @ Kitchen Stewardship (A Picture Me Gift Certificate
  2. Our Local School (Books, books and more Books)
  3. Amie @ Adventures with Audrie wins The Grouchy Ladybug
  4. Olivia @ Of Such is the Kingdom wins a pair of bath mittens
  5. The People of Haiti
  6. The People of Haiti
  7. The People of Haiti
  8. Jen @ Oh boy it’s a Girl wins the Veggie Tales Movie
  9. Our Local Community Service gets a box of Baby Blankets
  10. Kathy wins a set of Cloth Napkins
  11. Half-Assed HouseWife is our big Valentine winner.
  12. Our Local School got all my time
  13. Our Local School…
  14. Our Local School…
  15. My Honey… It was a delayed Valentines.
  16. Annie @ wins the Squealer the Pig Beanie Baby
  17. Nobody wins the Our God Reigns Cd
  18. Nobody wins the Stickers
  19. Amy Lynne @ wins the facial mask
  20. Our Church got some extra videos
  21. My neighbor finally got that recipe she has been asking for…

This will be the last week of February, and the last week for Give Aways.  Until the future when I feel like giving things away again.  So check back all week, and see what you can win.  Join us on Monday for Meatless Mondays.

Getting Paid in Chocolate

Last weekend I gave all my time to our local schools BIG fundraiser: The Silent Auction.  We made it even better.  We added a Chocolate Extravaganza. 

That’s right.  A sampling of all things chocolate.  All night. And it was Valentines Day. And everything turned out beautiful.

Unfortunately I was working the event, so it wasn’t as romantic or relaxing as it could have been.

It was all just volunteer time.  Hours.  But when the night was through, I got to take it home with me.  That’s right I got paid in chocolate. A lot. Of Delicious. Chocolate.

Do I have to claim that on my taxes?

And as much as I would love to share it with you, I just don’t think it would mail good….

So instead I am giving away a Soothing Spa Tonic Facial, so you can sit back, relax, close your eyes and dream of chocolate.

To win this Give Away you just have to leave me a comment. And you can get a bonus entry if you can tell me how to set up followers on WordPress. And don’t forget to check out Job vs. Chore vs. Hobby , Whistle While You Work, and Charlotte’s Web for the Give Aways that will be open all week.

This has been linked in with Finer Things Friday.

Job vs. Chore vs. Hobby

A Job is something someone pays you to do.

A Chore is something you do because you live in this house.

A Hobby is something you do for fun, but nobody pays you to do it.

To me, the ultimate American Dream is being able to turn a hobby into something someone will pay you to do.

I found a way to do it with scrapbooking.

I know of ways to do it with reading.

Can I do it with blogging? It’s not my goal, but wouldn’t it be great to earn my money back at least? 

I don’t know if it is an option with WordPress.  Things are not looking good. So I am looking into other options.  I may stay here, I may not.  If you have any advice in this area, I would sure be interested.

And as a Thank You for sticking with me through all this I am giving away a package of stickers. Leave me a comment and tell me if you like Hello Kitty or Froggy stickers best.