Fluffy and Moist – M&M Cookies Recipe

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m&m cookies ppm

Cookies are always a great choice for any occasion. Whether you are simply making tasty snack for your family at home, taking a treat for a holiday party at  your kids school or are preparing for a cooking exchange, these M&M cookies are amazing! Plus you can even alter this recipe to become a themed treat for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, St Patrick’s Day and more!

Ingredients:

  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
    3/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups M&M’s (you can choose seasonal colors like Valentines, Christmas and so on!)

m&m cookies pin ppm

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer (or large bowl with electric hand blender) combine butter, white and brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and mix on medium-high speed until well combined and creating a creamy texture. (This takes about 3 minutes.)
  2. Add flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, and turn mixer to low speed. Mix until all ingredients are merged together. Do not over mix.
  3. Add the chocolate chips, 1 cup M&M’s, and mix on low speed until combined.
  4. Form 12 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and slightly flatten about half way. You may want to add a few extra M&M’s to the tops of the cookies at this point.
  5. Place cookies on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (This step is essential to not having flat cookies).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, spray with cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place cookie dough on baking sheet. Make sure to space at least 2 inches apart and bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  7. Cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. Do not use a rack.
  8. Serve and enjoy :)

My Weekly Menu Plan: October 19 – 25

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Weekly Menu Plan | www.pennypinchinmom.com #menu #plans

 

If you have never done a menu plan, you may think that you don’t need one. That is actually not true. By planning, you can save yourself time and money. Of course, if you’ve never set one up before you might not be sure where to start! Take a look at this post on How to Create a Weekly Menu Plan and Shopping List.

Before you get started creating your own plan, make sure you take a look at all of our FREE Menu Plan and Shopping List forms. You can either print them off, or even fill one out before printing it for the week – the choice is yours!

Here is my menu plan for the week!

 

BREAKFAST

 

Waffles
French Toast
Cereal
Granola Bars

 

LUNCH

 

Leftovers
Sandwiches, carrots, apples, yogurt raisins, baked chips, fruit snacks, cereal treats, cheese sticks, yogurt sticks (variety of these for school lunch)
 

SNACKS

 

Cake Batter Dip with graham crackers
Celery with peanut butter
Cheese and crackers

 

DINNER

 

Sunday:  Spaghetti with meatballs, salad, french bread
Monday:  Grilled burgers, hot dogs, beans, coleslaw
Tuesday:  Leftover night
Wednesday:  Tailgating for Royals Game (eating with friends)
Thursday:  Fish Tacos
Friday:  Easy sloppy joes, fresh veggies and chips
Saturday: Dinner Out

Free OnLine Chore Chart For Kids

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As we get into the school routine and holidays and sport, it can be difficult for parents and kids to keep up with chores.  One way to get your kids to ensure they do what they need to is with My Job Chart!  This is a FREE service which is designed to help teach your kids about the rewards of hard work and earning money.   Here’s how it works:

1

I set up my own kids on My Job Chart.  It took me around 10 minutes to get my kid’s charts up and running.  Here are some things you might want to know:

  • You will have to confirm your signed up by clicking on the link that they send to you via email after you register.
  • Once you are signed in, just click the green Add a Family Member button to add each child.  You can upload their photo, if you’d like to, or you can leave it blank.
  • When you are ready to assign jobs, you can click on the item you want and actually assign it to all children at once.  For example, I want all 3 of my kids to clean their rooms each morning.  So, I just clicked on Clean Bedroom and then the Select All Button and it was added to all of their job charts at the same time!assign
  • As your child completes each task, he or she will log in using the information you set up for them and then mark the job as completed.jobs
  • They will earn points which you assign to rewards, which keeps them motivated to keep doing what you need for them to do!  You can edit the point value, rewards and more so it is customized for each child’s age/responsibilities.

This is such a great tool to help your kids take responsibility for not only chores, but even their own finances.  Such a great way to help instill those strong work ethics that parents want for their children.  Sign up at My Job Chart today!

Another option is to learn about how to use a Ticket Reward System!

Cake Batter Dip

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cake batter dip

 

If you are like me, you love to sneak a lick off of the beater when you make a cake.  Of course, that isn’t safe due to the raw eggs.  But darn – if it doesn’t just taste Oh So Good!!  I recently found a recipe which gives you the cake batter flavor — but is safe to eat! In fact, it could be deemed a “bit healthy” because it contains both yogurt and lowfat whipped topping.  Pair it with some graham crackers or vanilla wafers and you’ve got an easy after school snack that your kids will love!

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 Funfetti Cake Mix
2 cups vanilla yogurt
2 cups whipped topping (we use the lowfat)

1. Mix all ingredients in the order given.

2. Cover and put into the refrigerator to chill (around 2 hours).

3.  Serve and enjoy!

I wish I could tell you how long this is lasts in the refrigerator, but ours is always gone within a few days, so we’ve never had that problem!!

Homemade Gift Idea: Love Gifts (Best of All This Gift is FREE)!

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Love Gifts

 

I have many memories of holidays with my family.  When I think back, I remember the laughing.  I remember the fun.  I remember the excitement of waking up with my sister an sneaking out to see if Santa had paid us a visit.  What don’t I remember?  The gifts.   Well, for the most part.

When I was around 12 years old, my mom came up with a way for us to do something to show how much we cared for one another.  She came up with Love Gifts.  These were not any ordinary gift.  They came from the heart.

We had to come up with a way to do something, out of love, for another member of our family.  The only requirement was that it had to be free.  It couldn’t be to take someone out to dinner or buy someone something they wanted.  Nope.  We had to look within ourselves and decide what would be the best gift to give to someone in our family.

I remember a few of the ideas we would share included:

  • Do the dishes on your turn, once a month, all year long.
  • Wash the pickup 3 times this summer.
  • Be your slave for a day and wait on you.
  • Do all of your chores for one week.

The ideas are endless!  We would also make sure to include a note to let the person know that we did appreciate and love them.  These gifts were always hand written (makes it much more personal) and then wrapped up in small boxes.  They were placed under the tree with a HEART on them.  The heart could be on the tag or even attached with ribbon.

We would open all of our gifts as a family.  The love gifts were the LAST gifts to open.  We were not allowed to touch them until all of the other presents had been opened.  The anticipation of those gifts was just as great as those in the boxes with the big ribbons.  If anything, we were more excited to see what someone was going to do for us – and the joy on the faces of one another to see how excited they were to have us do something for them.

So, here I am, 30 years later and I still remember those gifts.  I remember reading the letters we would write to one another to share that we really cared about them. I remember the fun of coming up with something different to do for each member of my family.  Most importantly, this gift – this simple gesture – stands out above all other things we would do on Christmas.  And, isn’t that what it is all about?

8 Everyday Uses for Peppermint Oil

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peppermint 3 PPM

Peppermint Oil is one of the oldest remedies for heart burn and digestion issues. But many people do not realize that peppermint oil has several uses from curing an upset stomach to cleaning your home. Just remember when using essential oils to use them in moderation, as they are VERY strong!

1. Freshen Breath: Rub a couple of drops of peppermint to your tongue and gums. The peppermint will kill the bacteria leave your mouth feeling and smelling fresh.

2. Itch Relief:  Stop itching caused by bug bites, hives, poison ivy or minor allergic reactions. Simply apply peppermint oil directly to the affected area.

3. Relieve Stomach Pain: Rub a drop of peppermint directly onto the stomach and feel relief from upset stomach, bloating, or indigestion.

4. Headaches:  Apply Peppermint oil to the forehead, temples, behind the ears, and/or the base of the neck. If you can lay down for a few minutes, watch as your headache dissipates.

5. Ant Stopper: Put a drop of peppermint oil in the path of the ants and they will go running away!

6. Pain Relief: For sore-aching feet and and joints, add peppermint to a warm compress or into a hot bath with Epson salt and soak.

7. Reduce Heartburn: Mix 5-6 drops of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil and massage onto your chest. Or add a 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to your tea.

8. Fever Reducer: Soak a clothe in warm peppermint infused water and lay over limbs and forehead.  Or apply a drop of peppermint essential oil to the bottom of the feet.

 

*Make sure you read your label and use those labeled for ingestion properly and do not ingest anything that states aromatherapy only.  

Homemade Apple Butter Recipe

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apple butter PPM

Apples are in season which means it’s that time of the year where we go apple baking crazy! This Apple Butter recipe is fabulous. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it will make your house smell amazing! You get the taste and smell of homemade apple pie, without all of the calories and fats!

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs apples (Granny Smith are my favorite)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Peel, cut and core apples.
  2. Combine apples, apple cider, brown sugar, honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir often and cook until apples are partially are soft. This takes approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves.
  4. In a immersion blender (a regular blender) puree the mixture until smooth.
  5. Return the mixture to the Dutch oven and bake, uncovered for 2.5 – 3 hours. Make sure to stir every 30 minutes. Cook until apples have turned into a deep amber color and have thickened to your desired consistency.
  6. Remove mixture from oven and let cool. Transfer into an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Try Apple Butter on toast, waffles, pancakes, pork chops and more! It’s the healthy alternative to butter, gravy or syrup!

14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling Day 14: Staying Home To Homeschool

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14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling from www.pennypinchinmom.com
On the last day of our 14 Days To A Smoother Homeschool Day, I wanted to talk about something that’s vital to a successful home school. Staying home.

There are always going to be things outside of the house that need your attention, whether it be errands, other family embers, community or church events. Before you know it, it’s Thursday, and the kids have yet to get any school done for the week. Then, you’re either rushing yourself, and more importantly, them, to finish a week’s worth of schooling in two days to stay on track, or you’re forced to let them slip four days behind. Too many weeks of that, and your children will be dreadfully behind in their schooling.

To homeschool your children is an incredible task, and has to be a task that is not taken lightly. In a sense, you have to think of it as a job. Think about it as something you are committed to; something that you cannot leave the house for at the drop of a hat; something that is your reason to tell people “no” every once in a while. It is hard to get into the routine of staying home until school work is finished, or being home in time for school work to be completed by the evening, but it is vital for the success of your students.

Commit to your time home with them. Give yourself one day a week, if necessary, that you will spend time running errands, or taking a field trip, or both, but don’t let it be more than once a week. If you can’t stay home to allow your children to learn, and for you to teach them, then maybe homeschooling isn’t the right choice for you. It’s hard! It’s a lot of work, but for those who feel called to do it, or who are willing to take on the task, it’s worth it.

Don’t lock yourself in the house after reading this post, remember, those poor children need to be socialized! I hope you read the sarcasm in that last statement and found truth in our fourteen day series. We hope this has helped you in some aspect of your homeschool day, or at least encouraged you that you’re not alone. It takes a village.

Catch up on all of our posts in this 14 Day Series

Free Home Planning Forms: Shopping List, Menu Plan, Important Documents and More!

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It can be tough to stay organized.  You've got the menu, the shopping list, the passwords, chore charts.....it is overwhelming as to how to create this all yourself.  Relax - we are here to help!  You can access all of these FREE printables - and more!  Keeping your life more organized saves you time, money - and stress!  Click over to learn more!!

 

When it comes to finances, we all know to watch what we spend and to create a budget.  However, did you realize by being organized, it can help as well?  I am not just talking about your pantry, I am talking about your household.

By creating a menu plan and shopping list, you are purchasing what you need.  If you have a price list, you can track the store prices and learn the sale cycles to find the best deals when you need them.  Even by sharing your family’s passwords and where to find important documents can save you — time — when you need them!

This may seem overwhelming to try to come up with on your own.  That’s why we have several FREE forms you can use for your family!  Some of these can be customized before you print them out.  Others, you can just print and fill out with what it is you need.

If you want even MORE great forms just like these to help you with your cleaning and your finances, you are in luck!  Just visit our Free Forms Download page and check out the resources created just for you!

 

Mini Apple Pie Recipe

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mini apple pie PMM

These mini apple pies are the perfect for a dessert for family get together’s, bake sales or the next holiday dessert table spread. They are easy to make and come out in the perfect portion for one person.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of Betty Crocker Pie Crusts (pre-made, not frozen)
  • 2.5-3 lbs Granny Smith Apples
  •  Juice of 1/2 lemon or 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed evenly

mini apple pie pin wm

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut, peel and core apples. Evenly coat with lemon juice.
  3. Combine cinnamon, white sugars, brown sugar, flour and nutmeg together and mix well. Add mixed dry ingredients to diced apples. Make sure coat evenly.
  4. With your pie crusts, cut 24 circles out.
  5. Place crust circles into ungreased cupcake pans.
  6. Fill each pie crust with the apple mixture.
  7. Put a sliver (or cube) of butter on each apple pie.
  8. Using the second pie crust, make another round of circles  or strips for the tops of the mini apple pies.
  9. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown.